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Later Developments

The year 1919 was an eventful year for the Frank Mossberg Company, as the founder Frank Mossberg sold a controlling interest in the company, intending to devote more time to other ventures. Walter I. Tuttle became the new company president; Tuttle had previously worked as an engineer for the Frank Mossberg Company and had developed a number of patents.

An important external event was the founding of Blackhawk Manufacturing as a division of the American Grinder Company. By mid 1919 Blackhawk was offering an extensive line of socket sets featuring heavy-wall machined sockets with a variety of drive tools. The enthusiastic reception of these new sets by the automotive trades effectively marked the end of the pressed-steel socket era, although it would be a few years before it was universally recognized.


Heavy-Wall Sockets

By 1919 Mossberg had developed a new line of heavy-wall sockets, pressed or drawn from much heavier steel than that used for the older pressed-steel sockets, and designed to be driven from the inside as 1/2-drive sockets. Mossberg called the new sockets "Indestructible", and these new sockets were combined with a speeder handle to form the No. 45 socket set.

Significantly, the same heavy-wall sockets were also used for Mossberg's fixed socket wrenches.

The development of these heavy-wall sockets shows that Mossberg had realized that the older pressed-steel sockets were not strong enough for the increasing demands of automobile and truck service. If the new sockets had been offered with a full line of comparable drive tools, they could have been an important product in the development of socket tools. However, the limited capabilities of the No. 45 set, with just a speeder as the drive tool, made it at best only a modestly successful commercial product.


Mossberg No. 360 1/2-Drive Short Speeder Handle

[Mossberg No. 360 1/2-Drive Short Speeder]
Fig. 99. Mossberg No. 360 1/.2-Drive Short Speeder Handle, with Inset for Detail, ca. 1918-1920.

Fig. 99 shows a 1/2-drive Mossberg No. 360 short speed handle or brace, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the M-Diamond logo.

The overall length is 11.5 inches.

The drive end has a detent ball and four pinched tabs as stops, typical construction for early tools of this type.

The circular end cap is marked "Patent Pending", and a similar but later Mossberg tool showed the patent date to be March 20 of 1920. A search of the patent records found the corresponding patent to be #1,335,408, titled "Brace Construction" and issued to W.I. Tuttle. Based on the filing date of October 3 in 1918, this particular tool was likely made between 1918-1920.

This was the type of speeder (though not the exact model) included in the No. 45 socket set of 1919.

Mossberg Heavy-Wall Sockets

The next figure shows examples of the new style of heavy wall sockets used in the No. 45 socket set.

[Mossberg Heavy-Wall Sockets]
Fig. 100. Mossberg Heavy-Wall Sockets, with Inset for Interior.

Fig. 100 shows two Mossberg sockets made with a new style of heavy-wall construction, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the M-Diamond logo.

The fractional sizes are marked but a bit difficult to read. The left hand socket marking appears to be 1-1/64 and measures 1.016 inches, and the right hand socket is apparently 1-9/64 and measures 1.140 inches.

Note that the intended service size for these sockets would have been 1 inch and 1-1/8 respectively. Mossberg was apparently able to improved the size tolerance for the dies used in making these sockets, and as a result the marked oversize allowance was reduced to 1/64. (Recall that the pressed-steel sockets were specified as 1/32 oversize.)

Although the sockets are constructed with a square base resembling the pressed-steel sockets, these sockets were designed to be driven by the 1/2-square inner opening. Note that a hole has been drilled in the side to help secure the socket with a friction ball.


Mossberg No. 363 3/4 Speeder Socket Wrench

[Mossberg No. 363 3/4 Speeder Socket Wrench]
Fig. 101. Mossberg No. 363 3/4 Speeder Socket Wrench, with Insets for Socket and Marking Detail.

Fig. 101 shows a Mossberg No. 363 3/4 speeder socket wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the M-Diamond logo. The socket is marked 49/64, the actual size when the 1/64 oversize allowance is added. (Earlier pressed-steel sockets required a 1/32 oversize allowance.)

The speeder has a throw of 4.2 inches and an overall length of 13.0 inches.

