Alloy Artifacts  

The Billings & Spencer Company


Table of Contents

Introduction

Company History

[1917 Advertisement for Billings Drop Hammer]
1917 Advertisement for Billings & Spencer Drop Hammer [External Link]

Billings & Spencer began in 1869 as the Roper Sporting Arms Company, a partnership of Charles E. Billings and Christopher Spencer. Both founders were notable inventors, and Billings in particular was one of the pioneers of the drop forging process. The company's early products were drop-forgings for the arms and sewing machine industries.

The company was reorganized as the Billings & Spencer Company in 1873, and the company began producing open-end wrenches and other tools shortly after this. Some products were based on designs developed and patented by Charles E. Billings, and the company also licensed designs from other inventors. Adjustable wrenches were a particular specialty during the latter part of the 19th century, and Billings produced many different styles of the smaller "bicycle wrenches", as well as pipe wrenches and tongs, pliers, and fixed wrenches.

By the early 20th century Billings & Spencer had become one of the largest tool makers, in addition to being a dominant force in the drop forging industry. Billings produced the heavy machinery for drop forging itself, and made a business of helping other companies set up their drop forge operations.

In 1915 Billings & Spencer raised additional capital to fund expansion, and the company name was changed to "The Billings & Spencer Company" as part of a reincorporation. An article on page 903 of the October 30, 1915 issue of Automobile Topics entitled Billings & Spencer Capital Increased notes that the capital had been increased to $300,000 and the company reincorporated, with a slightly different name. (The small change in the company name turns out to be useful in estimating manufacturing dates.)

The advertisement at the left from the October, 1917 issue of Automobile Topics shows one of Billings' giant drop hammers, with a selection of other tools in the background.

1920s Operations

In the 1920s Billings began to stumble from its leadership position in the tool industry, as the company was late to recognize the importance of alloy steel in toolmaking. In addition, Billings took a step backwards by introducing a line of heavy forged male-drive sockets, at a time when the rest of the industry was rapidly switching to machined and broached sockets. These miscues made the 1920s a lost decade for Billings from the standpoint of its competitive position, although the company continued to refine the production of its carbon-steel tools.

In later years Billings made some acquisitions to augment its own product lines. The 1939 catalog announced the acquisition of the Bemis & Call company (B&C), an old-line maker of adjustable wrenches and other tools. B&C had previously acquired the rights to the well-known Coes monkey wrenches, and thus both the B&C and Coes product lines were then available through Billings.

In the early 1950s Billings acquired the Peck, Stow & Wilcox (Pexto) company, another old manufacturer that had been a dominant force in the 19th century tool-making.


Later Operations

In 1962 Billings was acquired by the Crescent Niagara corporation, a holding company that had previously purchased Crescent Tools. Crescent Niagara subsequently acquired the tool operations of Barcalo Manufacturing and the Bridgeport Hardware Manufacturing company. The Billings product lines continued in production for some years under Crescent Niagara, but were eventually merged into Crescent's own product lines.

In 1968 Crescent Niagara was in turn acquired by the Cooper Tools conglomerate. Currently we're unsure whether the Billings line remained in production into the Cooper era, or if it had already been discontinued.


Patents

Billings received numerous patents over its many years of operations, and the table below shows only a small subset of the total.

Billings & Spencer: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
212,298 C.E. Billings11/25/187802/18/1879 Adjustable Wrench
Billings 1879 Patent Bicycle Wrench
295,885 H.S. Pullman02/06/188403/25/1884 Pipe Tongs
470,777 C.E. Billings12/18/189103/15/1892Pocket Knife
532,634 C.E. Billings10/19/189401/15/1895 Adjustable Wrench
D26,111 C.E. Billings08/13/189609/29/1896 Design for a Bicycle Wrench
Model 97 Bicycle Wrench
599,379 C.E. Billings10/25/189702/22/1898Adjustable Wrench
669,721 W.H. Bruce12/16/190003/12/1901 Pliers or Pipe Tongs
Model M Pliers
804,351 W.R. Tomlinson04/28/190511/14/1905Adjustable Wrench
881,294 C.E. Billings11/11/190703/10/1908Folding Knife
1,000,878 F.R. Allen12/20/191008/15/1911 Friction Ratchet Wrench
Billings Allen Friction Ratchet
1,662,002 J.H. Dowd12/15/192503/06/1928Pipe Wrench
1,673,761 J.H. Dowd05/03/192606/12/1928Multi-socket Brace Wrench
1,799,622 W.S. Stuart02/15/193004/07/1931 Pipe and Nut Wrench
Billings "Plirench" Pipe and Nut Wrench
1,933,512 W.R. Moore10/01/193010/31/1933Chain Pipe Wrench
1,995,687 C. Schaumberg05/05/193103/26/1935Holder for Wrench Sets
2,138,331 F.P. Ward09/04/193611/29/1938Ratchet Wrench
2,138,332 C.R. Giesel03/07/193811/29/1938 Ratchet Wrench

