Alloy Artifacts  

Abegg & Reinhold ("Varco")

Table of Contents


Abegg & Reinhold was founded in 1908 in Los Angeles by Walter Abegg and Baldwin Reinhold, and became Varco when Edgar Vuilleumiere joined as an investor. The founders had studied metallurgy in Switzerland and the company became a pioneer in the heat-treating of alloy steel.

Company History

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 ad 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.

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].


Abegg & Reinhold: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
1,365,071 W.A. Abegg08/18/191901/11/1921 Socket Wrench
1,398,054 W.A. Abegg07/16/191911/22/1921 Socket Wrench


[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.

Abegg & Reinhold: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
VARCO 182,374 01/01/1914 11/26/1923 04/08/1924 For machinery and tools.
Serial 188,876. Published January 29, 1924.

References and Resources

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

Catalog Resources

Currently we do not have any catalogs for Varco.

Industrial Distributors

Varco tools were available from some industrial distributors. We'll add references as time permits.

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.

Alloy Artifacts Home Text and Photographs Copyright © 2005-2023 Alloy Artifacts Site Index