Alloy Artifacts  

Alloy Steel Wrenches

Barcalo probably began producing alloy steel tools in the late 1920s. The earliest production used (and was marked for) chrome-molybdenum steel, but probably by the mid 1930s some chrome-vanadium tools were being made.

By the mid to late 1940s most of the tool production had shifted to a "special analysis" steel, most likely a carbon-manganese alloy similar to Indestro's "Select Steel" or Danielson's "Controlled Steel". In this post-war era the only tools retaining a high-grade alloy were the combination wrenches, which used AISI 8645 steel branded "Barcaloy".


Open-End Wrenches

Barcalo produced a line of open-end wrenches with depressed panels and forged-in size markings, with chrome molybdenum alloy steel noted in the markings.


Barcalo 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, Chrome-Molybdenum Steel

[Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 27. Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

In Fig. 27 we see a Barcalo 19/32x11/16 wrench with depressed panels for the markings, marked "Barcalo Buffalo USA" with "Forged Chrome Molybdenum" on the reverse.

The overall length is 5.5 inches. Most of the finish has been lost, but the original finish may have been nickel plating.


Barcalo 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench, Chrome-Molybdenum Steel

[Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 28. Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 28 shows another example of the depressed panel design in alloy steel, a Barcalo 5/8x3/4 wrench marked "Barcalo-Buffalo-USA", with "Forged-Chrome-Molybdenum" on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.7 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


Barcalo 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench, Chrome-Molybdenum

[Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 29. Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 29 shows a Barcalo 15/16x1 open-end wrench, marked with "Barcalo Buffalo USA" and the sizes forged into depressed panels, with "Forged-Chrome-Molybdenum" in the reverse panel.

The overall length is 10.6 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


Barcalo 1725B 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench with Raised Panels

[Barcalo 1725B 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 30. Barcalo 1725B 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 30 shows a Barcalo 1725B 1/2x9/16 open-end wrench with raised panels, stamped with the model number on the face and "Barcalo-Buffalo-U.S.A." on the raised panel.

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

The plain finish and lack of alloy markings suggest production during the war years.


Barcalo 28S 5/8x25/32 Open-End Wrench with Raised Panels

[Barcalo 28S 5/8x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 31. Barcalo 28S 5/8x25/32 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 31 shows a Barcalo 28S 5/8x25/32 open-end wrench with raised panels, stamped "Barcalo-Buffalo-U.S.A." on the raised panel, with the model number on the reverse face.

The overall length is 7.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The plain finish and lack of alloy markings suggest production during the war years.


Tappet Wrenches

By the late 1920s or early 1930s Barcalo was offering tappet wrenches with asymmetrical offsets, a style that became popular in the 1920s. Tappet wrenches in this style were usually purchased in pairs, so that each opening size was available in either offset angle.

This type of tappet wrench was listed in the Barcalo catalog No. 22 of 1934, although at that time the finish options were cadmium plating or sand-blasted steel, instead of the nickel plating found on the examples here.

Examples of tappet wrenches in this asymmetrical style from other manufacturers can be seen in the sections on Blue Point Tappet Wrenches and Bonney "CV" Tappet Wrenches.


Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 7/16x17/32 Tappet Wrench

[Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 7/16x17/32 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 32. Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 7/16x17/32 Tappet Wrench, ca. Late 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 32 shows a Barcalo 7/16x17/32 asymmetrical-offset tappet wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Barcalo Buffalo" on the shank. In this model the smaller opening (7/16) is at the straight (non-offset) end of the wrench.

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


Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrenches

The next two figures show a matched pair of asymmetrical-offset tappet wrenches in the 1/2x9/16 size.

[Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 33. Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench, ca. Late 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 33 shows a Barcalo 1/2x9/16 asymmetrical-offset tappet wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Barcalo Buffalo" on the shank. In this model the smaller opening (1/2) is at the straight (non-offset) end of the wrench.

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

[Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 34. Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench, ca. Late 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 34 shows a Barcalo 1/2x9/16 asymmetrical-offset tappet wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Barcalo Buffalo" on the shank. In this model the larger opening (9/16) is at the straight (non-offset) end of the wrench.