This speeder wrench is basically a standard 1/2-drive short brace with a permanently attached socket. The rotating hand grip and end piece are made of seamless tubing, swaged to the shank diameter, and the hand grip is held in place by two pins (not shown in photograph). The finish is nickel plating.

The left inset provides a close-up of the socket attachment, showing a standard socket attached with a pin to the square-drive speeder. The socket is marked "Made in U.S.A." with the fractional size (49/64) and the M-Diamond logo, the standard markings for Mossberg sockets.


Mossberg No. 366 1/2-Drive 14 Inch Speeder

[Mossberg No. 366 1/2-Drive 14 Inch Speeder]
Fig. 102. Mossberg No. 366 1/2-Drive 14 Inch Speeder, with Insets for Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 102 shows a 1/2-drive Mossberg No. 366 14 inch speeder (or brace), stamped "Frank Mossberg Corp." and "Attleboro, Mass. U.S.A." with the M-Diamond logo on the shank. The tool is also marked with "Frank Mossberg Co." and "Attleboro, Mass. U.S.A." stamped on the rotating grip and end-piece.

The overall length is 13.9 inches, and the throw is 5.2 inches.

The rotating end piece is constructed from rolled sheet metal held in place with crimped end caps. Although not marked with a patent notice, the handle construction is covered by patent #1,438,970, issued to W. Tuttle in 1922.

Rotating hand grips of this type are characteristic of Mossberg's construction in the 1920s.


Mossberg No. 367 1/2-Drive 20 Inch Speeder

[Mossberg No. 367 1/2-Drive 20 Inch Speeder]
Fig. 103. Mossberg No. 367 1/2-Drive 20 Inch Speeder, with Insets for Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 103 shows a 1/2-drive Mossberg No. 367 20 inch speeder, marked "Frank Mossberg Corp." and "Attleboro, Mass. U.S.A." with the M-Diamond logo. The speeder has a throw of 4.2 inches and an overall length of 19.6 inches.

The rotating end piece is constructed from rolled sheet metal held in place with crimped end caps. Although not noted on this tool, the handle construction is covered by patent #1,438,970, issued to W. Tuttle in 1922.

Rotating hand grips of this type are characteristic of Mossberg's construction in the 1920s.


"Ever-Wear" Male Drive Sockets

In the early 1920s Mossberg introduced a new style of male-drive sockets under the "Ever-Wear" brand. The sockets were forged from a slug of chrome-manganese alloy steel and then machined on one end to form an approximately 11/16 square drive stud, a size designed to fit the same ratchets and drive tools used for pressed-steel sockets.


"Ever-Wear" Sockets

[Mossberg Ever-Wear Male Drive Sockets]
Fig. 104. Mossberg "Ever-Wear" Male Drive Sockets, with Insets for Broaching and Marking Detail.

Fig. 104 shows several examples of the Mossberg "Ever-Wear" male drive sockets, each stamped on the base with the M-Diamond logo and fractional size.

The sizes are, from the left, 7/16 square, 7/16 hex, 11/16 hex, and 31/32 hex.


"Ever-Wear" 5/8 Socket

[Mossberg Ever-Wear 5/8 Socket]
Fig. 105. Mossberg "Ever-Wear" 5/8 Socket, with Insets for Broaching and Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 105 shows a Mossberg "Ever-Wear" 5/8 socket, stamped on the base with the fractional size and two M-Diamond logos.

The finish is plain steel.


Later Pressed-Steel Socket Sets

Mossberg continued to produce pressed-steel socket sets throughout the 1920s, although the number and variety of the models gradually declined as sales tapered off. During this period the sets didn't change much, but one notable change was the switch from wooden cases to metal boxes, which occurred during the mid 1920s.

Another notable change appears in the context of the Mossberg sets sold by Sears Roebuck. Sears had long been a customer for Mossberg (possibly their biggest reseller) and offered a number of Mossberg products, including socket sets No. 6, No. 14, and No. 15, plus a slightly modified version of the Auto-Cle No. 1 set called the "Aristocrat No. 1" by Sears. The Auto-Cle sets sold by Sears usually substituted a No. 350 ratchet for the tubular ratchet, but in 1922 a Sears Justice Tires catalog illustrated the Aristocrat No. 1 Socket Set with a forged-body ratchet, immediately recognizable as the "W.&M. Co." mystery ratchet shown in the next figure.


