Alloy Artifacts  

Ridge Tool Company

Table of Contents


The Ridge Tool Company is best known as the maker of Ridgid brand pipe wrenches. Ridgid pipe wrenches were based on patents by William O. Thewes and were the first pipe wrenches to dethrone the well-known Stillson design as the "king" of pipe wrenches.

Company History

Ridge Tool was founded as the Ridge Tool Machinery Company in 1922 in Elyria, Ohio.

[1922 Notice for Ridge Tool]
Fig. 1. 1922 Notice for Ridge Tool Machinery Company. [External Link]

Fig. 1 shows a notice announcing the incorporation of the Ridge Tool Machinery Company in Elyria, Ohio, as published on page 212 of the April, 1922 issue of Forging & Heat Treating.

The founders were noted as Barbara Thews[sic], Wm. Thews[sic], A.G. Smith, C.H. Ingwer, and Jennie S. Ingwer, with $50,000 capital stock.

The company's early products included pipe wrenches based on patents by William O. Thewes, as well as related pipe tools.

By 1923 the company was using "Ridgid" as a brand for their tools, which was later registered as trademark #419,190.

[1927 Ad for Ridgid Wrenches]
Fig. 2. 1927 Ad for Ridgid Wrenches and Pipe Tools. [External Link]

Fig. 2 shows an advertisement for Ridgid wrenches and pipe tools, as published on page 81 of the September, 1927 issue of American Exporter.

The illustration shows a pipe wrench, pipe cutters, and a post-mounted pipe vise.

Later Operations

The company continues in operation today as the Ridgid division of Emerson Electric, and interested readers can find more information on their About page.


Ridge Tool Company: Issued Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
1,552,091 W.O. Thewes04/23/192409/01/1925 Offset pipe Wrench
1,565,338 W.O. Thewes09/20/192312/15/1925 Pipe Wrench
1,727,623 W.O. Thewes11/11/192809/10/1929 Pipe Wrench
Ridgid Pipe Wrench
2,076,830 W.O. Thewes10/26/193404/13/1937 Stillson-Pattern Pipe Wrench
Pipe Wrench
2,745,670 A.J. Janik10/19/195305/15/1956 Chucking Tool


Ridge Tool Company: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
Ridgid 419,190 06/01/1923 07/09/1945 02/05/1946 Used for pipe wrenches and other tools
Ritco 718,909 10/31/1929 11/01/1960 07/25/1961  

References and Resources

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

Selected Tools

Ridgid 10 Inch Pipe Wrench

[Ridgid 10 Inch Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 3. Ridgid 10 Inch Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail.

Fig. 3 shows a Ridgid 10 inch pipe wrench, marked "Trade Mark" and "Pat. 1727623", with "The Ridge Tool Co." and "Elyria, O. U.S.A." on the back side.

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

This wrench is covered by patent 1,727,623, issued to W.O. Thewes in 1929.

Ridgid 6 Inch Pipe Wrench

[Ridgid 6 Inch Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 4. Ridgid 6 Inch Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail.

Fig. 4 shows a somewhat later Ridgid 6 inch pipe wrench, marked with the Ridgid trademark and "Pat. 1727623", with "Ridge Tool Co." and "Elyria, O. U.S.A." on the back side.

The overall length is 5.5 inches closed and 6.5 inches fully extended. The finish is the familiar red paint.

Ridge Tool Company 8 Inch Stillson-Pattern Pipe Wrench

Some readers may be surprised to learn that Ridge Tool also made Stillson-pattern pipe wrenches. The next figure shows an example, not marked with the company name but identified via the patent marking.

[Ridge Tool 8 Inch Stillson-Pattern Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 5. Ridge Tool 8 Inch Stillson-Pattern Pipe Wrench, ca. 1937+.

Fig. 5 shows a Stillson-pattern 8 inch pipe wrench, marked "Improved Stillson" and "Made in U.S.A" in forged raised letters, and with a "Pat. No. 2076830" patent notice.

The overall length is 7.0 inches closed and 8.1 inches fully extended, and the finish is red paint.

The patent notice refers to patent 2,076,830, issued to W.O. Thewes in 1937 with assignment to Ridge Tool.

Ritco 1033C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench

Ridge Tool is best known for their Ridgid trademark, but the company also sold tools under the "Ritco" brand.

[Ritco 1033C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 6. Ritco 1033C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail.

Fig. 6 shows a Ritco 1033C 15/16x1 open-end wrench, stamped with the Ritco logo on the face.

The shank is marked with "Chrome Alloy" forged into the front, with "Made in U.S.A" forged into the back side.

The overall length is 10.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

Ritco "Chrome Alloy" 7/16 Combination Wrench

[Ritco 7/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 7. Ritco "Chrome Alloy" 7/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Back Side and Side View.

Fig. 7 shows a Ritco 7/16 combination wrench, marked with "Ritco" forged into a depression on the face, with "Chrome Alloy" forged into the shank.

The back side is marked with the fractional size stamped on the face, with "Made in U.S.A" and the fractional size forged into the shank. The shank also has a code "7712" visible at the right.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

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