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Picking up on a very nice theme from my friend Dan Cherry @thedancherry (ably regrammed by the amazing Kerryn Carter @toolschool) and the talented Jeremy Lloyd @jermlloyd, I thought I’d share four of my favorite sweethearts with you all for Valentine’s Day.
All four of these ‘spirit’ or ‘bubble’ levels are in great shape, with original glass vials and crisp, clear markings on their brass top plat…es. From the right, the No. 104, No. 1193 and No.1093 are all type one Sweetheart logos, used only for a year in 1920 immediately following the merger between the Stanley Rule and Level Company and the Stanley Works. The 1093 and 1193 are top of the line, fully brass bound models and have a serious heft to them because of the weight of all that brass. The No. 03 level on the left is a type two Sweetheart logo, which was used from some time in 1921 to some time in 1922. Note that the shape of the heart has changed from the rounded type one version to the sharper type two, and the words ‘NEW BRITAIN, CONN. U.S.A.’ have been replaced with the words ‘MADE IN U.S.A.’
There was a third version of the Sweetheart logo (not featured here), used from 1922 until 1935, where the heart from the type two logo was moved downwards until it just touched the notched Stanley box, instead of overlapping it.
Collectively, these logos have become synonymous with quality, because they happen to coincide with a golden era in hand tool manufacture between the end of the First World War and the start of the Great Depression, and tool collectors call this period the Sweetheart Era.