Alloy Artifacts  

Gellman Manufacturing Company

Gellman Manufacturing of Rock Island, Illinois, also known earlier as the Gellman Wrench Corporation, was the maker of a distinctive "Polly" sliding-jaw adjustable wrench. This wrench was based on patent 1,451,906, filed by I.C. Gellman in 1921 and issued in 1923. (Gellman also received patent 1,451,873 on the same date, for an adjustable socket wrench.)


Gellman "Polly" No. 91 Adjustable Wrench

[Gellman Polly No. 91 Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 122. Gellman "Polly" No. 91 Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 122 shows a Gellman "Polly" No. 91 adjustable wrench of a distinctive design, with a spring-loaded jaw held in place by serrated teeth. The shank has forged markings "Gellman Manufacturing Company" and "Rock Island, Ill. U.S.A." on the front, with the "Polly" name in script. The reverse has forged markings "Drop Forged Steel" and "9 In. No. 91", with a "Patented Apr. 17, 1923" patent notice.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The patent date corresponds to patent 1,451,906, filed by I.C. Gellman in 1921.

Information sent by a reader indicates that other (probably earlier) versions of this model were marked "Gellman Wrench Corp." instead of Gellman Manufacturing.


Gellman "Polly" No. 121 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Gellman Polly No. 121 Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 123. Gellman "Polly" No. 121 Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 123 shows a larger example of the "Polly" wrench, a Gellman "Polly" No. 121 adjustable wrench. The shank has forged markings "Gellman Manufacturing Company" and "Rock Island, Ill. U.S.A." on the front, with the "Polly" name in script. The reverse has forged markings "Drop Forged Steel" and "12 In. No. 121", with a "Patented Apr. 17, 1923" patent notice.

The overall length is 11.7 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The patent date corresponds to patent 1,451,906, filed by I.C. Gellman in 1921.


Gendron Iron Wheel Company

The Gendron Iron Wheel Company was a maker of bicycles and tools operating in Toledo, Ohio. The company was founded in 1880 by Peter Gendron, an inventor with more than ten patents issued for wire wheels, tires, and related items.


Gendron 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[Gendron 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 124. Gendron 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 124 shows a Gendron 5 inch bicycle wrench, stamped with a "G" in a diamond logo, with "Pat'd June 7th, 1892" around the outline.

The overall length is 4.6 inches closed, and the maximum opening is 1.3 inches. The finish is plain steel.

The patent date refers to patent 476,629, filed by P. Gendron in 1892.


Girard Wrench Manufacturing Company

The Girard Wrench Manufacturing Company was a maker of adjustable wrenches active from 1875 through at least the 1920s. The company was located in Girard, Pennsylvania and was initially founded as a reorganization of the Walton Wrench Manufacturing Company.

Girard Wrench is known to have registered at least two trademarks. The earlier trademark was for the text "Standard Girard Wrench Warranted", which was issued as #5,880 on April 16, 1878. In 1923 the company filed a trademark application for a logo with "Girard" in a diamond outline, and the trademark was issued as #188,484 on August 26, 1924. The application notes that Girard diamond logo had been in use since April of 1878.


Girard 10 Inch Monkey Wrench

[Girard 10 Inch Monkey Wrench]
Fig. 125. Girard 10 Inch Monkey Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 125 shows a Girard 10 inch monkey wrench, stamped with the Girard logo on the fixed jaw.

The overall length is 9.8 inches, and the maximum opening is 2.0 inches. The finish is black paint.


Goodell-Pratt Manufacturing Company

Goodell-Pratt Manufacturing operated in Greenfield, Massachusetts as the maker of a wide variety of tools and hardware products.

[1918 Ad for Goodell-Pratt Socket Wrenches]
Fig. 126. 1918 Advertisement for Goodell-Pratt Socket Wrenches. [External Link]

Although better known as a maker of tools for the carpentry and building trades, by 1918 Goodell-Pratt was producing tools for automobile service as well.

The advertisement in Fig. 126 appeared on page 85 of the September 25, 1918 issue of Motor Age and illustrates the company's No. 378 set of fixed socket wrenches, with two wrenches providing openings of 5/8, 11/16, 3/4, and 7/8.

[1920 Ad for Goodell-Pratt Socket Wrench Set]
Fig. 127. 1920 Advertisement for Goodell-Pratt Socket Wrench Set.

By 1920 the company was producing a ratchet wrench with interchangeable sockets.

The scan in Fig. 127 shows an advertisement illustrating the company's No. 589 Socket Wrench Set, as published on page 112 [External Link] of the June 3, 1920 issue of Motor Age. The set consisted of a ratchet handle, an extension, and nine hexagonal sockets from 1/2 to 1 inch.

The text describes the ratchet handle as having a 3/4 hexagonal socket, implying that the eight additional sockets must have had a non-standard 3/4 hexagonal male drive stud. This was the same drive arrangement used by the "Billmont" socket sets produced by the Edgar C. Guthard Company.


Goodell-Pratt 11/16 Offset Socket Wrench

[Goodell-Pratt 11/16 Offset Socket Wrench]
Fig. 128. Goodell-Pratt 11/16 Offset Socket Wrench, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 128 shows a Goodell-Pratt 11/16 offset socket wrench, stamped with "Goodell Pratt Co." and "Greenfield, Mass. U.S.A." on the socket.

The overall length is 10.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

This wrench has a distinctive appearance due to the use of a malleable cast socket with a 90 degree offset.


Greene, Tweed & Company

Greene, Tweed & Company was a hardware distributor and tool manufacturer operating in New York City.

[1904 Advertisement for Favorite Reversible Ratchet Wrench]
Fig. 130A. 1904 Advertisement for Favorite Reversible Ratchet Wrench. [External Link]

One of the company's best-known products was a heavy-duty reversible ratchet with interchangeable sockets, marketed by Green Tweed as the "Favorite" wrench. This wrench was advertised extensively during the early 1900s, and we've included a couple of examples of the ads.

Fig. 130A at the left shows an advertisement published on page 67 of the March 31, 1904 issue of American Machinist.

[1906 Advertisement for Favorite Reversible Ratchet Wrench]
Fig. 130B. 1906 Advertisement for Favorite Reversible Ratchet Wrench. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 130B was published on page 91 of the August 1906 issue of Machinery.


Favorite No. A Ratchet Socket Wrench

[Favorite No. A Ratchet Socket Wrench]
Fig. 131. Favorite No. A Ratchet Socket Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 131 shows a Favorite No. A ratchet socket wrench, marked with "No. A" and "Favorite Reversible Ratchet Wrench" forged into the handle, with "Patented" and "Greene, Tweed & Co. Mnfrs., N.Y." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 15.0 inches.

The patent notice corresponds to patent 461,603, issued to C.T. Burr and G.B. Hankins on October 20, 1891.

The wrench is shown fitted with dual sockets marked with U.S.S. sizes 5/8 and 3/4, corresponding to nominal openings 1-1/16 and 1-1/4 respectively. The socket sizes can be changed by removing the retaining screw and inserting a new socket unit.


Greenfield Tap & Die Corporation (GTD)

The Greenfield Tap & Die Corporation is a maker of taps, dies, pipe wrenches, and other tools operating in Greenfield, Massachusetts. The company was established on April 2, 1912 by the merger of Wiley & Russell Manufacturing with the Wells Brothers Company.


GTD "Little Giant" 8 Inch Offset Pipe Wrench

[GTD Little Giant 8 Inch Offset Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 132. GTD "Little Giant" 8 Inch Offset Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1913+.

Fig. 132 shows a GTD "Little Giant" 8 inch offset pipe wrench, marked with "Greenfield, Mass." and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Little Giant" and "Pat. Feb. 4 1913" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date refers to patent 1,052,313, filed by A.B. Carll in 1912.


H-P Tool Manufacturing Corporation

The H-P Tool Manufacturing Corporation was a maker of chisels, punches, wrenches, and other tools, operating in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and active during the latter part of the 20th century. The company sold products under the H-P and "Blue Line" brands, the latter being a registered trademark issued in 1961.


H-P Tool "Blue Line" CW-22 11/16 Combination Wrench

[H-P Tool Blue Line CW-22 11/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 133. H-P Tool "Blue Line" CW-22 11/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 133 shows an H-P Tool "Blue Line" CW-22 11/16 combination wrench, stamped with "Blue Line" and the H-P Shield logo on the shank.

The overall length is 8.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


H-P Tool "Blue Line" CW-24 3/4 Combination Wrench

[H-P Tool Blue Line CW-24 3/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 134. H-P Tool "Blue Line" CW-24 3/4 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 134 shows an H-P Tool "Blue Line" CW-24 3/4 combination wrench, stamped with "Blue Line" and the H-P Shield logo on the shank.

The overall length is 9.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


H-P Tool Four-Way Offset Screwdriver

[H-P Tool Four-Way Offset Screwdriver]
Fig. 135. H-P Tool Four-Way Offset Screwdriver.

Fig. 135 shows an H-P Tool four-way offset screwdriver, stamped "H-P Tool Corp." on the center face.

The overall length is 5.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


H & E Wrench Company

The H & E Wrench Company (sometimes written as HandE) operated in New Bedford, Massachusetts as a maker of slide-adjusting nut and pipe wrenches. The company was founded in the early 1920s by G.E. Hemphill and E.J. Evans, two inventors who provided the patents for the wrenches as well as the "H" and "E" for the name.

The company's slide-adjusting nut wrench was described by patent 1,391,179, filed by Evans and Hemphill in 1920 and issued on September 20, 1921. This patent was assigned to the Universal Tool Company, a Utah corporation and presumably an earlier venture by the inventors.

A slide-adjusting pipe wrench operating on similar principles is described by patent 1,449,386, filed by Evans and Hemphill in 1922 and issued on March 27, 1923.


H & E Wrench "HandE" 10 Inch Slide-Adjusting Nut Wrench

[H & E Wrench 10 Inch Slide-Adjusting Nut Wrench]
Fig. 136. H & E Wrench 10 Inch Slide-Adjusting Nut Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 136 shows an H & E "HandE" 10 inch slide-adjusting nut wrench, stamped "HandE Wrench Co." and "New Bedford, Mass." on the fixed jaw, with a "Pat'd Sept. 20, 1921" patent date at the top (see middle inset).

The overall length is 10.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date refers to patent 1,391,179, filed by Evans and Hemphill in 1920 and issued on that date.


Handee Wrench Manufacturing Company

The Handee Wrench Manufacturing Company operated in Mansfield, Ohio during the mid to late 1920s. The company's main product was an eight-way multi-socket wrench described by patent 1,571,148, filed by John Sisolak in 1924 and issued in 1926.


Handee Wrench 7 Inch 8-Way Multi-Socket Wrench

[Handee Wrench 7 Inch 8-Way Multi-Socket Wrench]
Fig. 137. Handee Wrench 7 Inch 8-Way Multi-Socket Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Mid 1920s.

Fig. 137 shows a Handee Wrench 8-way multi-socket wrench in the 7 inch nominal size, marked with "The Handee" forged into the shank, with "Mansfield Ohio" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is black paint.

The socket sizes are 11/16, 3/4, 13/16, and 7/8 on the left cluster, with 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, and 5/8 on the right cluster.

