Why does this site exist?

I inherited my grandfather’s Snap on and Blue Point tools. He worked at the Chevy plant in Kansas City in the 1940s and 50s. My original tools are from that period and they were basically something that sat in a box for 60 years.

I restored a number of cars (MGs, Olds, a 350SL, Corvettes, old Chevys, a 66 Ford, and many others) and started to buy tools as needed during these restorations. Most of the tools were Craftsman. One day I stumbled over the old box with my grandfather’s tools rediscovering them. I never used this set in part because it was incomplete.

I started to look around and fill in the set. Then I bought other Snap on period tools. I found a chart to date these tools. I started buying old catalogs. I wanted to know what was available and very little was written down. No resource, no master list, no book exists on. This was in 2003.


Frank Murch portrait
Tool Box Super Set

Each purchase filled in a little gap, each catalog was one piece of the puzzle.

There is a complete set of Catalogs on this site. It took years to gather these, one at a time. Many are reproductions or color copies. The originals can be rare and expensive. 

These are fascinating and a wealth of information. These were the original source for this site, but the picture formed through all these catalogs is inaccurate.

There are several sets that have never been seen and likely were in the Catalogs, but were never actually made. The actual tools have huge variations, some tools are not listed at all, others are listed but not a single example exists.

There is some part number confusion, at times the same number is used for different tools. At times they change part numbers but there is no change in the tool, other times the tools transform with no part number change at all. This site is in transition toward a study on the actual tools. The catalogs are a charming look back on a different time. 

This web site started on a business trip in a Tokyo hotel room. The actual hotel and room are shown here. Early morning jet lag and no where to go at 3AM is the cause. I wondered – How can I get information about a topic nobody seems to know anything about? – My answer was – if my questions were posted, others would contact me and I could piece the story together. For $75 on a credit card, and an on line web site creation program this website started from that hotel room at 3AM. It worked – hundreds of people have emailed me about their tools and pictures. This web site grew to the point where that original $75 on line tool just could not cope with the size and scope of the information. This resulted in a total rewrite of the site in 2009.

The outline of the picture is fairly complete now. We know the start and finish and the scope of the tools over this period. Some of the details are well done, others untouched. For example – there is no torque wrench or distributor wrench sections. This site is limited to 1923 – 1970, it is an arbitrary ending point. Then pushed to 1980, another arbitrary end point. Now I am looking for Catalogs between 1980-1990. My interest is in old tools, even though I have a complete set of newer Snap on tools as well. I just cut it off at 1970, then 1980, and now it is growing again.

People like you make “collectingsnapon” work. Where I had or have access to the actual tools – I used them in this site. People sent their photos and I used these too. There have been a lot of discussions about “who, what, when, where and why”. In some cases I have had 10 or 20 copies of a tool in front of me, other times, not a single copy. Other people have proofed large parts of this site – and their aid has been invaluable. . (The spelling mistakes are still 100% mine) More feedback and pictures still directly adds to the site and the whole body of information. I want your comments and photos.


Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo Seafort view from room
Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo Seafort room

Many People Ask What Are You Doing Now

In 2013 I retired from the Semiconductor industry and started a sign company.  The company, Signs for San Diego, I thought would be an easy and enjoyable way to still be active and make cool stuff.  It turns out I am working harder for less money than my pre-retirement gig. What is with that??  Well, I do enjoy it. If you like, you can learn more about this here.