Alloy Artifacts  

Various Tool Makers

This page shows examples from various tool makers for which we do not yet have enough material for a separate page.


Table of Contents

Introduction

The format of this article is a bit different from what we've presented for other companies, since we're combining the information for many unrelated companies.


References and Resources

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


Allen Manufacturing Company

The Allen Manufacturing Company was founded in 1910 in Hartford, Connecticut. The company is best known for its eponymous "Allen wrench", the familiar ell-shaped hexagonal wrenches used with socket-head set screws.

One of the company's earliest products was a safety set screw using an internal hex socket. Conventional set screws for machine tool accessories used a square head that projected well above the tooling, leading to the possibility of a worker's clothing being snagged by the screw head, resulting in a gruesome accident.

[1910 Advertisement for Allen Mfg. Safety Set Screws]
Fig. 1. 1910 Advertisement for Allen Mfg. Safety Set Screws. [External Link]

Allen's safety screws were based on patent 960,244, filed by W.G. Allen in 1909 and issued on June 7, 1910. The patent describes a method of cold-forming a screw head around a hexagonal die.

The advertisement in Fig. 1 was published in the 1910 Annual Convention of the International Association of Factory Inspectors and illustrates the new Allen safety set screw.

[1922 Ad for Allen Mfg. Bay State Socket Set]
Fig. 2. 1922 Ad for Allen Mfg. Bay State Socket Set. [External Link]

By 1922 Allen was producing socket sets using the "Bay State" name, suggesting that they may have acquired the Bay State Pump Company.

The "Bay State" brand had been used by a succession of companies in the Boston area, beginning with Bay State Tool in 1906, then Tudor Manufacturing, and finally the Bay State Pump Company.

The scan in Fig. 2 shows an advertisement published on page 56 of the April 6, 1922 issue of Motor Age. The ad is actually soliciting sales agents or distributors for the socket sets, suggesting that the sets were probably new on the market at that time. The text describes the No. 21-1 set, which included a ratchet head, a handle, an extension, a drive plug, a universal, and eight sockets ranging from 7/16 to 25/32.

The most interesting detail in the description is that the sockets were made by the Allen process, a method of cold forming whereby the steel socket blank is forced under great pressure to flow around a mandrel. This is the dominant process for manufacturing sockets today, but it was very novel in the 1920s, and Allen is the only company known to have used this technique at that time.


Allen Mfg. 7/16-Hex Drive "Bay State" No. 19 Socket Set

[1922 Notice Allen Mfg. Bay State No. 19 Socket Set]
Fig. 3. 1922 Notice for Allen Mfg. Bay State No. 19 Socket Set. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 3 shows an Allen Mfg. "Bay State" No. 19 socket set, as published on page 756 of the May 18, 1922 issue of American Machinery.

[Allen Mfg. 7/16-Hex Drive Bay State No. 19 Socket Set]
Fig. 4. Allen Mfg. "Bay State" No. 19 Socket Set, ca. 1922 to Mid 1920s.

Fig. 4 shows a 7/16-hex drive Allen "Bay State" No. 19 socket set, consisting of a ratchet head, a handle bar, an Ell handle, a two-piece universal, a long extension, a drive plug, 9 hexagon sockets, and 3 square sockets. The original screwdriver was missing when the set was acquired. (The drive plug was accidentally omitted from the photograph, but can be seen in Fig. 5 below.)

The paper label on the top cover identifies this as the "Bay State" No. 19 Socket Wrench Set, and the text below notes the "Allen Process Sockets".

The socket sizes are, from the left in the back, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 19/32, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4, and 25/32. In the front the sizes from the left are 13/16, 11/16 square, 19/32 square, and 1/2 square, followed by a 5/8 universal socket and a 7/16-hex to 5/8-hex adapter plug.

The universal is composed of two pieces, a 7/16-hex drive 5/8 universal socket, and a 7/16-hex to 5/8-hex adapter visible at the right.

