Alloy Artifacts  

Lounging With Barcalo

[Logo from Barcalo Trademark #158,332]
Detail from the 1922 Barcalo Trademark #158,332

Table of Contents

Introduction

It's not every day that a tool company is acquired by a furniture maker, but such was the case with Barcalo Manufacturing of Buffalo. Barcalo was a diversified maker of metal products including metal beds, tools, and later the Barcalounger line of reclining furniture. Eventually the fame of the Barcalounger chairs eclipsed the tool operations, and Barcalo was purchased by a furniture maker in North Carolina.

In this page we'll look at some of the company's "Barcalo-Buffalo" line of hand tools.

Company History

Barcalo Manufacturing was founded in Buffalo, New York by Edward J. Barcalo, and was in operation by 1896, based on a later catalog that noted "Quality Products Since 1896". Barcalo's early products included metal bed frames and cribs, and patent records going back to 1903 show the development of products of this type.

The company apparently met with some success, as the company founder was able to build an impressive Georgian Revival House [External Link] around 1907, a well-known landmark to those interested in the architecture of the Buffalo area. A 1907 issue of The Foundry printed a brief notice that Barcalo Manufacturing was adding a foundry of size 95 by 135 feet to its existing facility, and also planned a three-story addition to the factory.

An example of Barcalo's metal bed frames can be seen in an advertisement for Barcalo Beds [External Link] on page 80 of the 1911 issue of The American Magazine.

Acquisition of Charles E. Hall Company

In 1914 Barcalo Manufacturing acquired the operations of the Charles E. Hall Company, a maker of tools such as adjustable wrenches and pliers.

[1908 Advertisement for Charles E. Hall Company]
Fig. 0A. 1908 Advertisement for Charles E. Hall Company. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 0A shows examples of the Charles E. Hall Company's tools, published on page 303 of the April, 1908 edition of the Automobile Trade Directory.

The acquisition of Charles E. Hall was presumably Barcalo's introduction to the tool industry, and in the following years the company's engineers divided their development efforts between tools and the older line of beds and cribs.

By 1919 Barcalo was producing socket sets in addition to wrenches and pliers, based on the products listed in the application for the "Barcalo B Buffalo" trademark.

[1921 Notice for Barcalo Model N Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 0B. 1921 Notice for Barcalo Model N Adjustable Wrench. [External Link]

By 1921 Barcalo had introduced its Model N adjustable wrench, as seen in the notice in Fig. 0B, published on page 27 of the February, 1921 issue of The Automobile Journal.

The model N wrench had a distinctive handle design described by patent D59,786, and the teardrop-shaped hanging hole makes the wrench easy to identify. Barcalo's closely related patent D57,153 was filed later but issued sooner, and appears to add cross-hatched knurling to the edge of the wrench.

[1921 Advertisement for Barcalo Pliers]
Fig. 0C. 1921 Advertisement for Barcalo Pliers. [External Link]

Barcalo tools were sold through distributors to hardware stores, as the advertisement in Fig. 0C from page 60 of the July, 1921 National Hardware Bulletin illustrates.

Note the "Barcalo B Buffalo" logo in the lower right corner, issued as trademark #158,322 in 1922.

The application for the "Barcalo" trademark #403,467 provides some information on first-use dates for different tools. According to the application, Barcalo was using the trademark for creepers by November of 1923, for ball-peen hammers by October of 1927, and for chisels and punches by June of 1934. (Note however that Barcalo filed a tool holder patent #1,822,070 in 1928, and the illustration shows it holding chisels and punches. Perhaps the earlier chisels were using a different trademark.)

Barcalo was also a supplier to high-volume retailers such as Western Auto Supply and Montgomery Ward. A 1937 Western Auto catalog shows an illustration of an adjustable wrench marked "Barcalo Mfg", as part of Western Auto's "Master Quality" intermediate line of tools. Though not shown in the illustrations, Barcalo may have supplied a variety of open-end and box-end wrenches to Western Auto. Barcalo also produced tools under contract for various automobile tool kits.

Barcalo also supplied tools to New Britain Machine in the 1930s for the "None Better" brand, based on the close similarity of the tools.