Although not marked with a patent notice, this tool is covered by patent 1,571,148, issued to J. Sisolak in 1926.


Handee Wrench 8 Inch 8-Way Multi-Socket Wrench

[Handee Wrench 8 Inch 8-Way Multi-Socket Wrench]
Fig. 138. Handee Wrench 8 Inch 8-Way Multi-Socket Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1924-1926.

Fig. 138 shows a Handee Wrench 8-way multi-socket wrench in the 8 inch nominal size, marked with "The Handee" and "Pat Appld" forged into the shank, with "Mansfield Ohio" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.8 inches, and the finish is black paint.

The (measured) socket sizes are 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, and 5/8 on the left cluster, with 3/4, 7/8, 15/16, and 1 inch on the right cluster.

The patent pending status refers to patent 1,571,148, filed by J. Sisolak in 1924 and issued in 1926.


Hartford Special Machinery Company

The Hartford Special Machinery Company operated in Hartford, Connecticut and is currently known only for the unusual pliers in the next figure.


Hartford Special Machinery Ring-Forming Pliers

[Hartford Special Machinery Ring-Forming Pliers]
Fig. 139. Hartford Special Machinery Ring-Forming Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 139 shows a pair of Hartford Special Machinery patented ring-forming pliers, stamped "The Hartford Special Machinery Co" and "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." on the underside of one handle. The other handle is stamped with a "Pat. No. 1067876 Hartford, CT." patent notice (see middle inset).

The overall length is 6.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The lower left inset shows a closeup of one jaw, illustrating the round groove used to form a wire ring. The tip of the jaw appears to have been chipped off.

The patent notice refers to the patent 1,067,876, issued to J. Merritt in 1913.


Hawkeye Wrench Company

The Hawkeye Wrench Company was a tool maker operating in Marshalltown, Iowa during the early 20th century. The company is best known for a line of alligator wrenches with thread-cutting dies in the center.

The Hawkeye alligator wrenches were based on the Benesh 1903 patent 720,554, filed by C. Benesh in 1902.

By 1904 the wrenches were in production and were being advertised, as the next figure indicates.

[1904 Ad for Hawkeye Wrench]
Fig. 140. 1904 Ad for Hawkeye Wrench.

Fig. 140 shows an ad for the Hawkeye wrench, as published on page 192 of the September 1, 1904 issue of The Iron Age.

[1905 Ad for Hawkeye Wrench]
Fig. 141. 1905 Ad for Hawkeye Wrench.

Fig. 141 shows another ad for the Hawkeye wrench, as published on page 10 of the July 1, 1905 issue of Domestic Engineering.


Hawkeye Wrench "Crocodile" 8 Inch Alligator Wrench with Thread-Cutting Dies

[Hawkeye Wrench Crocodile 8 Inch Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 142. Hawkeye Wrench "Crocodile" 8 Inch Alligator Wrench.

Fig. 142 shows a Hawkeye Wrench "Crocodile" 8 inch alligator wrench, stamped "Hawkeye Wrench Co." and "Marshalltown, IA." on one end, with "Crocodile" and "Made in U.S.A." on the other end.

The overall length is 8.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The center of the wrench is equipped with three thread-cutting dies, marked for size and pitch 5/16-18, 1/2-13, and 3/8-16.

One end of the wrench is equipped with a screwdriver tip, the defining feature for the "Crocodile" models.


Heller Brothers Company

The Heller Brothers Company was founded in the mid 19th century in Newark, New Jersey, and operated initially as a maker of files, rasps, and farrier's tools. The company claimed to have been established in 1836, but we haven't yet found any public references to confirm that date.

The Heller Brothers operated with a various other businesses with overlapping ownership, including Heller & Brothers, Heller Steel Works, and the Heller Tool Company.

[1881 Trademark for Heller & Brothers]
Fig. 143. 1881 Trademark for Heller & Brothers.

Fig. 143 shows an early trademark issued to Heller & Brothers, as published on page 162 of an 1893 Digest of Trade-Marks.

The 1901 Industrial Directory of New Jersey on page 142 noted the Heller Brothers as a maker of rasps and files with 81 employees, and the Heller Tool Company as a maker of farrier's tools with 48 employees.

[1902 Ad for Heller Brothers Ball Peen Hammer]
Fig. 144. 1902 Ad for Heller Brothers Ball Peen Hammer.

Fig. 144 shows an ad for a Heller Brothers ball peen hammer, as published on page 12 of the January, 1902 issue of The Blacksmith and Wheelwright.

The ad notes at the top that the company was established in 1836 and incorporated in 1899.

[1904 Ad for Heller Brothers Hammer]
Fig. 145. 1904 Ad for Heller Brothers Hammer.

Fig. 145 shows an ad for a Heller Brothers hammer, as published on page 31 (XXXI) of the October, 1904 issue of The American Blacksmith.

[1908 Ad for Heller Brothers Farrier's Pincers]
Fig. 146. 1908 Ad for Heller Brothers Farrier's Pincers.

Fig. 146 shows an ad for Heller Brothers 14 inch pincers, as published on page 47 of the October, 1908 issue of The American Blacksmith.

In the 1920s the company became well known for a line of self-adjusting nut and pipe wrenches, sold under the "Masterench" brand.


Heller Brothers Masterench 6 Inch Self-Adjusting Wrench

[Heller Brothers Masterench 6 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 147. Heller Brothers Masterench 6 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail.

Fig. 147 shows a Masterench 6 inch self-adjusting pipe wrench, marked with "Masterench" and "Chrome Vanadium" forged into the shank. The reverse is marked "Heller Brothers Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." in forged raised letters, with "Patented 7.5.27" and "4-14-25" at the end.

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

The earlier patent date corresponds to the patent 1,533,602, and the later date is for patent 1,634,908. Both were issued to E.E. Lynch et al with assignment to the Masterench Corporation.


Heller Brothers Masterench 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Wrench

[Heller Brothers Masterench 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 148. Heller Brothers Masterench 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail.

Fig. 148 shows a Masterench 10 inch self-adjusting pipe wrench, marked with "Masterench" and "Chrome Vanadium" forged into the shank, with "Heller Brothers Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." on the reverse. The reverse is also marked with a "Pat." patent notice.

The overall length is 10.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent notice refers to the patents 1,533,602 and 1,634,908, issued in 1925 and 1927, respectively.


Hibbard Spencer Bartlett & Company

Hibbard Spencer Bartlett (sometimes abbreviated H.S.B.) was a major wholesaler and retailer of hardware goods from the mid 19th century onward. The company sold tools and other hardware under both the manufacturer's brands and under several of their own brands, including the True Value line of hardware still known today.

One of the company's well-known brands from the early 20th century was called "Revonoc" or "Rev-O-Noc", a reversed form of the name Conover. In 1906 the company registered "Rev-O-Noc" as trademark #54,059.

This brand was probably derived from the name of Charles Hopkins Conover, a long-time employee of the company who began in 1871 as a buyer and in 1914 became the company's president. (Background information on Conover was found in a 1914 Annual Report published by the Chicago Historical Society.)


Revonoc (H.S.B.) 10 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers

[Revonoc (H.S.B.) 10 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers]
Fig. 149. Revonoc (H.S.B.) 10 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Early 1900s.

Fig. 149 shows a pair of early Revonoc 10 inch Button's pattern pliers, stamped with the Revonoc brand and "H.S.B. & Co." near the pivot.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Hinckley-Myers Company

The Hinckley-Myers Company operated in Chicago, Illinois as maker of automobile specialty equipment and tools. Their products included items such as cylinder reboring machines, and their customers were probably automobile dealers and repair shops. Currently we don't have much information on the company, but have found a few references in trade publications from the 1920s and 1930s.

Some later references to the company give a location in Jackson, Michigan, suggesting that the company may have moved, or possibly opened a branch office.


Hinckley-Myers J956 1/2x1/2 Tappet Wrench

[Hinckley-Myers J956 1/2x1/2 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 150. Hinckley-Myers J956 1/2x1/2 Tappet Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Marking Detail, 1934.

Fig. 150 shows a Hinckley-Myers J956 1/2x1/2 tappet wrench, marked with "J956" and "Tappet Adj." forged into the shank, with "Hinckley-Myers" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse. The shank is also marked with a forged-in code "EZ..." at the right, which closely resembles the format of the Bonney Date Code.

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

The forged-in code and general construction of this wrench allow us to identify the maker as Bonney Forge & Tool, and an example of the equivalent Bonney model can be seen as the Bonney CV 402 Tappet Wrench. The "Z" year code in the Bonney date code system would indicate production in 1934.


Hinckley-Myers J552-2 9/16x9/16 Tappet Wrench

[Hinckley-Myers J552-2 9/16x9/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 151. Hinckley-Myers J552-2 9/16x9/16 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, 1935.

Fig. 151 shows a Hinckley-Myers J552-2 9/16x9/16 tappet wrench, marked with "HM Co" and the model number on the shank, with "Chrome-Vanadium" on the reverse. The shank is also marked with a forged-in code "BM..." at the left, which closely resembles the format of the Bonney Date Code.

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

The forged-in code and general construction of this wrench allow us to identify the maker as Bonney Forge & Tool, and an example of the equivalent Bonney model can be seen as the Bonney CV 403 Tappet Wrench. The "M" year code in the Bonney date code would indicate production in 1935.


Hjorth, William & Company

William Hjorth & Company was a maker of pliers, wrenches, and other tools, and operated in Jamestown, New York during the early part of the 20th century. Currently we don't have much information on the company, but have found a few references in trade publications from the early 1900s. The company was apparently in operation by 1903, based on a notice for the "Empire" pipe wrench published in that year.

[1904 Advertisement for Wm. Hjorth & Company]
Fig. 152. 1904 Advertisement for Wm. Hjorth & Company. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 152 was published on page 547 of the July 1904 issue of the Hardware Dealers' Magazine and shows several of the tools offered by the Hjorth company.

The illustration at the top shows a "Lightning Wrench", a plier-wrench combining pipe and nut gripping surfaces. The patent date on the tool refers to patent 738,444, filed by A.W. Hjorth in 1902 and issued on September 8, 1903, with assignment to William Hjorth & Company.

The middle illustration shows the "Empire" pipe wrench, with a patent date referring to patent 735,289. This patent was filed by Karl Peterson in 1902 and issued on August 4, 1903, with assignment to William Hjorth & Company. (Karl Peterson went on to become the founder of the Crescent Tool Company.)

Finally, the bottom illustration shows a pair of combination pliers.

The advertisement was placed by Wiebusch and Hilger, acting as manufacturer's agents for the Hjorth company.

[1908 Notice for Hjorth Bent-Nose Pliers]
Fig. 153A. 1908 Notice for Hjorth Bent-Nose Pliers. [External Link]

A similar reference can be found in the January 18, 1905 issue of The Horseless Age, which notes Hjorth as the maker of a "Lightning" plier wrench, an "Empire" pipe wrench, and combination pliers.

The notice in Fig. 153A describes the recently introduced Hjorth bent-nose pliers, as published on page 178 of the February 12, 1908 issue of The Horseless Age.

In 1914 Wm. Hjorth introduced a line of crescent-style adjustable wrenches, initially in sizes 6, 8, and 10 inches.

