Alloy Artifacts  

Lectrolite Corporation

[Lectrolite Logo from 1951 Trademark]
Lectrolite Logo from 1951 Trademark

Table of Contents

Introduction

The Lectrolite Corporation of Defiance, Ohio was closely associated with S-K Tools during the 1950s and 1960s, but operated independently in the 1930s and 1940s. Although we haven't been able to find much information about the company's early operations, we recently made a discovery (during an online Google search) that provided surprising information on the company's founding.

Company History

Various public documents and news archives have allowed us to piece together some of the early history of Lectrolite. The Lectrolite Corporation operated in Defiance, Ohio, and the company was known to have been run by Harold L. Schlosser during the 1930s, as his name appears on patent documents with assignment to Lectrolite, and his son William F. Schlosser was president of Lectrolite during the 1950s.

Recently (January, 2016) an online search turned up several articles that outline the founding of the Lectrolite Corporation. An article on page 8 of Automotive Industries (published by the Chilton Company as v.67 1932 Jul-Dec) bears the caption "Schlosser Heads Auto Parts Merger" with the dateline October 4, 1932. The brief article notes that Harold L. Schlosser, previously of the Monroe Auto Equipment Company, would be working on the merger of The Milwaukee Tool & Forge Company with the Pressed Products Company of Napoleon, Ohio and the Saturn Electric Water Heater Company of Bryan, Ohio. The article reports that the combined companies would produce automotive parts, hardware, and water heaters. The merger of the three companies is also reported in a separate article on page 5 of the same Automotive Industries publication.

The three-way merger is confirmed separately by an article in The New York Times for September 28, 1932, entitled "MILWAUKEE TOOL MERGES". The article reports an announcement by a citizens' committee of Defiance, Ohio of the merger of the Milwaukee Tool & Forge Company, Pressed Products Company, and the Saturn Electric Water Heater Company. The merged companies planned to set up operations in Defiance, presumably the goal of the citizens' committee.

Although these sources do not mention the name "Lectrolite" — possibly the company name had not yet been decided — the association with Schlosser and the Defiance location provide positive identification.

Our earliest reference to the Lectrolite name is from December of 1932 in a notice published in Hardware Age.

[1932 Notice for Lectrolite Corporation]
Fig. 1. 1932 Notice for Lectrolite Corporation.

The scan in Fig. 1 shows a notice for the Lectrolite Corporation, as published on page 49 of the December 8, 1932 issue of Hardware Age.

The text notes the officers of the company, with Harold L. Schlosser as president and general manager.

The article goes on to cite the companies involved in the merger, but with some additional information not found in the prior sources. By this time the Defiance Stamping Company of Defiance, Ohio was also included in the merger.

This last merger partner was apparently a significant addition, as the plant of the Defiance Stamping Company became the new factory for Lectrolite.

Other online sources have shown that Lectrolite used a brand name "Saturn" during the 1930s. In addition, Lectrolite used the brand name "TruFit" (or "Tru-Fit") for some of its tools, and this can now be seen as a variant of the "True-Fit" brand long used by Milwaukee Tool & Forge. Readers interested in further information can refer to our article on Milwaukee Tool & Forge for examples of their tools.

The discovery of the connection between Milwaukee Tool & Forge and the Lectrolite Corporation has provided a very satisfying conclusion to two long-running mysteries here at Alloy Artifacts. The first concerned the fate of Milwaukee Tool & Forge, a very successful company in the 1920s that just seemed to disappear; and the second mystery was regarding the origin of the Lectrolite Corporation itself.

Early Operations

Having solved the puzzle of the formation of Lectrolite, we now face the more difficult puzzle of trying to figure out the early operations of the company without any catalogs or advertisements to guide us.

Recently (2023) we finally found an early catalog listing for Lectrolite, which appears to have been included by accident in an excerpt of Indestro tools.

