Alloy Artifacts  

Various Tool Makers

This page shows examples from various tool makers for which we do not yet have enough material for a separate page.


Table of Contents

Introduction

The format of this article is a bit different from what we've presented for other companies, since we're combining the information for many unrelated companies.


References and Resources

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


Abegg & Reinhold, Inc.

Abegg & Reinhold was founded in 1908 in Los Angeles by two Swiss immigrants, Walter Abegg and Baldwin Reinhold. The founders had studied mechanical engineering and metallurgy in Switzerland and the company became a pioneer in the heat-treating of alloy steel.

The company's early products included tools for oil field maintenance, and by 1912 the company was providing repair services for oil rigs. To fund expansion of the company, the two founders turned to a friend Edgar Vuilleumiere, and by 1914 the company was using the brand "Varco" as a shorthand for the Vuilleumiere, Abegg, and Reinhold Company. "Varco" was registered as a trademark in 1924.

With the rapid development of the auto industry, the company also developed tools for auto maintenance.

Early Use of Alloy Steel for Sockets

By 1920 the company was offering socket sets for auto maintenance, with sockets turned and broached from alloy steel. This is currently our earliest known application of alloy steel for socket construction.

[1920 Advertisement for Abegg & Reinhold Varco Tools]
Fig. 1. 1920 Advertisement for Abegg & Reinhold Varco Tools. [External Link]

Fig. 1 shows an advertisement for Abegg & Reinhold "Varco" tools, published on page 171 of the June, 1920 issue of Hardware World as part of a larger advertisement.

The text notes the use of nickel alloy steel.

The Varco socket tools were covered by patents 1,365,071 and 1,398,054, both filed by W.A. Abegg in 1919 and issued in 1921. The patents describe similar methods to allow a split drive stud to be expanded with a set screw, in order to provide a locking mechanism to retain the socket.

Trademarks

[1924 Publication of Filing for Varco Trademark]
Fig. 2. 1924 Publication of Filing for Varco Trademark.

The company filed a trademark registration for "Varco" on November 26, 1923 and was granted trademark #182,374 on April 8, 1924.

Fig. 2 shows the company's filing for the "Varco" trademark, published on January 29, 1924 with serial number 188,876.

The description of goods lists a number of tools, including drils, chisels, punches, and socket wrenches.


Continuing Operations

In 1973 the company changed its name to Varco International, Inc., and the company continues in business today under that name. Additional information on the company can be found in an article on Varco International [External Link].


Selected Tools

Currently we don't have any examples of Varco tools to display, but instead will show a few catalog listings of the company's products.

[1920 Catalog Listing for Varco No. 99 Socket Set]
Fig. 3. 1920 Catalog Listing for Varco No. 99 Socket Set.

Fig. 3 shows a catalog listing for a Varco No. 99 "Combination Socket Wrench Set", as published on page 4144 of the 1920 Baker, Hamilton & Pacific catalog.

The set consisted of an offset handle, an extension, a screwdriver bit, and seven hexagon sockets with sizes from 1/2 to 1-1/16. The description of the sockets notes that they are broached from alloy steel and heat treated.

The description notes the patented connection of the sockets to the handles, a reference to one of the patents 1,365,071 or 1,398,054.


Allen Wrench & Tool Company

The Allen Wrench & Tool Company was founded in 1913 in Providence, Rhode Island.

[1913 Notice for Allen Wrench & Tool]
Fig. 4. 1913 Notice for Allen Wrench & Tool.

The small notice in Fig. 4 was published on page 605 [External Link] of the October 1913 issue of Mill Supplies.

It lists the company's founders as F.R. Allen, W.E Davis, and W.H Thornley, and notes the capital stock as $100,000. A publication from the State of Rhode Island lists the company's incorporation date [External Link] as September 5, 1913.

The company's earliest products were socket sets based on a "friction ratchet" design covered by patent 1,000,878, filed in 1910 by Fred R. Allen and issued in 1911. The patent describes the design of a gearless ratchet, using a friction cam to alternately grip and release the drive wheel.

The friction ratchet went into production in 1913 and was offered in various "Allen Friction Ratchet" socket sets with pressed-steel sockets and auxiliary drive tools, with Billings & Spencer providing the manufacturing for the ratchet itself. Interestingly, Billings also produced versions of the friction ratchet marked with its B-Triangle logo and offered them in early Billings pressed-steel socket sets, with the ratchets still referred to as "Allen" ratchets.

[1914 Advertisement for Allen Friction Wrench]
Fig. 5. 1914 Advertisement for Allen Friction Wrench. [External Link]

The ad in Fig. 5 appeared on page 14 [External Link] of the November 1914 issue of Automobile Dealer and Repairer and shows a nice illustration of the Allen Friction wrench. Interestingly, if you look closely you can see the well-known Billings B-Triangle logo on the handle, next to the patent date.

By 1915 the company was offering a new ratchet design with a swiveling drive gear as the "Allen Universal Wrench". This ratchet was described by patent 1,261,092, filed in 1914 and issued in 1918. The patent document describes a ratchet with a distinctive swiveling drive gear, allowing it to operate at an angle.

[1915 Advertisement for Allen Universal Wrench Set]
Fig. 6. 1915 Advertisement for Allen Universal Wrench Set. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 6 was published on page 25 of the November 1915 edition of American Exporter and describes the "Allen Universal" socket sets. The illustration shows the company's No. 41 set with an $8.00 price, and the text notes that the sets were available in nine different models, with prices ranging from $3.50 to $10.

The company's products were carried by some distributors. The 1918 catalog "E" from Ducommun Hardware listed Allen friction wrench sets on page 248, including sets Nos. 9, 21, and 31, plus a "Ford Special" set.

Allen Wrench & Tool remained in business at least through the late 1920s, based on various published sources. A 1922 directory listed the company at 766 Eddy Street in Providence, noting that it was incorporated under the laws of Rhode Island with $100,000 in capital stock, and with William McCreery as president. In 1922 patent #1,426,026 was issued to Oscar A. Webster, with assignment to Allen Wrench & Tool Company. By 1922 the company was offering a specialty tool for straightening connecting rods, as published on page 47 [External Link] of the May 4, 1922 issue of Motor Age.


Allen Friction Wrench (Billings Version) 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Allen Friction Wrench (Billings Version) 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 7. Allen Friction Wrench (Billings Version) 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1915-1920.

Fig. 7 shows the Billings version of the "Allen Friction Wrench" 1/2-drive ratchet, acquired as part of a "Ford Special" socket set. The shank is marked with "The Billings & Spencer Co. H'T'F'D. CT." forged into one side, with "Allen Friction Wrench" and the B-Triangle logo forged into the reverse, along with a "Pat Aug 15 1911" patent notice.

The overall length is 8.4 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The patent date on the shank corresponds to patent 1,000,878, filed by Fred R. Allen in 1910 and issued on that date.

This ratchet was acquired a part of the Billings Allen Friction Wrench Socket Set described in our article on Billings & Spencer.

The Allen friction ratchet was initially offered by Allen Wrench & Tool with Billings providing contract manufacturing, and Billings then later offered versions of the ratchet and socket sets under its own name.


Allen Universal Wrench 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Allen Universal Wrench 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 8. Allen Universal Wrench 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. 1914-1918.

Fig. 8 shows an Allen "Universal" 1/2-drive ratchet, marked with "Allen Universal Wrench" forged into the handle, with "Patent Pending" on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.7 inches. The finish is nickel plating, but with substantial losses due to wear and rust.

The pending status refers to patent 1,261,092, filed by F.R. Allen in 1914 and issued in 1918.


Allen Friction No. 21 Socket Set

We have an example of an Allen Friction No. 21 socket set and are preparing it for display.

Fig. 9. Allen Friction No. 21 Socket Set To Be Added.

Allen Universal No. 41 Socket Set

We have an example of an Allen Universal No. 41 socket set and are preparing it for display.

Fig. 10. Allen Friction No. 41 Socket Set To Be Added.

American Plierench Corporation

The American Plierench Corporation operated in Chicago from the early 1930s onward as a maker of gear-operated pliers. The company's products were based on patents by Joseph Eifel.

American Plierench was the successor to the Flash Sales Corporation, which had been formed in 1918 as the maker of a "Pliwrench", a tool with parallel moving jaws that combined aspects of a wrench and pliers.

[1919 Notice for Flash Sales Corp.]
Fig. 11A. 1918 Notice for Flash Sales Corporation. [External Link]

Fig. 11A shows a notice for the Flash Sales Corporation, as published on page 170 of 1918 edition of The National Corporation Reporter.

The notice lists Catherine E. Eifel as the incorporator and notes $10,000 in capital. A report from the Illinois Secretary of State listed the company's incorporation date as March 1 of 1918.

The early "Pliwrench" tool was based on patent 1,181,654, filed by J. Eifel in 1912 and issued in 1916. The patent describes a plier-like tool with gear teeth on the end of one handle to control a movable jaw.

This patent had an interesting history, as it was first used in a highly modified form for the Cochran "Speednut" Wrench. The "Speednut" wrench had just a single handle and did not resemble pliers at all, but it used gear teeth at the end of the handle to control the opening and closing of the jaws, similar to the mechanism in the Eifel patent.

[1920 Notice for Flash Sales Corp.]
Fig. 11B. 1920 Notice for Flash Sales Corporation. [External Link]

Fig. 11B shows the entry for The Flash Sales Corporation, as published on page 334 of the 1920 Certified List of Domestic and Foreign Corporations from the State of Illinois.

[1922 Ad for Eifel-Flash PlieRench]
Fig. 11C. 1922 Ad for Eifel-Flash PlieRench. [External Link]

The company's address is given as 4809 North Ashland Avenue in Chicago.

By 1922 the company was calling its tool a PlieRench.

Fig. 11C shows an ad for the Eifel-Flash PlieRench, as published on page 116 of the 1922 Union Labor Directory.

The text notes Joseph Eifel as the manager of the company, and lists the foundry where the tools were made as the R.M Eddy Foundry Company.

[1924 Ad for Flash Sales PlieRench]
Fig. 11D. 1924 Ad for Flash Sales PlieRench. [External Link]

Fig. 11D shows an ad for the Plierench from the Flash Sales Corporation, as published on page 606 of the December 1, 1924 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal.


Eifel No. 7 Plier Wrench

[Eifel No. 7 Plier Wrench]
Fig. 11E. Eifel No. 7 Plier Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1932+.

Fig. 11E shows an Eifel No. 7 plier wrench with a removable jaw, stamped "Made in U.S.A. by Amer. Plierench Corp'n" and "Chicago, Ill." on the front plate. The markings also include "Eifel Geared Plier" on the top line, with a "Pats. 1181654 1862817" patent notice below.

The overall length is 7.3 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The first patent number refers to the Eifel 1916 patent 1,181,654 describing an early design for geared pliers.