[1914 Ad for Hjorth Adjustable Wrenches]
Fig. 153B. 1914 Ad for Hjorth Adjustable Wrenches. [External Link]

Fig. 153B shows an ad for Hjorth adjustable Wrenches, as published on page 458 of the September, 1914 edition of the Hardware Dealers' Magazine.


Hjorth Tool Corporation

[1922 Notice for Hjorth Tool Corporation]
Fig. 153C. 1922 Notice for Hjorth Tool Corporation. [External Link]

In 1922 William Hjorth & Company was succeeded by the Hjorth Tool Corporation.

Fig. 153C shows a notice of the incorporation, as published on page 1653 of the December 14, 1922 issue of the Iron Trade Review.

The text notes the company capital as $75,000, with officers (and shareholders) E.D. Cook, president, W.F. Opdyke, vice president, and Alvin D. Stitt, secretary and treasurer.

A few years before this, the founder William H. Hjorth had formed a new venture, the Forged Tool Products Company. We'll follow up on these leads as time permits.


Hjorth 8 Inch "Lightning Wrench" Pliers with Early Patent

[Hjorth 8 Inch Lightning Wrench Pliers]
Fig. 154. Hjorth 8 Inch "Lightning Wrench" Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Early 1900s.

Fig. 154 shows an early pair of Hjorth 8 inch "Lightning Wrench" pliers, stamped with "Wm. Hjorth & Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." on the upper jaw, and with a "Pat. Dec. 15, 1896" patent notice.

The overall length is 8.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date refers to patent 573,313, filed by J.F. Tiner in 1896 and issued later that year. Hjorth "Lightning Wrench" pliers marked with this early patent are less commonly found.


Hjorth 12 Inch "Lightning Wrench" Pliers

[Hjorth 12 Inch Lightning Wrench Pliers]
Fig. 155. Hjorth 12 Inch "Lightning Wrench" Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Early 1900s.

Fig. 155 shows a pair of Hjorth 12 inch "Lightning Wrench" pliers, stamped with "Wm. Hjorth & Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." on the upper jaw, and with a "Pat. Sept. 8, 1903" patent notice.

The overall length is 12.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date refers to patent 738,444, filed by A.W. Hjorth in 1902 and issued in 1903, with assignment to William Hjorth & Company.


Hjorth 9 Inch "Lightning Wrench" Pliers

[Hjorth 12 Inch Lightning Wrench Pliers]
Fig. 156. Hjorth 9 Inch "Lightning Wrench" Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1910.

Fig. 156 shows a pair of Hjorth 9 inch "Lightning Wrench" pliers, stamped with "Wm. Hjorth & Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." on the upper jaw, and with a "Pat. Sept. 8, 1903" patent notice.

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

The patent date refers to patent 738,444, filed by A.W. Hjorth in 1902 and issued in 1903, with assignment to William Hjorth & Company.

These pliers are fitted with a replaceable lower jaw secured by a machine screw. This feature would suggest somewhat later production than the pliers in the prior figure.


Hjorth 6 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers

[Hjorth 6 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 157. Hjorth 6 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Inset for Detail, ca. Early 1900s.

Fig. 157 shows a pair of Hjorth 6 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped "Wm. Hjorth" and "Jamestown" near the pivot.


Hjorth 6 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Hjorth 6 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 158. Hjorth 6 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1914 to 1920s.

Fig. 158 shows a Hjorth 6 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "Wm. Hjorth & Co" forged into the shank, with "Jamestown NY" forged into the reverse.

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


Hoe Corporation

The Hoe Corporation was founded in Poughkeepsie, New York in the mid 1920s, and is known primarily as the maker of a self-adjusting pipe wrench patented by F.P. Robert. The Robert wrench design was originally produced by the Robert Wrench Company of New York City, but the patent rights were later acquired by the Hoe Corporation.


Hoe Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Hoe Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 159. Hoe Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 159 shows a Hoe self-adjusting pipe wrench, marked with "Hoe Corporation" and "Poughkeepsie, N.Y." forged into the shank, and with "Patented Feb. 21 1922" on the reverse.

The overall length is 15.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date refers to patent 1,407,578, filed by Frederic P. Robert in 1921 and issued in 1922.

A similar but earlier example of this design can be seen as the Robert Wrench Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench.


Hol-Set Manufacturing Corporation

The Hol-Set Manufacturing Corporation was a maker of socket wrenches operating in Rochester, New York during the 1920s. Its primary product was a hex-drive brace wrench designed so that the sockets could be stored on the wrench shank.

The Hol-Set brace wrench was based on patent 1,662,424, filed in 1922 by J.J. Judge and issued in 1928. We found this patent by accident and immediately recognized the tool from the patent illustration.


Hol-Set 1/2-Hex Drive Brace Socket Wrench Set

[1930 Catalog Listing for Hol-Set Wrenches]
Fig. 160. 1930 Catalog Listing for Hol-Set Wrenches.

The Hol-Set tools were apparently still available in 1930. The scan in Fig. 160 was found on page 230 of the 1930 H. Channon catalog No. 101 and provides an illustration of the Hol-Set wrench set. The illustration shows the set with six standard sockets, one deep socket, a universal joint, a valve grinder attachment, and a separate Ell-handle.

The set was offered for a $4.50 price. Currently this is our only catalog reference for this tool.

[Hol-Set 1/2-Hex Drive Brace Socket Wrench Set]
Fig. 161. Hol-Set 1/2-Hex Drive Brace Socket Wrench Set, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1922-1928.

Fig. 161 shows a Hol-Set brace socket wrench set, consisting of a 1/2-hex drive brace wrench with four hex sockets stored on the shank, plus a universal joint (not pictured). The circular end piece is stamped "Hol-Set Mfg. Corp." and "Rochester, N.Y." around the outside, with "Pat's Appl'd For" and "Made in U.S.A." near the center (see inset).

The overall length is 20.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The wrench set came supplied with a hanging hook visible near the center, a nice convenience feature.

The sockets acquired with the set consist of three standard sockets and one deep socket; however, as might be expected by the extra space on the shank, the original set included more sizes (see below). The sizes in the photograph are, from the left, 5/8, 3/4, 7/8, and 31/32 (deep). The sockets are unmarked, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent applied notation is a reference to patent 1,662,424, filed in 1922 by J.J. Judge and issued in 1928. The pending status suggests production between 1922 and 1928, assuming that the company would have marked the patent number or date once issued.


Hol-Set 1/2-Hex Drive Universal

[Hol-Set 1/2-Hex Drive Universal]
Fig. 162. Hol-Set 1/2-Hex Universal, with Inset for End View, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 162 shows the unmarked 1/2-hex drive universal joint from the Hol-Set brace socket wrench set, accidentally omitted from the group photograph in the previous figure.

The overall length is 1.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The universal is missing the detent ball for its drive stud, as can be seen by the empty hole. This is easy enough to repair, requiring just a ball bearing of the right size and a small spring.


Hudson Forge Company

We added this entry as a place to display tools bearing the "Hudson Forge" marking, but have suspected for some time that the "Hudson Forge Co" was a brand rather than an actual tool company.

This suspicion was recently (2021) confirmed with the discovery of trademark #230,183, which displays the text "Hudson Forge Co" in a circular logo. The trademark was issued to the W.T. Grant Company in 1927.

[1927 Listing for 'Hudson Forge Co' Trademark 230,183]
Fig. 163. 1927 Listing for 'Hudson Forge Co' Trademark 230,183.

Fig. 163 shows the listing for trademark #230,183, as published on page 311 of the July 12, 1927 issue of the Official Gazette. The image shows the text "Hudson Forge Co" along curved arcs.

The trademark was filed by the W.T. Grant Company on May 3, 1927 and issued on July 12, 1927.

The W.T. Grant Company was a department store and mail-order retailer, similar in operation to Sears, Roebuck but on a smaller scale.


Hudson Forge 723 Open-End Wrench

[Hudson Forge 723 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 164. Hudson Forge 723 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 164 shows a Hudson Forge 723 3/8x7/16 open-end wrench, stamped "Hudson Forge Co." on the shank, with "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.3 inches.


Hudson Forge 94A 5/8x3/4 Tappet or Check-Nut Wrench

[Hudson Forge 94A 5/8x3/4 Check-Nut Wrench]
Fig. 165. Hudson Forge 94A 5/8x3/4 Check-Nut Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 165 shows a Hudson Forge 94A 5/8x3/4 tappet or check-nut wrench, stamped "Hudson Forge Co." on the shank, with "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.0 inches.


Hudson Forge Slip-Joint Thin-Nose Pliers

[Hudson Forge Slip-Joint Thin-Nose Pliers]
Fig. 166. Hudson Forge Slip-Joint Thin-Nose Pliers, with Insets for Nose and Handle Detail.

Fig. 166 shows a pair of Hudson Forge thin-nose pliers, stamped "Hudson Forge Co." and "Made in U.S.A." near the pivot.

The overall length is 6.5 inches.

The gripping pattern on these pliers closely resembles the checkered pattern used by the J.P. Danielson Company, which provided contract manufacturing for a number of companies, including Sears, Roebuck. See for example the Fulton Thin-nosed Pliers made by Danielson for the Sears Fulton brand.


Imperial Tool Company

The Imperial Tool Company was founded in Bloomington, Illinois in 1915 as the maker of an "Any Angle" adjustable wrench and other tools.

[1915 Notice for Imperial Tool Company]
Fig. 167. 1915 Notice for Imperial Tool Company. [External Link]

Fig. 167 shows a notice of the founding of Imperial Tool, as published on page 24 of the March 6, 1915 issue of American Artisan and Hardware Record.

In 1916 Ransom Y. Bovee was granted patent 1,205,149 for an adjustable wrench with a novel handle arrangement that allowed the handle to be set at different angles. The patent document notes an assignment to the Imperial Tool Company of Bloomington, Illinois, and based on published references, the initial production of the "Any Angle" wrench was by Imperial Tool.

[1915 Notice for Imperial Tool Company Wrenches]
Fig. 168. 1915 Notice for Imperial Tool Company Wrenches. [External Link]

Fig. 168 shows a notice for three wrenches produced by the Imperial Tool Company, as published on page 995 of the May 6, 1915 issue of The Iron Age. The middle illustration shows the "Any Angle" wrench.

In addition to the "Any Angle" patent, Ransom Bovee also received patent 1,125,946 for a pipe wrench, and patent 1,240,171 for another pipe wrench design. This second pipe wrench patent resembles the third wrench in the illustration.

[1918 Notice for Imperial Any Angle Wrench]
Fig. 169. 1918 Notice for Imperial "Any Angle" Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 169 shows a notice for the Imperial "Any Angle" wrench, as published on page 55 of the March, 1918 issue of Iron Tradesman. The illustration shows the ability of the wrench head to be set at different angles.

The text notes an apparent sales agent in New York City.

[1918 Notice for Riflaw Wrench & Tool]
Fig. 170. 1918 Notice for Riflaw Wrench & Tool. [External Link]

Fig. 170 shows a notice of the formation of Riflaw Wrench & Tool, as published on page 1368 of the November 28, 1918 issue of The Iron Age. The text notes that the company had acquired the patent rights to a "hand wrench" from Ransom Y. Bovee, and this may be a reference to the "Any Angle" wrench. (However, Bovee also had other wrench patents.)

