The Proto 5449-D What Was It's Purpose?

I've always been intrigued by this ratchet, since the first time I saw one. I have 3 examples, all of which have different drives on the business end. I'm quite confident that the "original" configuration was the modified female ratchet. 1 of my examples has a 1/2" drive shaft that has been nicely welded into the female drive. Another appears to have been given an overhaul with a traditional 5449RK 1/2" drive replacement kit. Another interesting note is that every example I have seen is marked Proto Los Angeles, which puts it's use in a particular timeframe in the early to mid - 50's. Notice one of my examples is "Army green."

The example in the middle (with the welded in 1/2" drive plug) also has an interesting handle. At first I thought someone had made it but the more I study the spinner handle, the more I think it was purposely made to be removable from the factory.

So, let's discuss the specific purpose of this tool before moving it over under the ratchet section in Proto!

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With the big reversing paddle it looks like something that was made to use with gloves. Possibly in contaminated areas or in cold climates.

Just a guess with no facts to back it up.

Todd Werts's picture

You're likely on the right path, but I'd really like to know the purpose of the tool. I thinks it's obviously special made.

snapmom's picture

maybe this.

Todd Werts's picture

What is that for?  The handle in the pic above looks a lot bigger than the 5449D though?

Backup emergency hand drive for some function that is normally perfdormed by an electric motor in a weapon system would be my first guess.


I don't have certain knowledge of it's original purpose but all the previous comments make good sense to me.

I notice the protruding collar of the female sq. drive has a hole showing on the OD. That looks exactly like the hole found in impact sockets suitable for use with "pin" type retainers on impact wrenches and other power drivers. That type of "positively retained but removable" characteristic is consistent with a "simple and serviceable" design esthetic common in WWII and 50's military  equipment.