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


Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench

The next two figures show a pair of asymmetrical-offset tappet wrenches in the 5/8x11/16 size, with minor differences in marking.

[Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 35. Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench, ca. Late 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 35 shows a Barcalo 5/8x11/16 asymmetrical-offset tappet wrench, stamped "Barcalo Buffalo, U.S.A." and "Chrome Molybdenum" on the shank. In this model the smaller opening (5/8) is at the straight (non-offset) end of the wrench.

The overall length is 8.2 inches. The finish is nickel plate, now worn through in several areas.

[Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 36. Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench, ca. Late 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 36 shows a Barcalo 5/8x11/16 asymmetrical-offset tappet wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Barcalo Buffalo" on the shank. In this model the larger opening (11/16) is at the straight (non-offset) end of the wrench.

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


Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrenches

The next two figures show a pair of asymmetrical-offset tappet wrenches in the 3/4x7/8 size.

[Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 37. Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrench, ca. Late 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 37 shows a Barcalo 3/4x7/8 asymmetrical-offset tappet wrench in the straight-small version, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Barcalo Buffalo" on the shank. In this model the smaller opening (3/4) is at the straight (non-offset) end of the wrench.

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

[Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 38. Barcalo Chrome-Molybdenum 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrench, ca. Late 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 38 shows a Barcalo 3/4x7/8 asymmetrical-offset tappet wrench in the straight-big version, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Barcalo Buffalo" on the shank. In this model the bigger opening (7/8) is at the straight (non-offset) end of the wrench.

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

Barcalo [5528] 8-Piece Chrome-Molybdenum Tappet Wrench Set

[Barcalo 5528 8-Piece Chrome-Molybdenum Tappet Wrench Set]
Fig. 39. Barcalo [5528] 8-Piece Chrome-Molybdenum Tappet Wrench Set, ca. 1932-1934.

Fig. 39 shows a Barcalo [5528] 8-piece chrome-molybdenum tappet wrench set in a patented holder, marked "Barcalo" with "Drop Forged" and "Hardened" on a decal, and stamped "Pat. Nov. 3, 1931" and "No. 1830577" on the cover. (There's also a stamped "Barcalo Buffalo" marking under the decal.)

The metal holder measures 8.0 inches long and 3.1 inches wide, and is finished in red enamel.

The wrenches in the set (one is missing) were acquired separately and are shown in the previous figures. Each wrench is stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Barcalo Buffalo" on the shank and is finished in nickel plating.

The metal holder is marked for patent #1,830,577, filed by C. Vallone in 1928 and issued on November 3, 1931.

The nicely-designed metal holder for this set was obviously intended specifically for this type of asymmetric-offset tappet wrenches. For example, the bottom of the case has four dimples acting as feet to hold it above the surface, so that the heads of the straight end of the wrenches can sink into the slots on the right side.

Some readers may recall that the patent for the Barcalo 6-Piece Open-End Wrench Set shown in another figure is the same as the patent marked on this set, although the two holders look rather different. What apparently happened was that after developing the customized holder for the tappet wrenches, Barcalo wanted to call it a "patented holder" right away and so marked the earlier patent.

Barcalo then applied for a patent on the new design, and the real patent for this tappet wrench holder was issued as #1,967,458 on July 24, 1934. Since the new patent would presumably have been marked after the issue date, we can estimate the date for this holder as 1932-1934.

Barcalo's 1934 catalog illustrates this holder with 8 cadmium-finished tappet wrenches as the model 5528 set, with a $1.45 wholesale price. (The nickel plated wrenches in our photograph are probably from a few years earlier.)


Box-End Wrenches

By 1934 Barcalo was offering chrome-molybdenum box-end wrenches in a deep-offset style.


"Forged Vanadium" 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Barcalo Forged Vanadium 5/8x11/16 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 40. Barcalo "Forged Vanadium" 5/8x11/16 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Mid 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 40 shows a Barcalo 5/8x11/16 offset box-end wrench with raised panels, stamped "Barcalo-Buffalo-U.S.A." on the front panel, with "Forged Vanadium" and the fractional sizes stamped on the reverse. (The inset has been left in its natural orientation.)

The overall length is 10.3 inches, and the finish is nickel plating with polished panels and ends.