The Reclining Chair Patent

In 1940 the company licensed patents to make a new type of reclining chair, and after some refinements the chairs became the trademark Barcalounger line. The Barcalounger chairs proved to be very successful, and over time the company became more famous for its furniture than its tools. In the early 1960s Barcalo was purchased by a furniture maker and the Barcalounger operations were moved to Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Acquisition by Crescent Niagara

When Barcalo was acquired by the furniture company, the company's tool operations were sold to Crescent Niagara, a company formed a few years previously to acquire Crescent Tools. (See our article on Crescent Tool History for more information.) Shortly after its formation Crescent Niagara went on to acquire other tool companies, including Billings & Spencer, Barcalo, and Bridgeport Hardware.

The combined company continued to produce the various tool lines for some years, and in fact sometimes combined designs from one company with brands and trademarks from other acquisitions. One will occasionally find a wrench with a Barcalo-like design marked with a Crescent logo and bearing the Life-Time (Billings) trademark.

Crescent Niagara was eventually acquired by Cooper Industries, and most of the tool brands (except for Crescent) were eventually discontinued.


Patents

Barcalo Manufacturing was very active in product design and development, and received numerous patents for its efforts. The earlier patents (beginnning in 1903) were related to bed frames and adjustable cribs, but later patents covered tool designs and wrench holders.

Barcalo Manufacturing: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
719,685 E.J. Barcalo & C. Vallone09/11/190202/03/1903 Bed Spring
Assignment to Barcalo & Boll Mfg.
733,772 C. Vallone04/06/190307/14/1903 Bed Bottom
793,251 C. Vallone10/03/190406/27/1905 Spring Bed Bottom
845,384 C. Vallone10/23/190302/26/1907 Sliding-Side Folding Crib
857,850 C. Vallone02/07/190706/25/1907 Corner Fastening for Bed Frames
958,316 C. Vallone et al03/20/190905/17/1910 Miter Joint for Tubes
988,052 C. Vallone12/11/190903/28/1911 Support for Hinged Member
1,052,863 C. Vallone et al02/21/191102/11/1913 Apparatus for Heating Tubes
1,072,278 C. Vallone07/22/191209/02/1913 Connecting Device for Bed Frames
1,231,675 C. Vallone11/08/191307/03/1917 Holding Device for Cribs
D57,153 L.A Safford11/26/192002/22/1921 Handle for Adjustable Wrench
D59,786 L.A Safford10/17/191911/22/1921 Handle for Adjustable Wrench
Barcalo [N8] Adjustable Wrench
1,729,640 C. Vallone08/11/192510/01/1929 Adjustable Wrench
1,822,070 C. Vallone09/18/192809/08/1931 Tool Holder
1,830,577 C. Vallone02/23/192811/03/1931 Wrench Holder
Barcalo 6-Piece Open-End Wrench Set
1,870,612 A. DeSchebeko03/17/193008/09/1932 Multi-Wrench
Barcalo Multi Wrench
1,908,938 C. Vallone09/18/192805/16/1933 Socket Wrench Holder
1,917,409 C. Vallone03/27/193107/11/1933 Tool Holder
1,938,233 C. Vallone et al05/11/193112/05/1933 Broaching Machine
1,967,458 C. Vallone09/30/193307/24/1934 Wrench Holder
Barcalo 8-Piece Tappet Wrench Set
D111,094 J.M. Vallone06/19/193708/30/1938 Design for Wrench Handle
Barcalo Convex Open-End Wrench
2,217,779 J.M. Vallone01/25/193610/15/1940 Glider or Swinging Couch
2,681,099 J.M. Vallone12/07/195106/15/1954 Adjustable Lounge Chair
D177,636 W.R. Meier et al11/23/195505/08/1956 Design for Wrench
Barcalo Late-Design Combination Wrench
D192,449 E.H. Shore08/02/196103/20/1962 Slip-Joint Pliers

Trademarks

Barcalo Manufacturing made use of a number of trademarks in its business, but for some reason no registrations have been found in the USPTO trademarks database (TESS) under the name "Barcalo". A more extensive search for documents has turned up a few registered trademarks, and more will probably be found with additional searching.