"W. & M. Co." Mystery Ratchet

[W. & M. Co. Female-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 106. W. & M. Co. Female-Drive Ratchet, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 106 shows an example of the mysterious "W. & M. Co." female-drive ratchet, marked only with "W. & M. Co." forged into the shank.

The overall length is 9.0 inches.

The square drive opening is the correct size for the standard pressed-steel sockets made by Mossberg, Walden, and others, and this ratchet model is frequently found in sets of pressed-steel sockets, sometimes with unmarked sockets or from from several makers. Although the ratchet is clearly marked, no information has yet been found for the identity of the "W. & M." company.

An important clue to the origin is provided by the 1922 patent #1,426,127, filed by W.I. Tuttle in 1920 and issued in 1922, with assignment to the Frank Mossberg Company. The patent illustration matches this ratchet almost exactly, and the construction details (such as the detent ball in the opening) also match this example.

With the discovery of the Sears catalog listing showing this ratchet in the Aristocrat No. 1 Socket Set, we are now confident that the ratchet was produced by Mossberg for its Sears production. However, the meaning or reason for the "W. & M. Co." marking remains unknown.


Alloy Steel Socket Sets

In later years Mossberg recognized that pressed-steel sockets could not offer the strength and durability needed professional service, and the company began producing heavy-duty machined sockets made of chrome molybdenum steel. These sockets were offered in sets of varying size.


Mossberg 1/2-Drive 5/8 Alloy-Steel Socket

[Mossberg 1/2-Drive 5/8 Socket]
Fig. 107. Mossberg 1/2-Drive 5/8 Socket, with Inset for Broaching.

Fig. 107 shows a 1/2-drive Mossberg 5/8 hex socket, marked with the fractional size and M-Diamond logo.

This socket is an example of the chrome molybdenum alloy steel sockets produced by Mossberg.


Mossberg 371 11/16-Drive To 1/2-Drive Adapter

[Mossberg 371 11/16-Drive To 1/2-Drive Adapter]
Fig. 108. Mossberg 371 11/16-Drive to 1/2-Drive Adapter, with Inset for Top View, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 108 shows a Mossberg 371 adapter to convert 11/16 female drive to 1/2-drive, marked on the top with the M-Diamond logo.

This adapter allows the older Mossberg 11/16 female drive ratchets (e.g. No. 350) to be used with the newer 1/2-drive sockets.


Mossberg 1/2-Drive Ratchet Adapter

[Mossberg 1/2-Drive Ratchet Adapter]
Fig. 109. Mossberg 1/2-Drive Ratchet Adapter, with Inset for End View, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 109 shows a 1/2-drive Mossberg ratchet adapter, used to provide a clutch-style release action to any drive tool. The tool is marked "Mossberg" and "Attleboro, Mass. U.S.A." on the barrel.

The overall length is 2.8 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Mossberg No. 83 "Han-D-Set" 1/2-Drive Socket Set

[Mossberg No. 83 Han-D-Set 1/2-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 110. Mossberg No. 83 "Han-D-Set" 1/2-Drive Socket Set, with Inset for Open View, ca. Mid to Late 1920s.

Fig. 110 shows a Mossberg No. 83 "Han-D-Set" 1/2-drive socket set, consisting of an Ell-handle and six hex sockets in a metal holder. The Ell-handle is stamped "Frank Mossberg Co." and "Attleboro, Mass. U.S.A." with the M-Diamond logo.

The socket sizes are, from the left, 3/4, 11/16, 5/8, 9/16, 1/2, and 7/16. The sockets are unmarked and are finished in nickel plating.

This set was listed in the 1928 White Tool and Supply catalog, which describes the sockets as made of "Special Analysis Steel", rather than the chrome-molybdenum steel mentioned for other sets. The more economical steel kept the price low at just $1.10.


The APCO Merger and Later Tools

In 1927 the Frank Mossberg Company merged with the Auto Parts Company (APCO) to become the APCO-Mossberg Company. APCO was based in Providence, Rhode Island and specialized in automotive parts and service tools for the Model T Ford.

APCO tools are mentioned in some early automotive specialty catalogs. One notable product was an offset box wrench for Model T connecting-rod bolts, offered as early as 1922 and currently the earliest known box wrench made with a double-hex (12-point) broaching.