[1938 Catalog Listing for Lectrolite Box Wrenches]
Fig. 2. 1938 Catalog Listing for Lectrolite Box Wrenches.

The scan in Fig. 2 shows a catalog listing for Lectrolite 3xxx-series box wrenches, as published on page 336 of the 1938 Jensen-Byrd catalog.

The listing offers the No. 3000 set of six offset box wrenches ranging from model No. 3001 (3/8x7/16) up to No. 3006 (15/16x1 inch).

The text notes the use of chrome-vanadium steel and the highly polished box ends.

This catalog listing is currently the earliest known published reference to Lectrolite tools, although hopefully even earlier references will be found.

The listing appears in the ITCL as a catalog excerpt for Indestro tools, and the presence of the rare listing for Lectrolite wrenches in the lower right corner appears to have gone unnoticed until now.


S-K and Lectrolite

In the early 1950s Lectrolite began a long association with the Sherman-Klove (S-K) Company of Chicago. S-K was well known as a producer of socket sets and tool boxes, but relied on contract production for wrenches and other drop-forged tools. With complementary production capabilities, Lectrolite and S-K made natural business partners.

By the early 1950s Lectrolite's wrench production was much more refined than the examples of the 1930s and early 1940s. A catalog from 1951 shows wrenches in open-end, box, and combination styles, all with raised panels and polished chrome finishes. Some of Lectrolite's offset box wrenches of this era resemble the S-K marked wrenches, suggesting that Lectrolite may have done contract production for S-K's in the late 1940s.

Lectrolite's association with S-K appears to have been a joint marketing arrangement rather than an actual business merger. Lectrolite filed a trademark for "S-K Lectrolite" with the first use date reported as June of 1953, and later in the 1950s the companies published joint S-K/Lectrolite catalogs. In addition, Lectrolite began marking wrenches with "S-K Lectrolite".

In some ways the S-K/Lectrolite co-marketing arrangement resembled the Blackhawk-Armstrong collaboration that began in the late 1920s.

Contract Production for Sears Roebuck

During the 1950s Lectrolite began supplying drop-forged wrenches for the Sears "Dunlap" brand. The Dunlap wrenches were very similar to the TruFit Economy Wrenches being sold as part of Lectrolite's economy line in the 1950s, and were marked with an "LC" manufacturer's code.

Further information on the Sears production can be found in the section on Maker Lectrolite in our article on Crraftsman Manufacturer's Codes.

Acquisition by Symington-Wayne

In 1962 Sherman-Klove and Lectrolite were acquired by the Symington-Wayne Corporation, an industrial conglomerate, and the combined operations sold tools under the "S-K Wayne" trademark. After the name change to S-K Wayne there was no further mention of Lectrolite in the catalogs, but the Lectrolite Corporation remained as a subsidiary of Symington-Wayne.

By 1964 the S-K Wayne catalog was listing a number of models of slip-joint and fixed-pivot pliers supplied by Kraeuter, as the catalog provided cross-references to the old Kraeuter number.

Acquisition by Dresser Industries

By 1968 Symington-Wayne (along with the S-K Wayne operations) had been acquired by Dresser Industries, an industrial conglomerate.


Patents

Lectrolite Corporation: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
1,932,071 L.W. Hodges01/19/193110/24/1933 Thermostatic Switch
2,060,638 H.L. Schlosser03/05/193411/10/1936 Steam Cleaner
2,137,786 H.L. Schlosser04/09/193611/22/1938 Spray Oiler

Trademarks

Lectrolite Corporation: Registered Trademarks
Description Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
Tru-Fit 537,194 03/01/1921 09/18/1947 02/06/1951 For wrenches and pliers.
Lectrolite Logo 567,405 01/01/1932 04/09/1951 12/02/1952 "Lectrolite" in oval logo.
For wrenches, pliers, other tools.
Serial 612,404. Published August 12, 1952.
Tru-Fit Logo 579,565 01/01/1917 04/09/1951 09/08/1953 "Tru-Fit" with calipers logo.
For wrenches, pliers, other tools.
Serial 612,405. Published May 26, 1953.
S-K Lectrolite 616,501 06/01/1953 11/23/1953 11/22/1955 For wrenches, pliers, other tools.
Published August 16, 1955.