The second reference is to patent 1,862,817, filed by J. Eifel in 1927 and issued in 1932. This latter patent describes the present tool.


American Saw Company

[1895 Advertisement for American Saw Company]
Fig. 12. 1895 Advertisement for American Saw Company. [External Link]

The American Saw Company was founded in 1867 in Trenton, New Jersey as a maker of all kinds of saws. By 1884 (or earlier) the company was offering alligator wrenches with diagonally cut teeth, and in later years the company branched out into making pipe wrenches and other tools as well.

The advertisement in Fig. 12 was published on page 15 of the April 10, 1895 issue of Hardware and shows the American Saw "Curtis" pipe wrench and alligator wrenches. The text notes that the pipe wrenches were available in four sizes up to 22 inches, and the alligator wrenches were available in five sizes, up to the 27 inch No. 5 model.

The "Alligator" Trademark

In researching the American Saw Company we found a highly useful bit of tool trivia, namely that American Saw originated (and trademarked) the term "Alligator" wrench. On May 17, 1887 American Saw filed a trademark application for "Alligator" as applied to wrenches, with the first use date given as January 17, 1878. The trademark was issued as #14,524 on June 21, 1887.

In 1901 the wrench business of American Saw was purchased by John A. Roeblings Sons, according to an announcement in The Iron Age.


American Saw No. 1 5 Inch Alligator Wrench

[American Saw No. 1 Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 13. American Saw No. 1 Alligator Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1887 to Early 1900s.

Fig. 13 shows an American Saw No. 1 5 inch alligator wrench of stamped construction, stamped with "American Saw Co." and "Alligator Pat'd" along circular arcs, with "Trenton, N.J." across the center. The reverse is stamped "1" (not shown) as the model number.

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

The patent notation is actually probably a reference to the "Alligator" trademark, registered by American Saw in 1887. (Trademarks and patents are both issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.)


Arrow Tool Company

The Arrow Tool Company operated in Buffalo, New York as a maker of adjustable wrenches and possibly other tools.


Arrow Tool 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Arrow Tool 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 14. Arrow Tool 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 14 shows an Arrow Tool 10 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "Arrow Tool Company, Inc." and Buffalo, N.Y. U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Arrow" and "Drop Forged Steel" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.1 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.82 inches.

The finish is plain steel.


Artisan (Gambles Stores)

Artisan was a brand name used for tools sold by Gamble Auto Supply stores, a chain of retail stores operated by Gamble-Skogmo Inc. The company registered "Artisan" as trademark #372,934 on November 21, 1939, and claimed the first use in March of 1937.


Artisan 1/2-Drive 16-Piece Socket Set

[Artisan 1/2-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 15. Artisan 1/2-Drive 16-Piece Socket Set, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 15 shows a 1/2-drive Artisan socket set in a metal case, consisting of a ratchet, flex-head breaker bar, extension, and 13 sockets ranging in size from 7/16 up to 1-1/8.

Readers familiar with S-K Tools will immediately recognize this as an S-K set, and in fact no attempt has been made to disguise the maker, with all of the tools (except the ratchet) bearing standard S-K markings.

The flex-head breaker bar is an S-K model 41653, and the 10 inch extension is an S-K model 40162. The distinctive forged-handle model 4270 ratchet was produced by S-K from the late 1930s through mid 1940s.

The sockets in the set all have the distinctive knurled base and tapered upper walls of the S-K 401xx model series. The models and sizes are, from the left, 40114 (7/16), 40116 (1/2), 40118 (9/16), 40119 (19/32), 40120 (5/8), 40122 (11/16), 40124 (3/4), 40126 (13/16), 40128 (7/8), 40130 (15/16), 40132 (1 inch), 40134 (1-1/16), and 40136 (1-1/8).

Further information on S-K can be found in our article on Sherman-Klove and S-K Tools.


Artisan 4270 1/2-Drive Forged-Handle Ratchet

[Artisan Model 4270 1/2-Drive Forged-Handle Ratchet]
Fig. 16. Artisan Model 4270 1/2-Drive Forged-Handle Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 16 shows the 1/2-drive Artisan 4270 ratchet from the above set, marked with the Artisan brand on the raised panel, and with the model number and "Pat. No. 2232477" on the reverse.

The overall length is 10.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

This ratchet can be readily identified as S-K production by the patent 2,232,477, assigned to the Sherman-Klove Company.

In addition, the distinctive forged handle is identical to the S-K Model 42470 Ratchet shown in our article on S-K.


Atha Tool Company

The Atha Tool Company was a maker of hammers and other hardware items operating in Newark, New Jersey during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The company was founded by Benjamin Atha, who had previously operated steel mills in the Newark area. Based on public references, the company was in business by 1883 and was incorporated in 1888.

[1888 Notice for Atha Tool Company]
Fig. 17. 1888 Notice for Atha Tool Company.

The scan in Fig. 17 shows a notice of incorporation for the Atha Tool Company, as published on page 3 [External Link] of the May 26, 1888 issue of Electrical Review.

The text notes the incorporation of both Benjamin Atha & Company, a steel company with $750,000 in capital, and the Atha Tool Company, with $100,000 in capital.

A publication of the State of New Jersey provides the date of incorporation as May 9, 1888.

[1890 Ad for Atha Tool Company]
Fig. 18. 1890 Ad for Atha Tool Company.

The scan in Fig. 18 shows an ad for the Atha Tool Company, as published on page 82 [External Link] of the export section of the 1890 Seeger & Guernsey's Cyclopaedia.

The illustration shows the company's logo consisting of a horseshoe with an "A" inside. Atha tools were typically marked with this stamped logo.

[1896 Notice for Atha Tool Catalog]
Fig. 19. 1896 Notice for Atha Tool Catalog.

The scan in Fig. 19 shows a notice announcing an illustrated catalog and price list from the Atha Tool Company, as published on page 1216 [External Link] of the May 21, 1896 issue of The Iron Age.

The text notes that the catalog consisted of 158 pages bound by cloth covers, with illustrations of the company's products. The listed products included a wide variety of hammers plus other tools such as railroad track wrenches, crowbars, blacksmith's tongs, and chisels.

[1913 Ad for Atha Tool Claw Hammer]
Fig. 20. 1913 Ad for Atha Tool Claw Hammer. [External Link]

Fig. 20 shows an ad for an Atha Tool claw hammer, as published on page 23 of the January, 1913 issue of American Carpenter and Builder.

In 1913 the Atha Tool Company was acquired by Stanley Tools and afterwards operated as a division of Stanley.


Atha 20 Ounce Ballpeen Hammer

[Atha 20 Ounce Ballpeen Hammer]
Fig. 21. Atha 20 Ounce Ballpeen Hammer, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 21 shows an Atha 20 ounce ballpeen hammer, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the Atha Horseshoe logo on the reverse head.

The overall length is 13.8 inches, and the head measures 1.4 inches wide by 4.3 inches long.

The weight is not marked on the head, but the head dimensions indicate a 20 ounce nominal weight.


Ayer, F.H. Manufacturing Company

The F.H. Ayer Manufacturing Company was founded by Fred H. Ayer in 1904 as a machine shop in Chicago Heights, Illinois, and was incorporated in 1906.

The company is best known for its pressed-steel socket sets with a distinctive Tee-handle ratchet based on patents by F.H. Ayer. The F.H. Ayer sets are not especially rare, but somewhat curiously we have not been able to find any advertisements for them in the trade press, raising the question as to how the company managed to sell its products.

Interestingly enough, the F.H. Ayer company remains in business today, and their web site offers an informative page on the Company History [Sorry, dead link 😢].


F.H. Ayer 1/2-Drive Tee-Handle Ratchet

[F.H. Ayer Tee Handle Ratchet]
Fig. 22. F.H. Ayer Tee Handle Ratchet, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. Late 1910s to Early 1920s.

Fig. 22 shows an Ayer 1/2-drive Tee-handle ratchet, stamped "F.H. Ayer Mfg. Co." and "Chicago Heights, Ill. U.S.A." on the upper body. The ratchet is also marked with the "Pat. Sep. 9, 1913 Sep. 26, 1916" patent dates.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The earlier date refers to patent 1,072,807, filed by F.H. Ayer in 1912 and issued in 1913.

The second date refers to patent 1,199,738, filed by F.H. Ayer in 1915 and issued in 1916.

This ratchet model was typically supplied with pressed-steel socket sets along with a 1/2-square drive stud, an extension, and a universal joint.


Ayer 1/2-Drive 1-9/32 Pressed-Steel Socket

This next figure shows an example of an Ayer pressed-steel socket, taken from one of their socket sets. Ayer sockets were generally driven from the 1/2 square inside opening.

[Ayer 1/2-Drive 1-9/32 Pressed-Steel Socket]
Fig. 23. Ayer 1/2-Drive 1-9/32 Pressed-Steel Socket, with Inset for Service End, ca. Late 1910s to Early 1920s.

Fig. 23 shows a 1/2-drive Ayer 1-9/32 pressed-steel socket, stamped with the A-Circle logo and the fractional size (not shown).

The finish is plain steel.

The F.H. Ayer pressed-steel sockets were interchangeable with those supplied by the Frank Mossberg Company, the leading maker of pressed-steel socket sets.

Ayer sockets were also compatible with "Ray" brand sockets from the Packer Auto Specialty Company, another Chicago-area maker of socket sets. Given the proximity of the Ayer and Packer companies, the socket sets from either company may be found with sockets or tools from the other maker included.


Barnes Tool Company

The Barnes Tool Company operated in New Haven, Connecticut as a maker of pipe tongs, pipe cutters, pipe wrenches, and other types of tools. The company was founded in the 1880s by Elbridge F. Barnes and remained in business until at least the 1940s. The 1899 Seeger and Guernsey's Cyclopedia had entries for Barnes Tool under a number of categories, including plumber's tools and bicycle wrenches.

In 1883 Elbridge F. Barnes received patents 282,435 and 287,899 for a pipe cutter with three cutting wheels, and the resulting tool became the company's best known product.

[1901 Ad for Barnes Tool Pipe Cutter]
Fig. 24. 1901 Advertisement for Barnes Tool Pipe Cutter. [External Link]

Fig. 24 shows a small advertisement for a Barnes pipe cutter, as published on page 67 of the June 27, 1901 issue of The Iron Age.

[1905 Listing for Trademark Serial #9,091]
Fig. 25. 1905 Listing for Trademark Serial #9,091.

Note the "B" in a diamond logo, which the company claimed as a registered trademark.

In 1905 the company filed a registration for the logo, and Fig. 25 shows the trademark application, as published in the October 3, 1905 issue of the Official Gazette of the USPTO.

The trademark was issued as #47,914 on November 28, 1905. The company renewed this trademark on November 28, 1945.