[1922 Notice for APCO Offset Box-End Wrench]
1922 Notice for APCO Offset Box-End Wrench. [External Link]

The notice at the left, published on page 28 of the February 1, 1922 issue of The Commercial Vehicle, describes the new APCO offset box-end wrench. It mentions the intended use for the fourth connecting rod of the (Model T) Ford and notes the double-hex broaching of the opening, although the tool is incorrectly called a ratchet wrench. The price is listed as 75 cents.

An example of the APCO wrench is shown in the next figure.


APCO Early 5/8 Double-Hex Offset Box Wrench

This next tool is significant as the earliest known offset box-end wrench with a double-hex (12-point) opening.

[APCO Early 5/8 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 111. APCO Early 5/8 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1922.

Fig. 111 shows a early APCO 5/8 double-hex (12-point) offset box wrench, marked with "APCO" and "Pat. Applied For" forged into the handle.

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

This model was listed in the Western Auto 1922 "Ford Owner's Supply Book" catalog for connecting-rod applications.

The patent pending notice is believed to refer to patent #1,424,069, issued to F.W. Blackmar in 1922. The patent describes the construction of deep offset wrenches with 12-point openings and has a rather interesting history, as it was later acquired by Snap-On around 1930.


APCO-Mossberg No. 206 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench

[APCO-Mossberg No. 206 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 112. APCO-Mossberg No. 206 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench.

Fig. 112 shows an APCO-Mossberg No. 206 5/8x11/16 tappet wrench, stamped with "APCO Mossberg Tappet Set" with the M-Diamond logo.

The overall length is 7.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


APCO-Mossberg 3011 Offset Box Wrench for Chevrolet Main Bearings

In the late 1920s Mossberg began offering specialty box wrenches with Bonney acting as the contract manufacturer. The next two figures show examples of these less commonly found wrenches.

[APCO-Mossberg 3011 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 113. APCO-Mossberg 3011 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1928.

Fig. 113 shows a Mossberg 3011 13/16x7/8 offset box wrench designed for Chevrolet main bearing service. The reverse shank is stamped "APCO-Mossberg" and "Attleboro, Mass. U.S.A." with the M-Diamond logo at the left, shown as a close-up in the lower inset.

The overall length is 14.2 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

This wrench is basically identical to the early production of the Bonney 2540 Main Bearing Wrench, and in fact some of Bonney's forged-in markings are still faintly visible on this example. (The top shank has a faint "CHR" of "CHROME" visible between the 5.0 and 5.5 inch marks, and the "3011" model number is stamped over the "BON" of Bonney.) Unfortunately the Bonney date code has been ground off, but the round shank style places it close to 1928 in Bonney's production.


APCO-Mossberg 3014 Specialty Box Wrench

[APCO-Mossberg 3014 9/16x13/16 Specialty Box Wrench]
Fig. 114. APCO-Mossberg 3014 9/16x13/16 Specialty Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, 1928.

Fig. 114 shows a Mossberg 3014 9/16x13/16 specialty box wrench, intended for Chevrolet connecting-rod and main bearing service. The shank is marked with the M-Diamond logo plus "APCO-Mossberg Corp." and "Attleboro, Mass. U.S.A." in forged raised letters. The shank also has a forged-in code "IT" near the small box end, as shown in the lower right inset.

The overall length is 14.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

This wrench was recently identified as contract production by Bonney Forge & Tool, based on the similarity of features with early Bonney specialty box wrenches, such as the Bonney 2540 Main Bearing Wrench. The identification was confirmed by the presence of a forged-in code "IT", a mark representing Bonney's date code system. (Similar marks can be found on most of Bonney's forged tools.)

The year code "T" in the Bonney Date Code System indicates production in 1928, somewhat earlier than had been first estimated.


APCO-Mossberg 971 Single-Offset Box Wrench

[APCO-Mossberg 971 7/16 Single-Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 115. APCO-Mossberg 9711 7/16 Single-Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 115 shows a Mossberg 971 7/16 single-offset box wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Patent No. 1424069" on the top, with "APCO-Mossberg" and "Attleboro, Mass. Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.4 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The patent notice refers to patent #1,424,069, issued to F. Blackmar in 1922 and later acquired by Snap-On. The patent describes the construction of deep offset wrenches with 12-point openings, and has been noted on 12-point wrenches made by Blue Point, Bonney, and Williams, in addition to the present example.