Automatic Transmission Company

By 1921 the production of the "Any Angle" wrench had apparently shifted to the Automatic Transmission Company of Lima, Ohio.

[1921 Notice for Automatic Transmission Company]
Fig. 171. 1921 Notice for Automatic Transmission Company. [External Link]

Fig. 171 shows a listing for the "Any Angle" wrench by the Automatic Transmission Company of Lima, Ohio, as published on page 459 of the 1921 Engineering Directory.

The next figure shows an example of the "Any Angle" wrench produced by the Automatic Transmission Company.


"Any Angle" Bovee Patent 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Any Angle Bovee Patent 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 172. "Any Angle" Bovee Patent 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 172 shows an "Any Angle" 8 inch adjustable wrench of the Bovee patented design, marked with "Any Angle Wrench" and "Lima O. U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Drop Forged Steel" forged into the reverse. The shank is also marked with a "Patent Nov. 1916" patent notice.

The overall length is 8.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.

The patent date refers to patent 1,205,149, filed by R.Y. Bovee in 1913 and issued on November 21, 1916.

This example of the "Any Angle" wrench is not marked with a company name. However, the forged-in reference to Lima, Ohio indicates that this example was produced by the Automatic Transmission Company of that city.


Interstate Drop Forge

Interstate Drop Forge was a merchant drop-forging company, founded in 1919 and operating in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Interstate produced forgings for a number of industrial customers, including tool companies, and Interstate is being noted here due to its work for Blackhawk and Snap-on.

[1922 Notice for Interstate Drop Forging]
Fig. 173. 1922 Notice for Interstate Drop Forging. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 173 was published on page 486 of the October, 1922 issue of Forging & Heat Treating and provides some background information for Interstate Drop Forging. The text notes the hiring of Robert C. Yates as general manager, and states that Interstate Drop Forging had been founded in 1919 as a maker of small forgings.

The notice also mentions connections with three other companies in the Milwaukee area, the Chain Belt Company, the Sivyer Steel Casting Company, and the Federal Malleable Company.

Interstate's production can be identified by its use of the DIF forging mark, a raised symbol with a tall "I" in the center, flanked by shorter "D" and "F" letters.

In the 1920s some of Snap-on's ratchet handles were forged by Interstate, and these can be identified by the DIF symbol. Snap-on appears to have used multiple foundries at that time though, so only a fraction of their ratchets were made by Interstate.

Blackhawk was more consistent in its use of Interstate, and most (perhaps all) of their forged ratchet handles were made by Interstate. Blackhawk used forged handles for its 3/4-drive and larger ratchets, beginning in the mid 1920s and continuing into the 1940s.

Further information on Interstate Drop Forge can be found in a newspaper article [Sorry, dead link 😢].

Blackhawk 916 3/4-Drive Ratchet with "DIF" Forge Mark

[Blackhawk 916 3/4-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 174. Blackhawk 916 3/4-Drive Ratchet, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1925-1930.

Fig. 174 shows an example of production by Interstate Drop Forge, a Blackhawk No. 916 3/4-drive ratchet. The heavy forged body is marked with "Blackhawk Mfg. Co." and "Milwaukee Wis. Made in U.S.A." forged into the flat handle, with the DIF forge mark visible at the left, shown as a close-up in the small inset.

This tool appears in our article on Blackhawk as the Blackhawk 916 3/4-Drive Ratchet. Another example of Interstate's production for Blackhawk can be seen in the Blackhawk 69999 3/4-Drive Ratchet.


Snap-on No. 7 1/2-Drive Ratchet with "DIF" Forge Mark

[Snap-on Early No. 7 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 175. Snap-on Early No. 7 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1925-1927.

Fig. 175 shows another example of production by Interstate Drop Forge, an early Snap-On No. 7 1/2-drive ratchet. The ratchet is marked with the Snap-On logo and "Milwaukee USA" forged into the shank, and with a faint DIF forge mark shown in the middle inset.

The overall length is 9.6 inches. The finish shows traces of nickel plating, although much has been lost due to wear.

This tool appears in our article on Snap-on as the Snap-on Early No. 7 Ratchet.


Irland Pipe Wrench Company

The Irland Pipe Wrench Company was a maker of pipe wrenches operating in Boston, Massachusetts during the early 1900s. Currently we don't have much information for the company, but will expand the coverage here when possible.


Irland 11 Inch Automatic Pipe Wrench

[Irland 11 Inch Automatic Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 176. Irland 11 Inch Automatic Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1905-1915.

Fig. 176 shows an Irland 11 inch pipe wrench, stamped with "Irland Pipe Wrench Co." and "Boston, Mass. U.S.A." on the side. The wrench is also marked with a patent notice "Pat. July 7 - Sept. 22 1903 ??? 1905", but the text is only partially readable due to extensive pitting.

The overall length is 11.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with pitting due to rust.

The first date ("July 7 1903") refers to patent 732,858, filed by D.H. Irland in 1902 and issued on that date.

The second date ("Sept. 22 1903") refers to patent 739,316, filed by D.H. Irland in 1903 and issued in later that year.

The third patent date is not readable, but was found by a search to be patent 800,850. This patent was filed by the estate of D.H. Irland in 1905 and issued on October 3, 1905, with assignment to the Irland Pipe Wrench Company.

The Irland patents describe progressive refinements to a distinctive pipe wrench design, which uses a lever handle to control the spring-loaded upper jaw. When the lever is depressed, the jaw opens to allow a pipe to be grasped, after which the jaw grips the pipe by cam action.


Kilborn & Bishop Company

The Kilborn & Bishop Company was established in 1896 in New Haven, Connecticut as a merchant drop forger and maker of tools. An 1897 publication of the State of Connecticut reported the company's incorporation date as April 18, 1896. The officers were G.A Kilborn, president and E.R. Bishop, secretary and treasurer.

[1896 Notice for Kilborn & Bishop]
Fig. 181. 1896 Notice for Kilborn & Bishop. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 181 announces the incorporation of Kilborn & Bishop with $15,000 in capital, as published on page 19 of the April 30, 1896 issue of Stoves and Hardware Reporter.

[1896 Notice for Kilborn & Bishop]
Fig. 182. 1896 Notice for Kilborn & Bishop. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 182 was published on page 126 of the July 16, 1896 issue of The Iron Age. The text notes that the company had acquired the drop forging operations of the Miner & Peck Mfg. Company, and that they would be specializing in forgings for bicycles.

[1899 Notice for Kilborn & Bishop]
Fig. 183. 1899 Notice for Kilborn & Bishop. [External Link]

Soon after their founding the company was ready to expand. Fig. 183 shows a notice of the purchase of land adjacent to their existing location, as published on page 44 of the April 25, 1899 issue of Hardware.

The company's location was noted as the corner of Lloyd and River streets.

[1905 Notice for Kilborn & Bishop]
Fig. 184. 1905 Notice for Kilborn & Bishop. [External Link]

Fig. 184 shows a notice announcing the publication of catalog No. 4 from Kilborn & Bishop, as published on page 32 of the July 27, 1905 issue of The Iron Trade Review.

The text notes the production of tools such as pliers, sawsets, and box openers, as well as the ability to produce custom drop forgings.

A 1908 directory listed their product line as forged tools such as wrenches, pliers, and chisels, as well as custom forgings.

The company received trademark #74,378 for saw-sets on July 6, 1909. The application was filed on January 25, 1909 with serial 40,119, and published on May 4, 1909.


Kilborn & Bishop 601 3/8x1/2 S-Shaped Wrench

[Kilborn & Bishop 601 3/8x1/2 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 185. Kilborn & Bishop 601 3/8x1/2 S-Shaped Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 185 shows a Kilborn & Bishop 601 3/8x1/2 S-shaped open-end wrench, marked with "Drop Forged" and the K&B logo forged into the shank, with the model number forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 6.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Kilborn & Bishop 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Kilborn & Bishop 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 186. Kilborn & Bishop 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 186 shows a Kilborn & Bishop 4 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "K & B Co." and "New Haven CT. U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Adjustable" and "22 1/2" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 4.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


J.M. King & Company

J.M. King & Company was an early maker of taps, dies, and related tools in Waterford, New York. The company was established by Daniel B. King in 1829, and by 1849 had been organized as J.M. King & Company.

In the late 1860s the company introduced a line of wire-cutting pliers that became their best known product and most enduring contribution to the tool-making art. These pliers came to be called "Button Pliers", for reasons not yet clear, and in later years other makers referred to the design as "Button's Pattern".

[1886 Reference to J.M. King & Company]
Fig. 187. 1886 Reference to J.M. King & Company. [External Link]

The reference in Fig. 187 was published in the 1886 book The City of Troy and Its Vicinity by Arthur James Weise (Edward Green, Troy 1886). The description notes the particulars of the founding of the company, and mentions their products as including button pliers, stocks and dies, and various types of taps. This is currently our earliest reference to the term "Button Pliers".

Button pattern pliers were actually based on the 1867 patent 67,370, issued to W.X. Stevens of Waterford, New York.

[1897 Strelinger Catalog Listing for J.M. King Button Pliers]
Fig. 188. 1897 Strelinger Catalog Listing for J.M. King Button Pliers. [External Link]

The patent document doesn't mention an assignment to J.M. King or any other party, and it's unclear whether the patent was later purchased or just licensed.

The illustration in Fig. 188 is a listing from the 1897 catalog published by the Charles A. Strelinger & Company. Note that the text cites J.M. King as the original maker of this style and mentions that other companies were producing copies. The patent for the design would have expired in 1884.

[1906 Notice for J.M. King Company]
height="131" Fig. 188B. 1906 Notice for J.M. King Company. [External Link]

Fig. 188B shows a notice of incorporation for the J.M. King Company, as published on page 42 of the March 1, 1906 issue of The Iron Trade Review.

[1909 Advertisement for J.M. King Button Pliers]
Fig. 189. 1909 Advertisement for J.M. King Button's Pattern Pliers. [External Link]

The illustration in Fig. 189 shows an advertisement for J.M. King Button's pliers, as published on page 250 of the March 4, 1909 issue of The Iron Age.

This advertisement is actually the last published reference to J.M. King & Company that we've been able to find so far.

Note that the illustration includes a "Button Pliers" marking, indicating that the later production of the pliers probably included this marking.


J.M. King 5 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers

[J.M. King 5 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers]
Fig. 190. J.M. King 5 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1880s to Early 1900s.

Fig. 190 shows a pair of J.M. King 5 inch Button's Pattern pliers, stamped "Button Pliers" on the face, with "King & Co" and "Waterford" on the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 4.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Although not marked with a patent notice, these pliers are covered by patent 67,370, issued to W.X. Stevens on July 30, 1867. The absence of a patent notice suggests that this example was probably made after the patent had expired.

These pliers include the Waterford location and "Button Pliers" marking, but not the patent date, suggesting that the Waterford and Button markings were added at a later time.


J.M. King 6 Inch Button Pattern Pliers

[J.M. King 6 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers]
Fig. 191. J.M. King 6 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1867 to 1880s.

Fig. 191 shows an early pair of J.M. King 6 inch Button's Pattern pliers, stamped with "J.M. King & Co" and "Pat'd July 30, 1867" on the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 6.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date refers to patent 67,370, issued to W.X. Stevens on the stated date. (For some reason this early patent doesn't list the filing date.)