A forged-in code "O" can be seen on the reverse shank, to the left of the panel.


"Forged Vanadium" 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Barcalo Forged Vanadium 15/16x1 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 41. Barcalo "Forged Vanadium" 15/16x1 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Mid 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 41 shows a Barcalo 15/16x1 offset box-end wrench with raised panels, stamped "Barcalo-Buffalo-U.S.A." on the front panel (lower inset, rotated for readability), with "Forged Vanadium" and the fractional sizes on the reverse panel. The reverse shank also has a forged-in "B" code visible at the right.

The overall length is 14.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel. (A former owner has added the black paint.)


3/8x7/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench

[Barcalo 3/8x7/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 42. Barcalo 3/8x7/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 42 shows a Barcalo 3/8x7/16 short offset box wrench with raised panels, stamped "Barcalo Buffalo U.S.A." on the panel, with "Forged" and the fractional sizes on the reverse. (The lower inset has been reverse for readability.)

The overall length is 4.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The shank has a forged-in marking resembling a reversed "E" at the right of the panel, which together with the rough finish suggests production during the wartime years. (Snap-On used an "E" date code specifically for 1944.)


5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench

[Barcalo 5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 43. Barcalo 5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 43 shows a Barcalo 5/8x11/16 short offset box-end wrench with raised panels, marked "-Barcalo-Buffalo-U.S.A." with "Forged" on the reverse.

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

The wrench has a forged-in marking like a reversed "E", which together with the rough finish suggests production during the wartime years. (Snap-On used an "E" date code specifically for 1944.)


9/16x5/8 Halfmoon Box-End Wrench

[Barcalo 9/16x5/8 Halfmoon Box Wrench]
Fig. 44. Barcalo 9/16x5/8 Halfmoon Box Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 44 shows a Barcalo 9/16x5/8 halfmoon box-end wrench, marked with "Starter-Mainfold" and the fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "Barcalo-Buffalo-U.S.A." stamped on the reverse panel. (The inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Combination Wrenches

Barcalo probably began production of combination wrenches in the mid to late 1930s. The wrenches were designed with a relatively wide rectangular shank and raised panels, and the known examples used chrome vanadium steel in the earlier years. ("Barcaloy" steel was used in the post-war era.) Based on the experience with other tool companies, specific alloy markings were probably eliminated during the war years.

Barcalo's combination wrenches were among their highest quality tools. Many examples of these have been found with extensive wear to the finish and other signs of hard use, but almost invariably the box and open ends are still in good shape.


Chrome Vanadium 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Barcalo Chrome Vanadium 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 45. Barcalo Chrome Vanadium 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. Mid 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 45 shows a Barcalo 5/8 combination wrench, stamped "Chrome Vanadium Steel" on the raised panel, with "Barcalo-Buffalo-U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.0 inches. The original finish was nickel plating, but most has been lost due to wear and rust.


Chrome Vanadium 3/4 Combination Wrench

[Barcalo Chrome Vanadium 3/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 46. Barcalo Chrome Vanadium 3/4 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. Mid 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 46 shows a Barcalo 3/4 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped "Barcalo-Buffalo-U.S.A." on the front panel with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" on the reverse.

The overall length is 9.0 inches. The original finish was nickel plating, but most has been lost due to wear and rust.


Chrome Vanadium 15/16 Combination Wrench

[Barcalo 15/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 47. Barcalo 15/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. Mid 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 47 shows a Barcalo 15/16 combination wrench with raised panels, marked "Chrome Vanadium Steel" with "Barcalo-Buffalo-U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 12.0 inches. The finish is nickel plating with polished faces.


Post-War Wrenches

By the mid to late 1940s most of Barcalo's tool production had shifted to a "special analysis" steel, most likely a carbon-manganese alloy similar to Indestro's "Select Steel" or Danielson's "Controlled Steel". In this post-war era only the combination wrenches and a few heavy-duty box wrenches continued to be made of high-grade alloy steel.

In the post-war period the earlier raised panel design was replaced by a simple flat shank, based on illustrations in a catalog from the late 1940s.

Barcalo continued to offer multiple finish options, with most tools available in either nickel or chrome plating.