The single-offset wrench style was popular in the late 1920s and 1930s and appears to have originated with Blue Point. Examples of single-offset wrenches from other makers include the Blackhawk 2924, Blue Point X-20, Bonney 2818, Walden-Worcester 2114, and Williams 8128.


APCO-Mossberg 974 5/8 Single-Offset Box Wrench

[APCO-Mossberg 974 5/8 Single-Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 116. APCO-Mossberg 974 5/8 Single-Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 116 shows a Mossberg 974 5/8 single-offset box wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Patent No. 1424069" on the top, with "APCO-Mossberg" and "Attleboro, Mass. Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 10.2 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The patent notice refers to patent #1,424,069, issued to F. Blackmar in 1922 and later acquired by Snap-on. The patent describes the construction of deep offset wrenches with 12-point openings.


APCO-Mossberg 975 11/16 Single-Offset Box Wrench

[APCO-Mossberg 975 11/16 Single-Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 117. APCO-Mossberg 975 11/16 Single-Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 117 shows a Mossberg 975 11/16 single-offset box wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Patent No. 1424069" on the top, with "APCO Mossberg" plus "Attleboro, Mass." and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 11.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The patent notice refers to patent #1,424,069, issued to F. Blackmar in 1922 and later acquired by Snap-on.


APCO-Mossberg 976 3/4 Single-Offset Box Wrench

[APCO-Mossberg 976 3/4 Single-Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 118. APCO-Mossberg 976 3/4 Single-Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 118 shows a Mossberg 976 3/4 single-offset box wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Patent No. 1424069" on the shank, with "APCO Mossberg" and "Attleboro, Mass. Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 11.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent notice refers to patent #1,424,069, issued to F. Blackmar in 1922 and later acquired by Snap-on.


APCO-Mossberg 977 13/16 Single-Offset Box Wrench

[APCO-Mossberg 977 13/16 Single-Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 119. APCO-Mossberg 977 13/16 Single-Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 119 shows a Mossberg 977 13/16 single-offset box wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Patent No. 1424069" on the shank, with "APCO Mossberg" and "Attleboro, Mass. Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 12.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent notice refers to patent #1,424,069, issued to F. Blackmar in 1922 and later acquired by Snap-on.


APCO-Mossberg 979 15/16 Single-Offset Box Wrench

[APCO-Mossberg 979 15/16 Single-Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 120. APCO-Mossberg 979 15/16 Single-Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 120 shows a Mossberg 979 15/16 single-offset box wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Patent No. 1424069" on the top, with "APCO-Mossberg" and "Attleboro, Mass. Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 13.8 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The patent notice refers to patent #1,424,069, issued to F. Blackmar in 1922 and later acquired by Snap-On.


APCO-Mossberg 1/2-Drive Extension

[APCO-Mossberg 1/2-Drive 10 Inch Extension]
Fig. 121. APCO-Mossberg 1/2-Drive 10 Inch Extension.

Fig. 121 shows a 1/2-drive Mossberg extension, marked "APCO-Mossberg" and "Attleboro, Mass. Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


APCO-Mossberg 3013 Valve Adjuster

[APCO-Mossberg 3013 Valve Adjuster]
Fig. 122. APCO-Mossberg 3013 Valve Adjuster, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, ca. Late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 122 shows an APCO-Mossberg 3013 valve adjusting tool, stamped "APCO Mossberg" and "Attleboro, Mass. U.S.A." on the handle, along with the model number and a "Pat. 6-30-25" patent date.

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

The patent date refers to patent #1,544,520, filed by E.P. Putrow in 1924 and issued in 1925.

The lower inset shows the construction of the tool, consisting of a 1/2 inch square drive tang with a rotating screwdriver bit passing through the center. The spring clips at the side secure the socket to the drive stud.

The socket is unmarked, but was acquired with the tool and is probably the original socket.

Other companies are known to have used this patent for similar tools, and an example can be seen as the Snap-on V-21 Valve Adjuster.


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