[1905 Notice for Barnes Tool]
Fig. 26. 1905 Notice for Barnes Tool Company. [External Link]

Fig. 26 shows a notice for the Barnes Tool Company, as published on page 29 of the May 25, 1905 issue of Hardware.

The text describes some of the company's products, including pipe cutters, pipe wrenches, tongs, and bicycle wrenches, and announces a new catalog for their products.

[1908 Ad for Barnes Tool]
Fig. 27. 1908 Advertisement for Barnes Tool Company. [External Link]

Fig. 27 shows an advertisement for the Barnes Tool Company, as published on page 204 of the January, 1908 issue of Hardware Dealers' Magazine.

The text notes the company's products as pipe cutters, kerosene furnaces, and bicycle wrenches, plus sawing machines and steering wheels for yachts(!).


Barnes Pipe Cutters

Barnes Tool became quite well known for its three wheel pipe cutters, which were based on patents 282,435 and 287,899, both issued to E.F. Barnes on July 31, 1883. The patents expired in 1900 and as often happens in the tool industry, other companies copied the design. Sometimes the copies were listed as "Barnes Pattern" pipe cutters, but on other occasions the tools were simply "Barnes" pipe cutters from other companies.

[1911 Directory Listing for Pipe Cutters]
Fig. 28. 1911 Directory Listing for Pipe Cutters. [External Link]

For example, Fig. 28 shows part of a directory listing for pipe cutters published on page 700 of the 1911 Engineering Directory. The listing shows "Barnes" cutters made by The Erie Tool Works, "Barnes Genuine" from Barnes itself, and "Barnes Pattern" from Collmer Brothers, Oswego Tool, and Reed Manufacturing.

[1925 Catalog Listing for Barnes Pipe Cutters]
Fig. 29. 1925 Catalog Listing for "Barnes" Pipe Cutters.

The scan in Fig. 29 shows a catalog listing for "Barnes" three-wheel pipe cutters, as published on page 379 of the 1925-1926 Williams Hardware Company catalog.

A close look at the illustration shows "Erie" on the moving carrier, indicating that the cutters were actually made by The Erie Tool Works.

The pipe cutters were available in four sizes, with No. 1 handling pipes from 1/8 to 1 inch, and No. 4 for pipes from 2-1/2 to 4 inches.

The text notes that the three wheel design allows the cutters to work in confined spaces where the tool cannot revolve completely around the work.


Barnes Tool 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[Barnes 5 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 30. Barnes 5 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 30 shows a Barnes 5 inch adjustable wrench of the bicycle style, marked with "Barnes Tool Company" forged into the shank, with "Drop Forged Steel" and a "W" code on the reverse.

The overall length is 5.5 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


Basford, H.R. Company

The H.R. Basford Company was a maker of locking pliers and related tools sold under the "GRIPSO" brand. The company was located in San Francisco, California and was in operation by 1945 or earlier.

H.R. Basford filed a trademark application for "GRIPSO" on June 11 of 1945, with May 11 listed as the first use date. The trademark was issued as #429,536 on May 6 of 1947.


Gripso 8 Inch Vise Pliers

[Gripso 8 Inch Vise Pliers]
Fig. 31. Gripso 8 Inch Vise Pliers, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 31 shows an earlier pair of Gripso 8 inch vise (locking) pliers, stamped "Vise Pliers" and "Pat. Pend." on one side, with "H.R. Basford Co." and "San Francisco U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel with a black oxide coating.


Gripso 211 8 Inch Vise Pliers

[Gripso 211 8 Inch Vise Pliers]
Fig. 32. Gripso 211 8 Inch Vise Pliers, with Insets for Marking Detail.

Fig. 32 shows a later pair of Gripso 211 8 inch vise (locking) pliers, stamped with "Vise Pliers" and the model number on one side, with "H.R. Basford Co." and "San Francisco U.S.A." on the reverse. The lower edge is also marked with a "U.S. Pat. No. 2,669,145" patent notice.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel with a black oxide coating.

The patent marked on the pliers describes a finger-actuated release mechanism, visible as the small lever on the bottom of the lower handle.


Battery Equipment & Supply Company

The Battery Equipment & Supply Company (BESCO) operated in Chicago during the 1920s. Currently we don't have much information on this company, but the company appears to have been founded around 1920, based on a small advertisment in the April 1920 issue of Motor Record. The ad notes that the company was issuing their first catalog of supplies for "Battery Service Stations", and gives the company's address as 1400-1402 Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

The EMF Electrical Year Book for 1921 listed BESCO as a trade name for the company.

BESCO registered trademark #330,163 on November 19, 1935 for a "C Liquid" logo used for cleaning and polishing glass. The first use was given as 1931.


BESCO 9857 Giant Battery Terminal Pliers

[BESCO 9857 Giant Battery Terminal Pliers]
Fig. 33. BESCO 9857 Giant Battery Terminal Pliers, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, 1926.

Fig. 33 shows a pair of BESCO giant battery terminal pliers, designed for lifting a cable clamp from a battery post. The handle has forged-in markings for "BESCO" and "Made in U.S.A." with a B-Shield logo in the center.

The overall length is 14.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.

The B-Shield marking indicates that the pliers were forged by Bonney Forge & Tool Works, a well-known tool maker which provided forging services to a number of other companies. As is frequently the case with Bonney production, the forgings are marked with Bonney date codes, in this case a forged-in code "JR" near the handle (see right middle inset). The "R" year code indicates production in 1926.


Beckley-Ralston Company

[1914 Notice of Beckley-Ralston Exhibit]
Fig. 34. 1914 Notice for Beckley-Ralston Exhibit.

The Beckley-Ralston Company was a distributor of automobile accessories and equipment, founded in 1897 and operating initially in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to its wholesale distribution operations, the company was also a mail-order dealer and sometimes operated as a manufacturer.

The scan in Fig. 34 was published on page 27 [External Link] of the February 19, 1914 issue of Motorcycle Illustrated and shows Beckley-Ralston's new building at the corner of 18th Street and Michigan Avenue.

The company's catalogs made extensive use of private branding, for which the company's "B-R" logo was frequently used.


Beckley-Ralston "Sampson" Socket Set

This next figure shows a flyer that was acquired with an early "Yala" Socket Set made by Syracuse Wrench, which turned out to have been sold by Beckley-Ralston. The flyer revealed an interesting alternate identity as the Beckley-Ralston "Sampson" socket set, and provided valuable contextual information as well.

[Flyer from Sampson Socket Set]
Fig. 35. Flyer from "Sampson" Socket Set, 1908.

Fig. 35 shows a scan of a small flyer found with the "Yala" socket set, identifying it as the "Sampson" socket set and providing a nice illustration and description. Although this side of the flyer is not marked with a company name, the reverse side illustrates a grease gun offered by the Beckley-Ralston Company. In addition, a careful look at the illustration for the "Sampson" set shows the Beckley-Ralston "BR Co." logo on the upper cover flap.

From this we can conclude that the "Yala" socket set was distributed by Beckley-Ralston as their "Sampson" set. A subtitle just below the illustration notes the set as "A 1908 Ratchet Extension Set for the Motorist", indicating that Beckley-Ralston was offering the set at an early date. (Our earliest published reference for the "Yala" set is from March of 1908.)

This flyer is significant in providing an early date for our "Yala" socket set, as well as demonstrating that Syracuse Wrench had established distribution channels by that time. Beckley-Ralston published catalogs for mail-order sales, and having B-R as a distributor would have given Syracuse Wrench a national footprint for sales.


Beckley-Ralston 9 Inch Auto Wrench

[Beckley-Ralston 9 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 36. Beckley-Ralston 9 Inch Auto Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1910 to 1920s.

Fig. 36 shows a Beckley-Ralston 9 inch auto wrench, stamped "Beckley-Ralston Co." and "Chicago" on the shank.

The overall length is 9.1 inches, and the maximum opening is 2.2 inches. The finish is plain steel.

The end of the handle has been formed into a spoon for use in removing tires from their rims.


Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Automobile Socket Set

We were fortunate to acquire a rare Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 socket set, consisting of a friction ratchet and 8 pressed-steel sockets, with some parts missing. We haven't found an exact catalog match for the set, but the 1924 Beckley-Ralston catalog shows a very similar AT805 set.

[1924 Catalog Listing for B-R No. AT805 Socket Set]
Fig. 37. 1924 Catalog Listing for Beckley-Ralston No. AT805 Socket Set.

The scan in Fig. 37 shows a listing for the No. AT805 socket set, as found on page 218 of the 1924 Beckley-Ralston catalog. The set consisted of a B-R "Master" ratchet, an offset handle, a long extension, a short extension (or drive plug), and 8 pressed-steel sockets.

Note that with the parts illustrated, there would be no way to connect the extension bar to the offset handle.

[Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Socket Set]
Fig. 38. Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Socket Set, ca. Early to Mid 1920s.

Fig. 38 shows a partial Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 socket set, consisting of a B-R "Master" ratchet, a drive plug, and seven of the original eight pressed-steel sockets.

Our set is missing a forged offset (Ell) handle, a long extension, one hexagon socket (probably 27/32), and possibly a double-female connector. The drive plug is an unmarked replacement from our inventory.

The sockets in the set have sizes, from the left, 15/32, 17/32, 19/32, 21/32, 25/32, [27/32?], 29/32, and 1-1/32. The sockets are all marked with the fractional size, and all but one are stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the Hinsdale Round-H logo. (Remember that as Pressed-Steel Sockets, these are all 1/32 oversize for the intended nut.)

It's interesting but not really surprising that the sockets in the set were made by Hinsdale, since Beckley-Ralston carried a number of tools marked for (or recognizable as) Hinsdale. This suggests that the ET805 is basically a Hinsdale set with the B-R "Master" Ratchet interpolated.

The socket set was furnished in a wooden box, with a Beckley-Ralston brass tag below the latch. The overall dimensions are 11.5 inches wide by 3.4 inches deep by 2.7 inches high.

[Close-up of Label for Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Set]
Fig. 39. Close-up of Label for Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Set.

Fig. 39 shows a close-up of the label on the top cover. The text lists the contents of the set as 8 sockets, a ratchet handle, an offset handle, a long extension, and a "square connector socket".

There is no mention of a drive plug, and we've never heard of a drive plug being called a "square connector socket".

If the ratchet is assumed to already include a drive plug, then the extra part could mean a 1/2-inch double-female connector, so that the extension could be used with the offset handle. This might explain the difference between our No. ET805 set and the No. AT805 set in the catalog illustration.

[Close-up of Beckley-Ralston Tag]
Fig. 40. Close-up of Beckley-Ralston Tag.

Fig. 40 shows a close-up of the Beckley-Ralston tag on the front of the wooden box. The brass tag is embossed with "The Beckley-Ralston Co." and "Motor Goods" around the circumference, with "B-R" in the center.


