Looking through the various collector books and websites that have info concerning Heddon lures (ESPECIALLY Runts), boxes and hardware changes in the mid-1940's...it's easy for a person to get overwhelmed trying to make sense of it all. Most if not ALL have only "spotty" information...meaning that the average person would have to spend mucho $$$ on books and time on websites to put it all together.
I'm convinced that 1946 was a pivotal year for ALL 3 of those changes though...and here's a few of my thoughts.
1. Model #'s changed for sure...as the 1946 pocket / box catalog (red lettering near the bottom) shows.
2. Change of Runt boxes from the "red mouth / Wall-eyes" box to the "white mouth / Walleyes" box happened...as you will see BOTH styles of boxes with the newer model # types. I have even seen a couple of the newer style boxes with the old style model #...but they are RARE for sure.
3. Although the Brush box was no longer used after 1943 for Runts...it was still used for Lucky 13's and other larger lures until the 1946 model # change (and larger "banner" style box)....as there are MANY Brush boxes found with the new style 1946 model #'s.
The hardware issue is a little more "sticky" though. But if you were to take a magnifying glass to the 1946 pocket catalog...you can see that some of the lures pictured have the surface-style hardware. Tom Jacomet on http://www.lurelore.com
says he has a letter from Heddon that states that the hardware change happened in 1947...but he too personally thinks that it started in 1946.
That said..here's how I personally
look at all of this.
A. Red mouth box. If the lure has 2 piece hardware, the code should be the older code. If the code is newer (1946), then the lure SHOULD have either transition or surface configurations.
B. White mouth box. Lure SHOULD have either transition or surface hardware.
I'm attaching a pic of Go Deeper boxes...which not only addresses all of the above...but also shows how fickle the Go Deeper situation was over the years.