Open-End Wrenches


Five Piece Open-End Wrench Set in Tool Roll

Barcalo was well known as a maker of wrenches for tool kits, including kits for military vehicles. The next several figures will show a set of wrenches from a green canvas tool roll, believed to have been supplied for a military vehicle.

[Barcalo 5-Piece Open-End Wrench Set in Tool Roll]
Fig. 48. Barcalo 5-Piece Open-End Wrench Set in Tool Roll, ca. mid 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 48 shows a set of five wrenches in a green canvas tool roll, with each wrench stamped "Barcalo-Buffalo-USA" on the shank.

The wrench sizes are, from left to right, 3/8x7/16, 1/2x9/16, 19/32x11/16, 5/8x3/4, and 13/16x7/8.

The individual wrenches are shown in the next several figures.


Barcalo 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll

[Barcalo 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll]
Fig. 49. Barcalo 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll, ca. Mid 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 49 shows a Barcalo 3/8x7/16 open-end wrench from the tool roll, stamped "Barcalo-Buffalo-USA" on the shank.

The overall length is 4.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Barcalo 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll

[Barcalo 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll]
Fig. 50. Barcalo 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll, ca. Mid 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 50 shows a Barcalo 1/2x9/16 open-end wrench from the tool roll, stamped "Barcalo-Buffalo-USA" on the shank.

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


Barcalo 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll

[Barcalo 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll]
Fig. 51. Barcalo 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll, ca. Mid 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 51 shows a Barcalo 19/32x11/16 open-end wrench from the tool roll, stamped "Barcalo-Buffalo-USA" on the shank.

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Barcalo 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll

[Barcalo 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll]
Fig. 52. Barcalo 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll, ca. Mid 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 52 shows a Barcalo 5/8x3/4 open-end wrench from the tool roll, stamped "Barcalo-Buffalo-USA" on the shank.

The overall length is 7.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Barcalo 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll

[Barcalo 7/16x1/2 Panelled Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 53. Barcalo 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench from Tool Roll, ca. Mid 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 53 shows the largest wrench from the tool roll, a Barcalo 13/16x7/8 wrench stamped "Barcalo-Buffalo-USA" on the shank.

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


Box-End Wrenches


Combination Wrenches

In the post-war era Barcalo adopted the brand "Barcaloy" for their high-grade alloy tools, which to our current knowledge was used only for combination wrenches. A catalog from the late 1940s identifies Barcaloy as nickel chrome molybdenum steel, and actually gives the specific alloy as SAE 8645 steel. (Herbrand frequently used the very similar AISI 8642 alloy.)


Barcaloy 3/8 Combination Wrench

[Barcalo Barcaloy 3/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 54. Barcalo "Barcaloy" 3/8 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945 to Early 1950s.

Fig. 54 shows the smallest of the combination wrench series, a Barcalo 3/8 combination wrench. The raised panel is stamped with the size and "-Barcalo-Buffalo-USA-" on the front, with "-Forged-Barcaloy-Steel-" on the reverse panel. Note the use of a script for the "Barcaloy" marking, although other examples may show block letters instead.

The overall length is 4.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Barcaloy 9/16 Combination Wrench

[Barcalo Barcaloy 9/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 55. Barcalo "Barcaloy" 9/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945 to Early 1950s.

Fig. 55 shows a Barcalo 9/16 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped with the fractional size and "Barcalo Buffalo USA" on the front, with "Forged Barcaloy Steel" using a script for "Barcaloy" on the reverse.

The overall length is 6.2 inches. The finish is nickel plating with a yellowish tint, with highly polished faces and panels.


Barcaloy 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Barcalo Barcaloy 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 56. Barcalo "Barcaloy" 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945 to Early 1950s.

Fig. 56 shows a Barcalo 5/8 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped with the fractional size and "Barcalo Buffalo USA" on the front, with "Forged Barcaloy Steel" using a script for "Barcaloy" on the reverse.

The overall length is 6.9 inches. The finish is nickel plating with a yellowish tint, with highly polished faces and panels.


Barcaloy 11/16 Combination Wrench

[Barcalo Barcaloy 11/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 57. Barcalo "Barcaloy" 11/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945 to Early 1950s.