Hinsdale 21/32 Pressed-Steel Socket from Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Set

[Hinsdale 21/32 Socket from ET805 Set]
Fig. 41. Hinsdale 21/32 Socket from ET805 Set, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 41 shows an example of the pressed-steel sockets in the ET805 set, a Hinsdale 21/32 socket stamped with the fractional size on the base, with "Made in U.S.A." and the Hinsdale Round-H logo on the reverse. All except one of the sockets in the set were marked in this fashion. (And somewhat remarkably, there were no Mossberg replacement sockets!)

The socket appears to have a thin nickel plated finish.


Beckley-Ralston No. AT840 1/2-Drive "Master" Ratchet

[1924 Catalog Listing for B-R No. AT840 Master Ratchet]
Fig. 42. 1924 Catalog Listing for Beckley-Ralston No. AT840 "Master" Ratchet.

The scan in Fig. 42 shows a listing for the No. AT840 "Master" ratchet, as found on page 218 of the 1924 Beckley-Ralston catalog.

The B-R "master" ratchet used a roller clutch mechanism instead of a gear and pawl, and the text notes the minimal lost motion. B-R used this ratchet in all of the sockets sets listed in the 1924 catalog.

[Beckley-Ralston 1/2-Drive Master Ratchet]
Fig. 43. Beckley-Ralston 1/2-Drive "Master" Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse, Side View, and Detail, ca. 1922-1924.

Fig. 43 shows the Beckley-Ralston 1/2-drive "Master" ratchet from the ET805 socket set, marked with "The Beckley-Ralston Co." and "Chicago Ill." forged into the front, with "Drop Forged Steel" and "Heat Treated" forged into the reverse.

The reverse side also has a forge mark visible at the right, shown as a close-up in the lower inset.

The front plate is stamped "The Beckley Ralston Co. Chicago" around the periphery, with "Pat. Pend." just below the drive opening.

The overall length is 8.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The roller clutch mechanism in this ratchet gives it a very fine and smooth action, with almost no wasted motion and with little backdrag. The patent pending status is a reference to patent 1,511,226, filed by S.O. Lawrence on January 9, 1922 and issued on October 14, 1924, with assignment to Beckley-Ralston. The patent document has a clear illustration of the roller mechanism.


Boker, H. & Company

H. Boker & Company was the American branch of a company with roots going back to the 17th century in Remscheid, Germany. The company was primarily known as a maker of knives, but also produced pliers and other tools.

Boker USA maintains a web site with an interesting history of the company, and readers can visit the Company History Page [External Link] for the full story.


Boker 8 Inch Lineman's Pliers

[Boker Lineman's Pliers]
Fig. 44. Boker Lineman's Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 44 shows a pair of Boker 8 inch lineman's pliers, stamped "H. Boker & Co." and "Made in U.S.A." around the pivot.

The overall length is 8.5 inches, and the finish is polished chrome.


Bonner, C.E. Manufacturing

The C.E. Bonner Manufacturing Company was founded in 1904 in Chrisman, Illinois as a maker of wrenches and other tools.

[1904 Notice for C.E. Bonner Manufacturing]
Fig. 45. 1904 Notice for C.E. Bonner Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 45 was published on page 550 of the January 7, 1904 issue of American Manufacturer and lists the founders as C.E. Bonner, George W. Fair, and D.B. Tucker, with capital of $30,000.

[1910 Ad for C.E. Bonner Manufacturing]
Fig. 46. 1910 Ad for C.E. Bonner Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

The company produced tools including the Victor quick-adjusting pipe wrench and Victor chain pipe wrench.

Fig. 46 shows an advertisement for a C.E. Bonner "Victor" tool kit, as published on page 456 of the February, 1910 issue of Hardware Dealers' Magazine.


Bonner "Victor" 15 Inch Pipe Wrench

[Bonner Victor Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 47. Bonner "Victor" 15 Inch Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1904+.

Fig. 47 shows a Bonner "Victor" 15 inch pipe wrench, marked with "Victor" and "Trade Mark" forged into the shank, and with a "Bonner's Pat. 1902 - 1903" forged into the reverse. The sliding jaw is stamped with the patent dates "Pat. Dec. 23, 1902" and "Pat. Aug. 25, 1903" on the side (see middle inset).

The overall length is 15.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.

The first patent date corresponds to patent 716,515, filed by William S. Bonner in 1902 and issued later that year. The second patent date corresponds to patent 737,199, filed by Clarence E. Bonner in 1903 and issued later that year.


Bonner No. 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench

[Bonner No. 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 48. Bonner No. 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1904+.

Fig. 48 shows a Bonner No. 29 11/16x25/32 open-end wrench, stamped with "Bonner Quality Tools" and the model number on the faces.

The overall length is 6.8 inches, and the original finish is plain steel. (A former owner appears to have coated the wrench with a polyurethane sealer.)


Boos Tool Corporation

The Boos Tool Corporation is currently known only for an adjustable wrench of distinctive design, as shown in the next figure.


Boos Tool Adjustable Wrench

[Boos Tool Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 49. Boos Tool Adjustable Wrench, ca. 1941.

Fig. 49 shows a Boos Tool adjustable wrench, stamped "Boos Tool Corp." and "Chrome Molybdenum" with "Pat. Pend." and "K.C. MO." below.

The overall length (retracted) is 7.6 inches, and the finish is polished chrome.

The patent pending status refers to design patent D130,015, filed in 1941 for J.B. Boos by the executor of his estate.

The 1941 Wilde catalog offered a No. 690 "Direct Pressure Wrench" with an illustration closely matching the Boos adjustable wrench. Wilde was located in Kansas City at that time, making it likely that Wilde Tool was the manufacturer of the Boos wrench.


Brosnihan Wrench Company

The Brosnihan Wrench Company was founded by Thomas Brosnihan in Worcester, Massachusetts, and its organization certificate was issued on December 11, 1905, according to a report from the Massachusetts Tax Commissioner.

The Brosnihan Wrench Company is known primarily as the maker of a pipe wrench with a sliding jaw, patented in 1900 by Thomas H. Brosnihan.

[1911 Advertisement for Brosnihan Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 50. 1911 Advertisement for Brosnihan Pipe Wrench. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 50 was published on page 25 of the January 1911 issue of Railway Master Mechanic and shows the design of the Brosnihan pipe wrench.


Brosnihan 8 Inch Pipe Wrench

[Brosnihan 8 Inch Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 51. Brosnihan 8 Inch Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 51 shows a Brosnihan 8 inch pipe wrench, stamped "Union Made" on the upper jaw, with "Sargent" (partially struck) and "Brosnihan" on the reverse. The reverse is also marked with a "Patent Sept. 4, 1900" patent date.

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

The wrench was originally fitted with a turned wooden handle, but was acquired with a poorly fitting replacement, omitted for the photograph here.

The patent date refers to patent 657,391, filed by T.H. Brosnihan in 1899 and issued in 1900.

The partially stamped "Sargent" marking indicates that this example was sold through Sargent & Company, a major hardware dealer.


Brown Company

The Brown Company was a maker of automotive accessories and tools operating in Syracuse, New York during the early 20th century. Based on published notices, the company appears to have been in operation as early as 1908 and remained in operation at least into the 1920s.

The Auto-Creeper

One of the company's earliest products was a rolling platform for working underneath an automobile. We recently (January 2022) discovered the 1910 trademark #79,554 for "AUTO-CREEPER", and this led us to listings in the 1909 Monnier Auto Supply catalog and other distributor catalogs, as well as published references in the trade press.

[1908 Advertisement for Brown Auto Creeper]
Fig. 52A. 1908 Advertisement for Brown Auto Creeper. [External Link]

Fig. 52A shows an ad for the Brown Company's "AUTO-CREEPER", as published on page 14 of the June 24, 1908 issue of The Horseless Age.

The text lists the company's address at 523 East Water Street in Syracuse.

The "AUTO-CREEPER" was picked up by some early automotive products dealers, as the next figure shows.

[1909 Catalog Listing for Brown Company Auto Creeper]
Fig. 52B. 1909 Catalog Listing for Brown Company Auto Creeper.

The scan in Fig. 52B shows a catalog listing for a Brown Company "Auto Creeper", as published on page 35 of the 1909 Monnier Auto Supply catalog.

The illustration shows "The Brown Co." and "Syracuse, N.Y." location.

A similar listing appeared on page 123 of the 1910 Chanslor & Lyon catalog.

Within a few years other companies were offering competing "creeper" products, and some public notices around this time used the term "Auto Creeper" as a generic reference, suggesting that the Brown Company may have had difficulty in enforcing its trademark. For example, a notice on page 247 of the May, 1916 issue of the Automobile Trade Directory mentions an All-Steel Auto Creeper [External Link] made by the Macon Machine Company of Macon, Missouri.

In later years auto creepers became ubiquitous fixtures at small garages unable to afford a lift or grease pit, and we suspect that a good number of our readers (and your editor as well) have used these devices. It appears that the Brown Company may have been the originator of the auto creeper, and it certainly coined the familiar term.

Impulse Tire Pump

The company's early products also included compression gauges and automobile tire pumps.

[1912 Advertisement for Brown Impulse Tire Pump]
Fig. 52C. 1912 Advertisement for Brown Impulse Tire Pump. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 52C, from the May 1912 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine, illustrates the company's "Impulse" tire pump and describes its advantages. (The pump operates by using the compression from one of the engine's cylinders.) At this time the company address was listed as Tallman Street in Syracuse.

An advertisement appearing on page 11 of the September 1914 issue of The Rotarian illustrates the Brown Impulse Tire Pump [External Link] and another smaller model. This publication lists the company address as 10 Bellevue Avenue in Syracuse.

The Brownbilt Brand

[1922 Notice for Brownbilt Tools]
Fig. 53. 1922 Notice for Brownbilt Tools. [External Link]

By the 1920s the company's automotive tools were being sold under the "Brownbilt" brand.

The illustration in Fig. 53 was published on page 55 [External Link] of the April 1922 issue of Automobile Dealer and Repairer as part of a notice for the Brown Company tools. The notice lists the company address as 218 Bellevue Avenue in Syracuse.


Trademarks

The Brown Company filed a trademark application for "AUTO-CREEPER" on May 3, 1910 with serial 49,540, and the application was published on July 19, 1910. The company received trademark #79,554 on September 10, 1910.


Distribution Channels

The Brown Company appears to have had some success with distribution channels, but listings of the company's products may be difficult to find, as the company's name may appear only in the illustration, or not at all.

Brown Company Spark Plug Wrench

[1912 Catalog Listing for Brown Company Spark Plug Wrench]
Fig. 53C. 1912 Catalog Listing for Brown Company Spark Plug Wrench.

The scan in Fig. 53C shows a catalog listing for a Brown Company spark plug wrench, as published on page 320 of the 1912 Cray Brothers catalog.

This same catalog page also illustrates the "AUTO-CREEPER", a movable platform for working under cars. Although the company name is not mentioned, "AUTO-CREEPER" was registered as a trademark in 1910 by the Brown Company.