References and Resources

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


Catalog Coverage

Lectrolite and S-K Tools published joint catalogs beginning in the mid 1950s as a cooperative marketing venture.

Lectrolite Corporation: Catalog Resources
Catalog Year Format Notes
      Lectrolite No. 151 (1951, Full):
Lectrolite No. 151 1951 Full No copyright, date inferred from catalog number. 20 pages.
Came with 8-page (undated) supplement.
Came with Price List No. 254-W dated February 1, 1954.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
Lists B series offset box wrenches from B-1214 to B-3032.
Lists C series combination wrenches from C-12 to C-32.
Lists O series open-end wrenches from O-810 to O-3032.
      Lectrolite PL No. 254-W (1954, Full):
Lectrolite PL No. 254-W 1954 Full No copyright, dated February 1, 1954. 4 pages.
Mechanic's Net Price List and Wholesale Net Price List.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
      Lectrolite No. 655 (1955, Full):
Lectrolite No. 655 1955 Full No copyright, date inferred from catalog number. 16 pages.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
      S-K/Lectrolite No. 958 (1958, Full):
S-K/Lectrolite No. 958 1958 Full No copyright, date inferred from catalog number. 32 pages.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
      S-K/Lectrolite No. 361 (1961, Full):
S-K/Lectrolite No. 361 1961 Full No copyright, date inferred from catalog number. 28 pages.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
Lists "Groove Joint" tongue-and-groove pliers in sizes 10 and 12 inch.
Lists carbon steel wrench sets in open-end, combination, and box-end styles.
      S-K Wayne No. 164 (1964, Full):
S-K Wayne No. 164 1964 Full No copyright, date inferred from catalog number. 32 pages.
Subsidiary of Symington Wayne Corporation.
No mention of Lectrolite except in name change to S-K Wayne.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
Lists "Tongue 'N Groove" pliers in sizes 10 and 16 inches.
Lists pliers referencing old Kraeuter model numbers.
Lists carbon steel wrench sets in open-end, combination, and box-end styles.

Industrial Distributors

Lectrolite tools were available through some industrial distributors.


Early "Lectrolite Defiance" Tools

One group of early Lectrolite tools can be identified by markings for both the company name and the Defiance, Ohio location. The tools in this group often carry a marking for alloy steel as well, suggesting that these were the higher grade of early Lectrolite production.

Lectrolite's early tools typically had rough finishes, often with jagged edges remaining from the post-forging trimming operation.


Tappet Wrenches


Lectrolite "Lectromium" 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench

[Lectrolite Lectromium 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 3. Lectrolite Lectromium 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 3 shows a Lectrolite 1/2x9/16 tappet wrench, stamped "Lectrolite Corp." and "Defiance, O." on one side, with "Lectromium" on the back side.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The "Lectromium" marking was previously unknown before this example was found. It suggests an alloy steel composition, perhaps as a reaction to the Armaloy, Barcaloy, Bonaloy, etc. markings on competitors' products.


Lectrolite 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench

[Lectrolite 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 4. Lectrolite 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 4 shows a Lectrolite 5/8x11/16 tappet wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." in raised letters, with ".05 Chrome .05 Vanadium" on the back side.

The overall length is 7.7 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The back side marking is apparently giving the composition of the chrome-vanadium alloy used for this wrench, a marking not often seen on tools.

Although this example is not marked "Defiance", the forged-in markings and alloy content suggest an early production date.


Box-End Wrenches

During the 1930s Lectrolite began offering a 300x series of offset box wrenches in chrome vanadium steel.