J.M. King 8 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers

The next several figures show examples of the J.M. King 8 inch Button's Pattern pliers, with some differences noted in the markings.

[J.M. King 8 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers]
Fig. 192. J.M. King 8 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers, with Insets for Side View, Construction, and Marking Detail, ca. 1867 to 1880s.

Fig. 192 shows a early pair of J.M. King 8 inch Button's Pattern pliers, stamped with "J.M. King & Co." and "Pat'd July 30, 1867" on the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The middle left inset shows the angled cutting slot placed between the jaws, a distinctive feature of the J.M. King Button pliers.

The patent date refers to patent 67,370, issued to W.X. Stevens on July 30, 1867.


[J.M. King 8 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers]
Fig. 193. J.M. King 8 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers, with Insets for Side View, Construction, and Marking Detail, ca. 1880s to Early 1900s.

Fig. 193 shows a pair of J.M. King 8 inch Button's Pattern pliers, stamped "Button Pliers" near the pivot, and with "King & Co." and "Wate..." on the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The middle left inset shows the angled cutting slot placed between the jaws, a distinctive feature of the J.M. King Button pliers. The center inset shows a close-up of the "Button Pliers" marking.

Although not marked with a patent notice, these pliers are covered by patent 67,370, issued to W.X. Stevens on July 30, 1867. The absence of a patent notice suggests that this example was probably made after the patent had expired.

These pliers include the Waterford location and "Button Pliers" marking, but not the patent date, suggesting that the Waterford and Button markings were added at a later time.

[King 8 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers]
Fig. 194. King 8 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1880s to Early 1900s.

Fig. 194 shows another pair of J.M. King 8 inch Button's Pattern pliers, stamped "King & Co." and "Waterford" on the underside of the handles. This pair is quite similar to the previous example, but lacks the "Button Pliers" marking.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The absence of a patent notice suggests that this example was probably made after the patent had expired.

These pliers include the Waterford location but not the patent date, suggesting that the Waterford marking was added at a later time.


J.M. King 10 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers

[J.M. King 10 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers]
Fig. 195. J.M. King 10 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers, with Insets for Side View, Construction, and Marking Detail, ca. 1880s to Early 1900s.

Fig. 195 shows a pair of J.M. King 10 inch Button's Pattern pliers, stamped with "Button Pliers" on the face, and with "King & Co." and "Waterford" on the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The middle left inset shows the angled cutting slot placed between the jaws, a distinctive feature of the J.M. King Button pliers. The center inset shows a close-up of the "Button Pliers" marking.

Although not marked with a patent notice, these pliers are covered by patent 67,370, issued to W.X. Stevens on July 30, 1867. The absence of a patent notice suggests that this example was probably made after the patent had expired.

These pliers include the Waterford location and "Button Pliers" marking, but not the patent date, suggesting that the Waterford and Button markings were added at a later time.

[J.M. King 10 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers]
Fig. 196. J.M. King 10 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers, with Insets for Side View, Construction, and Marking Detail, ca. 1880s to Early 1900s.

Fig. 196 shows another pair of J.M. King 10 inch Button's Pattern pliers, stamped with "Button Pliers" on the upper handle, and with "M. King & Co." and "Waterford NY" on the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

These pliers include an angled cutting slot placed between the jaws similar to that in the previous figure, and also have a screwdriver tip on one handle.

Although not marked with a patent notice, these pliers are covered by patent 67,370, issued to W.X. Stevens on July 30, 1867. The absence of a patent notice suggests that this example was probably made after the patent had expired.


King Pressed Steel & Manufacturing Company

King Pressed Steel & Manufacturing was a maker of socket sets and automobile accessories active during the early 1920s. The company was located in Newton, Massachusetts, a city in the suburbs of Boston. (Newton is a mostly residential city, but has had some light industry over its long history.)

[1920 Notice for King Pressed Steel]
Fig. 197. 1920 Notice for King Pressed Steel & Mfg. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 197 was published on page 1090 of the April 8, 1920 edition of the Iron Trade Review and announces the incorporation of the company, with $50,000 in capital.

[1920 Notice for King Valve Lifter]
Fig. 198. 1920 Notice for King Valve Lifter. [External Link]

The founders were listed as Thomas F. King, Amato Pescosolido, and Rocco Sementilli.

The location was noted only as Newton, Massachusetts, but page 332 of the 1922 Massachusetts Manufacturers' Directory gave the address as 13 Hawthorn Street in Newton. This directory noted six employees and a business of steel stampings and auto accessories.

A 1920 issue of The Iron Age also noted that the company had been chartered as a maker of automobile accessories.

Although King Pressed Steel is known mostly for its socket sets (if it is known at all!), the company also made other automobile-related products.

The notice in Fig. 198 was published on page 84 of a 1920 issue of the Accessory and Garage Journal. The text of the notice decribes a valve lifter tool for servicing Ford engines.


King Socket Sets

By April of 1921 the company was offering socket sets for automobile service, with sockets turned from bar steel and then broached and hardened.

[1921 Notice for King Socket Wrenches]
Fig. 199. 1921 Notice for King Socket Wrenches. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 199 was published on page 37 of the April 1, 1921 edition of the Automobile Trade Journal and illustrates the company's socket wrench set.

The text describes the King socket wrench set, which consisted of a Tee handle, an offset handle, an extension, a universal, and 12 sockets*. The illustration shows the set in a finger-jointed wooden box. (The text continues in the original document beyond what is shown in our clip.)

Although not mentioned in the description, the set was based on 7/16-hex drive tools. The Tee handle was designed with a 7/16 hex opening in the center and at one end, with the other end broached for 3/8 hex. The end broachings allowed the Tee handle to be used as a straight driver handle (with the extension) or as a 3/8 hexagon socket. (*The count of 12 sockets was a bit deceptive, as it included the ends of the Tee handle as "sockets".)

The description also mentions a patented compact universal joint, but we have not yet located the patent.

An early advertisement for the above set can be seen on page 275 of the April 7, 1921 issue of Motor Age. The company used the tag line "For Every Nut On Every Car!" in its ads.

The most glaring weakness of the set was the lack of a ratchet. From the dawn of the automobile age, socket sets had almost always included some kind of a ratchet — think Auto-Clé, Miller "Giant", Syracuse Wrench "Champion", Bay State Autokit, Walden-Worcester, Lane "Unique", and so on. Another potential weakness was that the 7/16-hex drive tools were at best suitable only for light work.

Note that despite the "Pressed Steel" in the company name, the sockets were described as machined and broached from bar steel, and none of the other tools were made of stamped or pressed steel. However, the company did have facilities for metal stamping, as the advertisement below shows.

[1922 Ad for King Pressed Steel Stampings]
Fig. 200. 1922 Ad for King Pressed Steel Stampings. [External Link]

The ad in Fig. 200 was published on page 66 of the July 6, 1922 issue of The Iron Age and solicits business for the company's stamping operations.


Chessboards and Clam-Shell Cases

In early 1922 King Pressed Steel made a splash with full-page advertisements for their newly packaged socket sets. The sets were now being provided in clam-shell metal cases decorated with a chessboard design, and the interior of the case was furnished with a wooden insert to organize the tools.

[1922 Ad for King Socket Wrenches]
Fig. 201. 1922 Ad for King Socket Wrenches.

Fig. 201 shows an example of a full-page ad, published on page 123 of the January, 1922 issue of Hardware World. Note the company's motto "for every nut on every car" at the lower left corner.

The company continued its advertising blitz with smaller ads appearing every month in this same publication.

Despite the attractive new packaging, the tools in the socket sets were the same as before, with the same weaknesses noted above. Thus we could regard the adoption of consumer-oriented packaging as a tacit admission that the tools would not hold up to the demands of professional use.

With the fancy new clam-shell cases, we can see that King Pressed Steel was finally pressing some steel.

Socket sets with 7/16-hex drive are not very common, and most of our other examples were made by Bog Manufacturing, such as the Bog "Jumbo" Set from later in the 1920s. The "Jumbo" set was also supplied in a clam-shell case, with an insert for organizing the tools similar to the King sets.

The Bog sets were sold through Western Auto Supply (Bog was basically the "house brand" for Western Auto), which raises the question as to whether the King sets were ever offered by Western Auto. We can't recall having seen them in the catalogs, but will check again as time permits.


Financial Problems in 1923

By late in 1923 business was not going well for King Pressed Steel and the company was in financial trouble. Their problems began when three creditors seeking payment of $1,985 filed a petition for bankruptcy.

[1923 Notice of Bankruptcy Petition]
Fig. 202. 1923 Notice of Bankruptcy Petition. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 202 was published on page 1405 of the November 22, 1923 issue of Iron Trade and notes a bankruptcy petition on behalf of three creditors. From there, things went downhill quickly.

[1923 Notice of Bankruptcy Auction]
Fig. 203. 1923 Notice of Bankruptcy Auction. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 203 announces a court-ordered public auction of the estate of King Pressed Steel, as published on page 1724 of the December 27, 1923 issue of The Iron Age.

Some time later, King Pressed Steel & Mfg. was mentioned in the Chapter 213 [External Link] section for corporate dissolutions, part of the Massachusetts Acts and Resolves of the General Court for 1925.

With the court-ordered auction to satisfy the creditors and subsequent dissolution, it would seem that our drama has come to an abrupt end. But we'll invoke deus ex machina and magically allow King Pressed Steel to continue operations. (More on this below.)

[Catalog Listing for King Socket Set A]
Fig. 204. 1924 Catalog Listing for King Socket Set "A".

The King socket sets were still available in 1924, based on a listing in the Waterhouse & Lester catalog of that year. The scan in Fig. 204 was found on page 362 of the 1924 Waterhouse & Lester catalog No. 20, which provides an illustration of the "King Socket Wrench Set" and lists the contents.

The King socket set was also listed on page 166 of the 1926 catalog No. 25 from J.M. Waterston of Detroit.

A Chilton Buyer's Guide Directory from 1929 listed the company at 13 Hawthorn Street in Newton, Massachusetts.

The Second Life of King Pressed Steel

How does a company come back to life after being dismembered by public auction and officially dissolved? We don't have a definitive answer, but can offer a clue in the acronym "dba".

A Google search for the founders of King Pressed Steel turns up some interesting references. It seems that in 1924 two of the original founders, along with a new partner, created a new company called Newton Pressed Steel & Mfg. in Newton.

[1924 Notice for Newton Pressed Steel]
Fig. 205. 1924 Notice for Newton Pressed Steel.

Fig. 205 shows a notice for Newton Pressed Steel & Mfg., as published on page 1585 of the June 12, 1924 issue of Iron Trade.

Further searches show that a prior incarnation of Newton Pressed Steel existed as early as 1919, with Amato Pescosolido as president, but that this first version of the company had been dissolved by 1923.

With the knowledge of the creation of the second Newton Pressed Steel, we can surmise that the founders had purchased the production equipment of King Pressed Steel at the bankruptcy auction in late 1923, then put it back into operation with their new company.