Trademarks

Billings registered a number of trademarks for its tool-related operations, beginning with the B-Triangle logo, filed as a trademark in 1893 with the first use date noted as 1870. The table below lists the known registered trademarks.

Billings & Spencer: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo First Use Date Filed Date Issued Reg. No. Notes
B [B-Triangle Logo] 09/01/1870 11/18/1893 05/22/1894 24,771 Application signed by Charles E. Billings, President.
B-Triangle Logo 09/01/1870 04/04/1905 11/08/1905 45,068 B-Triangle logo.
LIFE-TIME 04/01/1926 06/29/1928 10/30/1928 248,759 Renewed October 30, 1948.
Billings B [logo] 04/01/1926 10/04/1929 05/20/1930 270,927 "Billings" text narrower at center, with B-Triangle below.
Renewed May 20, 1950.
Vitalloy 10/05/1937 10/19/1937 02/22/1938 354,818 Vitalloy trademark for use on wrenches.
Vitalloy 05/10/1938 06/01/1938 10/11/1938 361,283 Vitalloy trademark for use on pliers and hammers.
BILLINGS 04/01/1926 06/03/1942 11/24/1942 398,858  
BILLINGS 04/01/1926 10/02/1947 08/23/1949 514,096  
Billings [logo] 04/01/1926 01/04/1962 05/28/1963 750,104 "Billings" text narrower at center, but no B-Triangle logo.
Filed by Crescent Niagara Corporation.

Tool Identification

Billings tools are generally easy to identify, and typically are marked with either the company name or the B-Triangle logo, or both. Their well-known triangle logo goes back many years, as it was registered as a trademark in 1905 with a claimed first usage date of 1870.

Billings tools of later production may also be marked one of their other trademarks, "Life-Time" or "Vitalloy". The "Life-Time" trademark was registered in 1926 and appears to have been used to introduce the first line of Billings alloy steel tools. The first known reference to Life-Time in Billings publications comes from a discount sheet for the 1926 36th Edition catalog, which has an entry for "Molybdenum Life-Time Wrenches". The wrenches are listed as being on pages 32A-32H, apparently a supplement to the catalog. (Unfortunately we don't have a 36th Edition catalog, just the discount sheet.)

In later usage the Life-Time mark reappeared to designate a second line of tools, possibly to be sold through other channels. (Billings tools were generally sold through industrial distributors.) The standard Billings catalogs of the 1930s through 1950s don't mention the Life-Time tools, although tools with the Life-Time mark were certainly being made during this period.

The "Vitalloy" trademark was filed by Billings in 1937 and was used specifically to indicate alloy-steel tools. ("Vita" is apparently a continuation of the "Life-Time" theme.) The Vitalloy mark is widely used in the Billings catalog illustrations.


Manufacturing Dates

Billings tools were generally not marked with any system of date codes, so the estimation of manufacturing dates must rely on other factors. Billings made a number of changes to the type and style of markings on tools over its many years of production, and these changes will provide guidelines for manufacturing dates.


Face Markings on Wrenches

The face markings on wrenches provide one very simple guide to the manufacturing date, at least for the tools where such markings are present.

[Billings Earliest Face Markings]
Fig. 1. Billings Earliest Face Markings.

Fig. 1 shows the face markings of an early Billings wrench, believed to be representative of the earliest marking style on Billings open-end and S-shaped wrenches. The stamped markings use a "Typewriter" style font with both upper and lower case, placing "Billings & Spencer Co." on the top line, followed by "Hartford, Conn." with the B-Triangle logo centered below.

This example was taken from a Billings 662 S-shaped wrench shown later in this article. We'll refer to this as the "Earliest Face Marking" in the text.

[Billings Standard Early Face Markings]
Fig. 2. Billings Standard Early Face Markings.

The next variation uses a slanted uppercase font with "The Billings & Spencer Co." split into two lines with the B-Triangle logo at the right, with the text "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." filling the second line.

