Last Updated: 18.04.2022

The dating of a Craftsman toolbox tells you when it was made.

You not only get to know when the tool box was made but also understand and appreciate what was present in the experience of DIYers and hobbyists back then. For decades, Craftsman has been one of the most trusted tool brands. This clearly tells you of the undying value of their tool boxes regardless of how old they are.

In today’s post, we will take you

 down memory lane and help you learn how to date Craftsman tool box with just a few simple steps. We will also provide you with simple tips and tricks for restoring an old Craftsman toolbox.

Brief History of Craftsman Tool Box

craftsman tools with case

The Craftsman tool box is a receptacle or container that was originally manufactured by Sears. It has been one of the best toolboxes in the industry for years. A typical Craftsman tool box has more than one drawer for superior organization of tools. 

The craftsman line of toolboxes was introduced in 1927 by Sears. They met the toughest set of standards, which have seen these toolboxes last for more than a century. Sears’ legendary innovations in the creation of tool boxes live on in Stanley Black & Decker (a brand that has been reinvigorating Craftsman tool boxes).

How to Date Craftsman Toolbox – Step-By-Step Guidelines

Here are important steps that will help you learn a how to date craftsman tool box:

Step 1: Clean the Toolbox

craftsman toolbox with cleaning cloth

Start by cleaning the toolbox to make the inspection much easier. You can use cotton rags and soft brushes to dust and clean the box. Remove any cobwebs and dirt. You may need to wear a mask to protect yourself from the dust.

Step 2: Locate the Serial Number

craftmans toolbox model serial number

The model number and the serial number of an old Craftsman toolbox are usually found on a tag at the back of the box. The tag or identification label has a set of numbers and alphabets, which include the CM initials.

Step 3: Identify the Day, Month, and Year of Production

Finding the serial number is the easy part when dating a Craftsman tool box. You will need the serial number to identify the date the box was made.

Start by identifying the month of production, which is normally represented by the first two-digit number in the serial number. Then, find the day the toolbox was produced, which is denoted by the second two-digit number in the serial number.

Next, find the year the box was made, which is represented by the third two-digit number in the serial number.

Step 4: Use the Craftsman Logo to Date the Box

You can also use the Craftsman logo to date the box. You just have to know the period in which the logo was in use. This technique, however, cannot give you the exact year the toolbox was manufactured. But it is a good alternative if you can’t locate the serial number on the box.

  • 1928 to 1930s

The brand’s first logo had a solid black oval perimeter with the CRAFTSMAN logo engraved in the middle with a white background. The logo also had a ‘Tools’ tagline in white just below the brand name.

  • The 1930s

The logo was changed in the 1930s. Instead of the oval perimeter, the new logo had a rectangular border. The brand name was engraved in red on a yellow background. All the letters were in capital, but the ‘C’ had an elongated tail.

  • The 1960s to 1970s

The badge that is seen on most vintage Craftsman toolboxes that are roughly five to seven decades old had the logo that was created in this period.

The 1960 badge had a sleek, modern logo that was engraved on a white background. The brand name was accompanied by a ‘MADE IN U.S.A.’ tagline. The badge had red and black edges. The emblem also had drawings of two rounded screws.

  • The 1970s to Present

A new logo design was introduced in the 1970s, which the brand still uses. Unlike the three previous logos that were etched in red, the badge introduced in the 70s was engraved in white. The logo had a red background and a solid black rectangular border. This logo also had the registered trademark.

The brand also designed another logo that has a typeface similar to the one introduced in the 1970s but with a much larger solid black outline.

  • 2015 to Present

The brand introduced another logo in 2015, which is sleeker than all the previous badges. This emblem only features a silver stylized ‘C’ on a red background and a diagonal silver outline.

How to Clean and Restore an Old Craftsman Tool Box

Cleaning and restoring an old Craftsman toolbox isn’t a difficult job if you have the right tools. It also makes it easier to locate the serial number. 

Here are a few steps you can follow:

Step 1: Empty the Toolbox

Start by removing all the tools from the box. If the tools are as old as the box, you can use them to approximate the date of the box.

Step 2: Remove all the Drawers

It is much easier to clean the box and locate the serial number with all the drawers removed. Drawers on vintage Craftsman tool boxes are normally held in place with a sliding rail and some screws. Just undo the screws and the drawers will come right out.

Step 3: Remove the Rust

You can use a wire wheel brush or regular 40-grit sandpaper to remove most of the rust. You should be careful when removing the surface rust to avoid removing the serial number, which could be inside or outside the back of the tool chest. Then use a self-etching primer for rust prevention.

Then clean the rails and the drawers using the appropriate cleaning agents. You can use a metal primer to coat a rust-resistant finish on the drawers and rails.

Step 4: Assemble the Chest

Once you are done cleaning and locating the serial number of the box, assemble all the parts. Now you have a well-restored toolbox that has saved you around 100 USD or more if you were to get a new one.


Are Craftsman tool boxes made in the USA?

There are several third-party enterprises that make Craftsman tools and tool boxes. Some productions take place in the United States and others in China.

There are a few things you can check to confirm whether or not the chest was made in the U.S.

If the box was made in the US, the CRAFTSMAN brand name will be carved in bigger capital letters. Products manufactured in other countries like China will have the brand name engraved in smaller letters.

Do Craftsman products come with a lifetime warranty?

Some Craftsman products still come with a lifetime warranty, including toolboxes. But you don’t have to worry about lifetime warranty with Craftsman toolboxes because most of them have lasted more than two decades.

Can I date a Craftsman toolbox based on its design?

Some slight differences exist among vintage Craftsman toolboxes. They can include the style of the side handles, the placement of the drawer, and the side panels of the cabinets.

If you happen to know the production year of a certain vintage chest, you can compare the design of that box to yours. If the design is similar, then they probably share the same year of production.


As you have seen, it isn’t that complicated to learn how to date Craftsman tool box. You just have to locate the serial number and determine the date, month, and year of production. You can also use the logo to determine the period of production. You can use this information to help a relative or friend date a vintage Craftsman tool box.