Six models were available, ranging from model 3001 (3/8x7/16) up to model 3006 (15/16x1 inch). These six sizes had become something of a de facto standard for automotive service, based on their popularity in high-volume retail markets.

[1939 Catalog Listing for Lectrolite Offset Box Wrenches]
Fig. 5. 1939 Catalog Listing for Lectrolite Offset Box Wrenches.

The scan in Fig. 5 shows a catalog listing for Lectrolite offset box wrenches, as published on page 988 of the 1939 Simmons Hardware catalog.

The text notes the use of chrome vanadium steel and the highly polished box ends.

Based on observed examples, these early 300x-series wrenches had forged-in markings for "Lectrolite Corp." and "Defiance O.", and we will refer to them as the "Lectrolite Defiance" tools.

The "Lectrolite Defiance" series also included short angled box wrenches, but currently we do not have any catalog references to show the available sizes.


Lectrolite 3003 "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

The next two figures show examples of the Lectrolite 3003 model, with differences noted in the construction.

[Lectrolite 3003 Chrome Vanadium Steel 5/8x11/16 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 6. Lectrolite 3003 "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 5/8x11/16 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 6 shows a Lectrolite 3003 5/8x11/16 offset box-end wrench, marked with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the model number forged into the shank, with "Lectrolite Corp" and "Defiance O" and the fractional sizes forged into the back side.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

This example is a less common variant of the Lectrolite Defiance box wrenches, without the depressed panels on the shank.

[Lectrolite 3003 Chrome Vanadium Steel 5/8x11/16 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 7. Lectrolite 3003 "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 5/8x11/16 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 7 shows another Lectrolite 3003 5/8x11/16 offset box-end wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Lectrolite Corp." and "Defiance O." and the fractional sizes forged into the front panel, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the model number forged into the back side.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Lectrolite 3004 "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite Chrome Vanadium Steel 3004 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 8. Lectrolite 3004 "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail.

Fig. 8 shows a Lectrolite 3004 3/4x25/32 offset box-end wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the model number forged into the front panel, with "Lectrolite Corp." and "Defiance O." and the fractional sizes forged into the back side.

The overall length is 11.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating, with losses due to wear and rust.


Lectrolite "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 3/4x25/32 Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite Chrome Vanadium Steel 3/4x25/32 Box Wrench]
Fig. 9. Lectrolite "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 3/4x25/32 Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 9 shows a Lectrolite 3/4x25/32 box-end wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Lectrolite Corp." and "Defiance O." forged into the front panel, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the fractional sizes forged into the back side panel.

The overall length is 7.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating, with extensive losses due to rust and pitting.


Tru-Fit Economy Tools

Lectrolite appears to have decided to use the "Tru-Fit" trademark for economy-grade tools from early on. Initially these tools were marked with both the company name and Tru-Fit, but the later economy line carried only the Tru-Fit name. To establish some consistency in our indexing, we will classify any tool with a "Tru-Fit" (or "TruFit") marking as the Tru-Fit brand, regardless of whether the Lectrolite name is also marked.

Lectrolite's early tools typically had rough finishes, often with jagged edges remaining from the post-forging trimming operation. In addition, the early Tru-Fit tools show a wide variation in designs and marking, sometimes with raised panels, sometimes with depressed, sometimes with forged-in markings, sometimes with stamped, and so on.


Tappet Wrenches


Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 8002 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench

[Lectrolite Tru-Fit 8002 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 10. Lectrolite Tru-Fit 8002 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail.

Fig. 10 shows a Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 8002 5/8x11/16 tappet wrench, marked with "Lectrolite" and "Made in U.S.A." plus the fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "Tru-Fit 8002" forged into the back side.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Box-End Wrenches

Probably the most commonly found early Tru-Fit wrenches are the deep offset box wrenches in the 3001-3006 series. These wrenches are puzzling for their wide range of production details, as well as the fact that the 300x model numbers collide with those of Lectrolite's alloy-steel "Defiance" wrenches. Normally a company would not produce economy-grade wrenches with the same model numbers as their higher-quality products, as this would cause confusion and degrade the reputation of the better products.