An example of this logo is illustrated in Fig. 2, taken from a Billings 1568 textile wrench shown later in this article. We'll refer to this as the "Standard Early Face Marking" in the text. (A variant of this marking shortened the company name to the initials "B. & S." so it could fit on small wrenches.)

[Billings Modern Face Markings]
Fig. 3. Billings Modern Face Markings.

In the mid 1920s, Billings simplified its face markings to include only the stylized "Billings" name, plus a B-Triangle logo below bracketed by "Made in U.S.A." (or "Made U.S.A."). Note the distinctive narrowed center of the "Billings" text.

Fig. 3 provides an example of this updated logo, taken from a Billings 1569 textile wrench shown in a later figure. This will be called the "Standard Modern Face Marking" in the text.

We can make estimates of the dates of usage for these three styles of face markings based on information from catalogs and trademark documents. Our only catalog reference for the earliest marking in Fig. 1 is the 1910 Chandler & Farquhar catalog, which shows this marking on open-end wrenches. Notably, this catalog does not offer the familiar Billings 11xx series wrenches, and as a further observation, no 11xx-series wrenches have been found with the earliest face markings. However, many examples of 11xx wrenches have been found with the standard early face markings illustrated in Fig. 2, and these wrenches show several stages of improvements in production and finishing.

We note that the company name in the standard early face markings of Fig. 2 has a leading "THE", which matches the name adopted in Billings' 1915 reincorporation noted earlier in the History section. Thus it's likely that the markings on tools changed as part of the reincorporation, making 1915 a reasonable estimate for the beginning of the standard early face markings. The introduction of the 11xx-series wrenches probably occurred around this same time as well. Although the examples here show only face markings, it's very likely that the 1915 company name change also applied to forged-in markings.

Determining the beginning year for the modern face markings in Fig. 3 is more straightforward. The design of the modern face markings matches the illustration supplied with the application for the Billings #270,927 trademark, which listed 1926 as the first use date. Thus we'll use the 1926 date from the trademark application as the starting year for the modern face markings.

The modern face markings remained in use until the acquisition by Crescent Niagara in 1962. Crescent updated the Billings trademark to remove the B-Triangle logo, and tools produced after 1962 did not have the B-Triangle marking.

The list below summarizes the estimated usage dates for the three marking styles.

We'll update these estimates if better information becomes available.


Vitalloy Trademark

The Vitalloy trademark was introduced in 1937 and was widely used as a marking on Billings wrenches and other tools. This mark serves as a convenient dividing line between earlier and later production of alloy steel tools.


Depressed-Panel Wrench Style

In the mid to late 1930s Billings adopted a distinctive depressed-panel style for most of its wrench models, in particular the double-open "Engineer's" wrenches and the offset box wrenches. The markings were forged into the tool in raised letters, usually with "Vitalloy" and the B-Triangle logo. Examples of this style can be seen in the Billings M-1029 Wrench and Billings 8725B Wrench figures shown below. Based on a review of catalog illustrations, the depressed panel style appears to have been offered first for the open-end wrenches, probably in 1937 with the introduction of the "Vitalloy" trademark. By 1938 the depressed panel style had been extended to the offset box wrenches. (The straight shank box wrenches remained in an oval-shank design.)

The depressed-panel style remained in production until the mid to late 1940s, but by 1948 (or possibly earlier) had been replaced by a style with oval or flat shanks and stamped markings. Based on the current information, we'll estimate the production years for the depressed-panel style as 1937 to 1947.


References and Resources

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


Catalog Coverage

Product information was obtained from a number of Billings & Spencer catalogs, as summarized in the table below.

Billings & Spencer: Catalog Resources
Catalog Year Notes
35th Edition 1923 Printed on heavy paper with spiral binding.
Male-drive sockets listed.
37th Edition 1929 Male-drive sockets still offered
Socket Wrenches and Handle Units 1930 New line of standard (female-drive) sockets and drive tools, produced by Walden.
Sockets in 1 inch hex drive available. Lists 28xx-series single-offset box wrenches.
Also offers golf clubs!
40th Edition 1937 Vitalloy trademark shown on wrenches.
Box-end wrenches available in S- and L-series.
41st Edition 1938  
42nd Edition 1939 Also reprinted in 1944
W-48-2 1948 Wrenches only.
Illustrations of Vitalloy wrenches with Billings on one side of shank.
No. 49 1949  
No. 50 1955 Sockets in 1/4-drive listed
No. 50 1961 Later printing

Industrial Distributors

Billings products were offered through a wide variety of industrial and automotive suppliers, and were even offered by name in some early Sears Roebuck catalogs! The list below shows some of these other references for Billings products.