Barcalo used the "Barcaloy" mark as an informal trademark for its later alloy-steel tools, particularly combination wrenches. This mark was in use by the late 1940s or earlier.

Barcalo Manufacturing: Trademarks Issued
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
Barcalo-Buffalo 146,429 08/28/190803/02/1921 09/06/1921 Used for furniture and upholstery.
MATT-REST 153,403 05/15/192109/06/1921 03/21/1922 Used for mattresses. Renewed in 1942
Barcalo B Buffalo 158,332 01/01/191903/02/1921 08/29/1922 "Barcalo B Buffalo" logo.
Used for wrenches, pliers, and socket-wrench sets.
Barcalo 403,467 09/01/191310/24/1942 09/28/1943 Used for wrenches, pliers, other tools

Tool Identification

Barcalo tools marked as the company's own production are generally easy to identify, as these typically have stamped or forged-in markings of some variant of "-Barcalo-Buffalo-U.S.A." or just "Barcalo Buffalo".

However, tools made as contract production may be difficult to attribute to Barcalo, unless certain distinctive design features can be identified. For example, designs such as the "convex handle" (patent D111,094) and tapered box ends (patent D177,636) are helpful for identification.


Manufacturing Dates

Barcalo did not mark their tools with a date code, and it is therefore difficult to estimate the manufacturing date with any precision. Estimates for manufacturing dates must be made on the basis of tool design, markings, patents, catalog listings, and other such factors.

The fact that Barcalo commonly offered multiple finish options for its tools further compounds the difficulty of estimating manufacturing dates.

The following factors may be helpful in estimating the manufacturing date for a tool.


References and Resources

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

Barcalo Manufacturing is mentioned briefly in American Wrench Makers 1830-1930, 2nd Edition by Kenneth Cope (Astragal Press, 2002), referred to as AWM2e in the text. AWM2e reprints an advertisement stating that the Charles E. Hall business has been acquired by Barcalo Manufacturing.


Catalog Resources

Currently we have only limited catalog resources for Barcalo, consisting of catalog No. 22 from around 1934, a line card (e.g. for hardware stores) from about 1947, and catalog No. 29 from about 1948.

Catalog No. 22 (undated, but acquired with price list No. 27 from 1934) lists pliers, adjustable wrenches, a selection of chisels and punches, open-end wrenches in both carbon and alloy steel, chrome-molybdenum tappet wrenches, and chrome-molybdenum box-end wrenches. Open-end and tappet wrenches were available in sets in patented wrench holders.

The 1947 line card shows a selection of wrenches and pliers for automotive or general service applications. The front of the card states "Manufacturing Quality Products Since 1896", providing a reference for the founding date of Barcalo Manufacturing.

Industrial Distributors

Barcalo tools were sold through some industrial distributors and by at least one high-volume retailer, Western Auto Supply.


Charles E. Hall Company Tools

Using published notices and advertisements we've been able to piece together a brief history of the Charles E. Hall Company, the company acquired by Barcalo Manufacturing in 1914. A notice on page 151 of the July 25, 1907 issue of The Automobile describes an automobile carburetor made by the Charles E. Hall Company, and notes that they were the successors to the Union Manufacturing and Specialty Company. A notice on page 1002 of the November, 1907 edition of Hardware Dealers' Magazine mentions that the Charles E. Hall Company had released a booklet describing their products, which included drop-forged wrenches, pliers, and bicycle chains.

Following up on the connection to Union Manufacturing, a notice in the December, 1900 issue of Carpentry and Building describes and illustrates the "Union Tool Grinder", a foot-powered grinder made by Union Manufacturing. The company address is given as 20 Breckenridge Street in Buffalo. Another notice on page 28 of the June 29, 1901 issue of The Age of Steel announces a 1901 catalog from Union Manufacturing, and mentions products including a "Union Grinder", a jeweler's lathe, machinist's screwdrivers, and other tools.