These anomalies can be easily explained with the hypothesis that the Tru-Fit 300x series are actually wartime production. With production quotas to meet, Lectrolite may have found it expedient to just re-use the forging dies from the Defiance 300x series, with enough changes to the markings to make them distinct. Unless we find evidence to the contrary, we will assume that the Tru-Fit 300x series are wartime production from 1941-1945.

Lectrolite 3001 "Tru-Fit" 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite 3001 3/8x7/16 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 11. Lectrolite 3001 "Tru-Fit" 3/8x7/16 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 11 shows a Lectrolite 3001 "Tru-Fit" 3/8x7/16 offset box-end wrench with raised panels, stamped "Lectrolite" on the panel with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank. The back side is stamped with "Tru-Fit" and the model number on the panel, with the fractional sizes forged into the shank.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Lectrolite 3004 "Tru-Fit" 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench

The next two figures show examples of the model 3004 box wrench, with minor differences in the markings.

[Lectrolite Tru-Fit 3004 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 12. Lectrolite 3004 "Tru-Fit" 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 12 shows a Lectrolite 3004 "Tru-Fit" 3/4x25/32 offset box-end wrench with raised panels, marked with "Tru-Fit" and the model number forged into the front panel, with "Lectrolite" forged into the back side panel. The shank is also marked with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the front, with the fractional sizes forged into the back side.

The overall length is 11.2 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

[Lectrolite 3004 Tru-Fit 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 13. Lectrolite 3004 "Tru-Fit" 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 13 shows another Lectrolite 3004 "Tru-Fit" 3/4x25/32 offset box wrench, very similar to the previous example, but with the markings on the opposite sides. The front is marked with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "Tru-Fit" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the back side.

The overall length is 11.2 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Lectrolite 3005 "Tru-Fit" 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Tru-Fit model 3005 wrench.

[Lectrolite 3005 Tru-Fit 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 14. Lectrolite 3005 "Tru-Fit" 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 14 shows a Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3005 13/16x7/8 offset box-end wrench with depressed panels on the shank. The shank is marked with "Tru-Fit" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the front panel, with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the back side.

The overall length is 13.0 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

[Lectrolite 3005 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 15. Lectrolite 3005 "Tru-Fit" 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1945 to Late 1940s.

Fig. 15 shows a later Lectrolite 3005 "Tru-Fit" 13/16x7/8 offset box-end wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Tru-Fit" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the front panel, with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the back side panel.

The overall length is 12.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The chrome plating on this example suggests post-war production.


Lectrolite 3006 "Tru-Fit" 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite 3006 15/16x1 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 16. Lectrolite 3006 "Tru-Fit" 15/16x1 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 16 shows a Lectrolite 3006 "Tru-Fit" 15/16x1 offset box-end wrench with raised panels, marked with "Tru-Fit" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the back side.

The overall length is 14.3 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Lectrolite 3/4x25/32 Paneled Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite 3/4x25/32 Paneled Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 17. Lectrolite 3/4x25/32 Paneled Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail.

Fig. 17 shows a Lectrolite 3/4x25/32 box-end wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the front panel, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the back side panel.

The overall length is 7.2 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Combination Wrenches

Lectrolite's early Tru-Fit combination wrenches were given model numbers that can only be described as bizarre, with no seeming pattern or progression of model numbers with the corresponding size. For a while we thought that we just needed to find a few more examples to figure out the numbering, but now it seems that each additional wrench just brings more confusion.


Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 1916 9/16 Combination Wrench

[Lectrolite Tru-Fit 1916 9/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 18. Lectrolite 1916 "Tru-Fit" 9/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 18 shows a Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 1916 9/16 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped with "Tru-Fit" and the fractional size on the front panel, with "Lectrolite" and the model number on the back side panel. The shank also has ".05 Chr" and ".05 Van" forged into the front, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the back side.