Early Tools

The earlier tool production by Billings included items such as pipe tongs, pliers, bicycle wrenches and other adjustable wrenches, and open-end wrenches. These tools were all made of drop-forged carbon steel, the dominant technology for such tools.


Bicycle Wrenches

Billings was an early leader in the production of bicycle wrenches, a popular type of tool in the late 19th century.


Early 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench with 1879 Patent

[Billings Early 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 4. Billings Early 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1880 to 1915.

Fig. 4 shows an early Billings 5 inch bicycle wrench, marked "Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn." on the front, with "C.E. Billings" and "Pat. Feb. 18, 1879" on the reverse. (The markings are very worn, and are difficult to read even with a magnifying glass.)

The overall length is 5.0 inches retracted and 6.0 inches fully extended. The finish is nickel plating, now worn away in some areas.

The sliding jaw of the wrench is marked with a ruler graduated in 32nds of an inch, a frequent feature of Billings wrenches of this design.

The patent date corresponds to patent #212,298, issued to C.E. Billings in 1879 and the earliest of his adjustable wrench patents. The patent illustration shows the wrench with an open slot on the reverse side, as is seen in the figure here.


Model A 4 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[Billings Model A 4 Inch Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 5. Billings Model A 4 Inch Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1880 to 1915.

Fig. 5 shows a Billings Model A bicycle wrench, stamped with the B-Triangle logo above "Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn." on the front. The reverse is marked "C.E. Billings" and "Pat'd Feb. 18th, 1879", a reference to patent #212,298.

The overall length is 4.4 inches closed and 5.4 inches fully extended. The finish is nickel plating with losses due to wear and rust.


Model D 6 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[Billings Model D 6 Inch Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 6. Billings Model D 6 Inch Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1880 to 1915.

Fig. 6 shows an early Billings Model D 6 inch bicycle wrench, stamped with the B-Triangle logo above "Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn." on the front. The reverse is marked "C.E. Billings" and "Pat'd Feb. 18th, 1879", a reference to patent #212,298.

The overall length is 6.0 inches closed and 7.5 inches fully extended. The finish is polished steel, with some pitting due to rust.


Model E 7 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[Billings Model E 7 Inch Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 7. Billings Model E 7 Inch Bicycle Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 7 shows a Billings Model E 7 inch bicycle wrench, stamped on the upper jaw with the Billings early face markings.

The overall length is 6.8 inches closed and 8.5 inches fully extended. The finish is plain steel, with some of the original black paint remaining.

The use of the Billings standard early face markings suggests a manufacturing date from approximately 1915 to 1926.


Model 97 Bicycle Wrenches

In 1896 C.E. Billings filed a design patent for a compact bicycle wrench, and the resulting Model 97 wrench became one of the company's best-known products. The model 97 wrench was offered in both plated and painted finishes, and remained in production for many years.

[Billings Model 97 Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 8. Billings Model 97 Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Patent Detail, ca. 1896 to 1915.

Fig. 8 shows a Billings model 97 bicycle wrench, marked "Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn." with the B-Triangle logo.

The overall length is 4.2 inches retracted and 5.7 inches fully extended. The finish is nickel plating, though extensively worn in some areas.

The inset shows the patent notice "Patented Sept. 29, 1896" on the reverse, and the corresponding patent turns out to be #D26,111, a design patent issued to C.E. Billings.

The use of the earliest face markings suggests a production date in 1915 or earlier.

[Billings Model 97 Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 9. Billings Model 97 Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Patent Detail, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 9 shows a later example of the model 97 wrench, marked "Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo.

The overall length is 4.3 inches retracted and 5.7 inches fully extended. The original black paint finish is still present in a few spots, though most has now been worn off.

The use of the standard early face markings suggests a production date in 1915-1926.


Model G 6 Inch Auto Wrench

The next several figures show examples of Billings Model G auto wrenches, a popular model series offered in a range of sizes.

[Billings Model G 6 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 10. Billings Model G 6 Inch Auto Wrench, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 10 at the left shows a Billings Model G 6 inch auto wrench, the smallest model of the series. The movable jaw is stamped "The Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.4 inches. The finish is black paint.

The use of the standard early face markings suggests a production date in 1915-1926.

The 1919 Chandler & Farquhar catalog offered the model G auto wrench with nominal sizes ranging from 6 inches up to 18 inches. The model G was also available with a serrated pipe jaw instead of the flat jaw illustrated here.