[1908 Advertisement for Charles E. Hall Company]
Fig. 1A. 1908 Advertisement for Charles E. Hall Company. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 1A, published on page 10 of the May 25, 1908 issue of Hardware, illustrates various tools made by Charles E. Hall, including a "Union Foot Power Grinder" at the right. This ad shows that Charles E. Hall continued to make some its predecessor's products.

From these notices and advertisements we can conclude that the Charles E. Hall Company was making tools by 1907 or earlier, and that their products included such items as S-Shaped wrenches, auto wrenches, pliers, and grinders, in addition to automobile carburetors.

Published notices from the Patent Office show that Charles E. Hall received at least one patent for an automobile carburetor, with assignment to the Charles E. Hall Company.

By 1908 or 1909 the Charles E. Hall Company had been acquired by the Crosby Company, a manufacturer of metal stampings with a large modern factory. This acquisition is noted on page 834 of the April 1, 1909 edition of The Motor World in an article about the Crosby Company, which mentions that the Hall company operations would soon be moved into the Crosby factory. The Charles E. Hall Company apparently continued to operate under its own name afterwards.

[1910 Advertisement for Charles E. Hall Company]
Fig. 1B. 1910 Advertisement for Charles E. Hall Company. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 1B from the June 1910 Hardware Dealers' Magazine shows some of the tools produced by the Charles E. Hall company. The illustration shows a bicycle wrench, auto wrench, combination pliers ("Plyers"), and tin snips.

Note that the corners of the illustration show a design with an "H" in a shield, a company logo that sometimes appears on the tools.

In this section we'll look at some examples of the tools produced by the Charles E. Hall Company.


Hall No. 10 Bicycle Wrench

[Hall No. 10 Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 1C. Hall No. 10 Bicycle Wrench, ca. 1907-1914.

Fig. 1C shows a Hall No. 10 bicycle wrench, marked "Charles E. Hall Co." and "Buffalo, N.Y. U.S.A." with the H-Shield logo. (The logo is shown in the inset, as it's covered by the movable jaw in the photograph.)

The overall length is 4.8 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


Hall No. 14 Bicycle Wrench

The next figure continues with another example of the Charles E. Hall Company production, a bicycle wrench of somewhat different design.

[Hall No. 14 Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 2. Hall No. 14 Bicycle Wrench, ca. 1907-1914.

Fig. 2 shows a Hall No. 14 bicycle wrench, marked "Charles E. Hall Co." and "Buffalo, N.Y. U.S.A." with the H-Shield logo.

The overall length is 4.2 inches retracted and 5.8 inches fully extended. The original finish appears to have been nickel plating, but most has been lost due to wear.


Hall 9 Inch Auto Wrench

[Hall 9 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 3. Hall 9 Inch Auto Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1907-1914.

Fig. 3 shows a Hall 9 inch auto wrench, stamped "Charles E. Hall Company" and "Buffalo, N.Y. U.S.A." on the fixed jaw.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with some losses due to wear.


Adjustable Wrenches and Pliers

Barcalo's earliest tools included adjustable wrenches and pliers, as these were among the products made by the Charles E. Hall company.


Adjustable Wrenches

Adjustable wrenches of the "auto wrench" style were among the products made by the Hall company.

By around 1920 Barcalo had developed their own version of a Crescent-style adjustable wrench, referred to as the Model N wrench in advertisements and catalogs. These wrenches can be recognized by the distinctive handle design with two oval panels on the handle and a dart-shaped hole in the end. The design is described by patent #D59,786, filed by L.A. Safford in 1919 and issued in 1921. The Model N wrenches remained in production until at least the early 1940s.


Barcalo 9 Inch Auto Wrench

[Barcalo 9 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 4. Barcalo 9 Inch Auto Wrench.

Fig. 4 shows a Barcalo 9 inch auto wrench, marked on the shank with "Barcalo-Buffalo" and "Made in USA" plus "Drop-Forged", all in forged raised letters.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Early [N8] 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Barcalo 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 5. Barcalo [N8] 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 5 shows an early Barcalo 8 inch adjustable wrench with a distinctive handle design, marked with "U.S.A." and "Barcalo-Buffalo" forged into the panelled shank, with "8 Inch" and "Drop-Forged" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.0 inches. The finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint in the handle panels.