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Lectrolite 3016 "Tru-Fit" 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Lectrolite Tru-Fit 3016 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 19. Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3016 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detailr, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 19 shows a Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3016 5/8 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped with "Tru-Fit" and the fractional size on the front panel, with "Lectrolite" and the model number on the back side panel. The back side is also marked with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 2116 11/16 Combination Wrench

[Lectrolite Tru-Fit 2116 11/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 20. Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 2116 11/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 20 shows a Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 2116 11/16 combination wrench with raised panels, marked with "Tru-Fit" and the fractional size forged into the front panel, with "Lectrolite" and the model number forged into the back side panel. The back side is also marked with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 2216 3/4 Combination Wrench

[Lectrolite Tru-Fit 2216 3/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 21. Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 2216 11/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 21 shows a Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 2216 3/4 combination wrench with depressed panels, marked with the fractional size and "Tru-Fit" forged into the front panel, with the model number and "Lectrolite" forged into the back side panel. The back side is also marked with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


The S-K Lectrolite Era

During the early 1950s Lectrolite and Sherman-Klove (S-K) began a marketing collaboration that included publishing a combined catalog showing both company's tools. In addition, some production (particularly wrenches) was marked with both the "S-K" and "Lectrolite" names.

Lectrolite filed a trademark for "S-K Lectrolite" and listed the first use date as June of 1953. Lectrolite's production during this era showed much greater refinement, with ground and polished chrome-plated finishes. In addition, tools were given "rational" model numbers consisting of a mnemonic prefix followed by a number indicating the opening sizes in 32nds.

In this section we'll look first at some of Lectrolite's tools from the late 1940s to early 1950s, and then proceed to the dual-branded S-K/Lectrolite tools. Finally, we may show a few S-K Wayne examples just for context.


Lectrolite 7 Inch Combination Pliers

[Lectrolite 7 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 22. Lectrolite 7 Inch Combination Pliers, with Inset for Side View, ca. Late 1940s to Early 1950s.

Fig. 22 shows a pair of Lectrolite 7 inch "universal" combination piers, stamped with the "Lectrolite" logo near the pivot.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the diamond checkered gripping surface.


Lectrolite O-1922 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench

[Lectrolite O-1922 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 23. Lectrolite O-1922 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Back Side, ca. Late 1940s to Early 1950s.

Fig. 23 shows a Lectrolite O-1922 19/32x11/16 open-end wrench with raised panels, stamped with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Alloy" and "Forged in U.S.A." on the back side panel. The back side shank also has a forged-in "T" code visible at the right.

The overall length is 6.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Lectrolite B-2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite B-2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 24. Lectrolite B-2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. Late 1940s to Early 1950s.

Fig. 24 shows a Lectrolite B-2628 13/16x7/8 offset box-end wrench with raised panels, stamped "Alloy" and "Forged in U.S.A." on the front panel, with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes on the back side panel (see lower inset).

The overall length is 13.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

This wrench closely resembles the Vlchek "WBH" series wrenches of the mid 1940s, at which time the wrenches were being made with a paneled shank. The corresponding Vlchek model can be seen as the Vlcheck WBH2628 Offset Box Wrench.

The close resemblance of the wrenches is not likely coincidental. In the mid 1940s S-K was using Vlchek as their manufacturing partner for box end wrenches, and Lectrolite may have wanted to win S-K's business by making copies of the Vlchek WBH series.

It's also possible that S-K could have "commissioned" the copies — by around 1947 Vlchek had changed the design of the WBH series to a flat shank, and if S-K wanted to stay with the paneled style, they would have needed to find a new manufacturing partner. This initial collaboration on offset box wrenches then became S-K/Lectrolite in the 1950s.


Lectrolite MB-1618 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite M-1618 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 25. Lectrolite MB-1618 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. Late 1940s to Early 1950s.