Model G 8 Inch Auto Wrench

[Billings Model G 8 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 11. Billings Model G 8 Inch Auto Wrench, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 11 shows a Billings Model G 8 inch auto wrench with a forged steel movable jaw, stamped "The Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo.

The overall length is 7.8 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.2 inches. The finish is black paint.

The use of the standard early face markings suggests a production date in 1915-1926.


Model G 11 Inch Auto Wrench

[Billings Model G 11 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 12. Billings Model G 11 Inch Auto Wrench, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 12 shows a Billings Model G 11 inch auto wrench in a slight different style than the previous example. The markings forged into the handle include the B-Triangle logo and "The Billings & Spencer Co. Hartford, Conn.", with "Made in U.S.A." partially obscured by the jaw.

The overall length is 11.0 inches, and the finish is black paint.

The use of the company name with a leading "THE" suggests a production date from 1915 to 1926.

The 1919 Chandler & Farquhar catalog offered the model G auto wrench in a range of sizes from 6 inches up to 18 inches, although this particular 11 inch model was not listed in that reference.


8 Inch Locking Adjustable "S" Wrench

[Billings 8 Inch Locking Adjustable S Wrench]
Fig. 13. Billings 8 Inch Locking Adjustable "S" Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 13 shows a Billings 8 inch adjustable "S" wrench with a locking mechanism of the Tomlinson design. The handle is marked "The Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn." in forged raised letters, with "Steel Drop Forging" and "8 In." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The use of the company name with a leading "THE" suggests a production date from 1915 to 1926.

Although this example isn't marked with a patent notice, the design is covered by patent #804,351, issued to W.R. Tomlinson in 1905. The patent describes the use of a threaded pin to provide a locking mechanism for the wrench.


8 Inch Curved-Handle Adjustable Wrench

[Billings 8 Inch Curved-Handle Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 14. Billings 8 Inch Curved-Handle Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 14 shows a Billings 8 inch adjustable wrench with a curved handle, marked with "The Billings and Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Treated Steel Forging 8 In." and the B-Triangle logo forged into the reverse. (The leading "THE" of the company name has been partially removed by the hole drilled in the handle -- thanks to a sharp-eyed reader for spotting this.)

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is black paint.

The use of the company name with a leading "THE" suggests a production date from 1915 to 1926.


Early [Model M] 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers

The next figures show two generations of the Billings 6.5 inch combination pliers.

[Billings Early [Model M] 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 15. Billings Early [Model M] 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1901-1915.

Fig. 15 shows an earlier pair of Billings [model M] 6.5 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped "Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn." with the B-Triangle logo near the pivot. Although not marked with a model number, these were identified as model M pliers by a catalog listing.

The overall length is 6.6 inches, and the finish is polished nickel, with some losses due to wear and rust.

The pliers are also marked with three patent dates, "Pat'd. Jan. 25, 1876", "Pat'd Mar. 25 1884", and "Pat'd. Mar. 12, 1901". The first date refers to patent #172,649, filed by A.A. Pease in 1876 and issued later that year.

The second date refers to patent #295,885, filed by H.S. Pullman in 1884 and issued later that year. This patent describes the mechanism used for the familiar slip-joint in pliers.

The last date corresponds to patent #669,721, filed by W.H. Bruce in 1900 and issued the following year. This patent describes a pair of slip-joint pliers with a hole for cutting wire, as well as the conventional side-cutting edges, making the pliers useful for both plumbing and electrical work. (The cutting hole is visible on the reverse side, near the pivot.)

The use of the earliest face markings suggests a production date in 1915 or earlier.


[Billings [Model M] 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 15B. Billings [Model M] 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 15B shows a later pair of Billings [model M] 6.5 inch slip-joint combination pliers, marked "The Billings & Spencer Co." with "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." and the B-Triangle logo. Although not marked with a model number, these were identified as model M pliers by a catalog listing.

The overall length is 6.6 inches, and the finish is a black oxide coating.

The use of the standard early face markings suggests a production date in 1915-1926.

The pliers are also marked with the patent date "Pat'd. Mar. 12 1901", which was found to be patent #669,721. The patent describes a pair of slip-joint pliers with a hole for cutting wire (not shown in photograph), as well as the conventional side-cutting edges, making the pliers useful for both plumbing and electrical work.

The 1923 Billings catalog offered the model M pliers at a price of $1.15 in oxide finish or $1.25 for nickel plate.


