Friday, April 3, 2015

Buck Rogers tools

I really like the design look of the so called Buck Rogers tools by Millers-Falls.
Not only did they make a design statement with that line, they are highly functional works of art.
Note that MF never referred to them as Buck Rogers tools, that nickname was given by collectors at a later date because of the futuristic looks of them. One of the stand out feature of these tools is characterized by the uses of Eastman Red Tenite plastic. Unfortunately, this plastic has unstable plasticizer and that is what created the waxy whitish residues often found on them.

That whitish residue is akin to rust on metals and will gradually reduce the size of the components. But unlike rust, you cannot stop it.

Buck Rogers was a comic book Science fiction character of the late 20s early 40s, it went on to live until the 80s in television and films.

The Buck Rogers tools of MF started in 1948 and continued until the 50s and are attributed to design engineers at the company; Franscesco Collura, Garth Huxtable and his brother Robert. Refer to Randy Roeder excellent site on MF tools for their biographies
Together these designers created the following tools in the so called Buck Rogers line up
The initial release of 1948 are most recognizable, they are
The number 100 Push drill (Huxtable)

The No 300 Hack saw (Collura)

The number 104 and 308 Hand drill (Collura)

Shortly after the following tools were released and have becomes perhaps the most recognized tools of that category
The number 709 Smooth plane and number 714 Jack plane (Robert Huxtable brother of Garth)

But there are others attributed to these 2 designers which also bears the red Tenite plastic that characterized these tools. These are in my opinion also worthy of the name Buck Rogers.

The Planer-File number 1200 (Huxtable)

You may recognized the Stanley similar tool, but this is the original.

There is also a brace, number 1950 which although sport Red Tenite handle and head, is of a conventional design and sometimes referred to as a Buck Rogers tool. Not to be confused with the 1938 release of the Parson brace No 510 or the similar No 510C which both sports red Permaloid handle and head

The chisel sets number 1434 (Huxtable) Handles are Red Permaloid, not Tenite

The Sliding bevel square No 1408 (designer unknown)

And although these tools do not have the characteristic red Tenite on them, they are indeed from the same designers and are futuristic looking design ahead of their times
The Keyhole saws number 237 and 525 (Huxtable)

The Spade bits set of 6 (Huxtable)

We will go into more details of these tools in subsequent posts

Bob, in the 21st century


  1. I'm looking at Miller Falls with a different eye now. Now that I have a pump drill by them I'll be looking to add to the MF herd.

  2. Stanley everything may be the norm, but MF made some great tools and some are a working work of art. These Buck Rogers tools are truly well engineered and made. And just like Stanley, MF went downhill in their later days.
    Bob, the tool historian