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Lamson & Sessions Company

Table of Contents


The Lamson & Sessions Company was a major manufacturer of nuts, bolts, and other hardware products from the late 19th century onward.

Company History

The Lamson & Sessions Company was established in 1866 as a maker of carriage bolts by partners Isaac P. Lamson, his brother Thomas H. Lamson, and Samuel W. Sessions. The partnership initially operated in Mt. Carmel, Connecticut, but in 1869 moved to Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1883 the partnership incorporated as the Lamson & Sessions Company.

Wrench Production

By 1886 Lamson & Sessions had begun production of various types of screw-adjusting wrenches. Price quotes for Lamson & Sessions "Engineers", "Standard", or "Agricultural" wrenches can be found in The Iron Age from as early as July 29, 1886, and continued for many years after that.

By this time Lamson & Sessions had become a major hardware manufacturer, and we would have expected the news that the company was entering the wrench business to have generated some chatter in the trade publications at the time. However, a search for information on the Lamson & Sessions wrench business found nothing in the 1880s time frame, and the only source we've found on the subject wasn't published until almost 20 years later.

The 1905 History of the Nut and Bolt Industry of America states on page 169 [External Link] that in 1887 Lamson & Sessions purchased the machinery of the "Canfield & Sutliff Wrench Company" and began offering a full line of wrenches. Although this is our only reference to the origin of the Lamson & Sessions wrench business, we can see right away that the date is off a bit.

As for the reference to "Canfield & Sutliff", the only information we could find was an 1883 notice stating that the two principals were preparing to manufacture a patented wrench.

A more promising lead was found in The Cleveland Directory for 1886-1887, which on page 632 [External Link] lists Charles G. Sutliff as the superintendant of the wrench department at Lamson & Sessions.

Following up on the Sutliff connection, we found that C.G. Sutliff was listed as the secretary and treasurer of the Cleveland Screw Wrench Company in 1885.

[1885 Listing for Cleveland Screw Wrench Company]
Fig. 1. 1885 Listing for Cleveland Screw Wrench Company. [External Link]

Fig. 1 shows the directory entry for the Cleveland Screw Wrench Company, as published on page 597 of The Cleveland Directory for 1884-1885.

The directory entry lists the company president as M.E. Campfield.

Matthew E. Campfield was a well-known inventor with a number of patents relating to screw-wrenches, and in 1875 had received patent 166,587, which was used by the Girard Wrench Company.

The name "Campfield" sounds similar to "Canfield", and when we searched for "Campfield & Sutliff" we found a small notice on page 9 [External Link] of the July 12, 1884 edition of American Machinist stating that the Cleveland Screw Wrench Company had succeeded Campfield & Sutliff.

Acquisition of the Cleveland Screw Wrench Company

With the knowledge that the future Lamson & Sessions superintendant of wrenches was working at the Cleveland Screw Wrench Company in 1884-1885, we can infer that the Lamson & Sessions wrench business was almost certainly based on the acquisition of the Cleveland Screw Wrench Company sometime in 1885 or early 1886.

The unfortunate misspelling of Campfield as "Canfield" in the 1905 history cited earlier has served to obfuscate the origin of the business, and we can read the "Canfield & Sutliff Wrench Company" to mean the wrench company run by Matthew E. Campfield and Charles G. Sutliff.

Additional evidence of the connection between the Cleveland Screw Wrench Company and Lamson & Sessions can be found on the DATAMP page for the 1882 Campfield patent 257,468 [External Link], which lists both the Cleveland Screw Wrench Company and Lamson & Sessions as known manufacturers of the patent. The 1884 Campfield patent 303,385 is also known to have been used by Lamson & Sessions.

We can even offer a plausible explanation for the Cleveland Screw Wrench Company wanting to sell out to Lamson & Sessions. The notice in the July 12, 1884 edition of American Machinist cited earlier mentioned that M.E. Campfield was intending to leave Cleveland to start a wrench business in Sterling, Ohio. [That was likely the Sterling Wrench Company.]

The 1885-1886 edition of The Cleveland Directory lists C.G. Sutliff as the president of the Cleveland Screw Wrench Company, with M.E. Campfield no longer listed. After Campfield departed for his new venture, C.G. Sutliff may have felt it would be better to join forces with a larger company.

Having resolved the origin of the Lamson & Sessions wrench business, we would like to show some illustrations of their products. Directory listings for Lamson & Sessions wrenches were published in numerous trade publications from the late 1880s up through the 1910s, but despite the numerous listings, we haven't been able to find any advertisements or illustrations of the their wrenches.

Later Operations

Lamson & Sessions remained in business until at least the 1990s.


The table below shows patents related to screw-adjusting wrenches. Lamson & Sessions received many patents related to its nuts and bolts business, but these are outside of the scope of this site.

One of our readers has pointed out that the assignee for patent 285,796 appears to have been mangled by Google's OCR into "C.G. Luttiff", but should be C.G. Sutliff, the inventor's partner in business at the time.

Lamson & Sessions: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
257,468 M.E. Campfield03/29/188205/09/1882 Screw-Adjusting Wrench
Produced by Cleveland Screw Wrench Company and Lamson & Sessions.
285,796 M.E. Campfield04/12/188310/02/1883 Improvements for Monkey Wrenches
Assignee "C.G. Luttiff" should be "C.G. Sutliff".
303,385 M.E. Campfield01/09/188408/12/1884 Making Screws for Monkey Wrenches
Illustrates adjusting screw with gear-like rosette.
Lamson & Sessions 8 Inch Monkey Wrench


Lamson & Sessions: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
LAMSON 164,579 01/01/190307/11/1922 02/20/1923 Block text
For bolts
Serial 166,744. Published February 20, 1923.
SPEED MERCHANT 380,120 02/10/194004/22/1940 08/06/1940 Block text
For merchandising cabinets
Serial 431,062. Published 05/28/1940
LAMSON [stylized] 516,472 01/01/186601/17/1948 10/18/1949 Text "LAMSON" on curved arc.
For bolts, nuts, screws, rivets
Renewed 10/18/1969
Renewed 9-25-90
L S C [design] 697,347 05/01/195007/03/1959 05/10/1960 Letters "L S C" arranged in a triangle.
For screws and bolts.
Renewed 05/10/1980

References and Resources

Photographs and observations of particular tools are based on items in the Alloy Artifacts Collection.

Currently we do not have any catalogs for Lamson & Sessions.

Industrial Distributors

Selected Tools

Lamson & Sessions 8 Inch Monkey Wrench

[Lamson & Sessions 8 Inch Monkey Wrench]
Fig. 2. Lamson & Sessions 8 Inch Monkey Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 2 shows a Lamson & Sessions 8 inch monkey wrench, stamped with "The Lamson & Sessions Co." and "Cleveland, O. U.S.A." on the upper jaw, as seen in the middle inset.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Although this wrench is not marked with a patent, the gear-like adjusting rosette matches the illustration in patent 303,385, issued to M.E. Campfield in 1884.

Lamson & Sessions "Buckeye" No. 1 Bicycle Wrench

[Lamson & Sessions Buckeye No. 1 Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 3. Lamson & Sessions "Buckeye" No. 1 Bicycle Wrench.

Fig. 3 shows a Lamson & Sessions No. 1 bicycle wrench, marked "L. & S. Co." and "Buckeye".

The overall length is 5.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

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