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A&E Manufacturing Company

[Langline Logo from 1955 Trademark]
Langline Logo from 1955 Trademark.

Table of Contents

Introduction

The A&E Manufacturing Company is a maker of ratcheting box wrenches, founded in 1932 by Daniel M. Lang and operating in Racine, Wisconsin.


Company History

The A&E Manufacturing Company was founded in 1932 by Daniel M. Lang in Racine, Wisconsin. The company's initial products were thickness gauges and honing stones, and one of the company's earliest customers was Snap-on Tools. (At the time Daniel Lang was working as an engineer for Snap-on.)

In the late 1940s A&E introduced a very successful line of ratcheting box wrenches based on patent #2,500,835, filed by John W. Lang in 1947 and issued in 1950. The Lang design was based on stamped flat steel pieces held together by rivets, providing both sturdy construction and economical production. The success of this design allowed A&E to become the major producer of ratcheting box wrenches. Later patents #4,748,875 and #4,819,521 by John W. Lang describe the construction of offset ratcheting box wrenches.

As a contract manufacturer A&E produces ratcheting box wrenches for many of the major tool companies and brands, including Armstrong, Craftsman, Klein Tools, OTC, Snap-on, and Williams. The company also sells wrenches under its own "Langline" brand, filed as a trademark in 1954 and issued as #613,062 in 1955.

As a side note, as the producer of ratcheting box wrenches for Snap-on, A&E has regularly included Snap-on style date codes on all of their production for several decades, thereby providing a date code for brands that normally don't mark the manufacturing date.

A&E today is a fourth-generation family-run business operating as A&E Incorporated, and interested readers can find more information on A&E History [External Link] at the company's web site.


Patents

Table 1. A&E Manufacturing: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedDescriptionNotes and Examples
2,500,835 J.W. Lang02/17/194703/14/1950Ratchet Wrenches A&E Manufacturing Ratcheting Box Wrench

Trademarks

Table 1. A&E Manufacturing: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo First Use Date Filed Date Issued Registration Notes
11/09/1954 11/23/1954 09/27/1955 613,062 Text inside oval outline.

Tool Identification


References and Resources

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


Catalog Coverage

Currently we have no catalogs for A&E Manufacturing.


Ratcheting Box Wrenches


A&E Manufacturing 3/4x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench

[A&E Manufacturing 3/4x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 1. A&E Manufacturing 3/4x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1947-1950.

Fig. 1 shows an early A&E 3/4x7/8 ratcheting box wrench, stamped "A & E Mfg. Co." and "Racine Wis." with "Made in U.S.A." on the front, with a "Pat. App." patent notice on the reverse.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with some pitting due to rust.

The top inset shows the laminated and riveted construction of the wrench.

The pending status refers to patent #2,500,835, filed by John W. Lang in 1947 and issued in 1950.


Langline (A&E Manufacturing) RBM-1314 13mmx14mm Ratcheting Box Wrench

[Langline RBM-1314 13mmx14mm Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 2. Langline RBM-1314 13mmx14mm Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1981.

Fig. 2 shows an example of A&E's Langline brand, a Langline RBM-1314 13mmx14mm ratcheting box wrench. The wrench is stamped with the Langline oval logo and "Made in U.S.A." on the front, with a "Pat. No. 2,500,835" patent notice and a stylized "1" date code for 1981 on the reverse.

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

The top inset shows the laminated and riveted construction of the wrench.

The patent notice cites patent #2,500,835, filed by John W. Lang in 1947 and issued in 1950.


Armstrong (A&E Manufacturing) 27-602 3/4x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench

This next figure shows an example of A&E's production for Armstrong, with the added benefit of a Snap-on style date code.

[Armstrong 27-602 3/4x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 3. Armstrong 27-602 3/4x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1979.

Fig. 3 shows an Armstrong 27-602 3/4x7/8 ratcheting box wrench, stamped "Armstrong" and "Made in U.S.A." with the Strong-Arm logo on the front, with a "Pat. No. 2,500,835" patent notice and a stylized "9" date code for 1979 on the reverse. (Note that the "9" is reversed, the "theme" for the 1970s in the Snap-on date code system.)

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The top inset shows the laminated and riveted construction of the wrench.

The patent notice cites patent #2,500,835, filed by John W. Lang in 1947 and issued in 1950.


Craftsman (A&E Manufacturing) 42174 14mmx15mm Ratcheting Box Wrench

This next figure shows a later example of A&E's production for the Sears Craftsman brand, complete with a Snap-on style date code.

[Craftsman 42174 14mmx15mm Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 4. Craftsman 42174 14mmx15mm Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 2000.

Fig. 4 shows a Craftsman 42174 14mmx15mm ratcheting box wrench, stamped "Craftsman" and "Made in U.S.A." on the front, with a "Pat. No. 2,500,835" patent notice on the reverse. The reverse is also stamped with a hexagon symbol to the right of the patent notice, which is a stylized "0" date code for 2000 in the Snap-on date code system.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is polished chrome plating.

The top inset shows the laminated and riveted construction of the wrench.

The patent notice cites patent #2,500,835, filed by John W. Lang in 1947 and issued in 1950.


Klein (A&E Manufacturing) 68205 11/16x3/4 Ratcheting Box Wrench

This next figure shows an example of A&E's production for Klein.

[Klein 68205 11/16x3/4 Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 5. Klein 68205 11/16x3/4 Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1988.

Fig. 5 shows a Klein 68205 11/16x3/4 ratcheting box wrench, stamped "Klein Tools, Inc." and "Chi. U.S.A." on the front, with a "Pat. No. 2,500,835" patent notice on the reverse. The reverse is also stamped with a diamond symbol to the right of the patent notice, which is a stylized "8" date code for 1988 in the Snap-on date code system.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is polished chrome plating.

The top inset shows the laminated and riveted construction of the wrench.

The patent notice cites patent #2,500,835, filed by John W. Lang in 1947 and issued in 1950.


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