Brownbilt 116 1/2 Universal Tee Socket Wrench

[Brownbilt 116 1/2 Universal Tee Socket Wrench]
Fig. 54. Brownbilt 116 1/2 Universal Tee Socket Wrench, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 54 shows a Brownbilt 116 1/2 universal Tee socket wrench, stamped "Brownbilt" and "Syracuse, N.Y. U.S.A." on the handle.

The overall length is 13.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Brownbilt 664 1/2 Speeder Socket Wrench

[Brownbilt 664 1/2 Speeder Socket Wrench]
Fig. 55. Brownbilt 664 1/2 Speeder Socket Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 55 shows a Brownbilt 664 1/2 socket wrench of the speeder style, marked "Syracuse, N.Y. U.S.A." as shown in the inset.

The overall length is 11.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plate.

The end of the shank is missing the original rotating end piece, and a hole near the end suggests that it was secured with a spring-loaded pin.


Buhl, Sons & Company

Buhl, Sons & Company was a wholesale hardware seller operating in Detroit, Michigan beginning in the mid 19th century. The company offered farm and implement wrenches, and later automotive tools, as part of its product line.

[1891 Notce for Buhl, Sons & Company]
Fig. 59. 1891 Notice for Buhl, Sons & Company. [External Link]

Fig. 59 shows the entry for Buhl Sons in the 1891 publication Detroit in History and Commerce, and the text provides some background on the company. The company was founded in 1855 by Christian H. Buhl and Charles Ducharme as Buhl & Ducharme, and by 1880 had become Buhl, Sons & Company.

In 1907 Willis E. Buhl, a grandson of the founder, became president of the company. By that time the Buhl family holdings also included a Buhl Stamping Company and a Buhl Malleable Company.


Buhl 29 Open-End Wrench

[Buhl 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 60. Buhl 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 60 shows a Buhl 29 11/16x25/32 open-end wrench, marked "Buhl" in raised letters on the shank.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Buhl Double Alligator Wrench

[Buhl Double Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 61. Buhl Double Alligator Wrench.

Fig. 61 shows a Buhl alligator wrench made of stamped steel, marked "Buhl Sons Co." on one side.

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


Buhl 9 Inch Auto Wrench

[Buhl 9 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 62. Buhl 9 Inch Auto Wrench.

Fig. 62 shows a Buhl 9 inch auto wrench, marked "Buhl Sons Co" on the shank.

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


Bullard Automatic Wrench Company

The Bullard Automatic Wrench Company operated in Providence, Rhode Island as a maker of self-adjusting pipe and nut wrenches.

[1904 Notice for Bullard Automatic Wrench]
Fig. 63. 1904 Notice for Bullard Automatic Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 63 shows a notice for the Bullard Automatic Wrench, as published on page 61 of the December 29, 1904 issue of The Iron Age. The text notes the ability of the wrench to grasp both hexagonal nuts and pipes.

The wrenches were available in three sizes, 8, 10, and 14 inches.

[1907 Advertisement for Bullard Automatic Wrench]
Fig. 64. 1907 Advertisement for Bullard Automatic Wrench. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 64 was published on page 128 of the February 2, 1907 issue of Domestic Engineering. The illustration shows the Bullard wrench grasping a hexagonal nut.

[1909 Notice of Auction of Bullard Automatic Wrench]
Fig. 65. 1909 Notice of Auction of Bullard Automatic Wrench Property. [External Link]

By 1909 the company had failed and their property and equipment was sold at auction to satisfy creditors. The notice in Fig. 65 was published on page 1807 of the June 3, 1909 issue of The Iron Age and notes that the company's property had been purchased by John H. Congdon, representing the creditors.


Bullard No. 1 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Bullard No. 1 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 66. Bullard No. 1 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Early 1900s.

Fig. 66 shows a Bullard No. 1 self-adjusting pipe wrench, marked with "No. 1 Bullard Wrench" forged into the shank, with "Pat. Oct. 27, '03" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date corresponds to patent 742,389, filed by F.D. Bullard in 1903 and issued later that year.


Bullard No. 3 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Bullard No. 3 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 67. Bullard No. 3 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Early 1900s.

Fig. 67 shows a Bullard No. 3 self-adjusting pipe wrench, marked with "No. 3 Bullard Wrench" forged into the shank, with "Pat. Oct. 27, '03" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 17.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date corresponds to patent 742,389, filed by F.D. Bullard in 1903 and issued later that year.


California Tool Company

The California Tool Company (CTC) is a tool distributor and manufacturer with an interesting connection to one of the founders of Plomb Tool. California Tool was formed by S.C. Miller in 1927 when he acquired the A. Plomb Tool Company, a maker of automotive and specialty tools founded by Alphonse Plomb. Readers familiar with the Plomb Tool Company will recall that Alphonse Plomb was one of the founders of that company, and when he left Plomb Tool around 1917, he started the A. Plomb Tool Company business.

California Tool continued to manufacture the A. Plomb line of tools for some years, and the tools were typically marked with both "Calif-Tool" and "A. Plomb" stamped markings. The "A. Plomb" marking was probably intended to show continuity with the older business and its customers; as far as is known, Alphonse Plomb retired after selling his business and had no further involvement with CTC.

By the 1930s California Tool had also became a distributor for other companies, notably Thorsen Manufacturing and Plomb Tool (later Proto). The Thorsen tools sold by California Tool are believed to have been privately branded for CTC, thereby blurring the lines between distributor and manufacturer.

Currently we don't have much information for California Tool beyond the historical connections outlined above, but will fill in more details when available.


California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 68. California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 68 shows a California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 offset box-end wrench with hex openings, probably intended for brake service. The shank is stamped with "Calif-Tool" and the fractional sizes on one side, with the model number and "A. Plomb" on the reverse.

The overall length is 5.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


California Tool BB2L 3/8x7/16 Long Offset Box-End Wrench

[California Tool BB2L 3/8x7/16 Long Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 69. California Tool BB2L 3/8x7/16 Long Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 69 shows a California Tool BB2L 3/8x7/16 long offset box-end wrench with hex openings, probably intended for brake service. The shank is stamped with "Calif-Tool" and the fractional sizes on one side, with the model number and "A. Plomb" on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


California Tool 1/2-Drive 11/16 Double-Hex Socket

[California Tool 1/2-Drive 11/16 Double-Hex Socket]
Fig. 70. California Tool 1/2-Drive 11/16 Double-Hex Socket, with Inset for Broaching, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 70 shows a rare California Tool 1/2-drive 11/16 double-hex socket, stamped with the CT-Logo and fractional size as "11-16".

The finish is polished steel.

The inset shows the interior of the socket, made using a hot-forging process.

This socket resembles the early production of Thorsen Manufacturing, which was known to have developed a "Techni-Heat" hot-forging process in the early 1930s. Based on the history of CTC as one of Thorsen's distributors, this socket is believed to have been made by Thorsen and private-branded for CTC. See our article on Thorsen Manufacturing for more information.


Carll, Addison B.

In 1913 Addison B. Carll received a patent for a novel reversible adjustable wrench, which featured a sliding jaw that could be removed and reversed to switch between flat or serrated jaws.

[1915 Ad for Carll Reversible Wrench]
Fig. 71. 1915 Advertisement for Carll Reversible Adjustable Wrench. [External Link]

The Carll wrench design was produced by one or more companies and apparently achieved some degree of popularity, as examples of this tool can be found readily.

Fig. 71 shows a full-page ad for the Carll reversible wrench, as published on page 1 of the December 4, 1915 issue of American Artisan and Hardware Record.

The advertisement notes the maker as the M.W. Robinson Company of Brooklyn, New York, which describes itself as a maker of mechanics' tools and hardware specialties.

However, later references have been found citing the Practical Tools Company as the maker, with M.W. Robinson as the sales agent.

[1920 Ad for Carll Reversible Wrench]
Fig. 72. 1920 Ad for Carll Reversible Adjustable Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 72 shows an ad for the Carll reversible wrench, as published on page 1067 of the October, 1920 edition of the Automobile Trade Directory.


Other Patents

Addison B. Carll also received at least three other patents. Patent 1,052,313 describes an offset pipe wrench, which is believed to have been produced by Greenfield Tap & Die.

In addition, patent 1,138,276 describes a ratchet drill, patent 1,138,277 describes a ratchet mechanism for tools, and patent 1,410,993 describes a chain pipe wrench.

It's not yet known whether the latter three patents actually went into production.


Carll Reversible Adjustable Wrench

[Carll Reversible Wrench]
Fig. 73. Carll Reversible Adjustable Wrench.

Fig. 73 shows a Carll reversible adjustable wrench in its standard flat-jaw position, with the marking "Carll" forged into the shank, and with a "Pat'd May 6 - 13" patent notice on the reverse.

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

The patent notice corresponds to patent 1,060,891, filed by A.B. Carll in 1912 and issued in 1913.


[Carll Reversible Wrench in Pipe Wrench Position]
Fig. 74. Carll Reversible Wrench in Pipe Wrench Position.

Fig. 74 shows the Carll wrench with the jaw reversed to operate as a pipe wrench.


Chase, H.H. Company

The H.H. Chase Company operated in Jamestown, New York as a maker of "Handle Lock" socket sets. The company was founded in 1922 by Henry H. Chase.

[1922 Notice for H.H. Chase Company]
Fig. 75. 1922 Notice for H.H. Chase Company. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 75 announces the formation of the company, as published on page 868b of the November 30, 1922 issue of American Machinist. The text notes that the founder had previously worked for the Salisbury Axle Company.

The "Handle Lock" products were initially based on patent 1,438,900 for a socket wrench container, issued to H.H. Chase on December 12, 1922. The patent document describes a metal container for sockets, with the sockets secured in place by an Ell-handle passing through holes in brackets at the ends.

A later patent 1,538,621 for a wrench container was issued to H.H. Chase on May 19, 1925.

Thus far a search for information about the company or its founder has turned up very little beyond the notice of incorporation and the two patents noted above. One of our tool examples is marked for the Handle Lock Wrench Corporation, but we have not found any published references to this entity, suggesting that it might have been just a "doing business as" name.

There is strong evidence that the Chase company had been acquired by New Britain Machine by around 1925 or 1926. New Britain Machine is known to have used the "Handle Lock" patent 1,438,900 for its None Better socket sets, which follow the patented design and have the patent date stamped on the container.

In addition, New Britain Machine filed a trademark for "Handle Lock" in 1926, with the first use claimed in September of 1921. The patent could have been licensed, but it's unlikely that a company would transfer its main brand if it intended to remain in business, and the first use claim indicates that New Britain was the successor to Chase.

Despite the evidence for an acquisition, we haven't found any published confirmation that Chase was acquired. (See our discussion of New Britain Stealth Acquisitions for more information.)