Fig. 25 shows a Lectrolite MB-1618 1/2x9/16 short offset box-end wrench with raised panels, stamped with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with the model number and fractional sizes on the back side panel.

The overall length is 5.7 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The shank also has a forged-in "K" code visible to the left of the panel.


Lectrolite C-28 7/8 Combination Wrench

[Lectrolite C-28 7/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 26. Lectrolite C-28 7/8 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Edge View and Back Side Detail, ca. Late 1940s to Early 1950s.

Fig. 26 shows a Lectrolite C-28 7/8 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped with "Lectrolite" and the model and fractional size on the front panel, with "Alloy" and "Forged in U.S.A." on the back panel.

The overall length is 11.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The shank also has a forged-in "Z" code visible to the left of the panel in the inset.


S-K and Lectrolite Join Forces!

By mid 1953 S-K and Lectrolite had started jointly marketing their products as S-K/Lectrolite. The date is from a trademark for "S-K/Lectrolite" filed later that year.


S-K Lectrolite O-1214 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench

[S-K Lectrolite O-1214 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 27. S-K Lectrolite O-1214 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Back Side, ca. 1953 to Early 1960s.

Fig. 27 shows an S-K Lectrolite O-1214 3/8x7/16 open-end wrench with raised panels, stamped "S-K Lectrolite" with the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Alloy" and "Forged in U.S.A." on the back side panel.

The overall length is 4.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


S-K Lectrolite O-2526 25/32x13/16 Open-End Wrench

[S-K Lectrolite O-2526 25/32x13/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 28. S-K Lectrolite O-2526 25/32x13/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Back Side, ca. 1953 to Early 1960s.

Fig. 28 shows an S-K Lectrolite O-2526 25/32x13/16 open-end wrench with raised panels, stamped "S-K Lectrolite" with the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Alloy" and "Forged in U.S.A." on the back side panel.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating, with extensive losses due to rust.


Later Tru-Fit Economy Tools

By the late 1940s or early 1950s Lectrolite had begun using the Tru-Fit brand by itself for a line of economy tools, with wrenches available in open-end, box-end, and combination styles. The wrench design featured shanks with gently-sloped oval depressed panels, similar to the Vlchek "Panel-Bar" wrenches or the "Penens-Chicago" wrenches of the 1950s.

Earlier economy wrenches had been marked with the Lectrolite company name, or with both Lectrolite and Tru-Fit, but this later production was marked with only the Tru-Fit brand.


TruFit 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench

[TruFit 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 29. TruFit 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 29 shows a TruFit 3/4x25/32 offset box wrench depressed panels, marked with the TruFit logo and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the front panel, with "Forged Steel" and the fractional sizes forged into the back side panel. The front panel also has a forged-in "R" code at the left.

The overall length is 10.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with possible traces of cadmium plating.


TruFit 11/16x3/4 Open-End Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of TruFit paneled wrenches in the 11/16x3/4 size.

[Lectrolite TruFit 11/16x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 30. Lectrolite "TruFit" 11/16x3/4 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail, ca. Late 1940s.

Fig. 30 shows an earlier Lectrolite "TruFit" 11/16x3/4 open-end wrench with oval depressed panels, marked with the TruFit logo and "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the back side.

The overall length is 7.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


[TruFit 11/16x3/4 Paneled Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 31. TruFit 11/16x3/4 Paneled Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 31 shows a later TruFit 11/16x3/4 open-end wrench, marked with the TruFit logo and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Forged Steel" and the fractional sizes forged into the back side.

The overall length is 7.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


TruFit 9/16 Combination Wrench

[TruFit 9/16 Paneled Combination Wrench]
Fig. 32. TruFit 9/16 Paneled Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 32 shows a later TruFit 9/16 combination wrench with depressed panels, marked with the TruFit logo and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the front panel, with "Forged Steel" and the fractional size forged into the back side.

The front panel also has a forged-in "H" code visible at the left.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


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