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench. Note the relatively thick head, measured at 0.51 inches and typical of early carbon steel adjustable wrenches. Note also the relatively rough finish of the wrench, which has left the parting line of the forging dies clearly visible.

The wrench has a distinctive design with two oval panels on the handle and a dart-shaped hole in the end. This style was registered as design patent #D59,786, filed by L.A. Safford in 1919 and issued in 1921. Barcalo produced wrenches of this style beginning around 1920 and continuing at least into the early 1940s.


Early [N12] 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Barcalo 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 6. Barcalo [N12] 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 6 shows an early Barcalo 12 inch adjustable wrench with a distinctive handle design, marked with "12 Inch" and "Barcalo-Buffalo" forged into the shank, with "Made in U.S.A." and "Drop Forged" on the reverse.

The overall length is 12.2 inches and the maximum opening is 1.6 inches. The finish is plain steel with polished faces.

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench. Note the relatively thick head, measured at 0.81 inches and typical of early carbon steel adjustable wrenches. Note also the relatively rough finish of the wrench, which has left the parting line of the forging dies clearly visible. (There are even a few sharp remnants of the trimming operation.)


N6 6 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Barcalo N6 6 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 7. Barcalo N6 6 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Late 1920s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 7 shows a somewhat later Barcalo N6 6 inch adjustable wrench in the distinctive panelled design, marked "Drop Forged" and "Barcalo" in forged raised letters, with "Model - N6" and "Buffalo U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 6.2 inches, with a maximum opening of 0.6 inches and a head thickness of 0.49 inches. The finish is polished steel.

The wrench has a distinctive design with two oval panels on the handle and a dart-shaped hole in the end. This design was registered as patent #D59,786, filed by L.A. Safford in 1919 and issued in 1921.

Wrenches in this style were illustrated in the 1934 Barcalo catalog, in both standard and thin models, the latter being of vanadium steel. The relatively thick head of this example suggests a standard (non-alloy) model.


Barcalo 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Barcalo 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 8. Barcalo 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 8 shows a later Barcalo 4 inch adjustable wrench in a more conventional Crescent-style design. The wrench is marked with "Buffalo-Barcalo" and "Made in USA" forged into the shank, with "4 In" and "Drop-Forged-Steel" on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.4 inches.


Pliers

Pliers were among the products made by the Hall company, and Barcalo continue to produce a number of models of pliers.


Barcalo 10 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers

[Barcalo 10 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 9. Barcalo 10 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 9 shows a pair of Barcalo 10 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped "Barcalo Buffalo" and "U.S.A." on the handle.

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

The inset provides a side view of the pliers to illustrate the cross-hatched diamond gripping pattern on the handles. The pattern appears to have been applied by a knurling process rather than as a secondary forging, as traces of the parting line from the primary forging can be seen.


Barcalo 7 Inch Slip-Joint Universal Pliers

[Barcalo 7 Inch Slip-Joint Universal Pliers]
Fig. 10. Barcalo 7 Inch Slip-Joint Universal Pliers, with Inset for Handle Pattern.

Fig. 10 shows a pair of Barcalo 7 inch slip-joint universal pliers, stamped "Barcalo Buffalo" and "U.S.A." on the handle.

The overall length is 7.1 inches.

The "universal" style of pliers was a variant of the combination style, incorporating one flat jaw and one with rounded gripping surfaces. In addition, these pliers include a wire-cutting slot between the jaws, and one handle has a screwdriver tip.

Barcalo 6 Inch Lineman's Pliers

[Barcalo 6 Inch Lineman's Pliers]
Fig. 11. Barcalo 6 Inch Lineman's Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 11 at the left shows a pair of Barcalo 6 inch lineman's pliers, marked "Barcalo Buffalo" around the pivot with "U.S.A." across the center.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

This style of lineman's pliers was listed in the 1934 Barcalo catalog No. 22. Three sizes were available, 6-1/4, 7-1/4, and 8-1/2 inch nominal lengths.


