This is another one from my neighbor's basement. It looks pretty much like a screwdriver, except the shank is tubular, about 3/8" OD, with a quick disconnect chuck on the end. The end of the handle screws off to reveal a bunch of bits. These are not screwdriver bits. They are like drill bits but they aren't twist drills. From the end they look quite a bit like a twist drill but only the end has helical relief. On the sides are two straight flutes, no spiral at all. The tool is self-twisting, i.e. when you push it into the work it twists. The only lettering says "YANKEE".
Anyone know what this tool is, and what craft uses it? The bit sizes range from about 1/16" to about 3/16".
I remember those from my childhood, my ole man had 3 in different sizes the he got from HIS ole man. They called them "Yankee screwdrivers" (real original name huh). There is a little sliding thingie that will make it turn left or right or lock it. The ones my dad had came with several different straight and philips bits and IIRC the bigger one did have a couple of those drill bit like you've described. I don't think these were for any special trade or craft, but was just the first 'automatic' screwdriver invented. And I think my brother still has them.
A bit of googeling has turned up the fact that Stanley bought the name a while ago and was makeing up until a few years ago. I imagine that all battery powered screwdrivers and drills have made them pretty mush obsolite.
"Grant Erwin" wrote: (clip) Anyone know what this tool is, and what craft uses it? (clip) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Yep. The answer is right on it. It's a Yankee screwdriver. If the toolset in the handle were complete, it would include a couple of screwdriver bits, along with the drill bits. It supposedly would be used by people in the wood crafts, like carpenters and cabinet makers. I have seen them in collections, tool sales and flea markets, but I have never known of one actually being used. As a screwdriver it's not too good, because the bit tends to slip out of the slot as it spins, and when it does, the rest of the stroke drives it into the wood.
Grant, it sound like a "Push Drill" to me, particularly since the bits have two straight flutes as was then the common design.
At a glance, the tool iself looks like the classic Yankee Screwdrive, and employs a very similar rotation mechanism. I believe that Yankee may have even manufactured push drills as well as screwdrivers. The push drills were much faster to use than the conventional variety of hand-cranked screw drivers that were still the major alternative.
Both of these tools pretty much vanished from the market after battery operated drill/screwdrives made an appearance, but through the late
1950s both were found in most cabinet makers and carpenters tool boxes.
They were particularly popular with storm window and door contractors, because they needed only one hand to operate, freeing the other to hold the storm window or door fram in place.
What Grant has is a Yankee push drill - the Yankee screwdriver is a different tool. I have one of the larger screwdrivers and use it quite a lot. As for slipping out of the the screw head, it is more practical for use with Philips head screws than slotted heads. Yankee is a Stanley brand name.
Yu-up. It's a "Yankee-Handyman" screwdriver, sonny boy! If you have it working right, there's a little slide gizmo. Slide it to one side it goes clockwise, to the other side, counter-clockwise, and in the middle, it's a regular screwdriver. I was delighted to get a repairable one a few month's ago for about 25cents. Contrary to what some may believe, it is definitely not obsolete. When you have some delicate stuff to do, such as putting a screw through a glass mirror, I find that the Yankee is the tool of choice. Much better feel than setting the clutch on my Makita. I've got the middle size and will be on the lookout for the smallest and the largest. I like the Yankee so much that I've adapted other shanked bits to its use.
I have one in my camping gear. There's an easy modification that really increases their adaptability: Take a magnetic bit holder for an electric screwdriver, grind the shank round, then grind in the step and retaining notch. Or it you wanted, you could probably weld up something using a worn out Yankee bit. This gives you access to all the modern interchangable hex bits...
I still see them regularly at my favorite used tool store, and the proprietor usually has a tray full of the bits on hand as well.
You can help reduce the slipping problem by holding the collar of the bit chuck (which rotates) tight against the screw while you work the handle with your other hand.
A Yankee push drill. I have two of them. They're great for things like hanging Venetian blinds, drilling holes through 1/4" plywood for boatbuilding, etc. I prefer them to electric thingies for lightweight jobs.
Of course, I also use my two Yankee screwdrivers, so maybe I'm just an antiquarian at heart.
This is the push-drill, not the screwdriver. I have all three sizes of the Yankee screwdrivers, plus a couple of the drills, all inherited. There's some rather rare bits so you can use the push-drill as a screwdriver, they're smaller shank-size than the regular Yankee bits. I think it's McFeeley's that sells the 1/4" hex shank adapters for the Yankee screwdrivers, apparently the Amish use them instead of anything electric. The hex bits are certainly a lot cheaper than the real Stanley bits. No battery to die mid-job, either.
The push-drill was used by a lot of different trades, my dad used one for putting up electrical fixtures in the pre-portable tool era. It was a lot faster than trying to use one of those old eggbeater-type breast drills. Good for doing things like kitchen cabinet hinges, too. The only downside is the special drills used, they're quite expensive to replace although the local hardware store still carries them, along with the Yankee screwdriver blades. For drilling pilot holes for woodscrews, the push-drill is probably as fast as a cordless, if not quite as effort-free.