Since the King brand had been advertised extensively and had some degree of brand recognition, it would have made sense to continue using the King name for their products. In this arrangement Newton Pressed Steel dba ("doing business as") King Pressed Steel would allow King products to remain on the market, even without a formal King Pressed Steel entity.

We're probably missing some details, but regarding Newton Pressed Steel as effectively the successor to King Pressed Steel would explain the continued availability of the King socket sets. We'll add more details as they become available.


Early King Socket Set

After seeing the ads for the fancy chessboard cases, some readers will be disappointed to learn that our set is apparently an early example, and it's in a plain box which is probably not even original. But the set is complete and provides a snapshot of the company's early production.

[King 7/16-Hex Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 206. King Pressed Steel 7/16-Hex Drive Socket Set, ca. 1921.

Fig. 206 shows a King 7/16-hex drive socket set, consisting of an Ell handle, a Tee handle bar, a universal, a long extension, and 10 hexagon sockets from 7/16 to 7/8.

The Tee handle bar and the Ell handle are stamped "King Pressed Steel & Mfg. Co." and "Boston 58, Mass. U.S.A." on the shank. The other tools are unmarked, except for a small "crown" logo stamped on the sockets.

The socket sizes are, from the left, 7/8, 13/16, 25/32, 19/32, 3/4, 11/16, 5/8, 9/16, 1/2, and 7/16. The sockets are marked only with a small crown logo, without even the fractional size, which is a bit of a nuisance.

The 7/16 socket was intended both as a service socket and as a connector, to allow the extension to work with the Ell handle.

The Tee handle bar is broached with 7/16-hex openings in the center and at one end, with a 3/8 broached opening at the other end. The extra openings allow it to be used as a straight driver (with the extension) or as a 3/8 socket (with the Ell handle).

The extension (not shown separately) is 9.3 inches long.

We acquired the set in the metal box shown in the photograph, but it's probably not the original box. (This type of folded and spot-welded box didn't become common until the late 1920s or 1930s.) We think it's likely that the set originally came in a wooden box, and when the box fell apart, the former owner moved the tools into this box.

The dimensions of the box are 10.9 inches wide by 3.8 inches deep by 1.7 inches high.


King 7/16-Hex Drive Ell Handle

[King 7/16-Hex Drive Ell Handle]
Fig. 207. King 7/16-Hex Drive Ell Handle from Socket Set, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1921.

Fig. 207 shows the 7/16-hex drive Ell handle from the King socket Set, stamped with "King Pressed Steel & Mfg." and "Boston 58, Mass. U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 8.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


King 7/16-Hex Drive Tee Handle Bar

[King 7/16-Hex Drive Tee Handle Bar]
Fig. 208. King 7/16-Hex Drive Tee Handle Bar, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1921.

Fig. 208 shows the 7/16-hex drive Tee handle bar from the King socket Set, stamped "King Pressed Steel & Mfg." and "Boston 58, Mass. U.S.A." along the bar, with a small "Crown" logo above.

The photograph shows the 7/16 hexagonal opening in the center of the bar. The ends of the bar are broached for 7/16 and 3/8 hexagonal openings (not shown).

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

The typical use for this tool would be as a Tee handle, with the extension fitted in the center opening. The extra openings in the ends of the bar would also allow it to be used as a straight driver, or as a strange kind of 3/8 socket.


King 7/16-Hex Drive Universal

[King 7/16-Hex Drive Universal]
Fig. 209. King 7/16-Hex Drive Universal, ca. 1921.

Fig. 209 shows the unmarked 7/16-hex drive universal from the King socket Set. The universal is configured as male-female, so that it can connect directly to one of the sockets.

The overall length is 2.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The universal seems to be well made, but it's not obvious that there are any patentable features.


King 7/16-Hex Drive Sockets

[King 7/16-Hex Drive Sockets]
Fig. 210. King 7/16-Hex Drive Sockets, with Inset for Top View, ca. 1921.

Fig. 210 shows the three largest sockets from the King socket Set, marked only with a stamped "crown" logo. The sizes are, from the left, 7/8, 13/16, and 25/32.

The sockets have a wide groove with a gentle radius at the base, an unusual feature that may have been simply decorative, or possibly intended to make the sockets easier to pick up with greasy hands.

The inset shows the broached interior of the sockets. Note the irregular mass of chips at the bottom of the broached area, possibly a sign of early production.


Lamson & Sessions Company


Lamson & Sessions "Buckeye" No. 1 Bicycle Wrench

[Lamson & Sessions Buckeye No. 1 Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 211. Lamson & Sessions "Buckeye" No. 1 Bicycle Wrench.

Fig. 211 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.


Larson Tool & Stamping Company

The Larson Tool & Stamping Company was founded in 1920 in Attleboro, Massachusetts. The company's early products included a line of pressed-steel socket sets and stamped metal items such as nameplates for automobiles.

[1920 Notice of Incorporation for Larson Tool & Stamping]
Fig. 219. 1920 Notice of Incorporation for Larson Tool & Stamping. [External Link]

Fig. 219 shows a notice of incorporation for Larson Tool & Stamping, as published on page 1090 of the April 8, 1920 issue of Iron Trade Review. The founders were N.G. Larson, Carl G. Larson, and C. Wallace Cederberg, with capital of $150,000.

[1920 Ad for Larson Tool & Stamping]
Fig. 220. 1920 Advertisement for Larson Tool & Stamping.

Fig. 220 shows a full-page advertisement for Larson tools and socket sets, as published on page 249 of the November 4, 1920 issue of Motor Age. The company's address is listed as Olive Street in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and a New York City office is noted as well.

The upper left part of the ad illustrates a sliding Tee handle along with a socket, universal joint, drive plug and extension.

The middle illustration shows one of the company's socket sets, which included a selection of both hex and square sockets, along with a ratchet handle, universal joint, and extension.

The lower right illustration shows a valve lifter for Model T automobile service.


Continuing Operations

The Larson Tool & Stamping Company continues today as a fifth-generation family business, and further information on the company's operations can be found on their web site at www.larsontool.com [External Link].

We have some examples of the company's socket sets and will display them as time permits.


Larson Tool No. 9X 11/16-Drive Ratchet

[Larson No. 9X 11/16-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 221. Larson No. 9X 11/16-Drive Ratchet, ca. 1920-1922.

Fig. 221 shows a Larson No. 9X 11/16-drive ratchet, stamped "Larson T.&S. Co." and "Attleboro, Mass. U.S.A." on the handle, with the Larson logo at the right. The ratchet is also marked with a "Pat. Pend." patent notice.

The overall length is 9.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with a light copper coating.

The pending status refers to patent 1,419,391, filed in 1920 by Nils G. Larson and issued in 1922. The patent describes a ratchet mechanism using a pawl carried in the rotating member, with teeth cut in the handle body.

This ratchet is designed to drive standard pressed-steel sockets with an approximate 11/16 opening in the drive gear. The gear is fitted with a detent ball to secure the socket, visible in the photograph on the upper face.


Lisle Corporation

The Lisle Corporation was founded in 1903 by C.A. Lisle in Clarinda, Iowa. The company initially made well-drilling equipment, but branched out into other manufactured items, and in the 1920s began producing automotive equipment and tools.

Lisle continues in operation today as a private family-run business and maintains a web page on the Company History [External Link]. Interested readers are encouraged to check there for further information.

Lisle manufactures an extensive line of automotive specialty tools, which are sold both under the Lisle name and as contract production for other companies.


Lisle Internal/External Reversible Snap-Ring Pliers

[Lisle (Craftsman) Reversible Snap-Ring Pliers]
Fig. 224. Lisle (Craftsman) Reversible Snap-Ring Pliers in Internal Position, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 224 shows an pair of Lisle internal/external reversible snap-ring pliers, stamped "U.S. Pat. No. 3,681,840" on the top handle, with the "Craftsman" brand stamped on the reverse of the lower handle (see inset). The pliers were identified as Lisle production by the patent, assigned to the Lisle Corporation.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is black oxide.

The patent notice refers to patent 3,681,840, issued to J.L Pool in 1972 with assignment to Lisle. The patent describes the design of reversible internal/external snap-ring pliers, with the mode of operation selected by means of a movable cross-bar. The photograph shows the pliers in the position for internal snap-rings.

[Lisle (Craftsman) Reversible Snap-Ring Pliers]
Fig. 225. Lisle (Craftsman) Reversible Snap-Ring Pliers in External Position, with Inset for Reverse and Marking Detail.

Fig. 225 shows the Lisle snap-ring pliers in the position for external snap-rings. In this configuration the cross-bar has been moved across the two handles, allowing the top handle to flex and reverse the operation of the tips.


Los Angeles Tool Company of New York

The Los Angeles Tool Company of New York was an obscure company with an improbable name, operating in Jamestown, New York. The company is currently known only by the tool in the Fig. 226B below.

[1923 Notice for Los Angeles Tool Company]
Fig. 226A. 1923 Notice for Los Angeles Tool Company.

Fig. 226A shows a notice for the Los Angeles Tool Company, as published on page 1682 [External Link] of the June 7, 1923 issue of The Iron Age.

The text gives the company address as 269 Hopkins Street in Jamestown.

One additional reference to the company has been found: a small ad under "Machine Tools Wanted" published on page 822i [External Link] of the May 31, 1923 issue of American Machinist.


Los Angeles Tool 7/16-Hex Drive 15 Inch Speeder

[Los Angeles 7/16-Hex Drive Speeder]
Fig. 226B. Los Angeles 7/16-Hex Drive 15 Inch Speeder, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1920s.

Fig. 226B shows a Los Angeles Tool 7/16-hex drive 15 inch speeder with a 1/2 socket installed. The end piece is stamped with "Los Angeles Tool Co. of N.Y." and "Jamestown, N.Y.", as shown in the inset.

The overall length is 14.5 inches, and the finish is black paint.


Lowentraut, P. Manufacturing Company

The P. Lowentraut Manufacturing Company was a maker of wrenches and other hand tools operating in Newark, New Jersey. The company was founded in 1869 by Peter Lowentraut and initially was located on Fair Street in Newark. By 1884 the company had moved to a large three-story factory at 36-54 Brenner Street, shown below in an illustration from Newark, The City of Trade, published in 1912 by the Newark Board of Trade.

[P. Lowentraut Manufacturing Company, Brenner Street]

In 1899 the company incorporated and raised its capital to $200,000. In later years the company was a producer of ice skates under the "U.S." brand. (At that time ice skates were generally designed to attach to regular street shoes.)


Tool Identification

Lowentraut tools were marked in several different styles, some of which may not be immediately recognizable as Lowentraut production. The markings include "P.L. Mfg. Co." in a diamond logo and a more compact form with "P.L." in a diamond, referred to here as the the PL-Diamond logo.

In later years Lowentraut sold tools (and other items, including ice skates) under the "U.S." brand, typically marked inside a diamond logo. Although Lowentraut did advertise "U.S." brand ice skates under its own name, some "U.S." branded items may have been intended as contract production for other companies.


Lowentraut 8 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers

[Lowentraut 8 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers]
Fig. 227. Lowentraut 8 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 227 shows a pair of Lowentraut 8 inch gas and burner pliers, stamped "Forged" with the PL-Diamond logo, and with "Cast Steel" stamped on the lower jaw.