We have examples of two "Handle Lock" products and are preparing them for display.


Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Socket Set

[Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Socket Set
Fig. 76. Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Socket Set, with Inset for Top View, ca. Mid 1920s.

Fig. 76 shows a Handle Lock 7/16-hex drive socket set, consisting of an ell handle and seven hexagon sockets in a metal tray, plus an additional socket on the end of the handle.

The ell handle is stamped with an "HL" logo plus "Handle Lock Wrench Corp." and "Jamestown, N.Y. U.S.A." on the shank.

The markings can be seen as a close-up in Fig. 77 below.

The ell handle is also marked with a patent date "Pat.-12-12-22", a reference to patent 1,438,900, filed by H.H. Chase in 1921 and issued on that date in 1922. The patent describes a socket container with the sockets secured by a handle on top, and the illustration is very similar to the present example.

The sockets in the set have sizes 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4, 7/8, and 15/16. The sockets are unmarked (without even the fractional sizes), and the finish is plain steel. (All eight sockets will actually fit in the container if pushed alternately from side to side.)

The dimensions of the container (exclusive of handle) are 7.5 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep by 2.0 inches high. The finish is black paint.


Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Ell Handle from Socket Set

[Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Ell Handle]
Fig. 77. Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Ell Handle, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1920s.

Fig. 77 shows the Handle Lock 7/16-hex drive ell handle from the socket set, stamped with an "HL" logo plus "Handle Lock Wrench Corp." and "Jamestown, N.Y. U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel. The ell handle has friction balls on both ends to hold the sockets in place.

The ell handle is also marked with a patent date "Pat.-12-12-22", a reference to patent 1,438,900, filed by H.H. Chase in 1921 and issued on that date in 1922.


Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Sockets

[Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Sockets]
Fig. 78. Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Sockets, with Inset for Top View, ca. Mid 1920s.

Fig. 78 shows the three largest sockets from the Handle Lock 7/16-hex drive socket set.

The sizes are, from the left, 15/16, 7/8, and 3/4. The sockets are unmarked, and the finish is plain steel.

The top inset shows the broached interior of the sockets. The service end has an undercut groove below the broached area to allow for chip removal, but the chips from the drive end have been left in place.


Cleveland Wrench Company


Cleveland Wrench "Auto-Grip" 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Wrench

[Cleveland Wrench Auto-Grip 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Wrench]
Fig. 79. Cleveland Wrench "Auto-Grip" 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 79 shows a Cleveland Wrench "Auto-Grip" 10 inch self-adjusting wrench, marked with "Cleveland Wrench Co." and "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Auto-Grip" and "Chrome Alloy" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The wrench is also marked with a patent notice "Pat. No. 138173", a reference to design patent D138,173, filed by E. Matthews in 1943 and issued in 1944.


Coes Wrench Company

[1907 Advertisement for Coes Wrench Company]
1907 Advertisement for Coes Wrench Company. [External Link]

The advertisement at the left appeared in Railway Shop Up To Date by Maham H. Haig, published in 1907 by the Crandall Publishing Company.


Cochran Pipe Wrench Manufacturing Company

The Cochran Pipe Wrench Manufacturing Company operated in Chicago as a maker of pipe wrenches and other tools. The company's first product was a pipe wrench based on patent 885,322, filed by J.M. Cochran in 1907 and issued in 1908. The company was incorporated in 1910 to manufacture the wrench.

[1910 Notice for Cochran Pipe Wrench Mfg.]
Fig. 80. 1910 Notice for Cochran Pipe Wrench Mfg. [External Link]

Fig. 80 shows a notice of incorporation for Cochran Pipe Wrench Mfg., as published on page 37 of the October, 1910 issue of The Heating and Ventilating Magazine.

[1910 Notice for Cochran Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 81. 1910 Notice for Cochran Pipe Wrench. [External Link]

A 1913 Certified List of Illinois Corporations noted the company at 7800 Woodlawn Avenue in Chicago, with W.H. Hill as president and Walter W. Taylor as secretary.

Fig. 81 shows a notice with an illustration of the Cochran pipe wrench, as published on page 716 of the October 14, 1910 issue of the Railway Age Gazette.

The text notes that the company was building a new plant in Chicago to increase production of the wrenches, which up to that time had been handled by the Kilborn & Bishop Company.

The text goes on to describe the advantages of the wrench in great detail.

[1912 Ad for Cochran Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 82. 1912 Ad for Cochran Pipe Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 82 shows an ad for the Cochran pipe wrench, as published on page 1 of the December 6, 1912 issue of The Hardware Reporter.

The illustration shows a 1908 patent date for the wrench.


The Speednut Wrench

[1913 Notice for Cochran Speednut Wrench]
Fig. 83. 1914 Notice for Cochran Speednut Wrench. [External Link]

By 1913 the company was producing a self-adjusting nut wrench referred to as the Cochran Speednut wrench.

The notice in Fig. 83 was published on page 31 of the June, 1914 issue of Commercial America and provides an illustration and description of the Speednut wrench.

Cochran was able to get the Speednut wrench into distribution channels, as the wrench was listed on page 185 of the 1916 catalog No. 80 from the H. Channon Company of Chicago.


Cochran "Speednut" Self-Adjusting Wrench

[Cochran Speednut Self-Adjusting Wrench]
Fig. 84. Cochran "Speednut" Self-Adjusting Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1912-1916.

Fig. 84 shows a Cochran "Speednut" self-adjusting wrench, makred with "Cochran Speednut Wrench" forged into the shank, with "Pat. Pending" forged into the reverse.

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

The patent pending notice corresponds to patent 1,181,654, filed by J. Eifel in 1912 and issued in 1916. The Eifel patent actually describes a plier-wrench, with one handle holding a fixed jaw while the other handle pivots to move the sliding jaw. The Cochran design has simplified the tool by eliminating the fixed handle; reaction against the work piece allows the jaws to clamp the nut firmly.

A later patent 1,830,033 issued to J.V. Larson in 1931 appears to describe a very similar tool; its relation to Cochran (if any) is not known.


Crescent Forgings Company

[1908 Advertisement for Crescent Forgings Company]
Fig. 85. 1908 Advertisement for Crescent Forgings Company. [External Link]

The Crescent Forgings Company was a merchant drop-forger operating in Oakmont, Pennsylvania beginning around 1906. In addition to producing custom drop-forgings, the company also offered pipe wrenches based on patent 898,267, issued to H.N. Rothweiler in 1908.

The advertisement in Fig. 85 illustrates the Rothweiler pipe wrench, as published on page 606 of the October, 1908 issue of Hardware Dealers' Magazine.


Crescent Manufacturing Company

The Crescent Manufacturing Company was a maker of automobile accessories, tools, and hardware items, located in New York City and operating during the early part of 20th century.

We haven't yet discovered the founding date for the company, but public references to Crescent Manufacturing of New York City exist from late 1913 into the early 1920s.

[1915 Advertisement for Crescent Manufacturing Company]
Fig. 86A. 1915 Advertisement for Crescent Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 86A was published on page 103 of the June 12, 1915 issue of American Artisan and Hardware Record.

A 1918 catalog for the company lists a wide variety of items, including mirrors, grease guns, tire pumps, shock absorbers, automobile bumpers, valve spring compressors, chisels and punches, and socket wrench sets. The company address is given as 129 Reade Street in New York City.

Many of the tools offered by Crescent Manufacturing were made as malleable iron castings.

[1921 Advertisement for Crescent Manufacturing Company]
Fig. 86B. 1921 Advertisement for Crescent Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

Fig. 86B shows a later advertisement for Crescent Manufacturing, as published on page 1207 of the January, 1921 issue of the Automobile Trade Directory.


Crescent Manufacturing 12 Inch Bearing Scraper

[Crescent Manufacturing 12 Inch Bearing Scraper]
Fig. 86C. Crescent Manufacturing 12 Inch Bearing Scraper, with Inset for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1910 to 1920s.

Fig. 86C shows a Crescent Manufacturing 12 inch bearing scraper, stamped with "Crescent Mfg. Co." and "New York, N.Y." on the shank.

The overall length is 12.4 inches, and the finish is polished steel.


Crescent Manufacturing 15/16x1-1/16 Offset Spark Plug Wrench

[Crescent Manufacturing 15/16x1-1/16 Offset Spark Plug Wrench]
Fig. 87. Crescent Manufacturing 15/16x1-1/16 Offset Spark Plug Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1910 to 1920s.

Fig. 87 shows a Crescent Manufacturing offset box-end wrench with measured hexagon openings of 15/16 on the straight end and 1-1/16 on the offset end. The wrench is marked with "Crescent Mfg. Co." forged into the shank.

The overall length is 8.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint.

The 1918 Crescent Manufacturing catalog identifies this as a spark plug wrench, with the smaller opening intended for servicing 1/2 inch or metric spark plugs, and the larger opening intended for 7/8 inch or A.L.A.M. spark plugs.

The construction appears to be a malleable iron casting.


Crescent Manufacturing No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench"

[Unmarked 11/16-Drive Ratchet Matching No. 5 Crescent Ratchet Wrench]
Fig. 88. Unmarked 11/16-Drive Ratchet Matching No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench", ca. 1910 to 1920.

Fig. 88 shows an unmarked 11/16-drive ratchet, identified as the No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench" by a listing in the 1918 Crescent Manufacturing catalog (see next figure).

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with extensive losses due to wear and rust.

Although not marked with a patent notice, the construction of this ratchet is very similar to the description in the 1907 Miller patent 845,716. Other examples of the Miller patent ratchet are known to have been made by the Miller Combination Tool Company, but it seems likely that Crescent had licensed the patent and adapted the design for their own production.

The three major parts of the ratchet (the body, cover plate, and drive gear) are all made of malleable iron castings.

[Catalog Listing for No. 5 Crescent Ratchet Wrench]
Fig. 89. Catalog Listing for No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench", 1918.

Fig. 89 shows a catalog listing for the No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench", scanned from the 1918 Crescent Manufacturing catalog. The text notes that the ratchet was designed to work with the sockets made by Crescent Manufacturing, as well as the standard pressed-steel sockets available from Mossberg, Walden, and others.

The construction of the ratchet resembles the style produced by the Miller Combination Tool Company, which were based on the 1907 Charles Miller patent 845,716.


Crescent Manufacturing Four-Way Socket Wrench

[Crescent Mfg. Four-Way Socket Wrench]
Fig. 90. Crescent Mfg. Four-Way Socket Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1910 to 1920.

Fig. 90 shows a Crescent four-way socket wrench, marked with "Crescent Mfg. Co" cast into the shank, with "New York" and "U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint.

The opening sizes were measured as 13/16 and 15/16 on the left socket, with 1 inch and 1-1/8 on the right socket. We're not sure of the intended application, though it might be a spark plug socket.

The construction of the wrench appears to be a malleable iron casting.