Fig. 57 shows a Barcalo 11/16 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped with the fractional size and "Barcalo Buffalo USA" on the front, with "Forged Barcaloy Steel" using a script for "Barcaloy" on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.7 inches. The finish is nickel plating with a yellowish tint, with highly polished faces and panels.


Barcaloy 3/4 Combination Wrench

[Barcalo Barcaloy 3/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 58. Barcalo "Barcaloy" 3/4 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945 to Early 1950s.

Fig. 58 shows a Barcalo 3/4 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped with the size and "-Barcalo-Buffalo-USA-". The reverse panel is stamped "-Forged-Barcaloy-Steel-" using a script for "Barcaloy", although other examples in this series may show block letters instead.

The overall length is 9.4 inches. The finish is a heavy plating with a yellowish tint, probably nickel or nickel and chrome.


Later Barcaloy 5/8 Combination Wrench with Size Field

A later variation on the Barcalo combination wrench design placed the wrench size into a depressed box on the open end. This production detail is also found on transitional designs with "scooped" box ends based on a mid 1950s design patent, as noted in a later section. Production of the forged-in size field probably began in the early to mid 1950s.

Another slightly later marking change was the replacement of the "Barcaloy" script font with a block letter version. Based on the known examples, all examples of block letter Barcaloy also have the forged-in size field.

[Barcalo Barcaloy 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 59. Barcalo "Barcaloy" 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. Early to Mid 1950s.

An example of this style with the size field is shown in Fig. 59, a Barcalo "Barcaloy" 5/8 combination wrench with the size field forged into the face. The front panel is stamped with "-Barcalo-Buffalo-USA-" and the size, and the reverse panel is stamped "-Forged-Barcaloy-Steel-" using a script for "Barcaloy".

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is a heavy plating with a yellowish tint.


Specialty Tools


Ford Utility Multi-Wrench

[Barcalo Ford Utility Multi-Wrench]
Fig. 60. Barcalo Ford Utility Multi-Wrench, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 60 shows a Barcalo specialty multi-wrench intended for Ford service applications, stamped "Barcalo-Buffalo, U.S.A." and "Patent No. 1,870,612" on the shank.

The overall length is 10.3 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The tool is marked for patent #1,870,612, issued in 1932 to A. DeSchebeko.

This wrench is listed in the 1934 catalog No. 22 as a "Ford Utility Wrench", and the description notes that it fits 15 different service parts on Ford models "A", "B", and V-8, including spark plugs, brakes, and drain plugs. The openings are, from left to right, 5/8 square, 7/16 double-square, 7/8 hex, 3/8 square plug, and 1-1/8 hex.


5/8x3/4 Open+Box Wrench

Barcalo was one of several manufacturers to produce open+box wrenches, a style popular for automotive tool kits.

[Barcalo 5/8x3/4 Open+Box Wrench]
Fig. 61. Barcalo 5/8x3/4 Open+Box Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

An example of this style is shown in Fig. 61, a Barcalo 5/8x3/4 open+box wrench marked "Forged U.S.A." with "Barcalo Buffalo" on the reverse. The fractional sizes are forged into the face and shank, as was typical for this style.

The overall length is 6.5 inches.

Other makers of this style include Auto-Kit and Indestro, and examples can be seen in the Auto-Kit No. 100 Open+Box Wrench and Indestro Chicago Open+Box Wrench.


Later Barcalo Production

Barcalo tools may occasionally be found with features markedly different from the more common styles, including "scooped" box ends, raised/depressed panels, and even model numbers! (Most of the Barcalo's production wasn't marked with a model number.) At first it seemed very puzzling that the company would suddenly start producing tools of such different styles or features. However, with an understanding of the 1963 acquisition of Barcalo by Crescent Niagara, some of these new features are now thought to represent the company's post-acquisition production.

By 1964 Crescent Niagara had acquired the tool operations of Crescent, Billings & Spencer, Barcalo, and Bridgeport Hardware. Each of these individual companies had substantial design and manufacturing capabilities, and Crescent Niagara seems to have experimented with combining some of the tool designs from the various operations.