The tools in the front bay are the long extension, the handle bar for the ratchet, and the Ell handle. The overall lengths are 9.4 inches for the extension, 7.4 inches for the handle bar, and 7.4 inches for the Ell handle. All of the tools and sockets have a plain steel finish.


Allen Mfg. 7/16-Hex Drive Ratchet head and Handle Bar from No. 19 Socket Set

[Allen Mfg. 7/16-Hex Drive Ratchet Head and Handle Bar]
Fig. 5. Allen Mfg. 7/16-Hex Drive Ratchet Head and Handle Bar, with Inset for Top View, ca. 1922 to Mid 1920s.

Fig. 5 shows the 7/16-hex drive ratchet head from the No. 19 set with its drive plug and handle bar.

The inset shows a top view of the ratchet body, illustrating the 7/16-hex broached drive opening in the top. This opening allowed the ratchet head to be used as an inline adapter, or as a (somewhat clunky) sliding Tee head.

The ratchet is reversible by lifting the pawl thumbscrew and rotating the pawl 180 degrees.

The ratchet head has a diameter of 1.3 inches and a height of 1.8 inches, and the length of the handle bar is 7.4 inches. Both tools have a plain steel finish.

The ratchet head is basically an inline ratchet adapter with a provision to be driven either by a cross-bar handle or by an Ell handle. The ratchet is described by patent 1,371,350, filed by Solomon A. Campbell and issued in 1921.


Allen Mfg. 7/16-Hex Drive Universal and Adapter Plug from No. 19 Socket Set

[Allen Mfg. 7/16-Hex Drive Universal and Adapter Plug]
Fig. 6. Allen Mfg. 7/16-Hex Drive Universal and Adapter Plug, ca. 1922 to Mid 1920s.

Fig. 6 shows the 7/16-hex drive universal and adapter plug from the No. 19 set.

The overall length is 3.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The two-piece design of this universal meant that the set also had a 5/8 universal socket, a potentially useful size for some maintenance tasks.


Allen Mfg. 7/16-Hex Drive Sockets from No. 19 Socket Set

[Allen Mfg. 7/16-Hex Drive Sockets from No. 19 Set]
Fig. 7. Allen Mfg. 7/16-Hex Drive Sockets, with Inset for Top View, ca. 1922 to Mid 1920s.

Fig. 7 shows the three largest 7/16-hex drive sockets from the No. 19 set.

The socket sizes are, from the left, 13/16, 25/32, and 3/4. The sockets are marked only with the fractional size.

The inset shows the interior of the sockets, with no metal chips or other signs of broaching. However, the circular scrape marks at the bottom of the opening seem to indicate that the socket blank was drilled out before being formed around a mandrel.


Allen Mfg. No. 20 Socket Set

We have an example of an Allen No. 20 socket set and are preparing it for display.

Fig. 8. Allen No. 20 Socket Set To Be Added.

Allen Wrench & Tool Company

[1913 Notice for Allen Wrench & Tool]
Fig. 9. 1913 Notice for Allen Wrench & Tool.

The Allen Wrench & Tool Company was founded in 1913 in Providence, Rhode Island. The small notice in Fig. 9 was published on page 605 [External Link] of the October 1913 issue of Mill Supplies. It lists the company's founders as F.R. Allen, W.E Davis, and W.H Thornley, and notes the capital stock as $100,000.

The company's earliest products were socket sets based on a "friction ratchet" design covered by patent 1,000,878, filed in 1910 by Fred R. Allen and issued in 1911. The patent describes the design of a gearless ratchet, using a friction cam to alternately grip and release the drive wheel.

The friction ratchet went into production in 1913 and was offered in various "Allen Friction Ratchet" socket sets with pressed-steel sockets and auxiliary drive tools, with Billings & Spencer providing the manufacturing for the ratchet itself. Interestingly, Billings also produced versions of the friction ratchet marked with its B-Triangle logo and offered them in early Billings pressed-steel socket sets, with the ratchets still referred to as "Allen" ratchets.

