Yankee Style Push Drills
Many Manufacturers, Many Models

North Brothers and Stanley Tools Yankee Push Drills

Other Manufacturers Push Drills, Compared To Yankee Brand

The trade name "YANKEE" has been, and still is a well known name in drills.  The term "YANKEE PUSH DRILL" is often used to describe push drill other than North Brothers Mfg. Co. or Stanley Tools, who purchase the rights to the well known YANKEE brand or trade name in the 1940's from North Brothers.  North Brothers always marked the tools they manufactured with the YANKEE name, and in most cases the North Bros. name and location as well.  Almost all push drills made by Stanley did have the YANKEE trade name on them, or at least until the 1980's when the HANDYMAN trade name became as well known as the YANKEE trade name, so Stanley Tools marked the No. 46 model for example with the HANDYMAN trade name, yet the No. 46 push drill was still basically the same concept in design as the 80 years of various YANKEE models.

The picture above shows 5 different YANKEE brand push drills, made by either North Brothers, or Stanley Tools.  Three of them have the old style screw chuck (turn the chuck sleeve to hold or loosen the drill point), the others have the newer spring chuck, (simply push the chuck sleeve away from the drill handle to release the drill point, let go of it and it automatically closes the chuck to hold the point fast in place).  As you can see the top push drill (Model No. 42) has a wooden handle and no drill point storage feature.  Also, you can see it has an exposed spiral shaft, unlike the others that are all concealed.  This was one of the earliest push drill patents.  This particular drill has two patent dates, one in 1898, the other in 1900.  Below the No. 42 is two No. 41's first introduced in 1900 with a screw chuck, the No. 41 below has the later spring chuck. The No. 41 has been the best seller in the Yankee push drill line, and is still very popular today.  Below the number 41's are two No. 44's, again older and newer.  The No. 44 model was introduced in 1905 and has an adjustable spring tension, allow for lighter spring return tensions for small diameter drill points.  It does have drill point storage in the handle, but since the tension control is at the end of the handle on this one, the opening to get to the drill points is on the other end of the handle, where there is a threaded, and knurled ferrule that is used to open that end of the handle to expose the drill points.  A very good design, most all 44's we have seen are in very good working order.  A sturdy tool!  Below the No. 44's is the Stanley No. 45, first offered in 1950, it functions the same as the others from the earlier days, but is short, and has a smaller diameter main shaft, yet is surprisingly sturdy.  The end cap on the handle is threaded and can be removed to expose the drill points, stored in the handle.  Depending on the year, some end caps are aluminum, other steel, and there is a noticeable weight difference in the two.  The black part is heavy molded plastic and is very sturdy since it is re-enforced, and fit on a steel inside shaft.  Under the No. 45 is the No. 46, the new one sometimes marked No. 03-046, this one was introduced by Stanley as a YANKEE, and a HANDYMAN brand tool, in the later 1950's.  Basically, it is very similar to the No. 45, but with a metal re-enforce, molded  plastic handle cap in this case.  By 2005 Stanley had sold out all of it's inventory of this model, the last of their inventory to be sold as I understand it, it was the last model to be sold out also.  There was other Yankee brand models made over the years, but these were the best known and the best sellers to my knowledge.

Over the years other manufacturing companies used the same design, and specific size drill points as the YANKEE brand push drill used with the flat and notch on the shank.  Below is a group of seven different models that all will except Yankee type drill points.  From left to right, A Greenlee No. 482 with a wooden handle.  Similar model was made and marked "Montgomery Ward Ward Master".  The next a Greenlee No. 483 with a molded plastic handle.  (Both wooden and plastic handle have rotating drill point storage in the handles).  Next is a "CRAFTSMAN" brand, no model number, believed to have been made by Millers Falls.  The fourth is an early Millers Falls push drill, very sturdy design, the heaviest made, but stubbiest in length.  It has a patent date on it of 1909, and is marked No. 8.  The one next to it is also a No. 8 model but has an adjustment sleeve on the middle section of the drill body.  We do not know what it is supposed to do, as it doesn't seem to do anything at all, otherwise the two are basically the same, with the drill storage in the handle and a rotating type handle cap to expose each drill point individually.  The sixth one from the left is the narrowest all metal model that we know of.  It is also marked Millers Falls, but no patent date or model number.  We have only seen a few of these over the past 10 years, very rare, and works just fine.  There is no drill bit storage on this one, although the handle can be removed, it has a spring and rod inside it.  The far right is the Millers Falls No. 79 with a wood and metal handle, with the rotating cap type drill point storage.  It has no patent dates on it.  The drill point sizes are marked on the metal part of the handle for each drill point size.

Published by Great Expectations Antiques May 10, 2008  All Rights Reserved 

So how many push drill models are there to choose from?

The first patented spiral push drill or similar spiral screwdriver date back into the 1800's.  Many of the first model patented are rare and hard to find.  Most models were designed and patented post 1900.  Below is a picture of several different models, only two are actually alike, but those two are marked with different company names on each.