6.5 Inch Box-Joint Combination Pliers with Side Cutters

[Billings 6.5 Inch Box-Joint Combination Pliers with Side Cutters]
Fig. 16. Billings 6.5 Inch Box-Joint Combination Pliers with Side Cutters, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 16 shows a pair of Billings 6.5 inch box-joint combination pliers with side-cutters, stamped "The Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo. The undersides of the handles are marked with "The Billings & Spencer Co." forged into one handle, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the other.

The overall length is 6.7 inches, and the finish is polished steel.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the box-joint construction and the dimpled gripping pattern on the handles. Note that the center of the dimpled pattern has a B-Triangle logo.


No. 21 9 Inch Forged Screwdriver

[Billings No. 21 9 Inch Forged Screwdriver]
Fig. 17. Billings No. 21 9 Inch Forged Screwdriver, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 17 shows a Billings No. 21 9 inch forged screwdriver, marked "The B&S Co." and "Made in U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo forged into one flange, and with "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." forged into the opposite flange. The shaft is stamped with the "No. 21" model number, as shown in the inset.

The overall length is 9.4 inches, and the tip is approximately 0.5 inches wide. The finish is plain steel with red paint on the flanges, although the paint may not be original.

The use of the company name with a leading "THE" suggests a production date from 1915 to 1926.


No. 0 Adjustable Pin Spanner

[Billings No. 0 Adjustable Pin Spanner]
Fig. 18. Billings No. 0 Adjustable Pin Spanner, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 18 shows a Billings No. 0 adjustable pin spanner, marked with "The Billings & Spencer Co." and the B-Triangle logo forged into the handle, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is black paint. (The tool appears to have been repainted.)

The use of the company name with a leading "THE" suggests a production date from 1915 to 1926.

Although not marked with a patent notice, this tool is described by patent #738,015, filed by J.C. Dufresne in 1902 and issued in 1903.


No. 1 Adjustable Pin Spanner

[Billings No. 1 Adjustable Pin Spanner]
Fig. 19. Billings No. 1 Adjustable Pin Spanner, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 19 shows a Billings No. 1 adjustable pin spanner, marked with "The Billings & Spencer Co." and the B-Triangle logo forged into the handle, with "No. 1" and "Patented Sept. 1st 1903" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint.

The use of the company name with a leading "THE" suggests a production date from 1915 to 1926.

The patent date refers to patent #738,015, filed by J.C. Dufresne in 1902 and issued in 1903.


No. 2 Adjustable Pin Spanner

[Billings No. 2 Adjustable Pin Spanner]
Fig. 20. Early Billings No. 2 Adjustable Pin Spanner, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1902-1903.

Fig. 20 shows a Billings No. 2 adjustable pin spanner, marked with "Billings & Spencer Co." and the B-Triangle logo forged into the handle, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint.

Although not marked with a patent notice, this tool is described by patent #738,015, filed by J.C. Dufresne in 1902 and issued in 1903.

The use of the company name without a leading "THE" suggests production before 1915, and the absence of a patent notice suggests a date from 1902 to 1903 for this tool.


"Plirench" Slip-Joint Nut and Pipe Wrench

[Billings Plirench Slip-Joint Nut and Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 21. Billings Plirench Slip-Joint Nut and Pipe Wrench, ca. 1930-1931.

Fig. 21 shows a Billings "Plirench" slip-joint nut and pipe plier-wrench, stamped "Plirench" and "Pat. Appl'd For" on the upper jaw, with "Made U.S.A." and the B-Triangle logo near the pivot.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The pending status refers to patent #1,799,622, filed by W.S. Stuart in 1930 and issued in 1931.


Hammers


Ballpeen Hammer

[Billings Ballpeen Hammer]
Fig. 22. Billings Ballpeen Hammer, with Insets for Head and Handle Detail, ca. 1915-1926.

Fig. 22 shows a Billings ballpeen hammer, marked "The B. & S. Co." with the B-Triangle logo on the head, and with the Billings name and "Genuine Hickory" on the handle.

The hammer head is 4.7 inches long, and the overall length is 14.0 inches.

The use of the (abbreviated) company name with a leading "THE" suggests a production date from 1915 to 1926.


Small Ballpeen Hammer

[Billings Ballpeen Hammer]
Fig. 23. Billings Ballpeen Hammer, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 23 shows a later Billings ballpeen hammer, marked "Billings" on one side, with "Made U.S.A." and the B-Triangle logo on the reverse.

The hammer head is 3.2 inches long, and the overall length is 12.0 inches.


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