Barcalo Battery Pliers

[Barcalo Battery Pliers]
Fig. 12. Barcalo Battery Pliers, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 12 shows a pair of Barcalo battery pliers, stamped "Barcalo Buffalo" and "U.S.A." on one handle, with "Drop Forged" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Barcalo 7 Inch Waterpump Pliers

[Barcalo 7 Inch Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 13. Barcalo 7 Inch Waterpump Pliers.

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


Carbon-Steel Tools

Barcalo was probably producing carbon-steel open-end wrenches by the 1920s, if not earlier. Their early design had depressed panels with forged-in markings, with a small depressed panel for the fractional size at each end.

Barcalo offered several different finish options for its open-end wrenches. The options listed in the 1934 catalog were black rust-proof, cadmium plating, and satin nickel plating with polished ends, and additional options may have been available at other times.


Barcalo 5/16x13/32 Open-End Wrench from 6-Piece Set

[Barcalo 5/16x13/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 14. Barcalo 5/16x13/32 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1931-1933.

Fig. 14 shows a Barcalo 5/16x13/32 wrench with depressed panels for the markings and sizes, marked with "Barcalo Buffalo USA" forged into the front panel, with "Drop Forged" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 3.4 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

This is the smallest wrench from the [4706R] 6-piece wrench set shown in a later figure. The details of the patented holder for the set have allowed an unusually precise estimate of the manufacturing date for the wrenches.


Barcalo 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench

[Barcalo 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 15. Barcalo 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1920s to Late 1930s.

Fig. 15 shows a Barcalo 19/32x11/16 wrench with depressed panels for the markings and sizes, marked with "Barcalo Buffalo USA" forged into the front panel, with "Drop Forged" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 5.9 inches, and the finish is nickel plate.


Barcalo 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench

[Barcalo 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 16. Barcalo 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s to Late 1930s.

Fig. 16 shows a Barcalo 5/8x3/4 open-end wrench with depressed panels for the markings and sizes, marked with "Barcalo Buffalo USA" forged into the front panel, with "Drop Forged" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 6.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.

The size markings are difficult to read but appear to be forged as "5-8" and "3-4", which may indicate that this is an early model.


Barcalo 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench from 6-Piece Set

[Barcalo 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 17. Barcalo 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1931-1933.

Fig. 17 shows a Barcalo 25/32x7/8 open-end wrench with depressed panels for the markings and sizes, marked with "Barcalo Buffalo USA" forged into the front panel, with "Drop Forged" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

This is the largest wrench from the [4706R] 6-piece wrench set shown in a later figure. The details of the patented holder for the set have allowed an unusually precise estimate of the manufacturing date for the wrenches.


Barcalo 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench

[Barcalo 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 18. Barcalo 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1920s to Late 1930s.

Fig. 18 shows a Barcalo 15/16x1 open-end wrench with depressed panels for the markings and sizes, marked with "Barcalo Buffalo USA" forged into the front panel, with "Drop Forged" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is nickel plate.


Barcalo [4706R] 6-Piece Open-End Wrench Set

[Barcalo 6-Piece Open-End Wrench Set]
Fig. 19. Barcalo [4706R] 6-Piece Open-End Wrench Set, with Insets for Top and Detail View, ca. 1931-1933.

Fig. 19 shows a set of six Barcalo open-end wrenches in a patented metal holder, stamped with "Barcalo Buffalo USA" and "Pat. Nov. 3-31 1830577" on the front of the holder.

The wrench sizes are 5/16x13/32, 3/8x7/16, 1/2x9/16, 19/32x11/16, 5/8x3/4, and 25/32x7/8. The wrenches are in the same style as the previous several figures, with "Barcalo Buffalo USA" forged into a depressed panel on the front, and with "Drop Forged" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse panels. The finish on the wrenches is cadmium plating.

The overall length is 7.9 inches and the height is 3.3 inches. The metal holder retains most of its original red paint.

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

This set was offered in Barcalo's catalog No. 22 of 1934, and the red enamel holder with cadmium plated wrenches identify it as model 4706R. The metal holder was slightly more advanced by that time though, with corrugations on the cover to keep each wrench in place. (The catalog did note the same patent number however.) The simpler holder suggests a likely 1931-1933 manufacturing date for this set.