Its not a Yankee screwdriver its a Push Drill made by Yankee.......... Works similar to the screwdriver but is designed for drill bits. How many do you want, I probably have about 6 or so of em in the shop drawer unused for many many years......most are still heavily chrome plated on brass........ with a steel shank
============================================== Put some color in your cheeks...garden naked!
The first one that I saw was in about the second grade, in a small town in South Texas (about 1948-1949). It was being used to install a replacement mortice door latch assembly, and he used it both to drill the pilot holes and to drive the screw. That was when I decided that I wanted one.
I have a set now, *much* later, from an estate sale.
That depends on how you use it. The knurled collar which you pull back to release the bit is free to turn on the shaft, so you can hold the collar (near the screwdriver blade) to steady it. This makes it a lot better than some of the electric screwdrivers in terms of anti-gouge control.
That is a Yankee tool. It is a wood workers dream. The bits are put in the chuck and a push on the handle - it moves toward the work and the double helix drives the chuck (handle is in the hand right ) round and round. Drills nicely. The drills are much like D drills but are really C type. Dad had or has one.
He had screw driver bits also. I bet he does in his fix it kit.
Yes, it's a DRILL, not a screwdriver. The mechanism was very similar. The screwdrivers usually had an exposed helical scroll to do the turning. The push-drills usually had a spring loaded sleeve covering the scroll.
I have several of these tools. The newest dates from about 1960. One old (1930's?) screwdriver is about 24" long when fully extended. The push-drills I have are much smaller, only about a foot long. The screwdrivers often included one or two drill bits, but not a lot of sizes like the drills. Of the ones I have none of the screwdriver bits, even their drill bits, will fit in the drill chucks. The drills seem to mostly use a smaller chuck size than the screwdrivers. The bit mounting mechanism was similar, with one end of the bit cut away to a "D" shape for driving, and a half-round notch in the bit's shank for a ball detent to 'grab' the bit and hold in in the chuck.
In addition to Phillips head-screw bits the screwdrivers also were available with clutch-head bits. Both stay self centered in the fastener. I suppose they'd work well with the square-drive screws also, but I don't have any bits like those (probably too new).
I still find them handy to use, for wood work. They will drill into soft metals, but with difficulty. They require a little practice to use well, as you have to push STRAIGHT or you break the drills, or pop the driver-bit out of the fastener. You never have to worry about where the nearest electrical outlet is, or whether the battery is charged.
You've already figured out that this is a Yankee push drill, probably a number 41. Used for woodworking jobs, such as drilling holes for small hinges. They are handy, but the straight-fluted bits don't clear chips as well as twist drills do.
The Yankee tools were originally made by North Brothers, of Philadelphia. They were bought out by Stanley around 1950 or so. The quality of the North Bros. stuff was very good. They made, in addition to the push drills, spiral ratchet screwdrivers, eggbeater-type hand drills, bit braces, ratchet screwdrivers, ratchet offset screwdrivers, drill press vises and a host of other tools.
One of their most interesting tools, in my opinion, was the eggbeater-style hand drill with five-way ratchet. Also available as a breast drill. You still see them occasionally. The ratchet had five positions: plain (no ratchet), right hand (which allowed you to drill in cramped areas with only a partial sweep of the handle), left hand (same thing but to the left, which I don't know the use of as we all know that when backing a drill out you continue to turn in the same direction), lock (which locked the spindle to make changing bits easier) and, best of all, right hand double (which turns the drill in the proper direction no matter which way you turn the crank).
Yankee screwdrivers were the prebattery equivalent of a screw gun. I've got several sizes I've picked up over the years. They're still beloved by wooden boat builders because you can't over torque screws and chew up the wood, but they're a lot easier of the wrist than a regular screwdriver. You can also use them underwater (try that with your Makita!). There's a huge number of different bits that fit them, slot, Allen, square, even 1/4" socket adapters. You can buy the bits at Hardwick's if you want some. Next time I'm over, I'll bring along some and you can try them out. Very handy tool, hold on to it.
I inherited several from my dad as well. One was a spring loaded drill only, with bit storage in the handle. The other was screwdriver only. The drill worked rather well on wood.
Never ever hold the work in your hand when using the screwdriver one...you will leak all over the place and it really hurts...
Sigh..I learned that when I was 11.
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
Interesting. I have a large old hand cranked drill (a little smaller than most breast drills) with a gear shift mechanism that allows two speeds (or torques), and rotation in either direction, but no ratchet action as you describe. There sure were a wide variety of hand tools that you can't get new any longer. Some are truly obsolete today, but others are still very usefull (like the push drills)... they've just gone out of style.