At least one of the new features was definitely developed in-house by Barcalo. In the mid 1950s Barcalo developed a distinctive style of tapered or "scooped" box end for wrenches, with the box end broached at an angle, instead of forging the box at an offset or bending the shank. This style was registered as design patent #D177,636, filed by W.R. Meier et al in 1955 and issued in 1956. The design patent also illustrates the wrench shank with raised panels of different lengths. (The patent reference was actually found in a Crescent catalog from 1967, as Crescent continued using the distinctive design after their acquisition of Barcalo.)

Barcalo's new design was definitely in production by 1958, based on notices in the January and December, 1958 issues of Popular Science. Barcalo referred to the new design as their "Taper Design Wrenches" and a photograph can be seen on page 164 of the December, 1958 issue of Popular Science.

In this section we'll look at examples of this late Barcalo production.


Transitional 9/16 Combination Wrench with Size Field

In a previous figure we saw a combination wrench with a depressed size field on the open end, and later figures will show a modern style with a distinctive angled broaching of the box end, but without the size field. Positioned between these two styles, the present figure will show a transitional combination wrench, with both the size field and the angled broaching of the box end.

[Barcalo Transitional 9/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 62. Barcalo Transitional 9/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1958 to Early 1960s.

Fig. 62 shows a Barcalo 9/16 combination wrench in a less common transitional form, marked "Barcalo" on the raised panel with the size forged into the open face, and with "Forged U.S.A." on the reverse (depressed) panel.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces and ends.

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench, illustrating the distinctive design of the box end. Note that the top of the box end is flat and flush with the shank, with the bottom protruding at an angle. Other manufacturers typically forge the box end at an angle, but Barcalo has forged it flat and then broached it at an angle.

The distinctive design for the box end is covered by design patent #D177,636, filed by W.R. Meier et al in 1955 and issued in 1956. The patent reference was actually found in a Crescent catalog from 1967, as Crescent had continued using the wrench design after their acquisition of Barcalo.

This example shows some apparent experimentation at Barcalo as they worked to develop the new wrench designs. In addition to the noted mix of features, the wrench has an odd combination of one raised and one depressed panel.


Transitional 3/4 Combination Wrench with Size Field

[Barcalo Transitional 3/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 63. Barcalo Transitional 3/4 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1958 to Early 1960s.

Fig. 63 shows another transitional example, a Barcalo 3/4 combination wrench with the size forged into the open face. The shank is stamped "Barcalo" on the raised panel, with "Forged USA" forged into the reverse (depressed) panel.

The overall length is 11.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces and ends.

The distinctive design for the box end is covered by design patent #D177,636, filed by W.R. Meier et al in 1955 and issued in 1956.


Transitional 13/16 Combination Wrench with Size Field

[Barcalo Transitional 13/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 64. Barcalo Transitional 13/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1958 to Early 1960s.

Fig. 64 shows a Barcalo 13/16 combination wrench in a transitional style, marked with the size forged into the open face. The shank is stamped "Barcalo" on the raised panel, with "Forged USA" forged into the reverse (depressed) panel.

The overall length is 10.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces and ends.

The distinctive design for the box end is covered by design patent #D177,636, filed by W.R. Meier et al in 1955 and issued in 1956.


Transitional 7/8 Combination Wrench with Size Field

[Barcalo Transitional 7/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 65. Barcalo Transitional 7/8 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1958 to Early 1960s.

Fig. 65 shows a Barcalo 7/8 combination wrench in a transitional style, marked with the size forged into the open face. The shank is stamped "Barcalo" on the raised panel, with "Forged USA" forged into the reverse (depressed) panel.

The overall length is 11.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces and ends.

The distinctive design for the box end is covered by design patent #D177,636, filed by W.R. Meier et al in 1955 and issued in 1956.


Transitional 9/16 Combination Wrench with Raised Panels

[Barcalo Transitional 9/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 66. Barcalo Transitional 9/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. Early 1960s.

Fig. 66 shows a Barcalo 9/16 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped with "Barcalo" and the fractional size on the shank.

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

The distinctive design for the box end is covered by design patent #D177,636, filed by W.R. Meier et al in 1955 and issued in 1956.