Crescent Manufacturing "Pick-Up" Socket Set

Our brief article on New Britain Manufacturing mentions that the company produced socket sets built around the patented "Pick-Up" ratchet, initially in the 1909-1910 time frame. Sometime later the manufacturing responsibility for the sets was transferred to Crescent Manufacturing, and we were able to acquire an example of a "Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench" set made by Crescent.

Thus far we haven't found any advertisements or other public references to the "Pick-Up" set as a Crescent product, so the manufacturing dates for the Crescent version are still uncertain. We do know that New Britain Manufacturing was listed as a maker of the sets until 1916 or 1917, and that the "Pick-Up" set was not listed in a 1918 Crescent Manufacturing catalog. We think it's unlikely that Crescent would have started making the set after 1918, as the "Pick-Up" ratchet is fairly primitive and the set wouldn't have been competitive.

Our current hypothesis is that Crescent was acting as a contract manufacturer and supplied sets to New Britain Manufacturing, as well as marking them for its own brand. With this assumption a 1911-1917 production time frame would mesh well with the known information, and we will use that estimate unless additional information becomes available.

The set we acquired seems to be fairly complete, but the hinges of the box were broken and the top cover had only a part of the original label. Strangely enough, we were later able to acquire a fragment of the box from another example of the same set, with no tools but including the top cover and part of the lower box, with working hinges and a partial label missing different parts than our original set.

[Label for a Crescent Mfg. Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench Set]
Fig. 91. Label for a Crescent Mfg. Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench Set, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 91 shows the paper label for a Crescent Mfg. "Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench" socket set. (This is our "backup" label.) The label has deteriorated badly and is only partially legible, but still conveys valuable information about the set.

Note that the line below the top states "Formerly Manufactured by New Britain Mfg. Co.", providing a positive connection with New Britain Manufacturing.

[Label for Crescent Mfg. Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench Set]
Fig. 92. Label for Crescent Mfg. Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench Set, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 92 shows the partial paper label on the lid of our Crescent Mfg. socket set. Although a large part of the label is missing, the remaining portion is in reasonably good condition.

In particular, the illustration in the center is clear and provides the layout of the sockets in the set.

The label with the set itself is less complete but more legible than the "backup", and at some point we may be able to combine the two to make a digital reconstruction.

[Crescent Mfg. Pick-Up Socket Set]
Fig. 93. Crescent Mfg. "Pick-Up" Socket Set, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 93 shows our Crescent Mfg. "Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench" socket set in its lower box.

The set originally consisted of a "Pick-Up" ratchet, a drive plug, a 9 inch extension, a universal, two screwdriver blades, 27 hexagon sockets, three square sockets, and one spark-plug socket.

Our set as acquired was missing one standard socket (No. 11), the spark plug socket, and one screwdriver blade. (The drive plug does double-duty as the screwdriver blade holder.)

The sockets in the set were made as malleable iron castings, an unusual method of fabrication only known to have been used by two other companies, Syracuse Wrench and Chicago Manufacturing and Distributing. The hexagon sockets have sequential cast-in numbers from 1 (the smallest) up to 27, but were not marked with the fractional size.

In trying to list the socket sizes for the set, we're hampered by the barely legible label, plus the fact that the label has 28 sizes for 27 hexagon sockets. Our best guess is that this set would have been modeled after the Mossberg large Auto-Clé set, which also had 27 hexagon sockets and 3 square sockets, and which was probably the most popular socket set at the time when the "Pick-Up" set came out.

With that assumption, the sizes corresponding to the hexagon socket numbers would be 1 (5/16), 2 (11/32), 3 (3/8), 4 (13/32), 5 (7/16), 6 (15/32), 7 (1/2), 8 (17/32), 9 (9/16), 10 (19/32), 11 (5/8), 12 (21/32), 13 (11/16), 14 (23/32), 15 (3/4), 16 (25/32), 17 (13/16), 18 (27/32), 19 (7/8), 20 (29/32), 21 (15/16), 22 (31/32), 23 (1 inch), 24 (1-1/32), 25 (1-3/32), 26 (1-5/32), and 27 (1-9/32).

These sizes are based on pressed-steel specifications and include a 1/32 inch oversize allowance for the manufacturing tolerance. (Readers not familiar with this oversize allowance should check our section on Pressed-Steel Size Conventions.)


Crescent Mfg. "Pick-Up" Ratchet from Socket Set

[Crescent Mfg. Pick-Up Ratchet]
Fig. 94. Crescent Mfg. "Pick-Up" Ratchet, with Inset for Top View, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 94 shows the unmarked Crescent Mfg. 1/2-drive "Pick-Up" ratchet from the socket set. The inset provides a top view, showing the 1/2 inch opening for a drive plug or extension.

The overall length is 7.8 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with substantial losses from the handle.

The "Pick-Up" ratchet was actually a splined clutch rather than a true ratchet. The drive barrel had seven slots in the top that could be intermittently engaged by lifting the handle, providing a coarse ratchet-like operation.

The ratchet was covered by patent 847,601, filed by G.B. Pickop in 1907 and issued later that year.


Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Short Extension (Drive Plug) from "Pick-Up" Socket Set

[Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Short Extension Plug]
Fig. 95. Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Short Extension, with Inset for End View, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 95 shows the unmarked Crescent Mfg. 1/2-drive short extension (or drive plug) from the "Pick-Up" socket set. One side of the extension is fitted with a bowed strip of spring steel to help secure the connection with the ratchet and socket.

The overall length is 1.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint.

This tool also served as the holder for the screwdriver bits, and the inset shows the hole and pin in the end of the extension.


Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Universal from "Pick-Up" Socket Set

[Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Universal]
Fig. 96. Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Universal, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 96 shows the unmarked Crescent Mfg. 1/2-drive double-male universal from the "Pick-Up" socket set. Note that the drive tangs are fitted with bowed spring clips to help hold the tools together.

The overall length is 3.6 inches, and the finish is black paint.


Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Sockets from "Pick-Up" Socket Set

[Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Sockets]
Fig. 97. Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Sockets, with Inset for Top View, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 97 shows the three largest sockets from the Crescent Mfg. 1/2-drive "Pick-Up" socket set.

The socket numbers and sizes are, from the left, 27 (1-9/32), 26 (1-5/32), and 25 (1-3/32). The sockets are marked only with the sequential number.

The finish is black paint.

To check the sizing of the sockets, we made three measurements across the flats using digital calipers. The results are given in the table below, and show that the manufacturing tolerances for these sockets was even sloppier than for pressed-steel sockets. (When interpreting the results, keep in mind that the nominal sizes already had a built-in 1/32 oversize allowance.)

Crescent Mfg.: Measured Socket Sizes
Socket No.Expected 1st2nd3rd Notes
251.09 1.131.141.09 Slightly larger
261.16 1.191.191.18 Slightly larger
271.28 1.311.311.30 Slightly larger

Currier-Koeth Manufacturing Company

The Currier-Koeth Manufacturing Company was founded in 1907 in Coudersport, Pennsylvania as a maker of machinery and tools.

[1907 Incorporation Notice for Currier-Koeth]
Fig. 98. 1907 Incorporation Notice for Currier-Koeth. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 98 was published on page 43 of the List of Charters of Corporations for Pennsylvania, covering 1907 through 1909.

The notice states that the company was incorporated with capital of $53,000 on November 12, 1907, and that the intended line of business was machinery, castings, tools and novelties.

Speaking of novelties, the company's earliest product was a plier-like combination tool described by patent 677,770, filed by E.D.C. Koeth in 1900 and issued in 1901. The tool consisted of a pair of handles and several sets of interchangeable jaws, and was sold in a wooden box as "Koeth's Kombination Kit".

[1907 Ad for Koeth's Kombination Kit]
Fig. 99. 1907 Ad for Koeth's Kombination Kit.

The scan in Fig. 99 shows an advertisement for the Koeth's Kombination Kit, as published on page 1413 of the December, 1907 issue of Popular Mechanics. The illustration shows the different blades in the set and the way they install into the handles.

The Kombination Kit was available by late 1907 and remained in production until at least 1913, and was advertised widely during this period. In later years the company emphasized the interchangeability of the tools, calling it the "K-I-T" for Koeth's Interchangeable Tools.

By around 1914 the company had begun producing tools for valve grinding under the brand "Curko".

[1915 Notice for Curko Valve Refacer]
Fig. 100. 1915 Notice for Curko Valve Refacer. [External Link]

The illustration in Fig. 100 shows a Curko valve refacing machine, part of a two-page article beginning on page 198 of the January, 1915 edition of the Automobile Trade Journal. Under the heading "Curko Valve-Treating Tools", the article describes various Curko tools, including a valve lifter, the refacing machine, and a valve grinding set.

Around this time the company began producing other types of tools as well, including adjustable wrenches and hex-drive socket sets. These later tools were also sold under the "Curko" brand.

[1917 Notice for Currier-Koeth Mfg.]
Fig. 101. 1917 Notice for Currier-Koeth Mfg. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 101 was published on page 28 of the January 17, 1917 issue of Motor World. The text describes a small socket wrench set consisting of an ell handle and five sockets from 5/16 to 7/16, and a Crescent-style adjustable wrench available in four sizes.

Illustrations of the tools appeared on the prior page of the source.


Acquistion by Graham Roller Bearing

By late 1916 Currier-Koeth had been acquired by the Graham Roller Bearing Company.

[1916 Notice for Graham Roller Bearing]
Fig. 102. 1916 Notice for Graham Roller Bearing. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 102 was published on page 33 of the November 4, 1916 issue of Michigan Manufacturer and Financial Record and notes that Graham had purchased the Currier-Koeth manufacturing facility in order to expand.

Graham Roller Bearing continued to produce at least some of Currier-Koeth's products, including the valve-grinding tools and socket sets, and continued to use the "Curko" brand in advertisements.

[1919 Ad for Curko Socket Wrenches]
Fig. 103. 1919 Ad for Curko Socket Wrenches. [External Link]

Fig. 103 shows an advertisement for Curko socket wrenches, as published on page 48 of the January, 1919 edition of American Garage & Auto Dealer.

Graham continued to offer Curko socket sets at least through 1920, but advertisements after that time no longer mention the Curko brand.


Currier-Koeth "Koeth's Kombination Kit"

[Currier-Koeth Koeth's Kombination Kit]
Fig. 104. Currier-Koeth Koeth's Kombination Kit, ca. 1907-1913.

Fig. 104 shows a Currier-Koeth "Koeth's Kombination Kit" in its wooden box. The kit consists of a pair of handles in the lower bay, with six pairs of interchangeable blades in the upper bays.

After the desired blades are installed in the slot in each handle, the handles are held together with the bolt and wingnut visible in the upper right bay.

The functions of the various blades are, from the left, straight shears, alligator wrench (?), curved shears, punch or awl, combination pliers, and end nippers.