The overall length is 8.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Lowentraut 10 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers

[Lowentraut 10 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers]
Fig. 228. Lowentraut 10 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 228 shows a pair of Lowentraut 10 inch gas and burner pliers, stamped "Forged" with the PL-Diamond logo, and with "Cast Steel" stamped on the lower jaw.

The overall length is 10.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Lowentraut "U.S." 6 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers

[Lowentraut U.S. 6 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers]
Fig. 229. Lowentraut "U.S." 6 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 229 shows a pair of Lowentraut "U.S." 6 inch gas and burner pliers, stamped "Forged" with the "U.S" brand in a diamond. (The "U.S." mark is on the upper handle to the right of the pivot, though somewhat difficult to read.)

The overall length is 6.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Lowentraut "U.S." 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[Lowentraut U.S. 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 229B. Lowentraut "U.S." 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Marking Detail.

Fig. 229B shows a Lowentraut "U.S." 5 inch bicycle wrench, stamped with "P.L. Mfg. Co." and "Newark, N.J." inside a diamond, with "Drop Forged" and "Made in U.S.A." around the outside edge of the diamond. The reverse is stamped with "U.S" in a diamond on the fixed jaw (see lower inset).

The overall length is 5.4 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


Lueck, F.R. Manufacturing Company

The F.R. Lueck Manufacturing Company operated in Milwaukee during the 1920s as the maker of a patented "Copperhead" multi-socket rim wrench.

[1922 Notice for F.R. Lueck Rim Wrench]
Fig. 230A. 1922 Notice for F.R. Lueck "Copperhead" Rim Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 230A shows a notice for a Lueck "Copperhead" rim wrench, as published on page 75 of the April 1, 1922 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal.

The Lueck rim wrench was based on patent 1,430,574, filed by F.R. Lueck in 1921 and issued on October 3 of 1922.

[1922 Ad for Copperhead Rim Wrench]
Fig. 230B. 1922 Ad for Copperhead Rim Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 230B shows an ad for a Lueck "Copperhead" rim wrench, as published on page 192 of the April 6, 1922 issue of the Motor Age.


J.N. MacDonald & Company

The J.N. MacDonald Company operated in Hartford, Connecticut as a maker of chain-repair pliers and possibly other tools. Some of their pliers were sold using the name "Necessity", but other production may be found marked only with a patent date or number.


J.N. MacDonald "Necessity" Chain Repair Pliers

[1912 Catalog Listing for J.N. MacDonald Necessity Chain Repair Pliers]
Fig. 231A. 1912 Catalog Listing for J.N. MacDonald "Necessity" Chain Repair Pliers.

Fig. 231A shows a catalog listing for "Necessity" tire chain repair pliers, as published on page 50 of the 1912 catalog "A" from the E.J. Willis Company of New York City.

The illustration notes the July 26, 1910 patent date.

A listing for the "Necessity" pliers was also found on page 515 of the 1924 catalog No. 20 from the Waterhouse & Lester Company, an industrial distributor.

[J.N. MacDonald Necessity Chain Repair Pliers]
Fig. 231B. J.N. MacDonald "Necessity" Chain Repair Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1915-1920.

Fig. 231B shows a pair of J.N. MacDonald "Necessity" chain repair pliers, marked with "J.N.M. & Co." forged into the upper handle, with "Pat. July 26-10 Re-Aug-2-15" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the lower jaw.

The pliers are also marked with "Necessity" forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 9.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The first patent date corresponds to patent 965,722, filed by J.N. MacDonald in 1909 and issued in 1910.

The reissue patent date is incorrect and should be August 3, 1915, which corresponds to patent RE13,957.


MacDonald Patent Chain Repair Pliers

This next example uses a later patent by J.N. MacDonald.

[MacDonald Patent Chain Repair Pliers]
Fig. 232. MacDonald Patent Chain Repair Pliers, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 232 shows another pair of MacDonald chain repair pliers, marked only with the patent date "Pat. Oct. 22 12" on one jaw.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date corresponds to patent 1,041,826, issued to J.N. MacDonald in 1912. The inventor was listed as residing in Hartford, Connecticut, and the patent was assigned to James M. MacDonald of nearby Wethersfield, suggesting the possibility of a family-owned tool business.


Millers Falls Company

The Millers Falls Company operated in Millers Falls, Massachusetts as the maker of a wide variety of tools and hardware.


Millers Falls No. 199 Four-Way Offset Screwdriver

[Millers Falls No. 199 Four-Way Offset Screwdriver]
Fig. 233. Millers Falls No. 199 Four-Way Offset Screwdriver, with Inset for Top View, ca. 1930s to 1940s.

Fig. 233 shows a Millers Falls No. 199 four-way offset screwdriver, stamped with "Millers Falls Co." and "Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 5.2 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


Millers Falls No. 803 3/32 Nailset Punch

[Millers Falls No. 803 3/32 Nailset Punch]
Fig. 234. Millers Falls No. 803 3/32 Nailset Punch, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1930s to 1940s.

Fig. 234 shows a Millers Falls No. 803 3/32 tapered punch for setting nails, stamped with "Millers Falls" and "Made in U.S.A." on the head, with the model number and "Alloy" plus the size (tip diameter) on an adjacent face.

The overall length is 4.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.


Miller Tool & Manufacturing Company

The Miller Tool & Manufacturing Company was founded in Detroit by R.H. Miller in 1913. The company initially operated as a manufacturer of automobile parts.

[1916 Notice of Incorporation]
Fig. 235. 1916 Notice of Incorporation. [External Link]

The small notice in Fig. 235 was published on page 902 of the April 20, 1916 issue of The Iron Trade Review and notes that Miller Tool and Manufacturing had been incorporated with $15,000 of capital. The incorporators are listed as A.L. Miller, R.H. Miller, and C.L. Campbell.

According to a notice on page 1020 of the December 6, 1917 issue of Automotive Industries, by that time the company had recently moved to a larger building at 16th and Newark Streets, and new machinery was installed to make equipment for automobile and tractor manufacturers.

[1921 Advertisement for Miller Tool]
Fig. 236. 1921 Advertisement for Miller Tool. [External Link]

In 1921 the company filed a trademark with the text "Auto Service Tools" in a diamond logo, which was issued as #159,441 on September 26, 1922. The trademark application included a very extensive list of automotive service tools for which the trademark was used.

The ad in Fig. 236 was published on page 1167 of the January, 1921 edition of the Automobile Trade Directory. The text notes that by this time the company had become the official tool manufacturer for the Dodge Brothers and Studebaker.


Miller Tool 7541 1/2x12 Tappet Wrench

[Miller Tool 7541 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 237. Miller Tool 7541 1/2x1/2 Tappet Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Marking Detail, 1929.

Fig. 237 shows a Miller Tool 7541 1/2x1/2 tappet wrench, marked with the 7541 model number forged into the shank, with "Miller Tool" and "Detroit Mich" in a diamond logo plus "Chrome Vanadium" forged into the reverse. The shank also has a forged-in code "CU" visible at the left.

The overall length is 9.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The center inset shows a close-up of the markings. The diamond logo (with different text) was registered as a trademark by Miller Tool.

This wrench can be recognized as Bonney production by the forged-in date code. The "U" year code on a 1920s style tappet wrench with forged-in markings indicates production in 1929.


Motor Specialties Company (Mosco)

[1919 Catalog Listing for Mosco Wheel Puller]
Fig. 238. 1919 Catalog Listing for Mosco Wheel Puller.

The Motor Specialties Company of Waltham, Massachusetts was a maker of automotive products operating in the early 20th century. The company sold products under the "Mosco" brand and is probably best known for a wheel puller for the Model T Ford, and for a patented nut holder tool.

Fig. 238 shows a listing for the Mosco wheel puller, as found on page 113 of the 1919 Ford Owners' Supply Book (Eastern edition) catalog. The same catalog also offered the nut holder tool, but without mentioning the Mosco brand.

No relation is known between this company and the Snap-on distribution company with a similar name operating in Chicago during the 1920s.


Mosco 9/16 Nut Holder

[Mosco 9/16 Nut Holder]
Fig. 239. Mosco 9/16 Nut Holder, with Inset for Top View, ca. 1918-1925.

Fig. 239 shows a Mosco 9/16 nut holder tool, marked with the patent date "Pat. 2-19-18" on one face. The corresponding patent was found to be 1,257,003, which was issued to H.S. Hoyt in 1918 and assigned to the Motor Specialties Company.

The overall length is 1.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent document describes the intended application as a holder for nuts or bolts that would otherwise turn freely, requiring another person to assist. The 9/16 size would make this tool suitable for holding Ford Model T engine base bolts, certainly a common service job at the time of the patent filing.

A 1924 catalog from Western Auto Supply lists a nut-holder very similar to this example, and although the maker is not identified, it is presumed to be the Mosco tool.

Another more elaborate tool designed for basically the same purpose can be seen in the Blackhawk 6218 Speeder Wrench.


Mystery Tools

Identifying the maker of an old tool is the most basic first step to understanding its history, and we maintain a collection of old catalogs and other resources to assist with this process. Yet despite our best efforts, some tools remain "mystery brands" of unknown origin.

But rather than let these mystery tools languish in a drawer somewhere, we'll display some of them here in a special section, with hopes that some reader may recognize the markings or style. If you do have information on any of these tools, please contact us via the "Contact" link on the home page.

Breaking News! We recently found a catalog listing linking the W. & M. Co. Mystery Ratchet to a socket set produced by Mossberg for Sears Roebuck.

Breaking News (2021)! We found a catalog listing showing that the Chrome Molybdenum Mystery Wrench was produced by Barcalo Manufacturing. The mystery wrench was added here in 2007, so we're glad to finally solve it!


Mystery Battery Terminal Pliers

[Mystery battery Terminal Pliers]
Fig. 240. Mystery Battery Termional Pliers, with Inset for Jaw Detail.

Fig. 240 shows a pair of unmarked battery terminal pliers, designed for lifting a battery terminal while pushing on the post.

The overall length is 11.7 inches, and the finish is polished steel.

The handle ends are curved back to allow the tool to be easily held by the fingers.


Mystery Screwdriver Socket Box Wrench

[Mystery Screwdriver Socket Wrench]
Fig. 241. Mystery Screwdriver Socket Wrench, with Inset for End View.

Fig. 241 shows an unusual screwdriver and socket wrench combination tool, stamped "216B" with a "Pat. in U.S.A. Oct. 7, 1919" patent date.

The overall length is 6.7 inches with the sockets fully extended, and the finish appears to be cadmium plating.

The tool consists of a shank with a central hexagonal grip and sockets on each end, sized 3/8 and 7/16. The sockets can be extended and locked in place by a pin through the shaft, allowing to tool to operate as a nut driver. When unlocked, the sockets will slide back on the shaft to reveal a screwdriver blade on each end, and the socket opening will act as a guide to hold the blade in the screw slot.

The patent date corresponds to patent 1,318,088, issued to C.H. Klein in 1919 with assignment to American Telephone & Telegraph.

One of our readers has pointed out that this was a familiar tool for telephone linemen, used for connecting the internal wiring for telephones. (Older readers may remember when telephones required wires in the basement.) The tool was likely made by Western Electric, the captive manufacturing division of AT&T.