Barcalo 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench with Panels and Size Fields

[Barcalo 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench with Geometric Panels]
Fig. 67. Barcalo 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench with Panels and Size Fields, with Inset for Reverse, ca. Late 1950s to Early 1960s.

Fig. 67 shows a later style of Barcalo open-end wrench, a Barcalo 13/16x7/8 wrench with raised and depressed panels and size fields. The wrench is stamped "Barcalo" on the front (raised) panel, with "Forged U.S.A." forged into the reverse (depressed) panel. The fractional sizes are forged into small panels on the front faces.

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

With its raised and depressed panels and size fields on the faces, this open-end wrench matches the style of the "Taper Design" combination wrenches of the late 1950s and early 1960s, providing a reasonable estimate for the manufacturing date.


Barcalo 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench with Geometric Panels

[Barcalo 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench with Geometric Panels]
Fig. 68. Barcalo 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench with Geometric Panels.

Fig. 68 shows yet another style of Barcalo open-end wrench, a Barcalo 19/32x11/16 wrench with geometric panels. The wrench is marked with "Barcalo-Buffalo" and "USA" forged into the shank, with the sizes forged into panels near the heads.

The overall length is 6.1 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Post-Crescent Production

In its later years Barcalo produced wrenches with features not found in their earlier production. In particular, the tools were assigned model numbers instead of just size markings, and wrench handles were designed with full-width raised panels, sometimes with asymmetrical positions. These features are thought to represent the production after the acquisition by Crescent Niagara in 1963.


Barcalo TC08 1/4 Combination Wrench

[Barcalo TC08 1/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 69. Barcalo TC08 1/4 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1963+.

Fig 41A shows a Barcalo TC08 1/4 combination wrench with polished raised panels, stamped "Barcalo" with the fractional sizes on the front panel, with the model number and "Forged-Alloy-U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 3.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished panels and faces.


Barcalo TC22 11/16 Combination Wrench

[Barcalo TC22 11/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 70. Barcalo TC22 11/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1963+.

Fig. 70 shows a Barcalo TC22 11/16 combination wrench with polished raised panels, stamped "Barcalo" with the fractional sizes on the front panel, with the model number and "Forged-Alloy-U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished panels and faces.

The distinctive design for the box end is covered by the 1956 design patent #D177,636.


Barcalo TC24 3/4 Combination Wrench

[Barcalo TC24 3/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 71. Barcalo TC24 3/4 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1963+.

Fig. 71 shows another example of the later production, a Barcalo TC24 3/4 combination wrench with polished raised panels. The shank is stamped with the Barcalo name and size on the front panel, with "Forged-Alloy-U.S.A." on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 9.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished panels and faces.

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench, illustrating the distinctive "scooped" box end described by the 1956 design patent #D177,636.


Barcalo TC26 13/16 Combination Wrench

[Barcalo TC26 13/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 72. Barcalo TC26 13/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1963+.

Fig. 72 shows a Barcalo TC26 13/16 combination wrench with polished raised panels, stamped "Barcalo" with the fractional sizes on the front panel, with the model number and "Forged-Alloy-U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 10.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished panels and faces.

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench, illustrating the distinctive "scooped" box end described by the 1956 design patent #D177,636. Another quirky feature of this example is that the top and bottom panels have different lengths.


Barcalo TS0810 Short Box-End Wrench

[Barcalo TS0810 1/4x5/16 Short Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 73. Barcalo TS0810 1/4x5/16 Short Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1963+.

Fig. 73 shows a Barcalo TS0810 1/4x5/16 short box wrench with polished raised panels. The shank is stamped "Barcalo" with the fractional sizes on the front panel, with the model number and "Forged-Alloy-U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished panels.


Barcalo TS1214 Short Box-End Wrench

[Barcalo TS1214 3/8x7/16 Short Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 74. Barcalo TS1214 3/8x7/16 Short Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1963+.

Fig. 74 shows a Barcalo TS1214 3/8x7/16 short box wrench with polished raised panels. The shank is stamped "Barcalo" with the fractional sizes on the front panel, with the model number and "Forged-Alloy-U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished panels.