[Label for Koeth's Kombination Kit]
Fig. 105. Label for Koeth's Kombination Kit, ca. 1907-1913.

Fig. 105 shows the paper label on the lid of the wooden box, identifying the tools as "Koeth's Kombination Kit".

The text at the bottom notes "Currier-Koeth Manufacturing Co." with "Coudersport, Pa." and "U.S.A." below.

The dimensions of the box are 10.5 inches wide by 5.9 inches deep by 1.7 inches high.


Currier-Koeth 9 Inch End Nippers from "Koeth's Kombination Kit"

[Currier-Koeth 9 Inch End Nippers]
Fig. 106. Currier-Koeth 9 Inch End Nippers from Koeth's Kombination Kit, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1907-1913.

Fig. 106 shows a pair of Currier-Koeth 9 inch end nippers from the "Koeth's Kombination Kit". The handle is stamped "K.K.K. Tool" and "Currier, Koeth Mfg. Co." around the pivot, with "Coudersport, Pa." below.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers.

The overall length is 8.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The pliers are also marked with a "Pat. July 2, 1900" notation, an intended reference to patent 677,770. The patent was actually issued to E.D.C. Koeth on July 2, 1901.

The lower handle has a piece of curved spring steel attached at the midway point, which can be pivoted to provide spring-opened jaws.

[Detail for Currier-Koeth 9 Inch End Nippers]
Fig. 107. Detail for Currier-Koeth 9 Inch End Nippers, ca. 1907-1913.

Fig. 107 shows the lower handle of the Currier-Koeth nippers, illustrating the way the interchangeable jaws fit into a slot in the handle.


E.T. Company

The E.T. Company was a maker of pliers operating in Norwalk, Connecticut. Currently the company is known only for the Woodworth patent chain repair pliers shown in the figure below, but we hope to locate other examples of their production.

E.T. Company Woodworth Patent Chain Repair Pliers

[E.T. Company Woodworth Patent Chain Repair Pliers]
Fig. 108. E.T. Company Woodworth Patent Chain Repair Pliers, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 108 shows a pair of E.T. Company chain repair pliers of the Woodworth patent design. The pliers are stamped "E.T. Co. Norwalk CT" with a "Pat. May 4'20" patent date, with "Woodworth" and "Lewiston, ME." stamped on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is polished steel with a thin nickel plating.

The patent date corresponds to patent 1,338,804, filed by D.C. Woodworth in 1919 and issued in 1920.


Eagle Claw Wrench Company

The Eagle Claw Wrench Company is best known for a series of plier-wrench tools of the same name. The company was founded in 1912 and initially operated in Chicago, Illinois. Page 106 External Link] of a 1912 report from the Secretary of State of Illinois lists the company's incorporation date as January 19, 1912 and the capital as $25,000.

The company's plier-wrench tool was covered by patent 1,016,296, filed by J. Schlehr in 1910 and issued in 1912. The patent refers to the tool as a "bolt-holder", and describes a fairly conventional slip-joint plier mechanism but with the jaws arranged to give considerable clamping leverage.

[1913 Trademark Application for Eagle Claw Wrenches]
Fig. 109. 1913 Trademark Application for Eagle Claw Wrenches. [External Link]

Fig. 109 shows a trademark application for "Eagle Claw Wrench", as published on page 1041 of the November 25, 1913 issue of Official Gazette of the USPTO.

The application was filed by the company on September 2, 1913 and claimed a first use date of September 1, 1912.

An announcement on page 1319 [External Link] of the December 4, 1913 issue of Iron Age noted that the company had moved its headquarters from 36 West Randolph Street in Chicago to Rockford, Illinois. The company seems to have maintained an office in Chicago though, as some later ads give the Chicago address.

[1914 Advertisement for Eagle Claw Wrenches]
Fig. 110A. 1914 Advertisement for Eagle Claw Wrenches. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 110A, published in the January 1914 issue of the Plumbers, Gas and Steam Fitters' Journal, illustrates the various models and sizes of the tools. The text lists the company address as 36 West Randolph Street in Chicago.

Currently we don't have any further information on this company, but the tool (and company) did merit a mention in Kenneth Cope's book American Wrench Makers, 1830-1930 (Second Edition), which shows an advertisement for several sizes of the plier-wrenches.

Eagle Claw 7 Inch Plier-Wrench

[Eagle Claw 7 Inch Plier-Wrench]
Fig. 110B. Eagle Claw 7 Inch Plier-Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1912-1920.

Fig. 110B shows an Eagle Claw 7 inch plier-wrench, stamped "Eagle Claw Wrench Co." and "Chicago, U.S.A." on the handle, with a "Pat'd. Feb. 6, 1912" patent date below.

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

The patent date corresponds to patent 1,016,296, filed by J. Schlehr in 1910 and issued in 1912. The patent refers to the tool as a "bolt-holder", and describes a fairly conventional slip-joint plier mechanism but with the jaws arranged to give considerable clamping leverage.


Eastern Machine Screw Corporation

[1922 Advertisement for H & G Socket Set]
Fig. 111. 1922 Advertisement for H & G Socket Set.

The Eastern Machine Screw Corporation operated in New Haven, Connecticut and produced a well designed "H & G" socket set during the 1920s.

The scan in Fig. 111 shows an advertisement illustrating the H & G socket set, as published on page 241 [External Link] of the May, 1922 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal. The ad lists the company address as 11-12 Barclay Street in New Haven.

The H & G socket sets were one of the few examples of sockets using hexagonal male drive tangs, a design previously explored by the short-lived Edgar C. Guthard Company with their Billmont "Master Wrench" Sets.

We have an example of an H & G socket set and will prepare it for display.


Elgin Tool & Socket Company

The Elgin Tool & Socket Company operated in Elgin, Illinois during the late 19th century, and was best known as the original maker of the "Elgin" adjustable alligator wrench. In 1899 production of the Elgin wrench was assumed by the Star Manufacturing Company.


Elgin Adjustable Alligator Wrench

[Elgin Adjustable Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 112. Elgin Adjustable Alligator Wrench, ca. Late 1890s to Early 1900s.

Fig. 112 shows an Elgin adjustable alligator wrench, stamped "The Elgin" and "Pat. June 8, '97" on the handle.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is polished nickel, with some losses due to rust.

The patent date refers to patent 584,019, filed by H.A. Smith in 1896 and issued on the noted date.


Enderes Tools

Enderes Logo
Enderes Logo from 1918 Trademark

Enderes Tools was founded in 1896 in Littleport, Iowa by Ernst Enderes as a maker of nippers, pliers, and chisels. The company moved to Albert Lea, Minnesota in 1910 in a merger with the Albert Lea Machinery Company. The company's earliest tools were 14 inch nippers, staple-pulling pliers, and cold chisels.

The company continues in business today as a maker of chisels, punches, mason's tools, farrier's tools, and other tools. Interested readers can find more information at the EnderesTools web site.


Patents

Enderes Tools: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
796,305 E. Enderes01/16/190508/01/1905 Wrench
983,271 E. Enderes07/21/190902/07/1911 Pipe Wrench

Trademarks

Enderes Tools: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
Enderes Logo 121,609 05/09/1917 10/27/1917 05/14/1918 Used for pliers, chisels, punches, knives.
Enderes [logo] 368,228 03/20/1917 05/26/1938 06/13/1939 Used for pliers, chisels, punches, other tools.

Erie Tool Works

The Erie Tool Works operated in Erie, Pennsylvania as a maker of pipe wrenches, adjustable wrenches, vises, and other tools. Although we haven't found the exact date, the company appears to have been in business by 1905, and was incorporated in 1907.

[1907 Notice of Incorporation for Erie Tool Works]
Fig. 113A. 1907 Notice of Incorporation for Erie Tool Works. [External Link]

Fig. 113A shows a notice of incorporation for Erie Tool Works, as published on page 204 of the February 9, 1907 issue of The Industrial World.

The text lists the capital stock as $30,000 and the treasurer as Frank W. Bacon.

[1907 Notice of Charter for Erie Tool Works]
Fig. 113B. 1907 Notice of Charter for Erie Tool Works. [External Link]

Fig. 113B shows a notice of the corporate charter for Erie Tool Works, as published on page 59 of the 1907 List of Charters of Corporations for Pennsylvania.

[1905 Advertisement for Erie Tool Works Pipe Vise]
Fig. 113. 1905 Advertisement for Erie Tool Works Pipe Vise. [External Link]

The text notes that the company was incorporated on January 31, 1907.

Pipe vises appears to have been one of the company's first products.

The advertisement in Fig. 113 illustrates the company's malleable iron pipe vise, as published on page 8 of the August 26, 1905 issue of Domestic Engineering.

[1915 Notice for Erie Tool Works Catalog]
Fig. 114A. 1915 Notice for Erie Tool Works Catalog. [External Link]

Fig. 114A shows a notice for catalog No. 7 from Erie Tool Works, as published on page 986 of the April 29, 1915 issue of The Iron Age.

[1921 Advertisement for Erie Tool Works]
Fig. 114. 1921 Advertisement for Erie Tool Works. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 114 was published on page 58 of the August, 1921 issue of American Exporter.

A condensed catalog from 1932 shows the company's products as pipe vises, pipe threading dies, "Pipemaster" and Stillson-pattern pipe wrenches, and pipe cutters in Saunders and Barnes patterns.


Trademarks

In 1954 Erie Tool Works filed a trademark application for "PIPEMASTER", published on March 8, 1955 with serial 664,743. The first use date was claimed as January 27, 1932.


Erie Tool Works No. 10 Automatic Pipe Wrench

[Erie Tool Works No. 10 Automatic Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 115. Erie Tool Works No. 10 Automatic Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 115 shows an Erie Tool Works No. 10 automatic pipe wrench, marked with "Erie Tool Works" and "Erie, PA U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Auto No 10" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 10.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


J.H. Faw "Fawsco" Company

[1922 Advertisement for Fawsco Wrenches]
Fig. 116. 1922 Advertisement for Fawsco Wrenches. [External Link]

The J.H. Faw Company was a maker of automotive tools and accessories operating in New York City from around 1915 until about 1930. The company sold products under the "Fawsco" brand and is believed to have been founded by Julian H. Faw, an inventor with several tool patents.

The advertisement in Fig. 116 was published on page 64 of the August, 1922 edition of Automobile Dealer and Repairer and shows a selection of Fawsco wrenches.


Fawsco 1085 5/8 Offset Socket Wrench

[Fawsco 1085 5/8 Offset Socket Wrench]
Fig. 117. Fawsco 1085 5/8 Offset Socket Wrench, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail.

Fig. 117 shows a Fawsco 1085 5/8 offset socket wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the model and fractional size.

The overall length is 10.2 inches. The finish is plain steel with some of the original black paint.

The socket size and distinctive offset in the shank suggest that this wrench was probably designed for servicing the infamous fourth connecting rod of the Model T Ford.


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