Unlike Yankee Screw drivers, or spiral ratchet Screwdrivers, most push drills are about the same size and shape, as you can see in the pictures above.  Of all drills in the picture above their were only two types of drill points used, in reference to the shank of the point.  One, the most common today is the YANKEE brand type, with a flat and notch on the shank.  The other type is the GOODELL-PRATT type that has a + shape cut into the round shank of the drill point to fit a 4 jaw chuck of sorts on the push drill.  The purpose for the either the notch and flat, or the + shape on the shanks of the drill point is to keep the point from turning in the chuck as the hole is being drilled.  North Brothers and Stanley Tools all use a YANKEE style drill point only.  The GOODELL-PRATT CO. was perhaps the first to introduce their 4 jaw chuck and + shaped shank design.  All Goodell-Prattt push drills use the G-P points, but other companies like Millers Falls made push drills at different eras that were designed to chuck either one or the other type drill points, mostly depending on the model number of the push drill.  It would appear that Millers Falls made push drills that were marked "CRAFTSMAN" and not Millers Falls in the mid-1900's.  Again, some Craftsman brand drill models have Yankee some G-P type chucks on them.  Greenlee was another manufacturer that used the Yankee style drill point chuck on their push drills.  Greenlee also made some Yankee point style push drill for Montgomery Wards in the 1950's era.  There are two other manufactures drills in the picture above, one is only marked GERMANY, and the other is only marked DUNLAP.  The Dunlap models (2) both use the G-P style points, and the Germany model uses the Yankee style points.

COMPARING VARIOUS TYPES & MODELS

The first point I want to make is both chuck systems work, and both were good sellers in their time.  North Brothers did improve their screw type chuck on the very popular No. 41 model for example, and changed the chuck design from a screw chuck, to a spring action chuck.  The spring chuck allows for quicker point change, faster by perhaps 30 seconds, depending on the user.  The G-P models were never changed much, only slight variations in the chuck jaws, and perhaps on some model the way the chuck was attached to the drill, but the basic function of the chuck by design, never changed.  Generally speaking, all push drills, whether G-P or Yankee, function the same.  The user installs the drill point size desired into the chuck, marks the center line of the hole location, aligns the drill point to that center, and pushes the handle of the push drill toward the work piece.  The pushing motion caused the spiral mechanics of the push drill to turn clockwise, causing a sharp drill point to cut, or make a hole the same size as the drill point selected.  Generally, very fast and easy.  The drill points for both style drills range from 1/16" to 11/64" in diameter capacity.  In comparing the Yankee to the G-P style, both drill holes in wood, plaster or about and soft materials just fine.  The Yankee does have a slight advantage in ease of change drill points, particularly comparing the Yankee spring chuck to the G-P.  The reason is simply, the drill point shank goes in the chuck, aligns in the chuck, and tightens down quicker than the G-P in every test we have done.  The G-P chuck seems to call for a little user experience in terms of opening the chuck jaw up enough, but not too much for the given size point to be inserted.  Some time is lost in the process of getting the + on the shank to align with the female + shape of the chuck, where the Yankee chuck is basically a round hole, and a simple twist and lock motion is required once the point shank reaches the bottom of the chuck.  The Yankee spring chuck will lock automatically at this point, just let go of the chuck sleeve, and the point is lock in place.

DRILL POINT STORAGE IN THE DRILL HANDLE

Almost all models of both types have drill point storage built into the handle.  This helps to keep your push drill and it's drill point organized in the same place as the drill points that fit it.  Many models have separate compartments for each drill point, some models have a rotating cap on the handle that the user turns to a position over the desired size drill point compartment and either inserts or removes that specific points from the specific hole, while others simply have a removable cap that exposes all the drill points at once.  Only a few early model push drills with all wood handles didn't have drill point storage in the handle, and at that time nice little round wooden, two piece containers were supplies by both type makers to keep the drill points in.  I generally refer to the wooden container as a drill tube, and this method of containing the points while on the store shelf, or in the home or work shop worked well.  After the 1940's the wooden tubes soon became replace by similar plastic tubes with metal caps, and by the 1970's they were simply packed in blister packs.  If you are looking for Yankee drill points or Goodell-Pratt drill points today, you will find either used stock, or new old stock, as there are currently no U.S. manufacturers manufacturing these drill point any longer. 

We do offer a 3 JAW CHUCK ADAPTER for some YANKEE brand push drills currently.  This adapter allow you to use your Yankee push drill and standard round shank drill points.  There reason for the adapters is simple.  Supply and demand.  That is, since there is still a large demand for Yankee drill bits, the price of a set has gone from about $10 while they were still being manufactured, to $35-$75 per set of 8 different size drill bits in today's market, depending on the condition and what type of packaging the drill points come packed in.  You can buy an adapter for your own push drill and install it, or mail it to us and we will install it and send it back to you.  We have not found an productive way to mount similar 3-jaw adapters to the G-P style push drills at this time.  It has to do with the way the G-P chuck is attached to the push drill, they are near impossible to remove, without damage to the push drill.  Otherwise, the G-P style push drills would be very well suited for the adapter exchange.

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