Mystery 41-W-642-25 7/8x15/16 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench

[Mystery 41-W-642-25 7/8x15/16 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench]
Fig. 242. Mystery 41-W-642-25 7/8x15/16 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 242 shows a Mystery 41-W-642-25 7/8x15/16 obstruction wrench, marked only with the 41-W series military model number.

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


"Childcraft" 41-W-1468-475 25/32x25/32 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench

[Childcraft 41-W-642-25 25/32x25/32 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench]
Fig. 243. "Childcraft" 41-W-1468-475 25/32x25/32 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Marking Detail, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 243 shows a "Childcraft" 41-W-1468-475 25/32x25/32 angle-head obstruction wrench, stamped with "Childcraft" on the shank, with "41-W-1468-475" on the reverse.

The overall length is 11.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel or black oxide.

A search for "Childcraft" didn't turn up any tool-related companies, suggesting that this could be a nom de guerre like Bonney's "Krieger" brand.

Although we're listing this in our "mystery" tools section, it isn't really a mystery — the "41-W" code is a military control number identifying the specific application (and probably the maker) of the wrench. These numbers are listed in documents such as the Ordnance Supply Catalog ORD 5 SNL J-4 for the WWII era, and someone with access to such documents will likely find this wrench listed as a maintenance tool for a military vehicle.


Mystery DTM SSR14 1/2-Drive Ratchet

The next two tools are better described as from a mystery company than a mystery tool. The markings seem to indicate that the tools were produced by a company using a DTM logo, but we haven't been able to find it.

[Mystery DTM SSR14 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 244. Mystery DTM SSR14 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 244 shows an open-design ratchet from an unknown maker, a 1/2-drive DTM SSR14 ratchet stamped with a "DTM" logo on the reverse.

The overall length is 6.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Several other tools with this same "DTM" marking have been found and will be added shortly.


Mystery DTM ST-10001 3/8-Drive Specialty Socket

[Mystery DTM ST-10001 3/8-Drive Specialty Socket]
Fig. 245. Mystery DTM ST-10001 3/8-Drive Specialty Socket, with Insets for Top View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 245 shows another tool from the "DTM" mystery maker, a 3/8-drive DTM ST-10001 specialty socket stamped with the "DTM" logo.

The overall height is 2.0 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The socket has a long hollow barrel with two projecting tabs, possibly for servicing a slotted nut for a carburetor jet.


Mystery 1/2-Drive Brace Bit Adapter

[Mystery 1/2-Drive Brace Bit Adapter]
Fig. 246. Mystery 1/2-Drive Brace Bit Adapter, ca. 1910s to 1920s.

Fig. 246 shows an unmarked 1/2-drive brace bit adapter, allowing a carpenter's brace to operate with standard 1/2-drive sockets.

The overall height is 4.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The adapter uses an inserted pin as a stop for the drive stud, a somewhat uncommon construction technique known to have been used by Walden for its early socket sets.


New Britain Manufacturing Company

New Britain Manufacturing was a small company known only as the maker of an early "Pick-Up" ratchet wrench, but has long been confused with the well-known New Britain Machine Company due to their similar names. Both companies operated in New Britain, Connecticut, as did many other tool and hardware companies. Kenneth Cope's book American Wrench Makers 1830-1930, 2nd Edition (AWM2e) lumps the Pick-Up wrench in with other products by New Britain Machine, and in earlier editions of this site we showed the Pick-Up wrench as an early tool from New Britain Machine.

Recently though we noticed the small difference in the company names, and a check of early advertisements and trade notices showed that the Pick-Up tools were consistently listed as a product of New Britain Manufacturing. Various reports from the State of Connecticut show that New Britain Manufacturing was in the die-sinking business in 1908, but was listed as a maker of Pick-Up ratchet wrenches in later years. This suggests a small company that found some success with a new (and patented) product, which then became their main line of business. We believe this evidence supports listing New Britain Manufacturing as a separate company, unrelated to the better known New Britain Machine Company.

[1908 Listing for New Britain Manufacturing Co.]
Fig. 247. 1908 Listing for New Britain Manufacturing Co. [External Link]

The listing in Fig. 247 was published on page 48 of the 1908 report from the Connecticut Office of the Factory Inspector and notes that New Britain Manufacturing was in the die-sinking and repairing business at that time. (New Britain Machine is noted as maker of steam engines.)

[1916 Listing for New Britain Manufacturing Co.]
Fig. 248. 1916 Listing for New Britain Manufacturing Co. [External Link]

The listing in Fig. 248, from page 44 of the 1916 Connecticut Department of Factory Inspection report, shows New Britain Manufacturing (on the bottom line) as the maker of Pick-up ratchet wrenches. (The line above lists the New Britain Machine Company as making woodworking and special machinery.)

[1908 Notice for Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench]
Fig. 249. 1908 Notice for Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench. [External Link]

The Pick-Up wrench was based on patent 847,601, filed by G.B. Pickop in 1907 and issued later that year. (The name "Pick-Up" can be seen as a word play on the inventor's name.) Based on the notices and advertisements found so far, the Pick-Up wrench was available by 1908 (or earlier) and remained on the market until around 1918 or so.

The notice in Fig. 249 was published on page 90 of the August, 1908 issue of the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal and describes the "Pick-Up" ratchet wrench in some detail. The text lists the maker as the New Britain Manufacturing Company, with an address at 214 South Main Street in New Britain, Connecticut.

The Pick-Up wrench is noted as being available in seven sizes from 4 to 24 inches, with the 7 inch version (with a 7/8 opening) being marketed as a spark-plug wrench. The tool was also available as a set with a universal joint, extension, screwdriver blades, and 31 sockets.


Catalog Listing for "Pick-Up" Wrench Sets

New Britain Manufacturing was able to get their products into distribution fairly quickly, as the following catalog listing shows.

[1910 Listing for Pick-Up Wrench Sets]
Fig. 250. 1910 Catalog Listing for Pick-Up Wrench Sets.

The scan in Fig. 250 shows a listing for two "Pick-Up" wrench sets, as published on page 171 of the 1910 Chanslor & Lyon catalog.

The text notes that the small set included 15 sockets and came in a leather case, with a $7.50 price.

The larger set contained 32 sockets and was furnished in a wooden box, with a $10.00 price.

In later years the Pick-Up ratchet and socket sets were made by Crescent Manufacturing (no, not Crescent Tool!), a tool and hardware company based in New York City. An example of a Crescent Pick-Up Ratchet Set can be seen in that article.


"Pick-Up" Spark Plug Wrench

[Pick-Up Spark Plug Wrench]
Fig. 251. Pick-Up Spark Plug Wrench, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, ca. 1907-1918.

Fig. 251 shows a "Pick-Up" spark plug wrench with an unusual spline driver design, marked with "Pick-Up" and "Patd" on the handle. In operation, the handle can be raised in its loose connection to allow the spline to disengage from the socket, and then turned to engage the next slot.

The overall length is 9.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent notice refers to patent 847,601, filed by G.B. Pickop in 1907 and issued later that year.

The patent description calls this a ratchet wrench, but technically it is a clutch mechanism, as the socket can be turned in either direction once the slot and spline are engaged. The "Pick-Up" trade name is a clever play on the inventor's name and the method of operation, as the handle is picked up to disengage the drive.


Osborne, C.S. & Company

C.S. Osborne & Company is a maker of pliers, nippers, and other tools, established in 1826 and originally operating in Newark, New Jersey.

[Early History of C.S. Osborne & Company]
Fig. 252. Early History of C.S. Osbourne & Company. [External Link]

Based on the excerpt in Fig. 252, published in 1884 on page 661 of the History of Essex and Hudson Counties, New Jersey, the company was established by Thomas English in 1826 and became C.S. Osborne & Company in 1861. Their early products included tools for saddle and harness makers.

By 1895 the company was listed as a maker of pliers in the Strelinger A Book of Tools, a well-known early tool catalog.

[1916 Advertisement for C.S. Osborne]
Fig. 253. 1916 Advertisement for C.S. Osborne & Company. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 253, published on page 137 of the November 4, 1916 edition of Hardware Dealers' Magazine, notes the company as a maker of pliers, nippers, and punches.

Interestingly, the company continues in business today as a maker of industrial tools and tools for leather and upholstery work, making them probably the oldest American tool manufacturer. Interested readers can visit their web site at C.S.Osborne & Co. [External Link].


Osborne 6 Inch Flat-Nose Pliers

[Osborne 6 Inch Flat-Nose Pliers]
Fig. 254. Osborne 6 Inch Flat-Nose Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 254 shows a pair of Osborne 6 inch flat-nose pliers, stamped "C.S. Osborne & Co." on one handle, with "Steel" on the other.

The overall length is 6.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Osborne 6 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers

[Osborne 6 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers]
Fig. 255. Osborne 6 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Jaw Detail.

Fig. 255 shows a pair of Osborne 6 inch gas and burner pliers, stamped "C.S. Osborne & Co." and "Steel" on the jaws.

The overall length is 6.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the deeply incised gripping pattern on the handles.

The middle inset shows a close-up of the jaws of the pliers, illustrating the small opening in the nose that defines the "burner" feature.


Osborne 8 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers

[Osborne 8 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers]
Fig. 256. Osborne 8 Inch Gas and Burner Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 256 shows a pair of Osborne 8 inch gas and burner pliers, stamped "C.S. Osborne & Co." and "Newark, N.J." on the handle.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Oswego Tool Company

The Oswego Tool Company was founded in 1887 by John J. Tonkin and Albert N. Radcliffe in Oswego, New York and operated as a maker of tools and machinery.

[1906 Notice for John J. Tonkin]
Fig. 257A. 1906 Notice for John J. Tonkin. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 257A provides some background information on John J. Tonkin and the founding of Oswego Tool, as published on page 20 of the February 10, 1906 edition of The Iron and Machinery World.

The text notes that Tonkin and A.N. Radcliffe formed the company in 1887, with Tonkin as its first president.

[1893 Notice for Oswego Tool]
Fig. 257B. 1893 Notice for Oswego Tool. [External Link]

In 1893 the company was incorporated with $25,000 of capital.

Fig. 257B shows a notice of incorporation for Oswego Tool, as published on page 15 of the May 18, 1893 issue of The Iron Trade Review.

[1913 Notice for Oswego Tool Stillson Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 257C. 1913 Notice for Oswego Tool Stillson Pipe Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 257C shows a notice for an Oswego Tool Stillson-pattern pipe wrench, as published on page 1045 of the June 19, 1913 issue of American Machinist.


Oswego Tool 10 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench

[Oswego Tool 10 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 257. Oswego Tool 10 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 257 shows an Oswego Tool 10 inch Stillson-pattern pipe wrench with a wooden handle. The wrench is marked with "Oswego Tool Co." and the OT-Circle logo stamped on the shank, with "Stillson Wrench" above plus "Made in U.S.A." and "Oswego, N.Y." below.

The overall length is 9.4 inches closed and 10.6 inches fully extended, providing a maximum opening of 1.2 inches. The finish is plain steel with black paint on the handle.


Go To Page:  << Prev  | 1 |   | 2 |   | 3 |   Next >>

Alloy Artifacts Home Text and Photographs Copyright © 2005-2021 Alloy Artifacts Site Index