The 1934 catalog offered similar sets with 5 or 6 wrenches and with different wrench size options, as well as a number of finish options. The wholesale price for this set was $0.46 in 1934.


19/32x11/16 "Convex" Open-End Wrench

In 1938 Barcalo received design patent #D111,094 for an open-end wrench design with a distinctive convex shank. This new design appears to have replaced the older depressed-panel carbon-steel wrenches.

These wrenches proved to be quite popular and thus are easy to find (and easy to spot) among older tools. As was the case with the earlier open-end wrenches, Barcalo offered the convex wrenches in multiple finish options. A 1940s price list noted the finishes as black rust-proof, cadmium plating, nickel plating with polished faces, and "steel gray" with polished faces and panels.

Wrenches of this style were no longer listed in a catalog from the late 1940s, so we can estimate their production dates as ranging from 1937 (when the patent was filed) to the mid 1940s. Barcalo may have continued producing these as contract production after the 1940s.

The next several figures show examples of the convex wrenches with various finish options.

[Barcalo 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 20. Barcalo 19/32x11/16 "Convex" Open-End Wrench, ca. 1937-1945.

Fig. 20 shows a Barcalo 19/32x11/16 open-end wrench with a distinctive convex handle, marked "Forged in U.S.A." with the Barcalo name embedded.

The overall length is 6.5 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating. Note that the panel and faces have been left with a rough forged surface.

The distinctive shape of this wrench was registered as design patent #D111,094 in 1938.


25/32x7/8 "Convex" Open-End Wrench

[Barcalo 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 21. Barcalo 25/32x7/8 "Convex" Open-End Wrench, ca. 1937-1945.

Fig. 21 shows a Barcalo 25/32x7/8 open-end wrench with a distinctive convex handle, marked "Forged in U.S.A." with the Barcalo name embedded.

The overall length is 8.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel. The wrench appears to have been polished originally, but is now pitted due to rust.

The distinctive shape of this wrench was registered as design patent #D111,094 in 1938.


15/16x1 "Convex" Open-End Wrench

[Barcalo 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 22. Barcalo 15/16x1 "Convex" Open-End Wrench, ca. 1937-1945.

Fig. 22 shows a Barcalo 15/16x1 open-end wrench with a distinctive convex handle, marked "Forged in U.S.A." with the Barcalo name embedded.

The overall length is 9.4 inches.

More commonly these wrenches are seen with a plain finish, but for this example the finish is nickel plating, now worn through in several areas.

The distinctive shape of this wrench was registered as design patent #D111,094 in 1938.


Barcalo 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench with Depressed Panel

[Barcalo 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 23. Barcalo 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench with Depressed Panel.

Fig. 23 shows a Barcalo 7/16x1/2 open-end wrench with a depressed panel, marked with "Barcalo Buffalo USA" forged into the panel. The shank also has a forged-in code "A" visible at the right.


Barcalo 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench with Depressed Panel

[Barcalo 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 24. Barcalo 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench with Depressed Panel.

Fig. 24 shows a Barcalo 9/16x5/8 open-end wrench with a depressed panel, marked with "Barcalo Buffalo USA" forged into the panel. The reverse also has a forged-in code "A" (not shown).

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


Other Carbon-Steel Tools

In addition to open-end wrenches, Barcalo produced a number of other carbon-steel tools, including such items as head bolt wrenches, tack pullers, and socket sets.


Spark Plug and Head Bolt Wrench

[Barcalo Spark Plug and Head Bolt Wrench]
Fig. 25. Barcalo 5/8x15/16 Spark Plug and Head Bolt Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 25 shows a Barcalo 5/8 box and 15/16 open-end wrench, a popular style widely used for Ford Model T spark plug and head bolt service. The panelled shank is marked with "Barcalo-Buffalo-U.S.A." forged into the front, with "Drop-Forged-Steel" and a B-Circle logo on the reverse.

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


Tack Puller

[Barcalo Tack Puller]
Fig. 26. Barcalo Tack Puller, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 26 shows a Barcalo tack puller, marked with "Drop Forged" forged into the handle, with "Barcalo Buffalo USA" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


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