Barcalo TB1820 Box-End Wrench

[Barcalo TB1820 9/16x5/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 75. Barcalo TB1820 9/16x5/8 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1963+.

Fig. 75 shows an example of a box-end wrench with "scooped" box ends, a Barcalo TB1820 9/16x5/8 box wrench with polished raised panels. The shank is stamped "Barcalo" with the fractional sizes on the front panel, with the model number and "Forged-Alloy-U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 9.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plate with polished panels.


Barcalo TB3032 Box-End Wrench

[Barcalo TB3032 15/16x1 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 76. Barcalo TB3032 15/16x1 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1963+.

Fig. 76 shows a Barcalo TB3032 15/16x1 box wrench with polished raised panels, stamped "Barcalo" with the fractional sizes on the front panel, with the model number and "Forged-Alloy-U.S.A." on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 15.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished panels.


Contract Production

Barcalo was active as a contract manufacturer for automobile tool kits and as a supplier to retail stores such as Western Auto and Montgomery Ward. Barcalo also produced tools for New Britain Machine and possibly other tool companies.


None Better 4950 Offset Box-End Wrench

The next two figures show examples of Barcalo's production for the "None Better" brand. (See our article on New Britain Machine for more information.)

[None Better 4950 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 77. None Better 4950 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Late 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 77 shows a None Better 4950 5/8x11/16 offset box wrench with raised panels on the shank, stamped with the None Better name on one side with "Forged Vanadium" on the reverse. (The inset appears in its natural orientation.)

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

The design and construction of this wrench are virtually identical to an example from Barcalo, shown as the Barcalo "Forged Vanadium" Offset Box Wrench in an earlier section.


None Better 4739 Combination Wrench

[None Better 4739 7/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 78. None Better 4739 7/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. Late 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 78 shows a None Better 4739 7/16 combination wrench with raised panels on the shank, marked "Chrome Vanadium Steel" on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 5.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

This wrench closely resembles the combination wrenches produced by Barcalo during the mid 1930s to early 1940s. See for example the Barcalo "Chrome Vanadium" 3/4 Combination Wrench in an earlier section.


Western Auto Open-End Wrench

Our next figure shows an example of Barcalo's production for Western Auto Supply, a major retailer of automotive supplies and tools.

[Western Auto 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 79. Western Auto 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 79 shows a Western Auto 1/2x9/16 open-end wrench of obvious Barcalo production, marked "Western Auto Stores" on the distinctive convex shank.

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

This tool can be recognized as Barcalo production by its distinctive convex shank, a style described by design patent #D111,094, issued in 1938.


Wards Lakeside 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench

Montgomery Ward sold tools under a number of brand names, including Master Quality, Lakeside, Eclipse, Riverside, and Powr-Kraft. Our next figure shows an example of a Wards Lakeside tool of apparent Barcalo production.

[Wards Lakeside 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 80. Wards Lakeside 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 80 shows a Wards Lakeside 5/8x3/4 open-end wrench, stamped "Wards Lakeside" on the shank.

The overall length is 7.6 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

This wrench resembles the Barcalo open-end wrench production such as the Barcalo Open-End Wrench, although the identification is not certain.


Wards Eclipse 4732 3/4x7/8 Open+Box Wrench

This next figure shows an example of Barcalo production for the Wards Eclipse tool line.

[Wards Eclipse 3/4x7/8 Open-Box Wrench]
Fig. 81. Wards Eclipse 4732 3/4x7/8 Open-Box Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 81 shows a Wards Eclipse 4732 3/4x7/8 open+box wrench, marked "Forged USA" in forged-in raised letters.

The overall length is 7.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The style of this wrench closely resembles the Barcalo Open-Box Wrench shown earlier.


Powr-Kraft 3/4 Combination Wrench

This next figure shows an example of Barcalo production for the Wards "Powr-Kraft" brand.

[Powr-Kraft 3/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 82. Powr-Kraft 3/4 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1958 to Early 1960s.

Fig. 82 shows a Powr-Kraft 3/4 combination wrench with raised and depressed panels, stamped "Powr-Kraft" on the front (raised) panel, with "Forged U.S.A." forged into the reverse (depressed) panel.

The overall length is 9.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


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