[1914 Advertisement for Allen Friction Wrench]
Fig. 10. 1914 Advertisement for Allen Friction Wrench. [External Link]

The ad in Fig. 10 appeared on page 14 [External Link] of the November 1914 issue of Automobile Dealer and Repairer and shows a nice illustration of the Allen Friction wrench. Interestingly, if you look closely you can see the well-known Billings B-Triangle logo on the handle, next to the patent date.

By 1915 the company was offering a new ratchet design with a swiveling drive gear as the "Allen Universal Wrench". This ratchet was described by patent 1,261,092, filed in 1914 and issued in 1918. The patent document describes a ratchet with a distinctive swiveling drive gear, allowing it to operate at an angle.

[1915 Advertisement for Allen Universal Wrench Set]
Fig. 11. 1915 Advertisement for Allen Universal Wrench Set. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 11 was published on page 25 of the November 1915 edition of American Exporter and describes the "Allen Universal" socket sets. The illustration shows the company's No. 41 set with an $8.00 price, and the text notes that the sets were available in nine different models, with prices ranging from $3.50 to $10.

Allen Wrench & Tool remained in business at least through the late 1920s, based on various published sources. A 1922 directory listed the company at 766 Eddy Street in Providence, noting that it was incorporated under the laws of Rhode Island with $100,000 in capital stock, and with William McCreery as president. In 1922 patent #1,426,026 was issued to Oscar A. Webster, with assignment to Allen Wrench & Tool Company. By 1922 the company was offering a specialty tool for straightening connecting rods.


Allen Friction Wrench (Billings Version) 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Allen Friction Wrench (Billings Version) 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 12. Allen Friction Wrench (Billings Version) 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1915-1920.

Fig. 12 shows the Billings version of the "Allen Friction Wrench" 1/2-drive ratchet, acquired as part of a "Ford Special" socket set. The shank is marked with "The Billings & Spencer Co. H'T'F'D. CT." forged into one side, with "Allen Friction Wrench" and the B-Triangle logo forged into the reverse, along with a "Pat Aug 15 1911" patent notice.

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

The patent date on the shank corresponds to patent 1,000,878, filed by Fred R. Allen in 1910 and issued on that date.

This ratchet was acquired a part of the Billings Allen Friction Wrench Socket Set described in our article on Billings & Spencer.

The Allen friction ratchet was initially offered by Allen Wrench & Tool with Billings providing contract manufacturing, and Billings then later offered versions of the ratchet and socket sets under its own name.


Allen Universal Wrench 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Allen Universal Wrench 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 13. Allen Universal Wrench 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. 1914-1918.

Fig. 13 shows an Allen "Universal" 1/2-drive ratchet, marked with "Allen Universal Wrench" forged into the handle, with "Patent Pending" on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.7 inches. The finish is nickel plating, but with substantial losses due to wear and rust.

The pending status refers to patent 1,261,092, filed by F.R. Allen in 1914 and issued in 1918.


Allen Friction No. 21 Socket Set

We have an example of an Allen Friction No. 21 socket set and are preparing it for display.

Fig. 14. Allen Friction No. 21 Socket Set To Be Added.

Allen Universal No. 41 Socket Set

We have an example of an Allen Universal No. 41 socket set and are preparing it for display.

Fig. 15. Allen Friction No. 41 Socket Set To Be Added.

American Plierench Corporation

The American Plierench Corporation operated in Chicago under the management of Joseph Eifel, an inventor with several patents for gear-operated pliers.


Eifel No. 7 Plier Wrench

[Eifel No. 7 Plier Wrench]
Fig. 16. Eifel No. 7 Plier Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1932+.

Fig. 16 shows an Eifel No. 7 plier wrench with a removable jaw, stamped "Made in U.S.A. by Amer. Plierench Corp'n" and "Chicago, Ill." on the front plate. The markings also include "Eifel Geared Plier" on the top line, with a "Pats. 1181654 1862817" patent notice below.

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

The first patent number refers to the Eifel 1916 patent 1,181,654 describing an early design for geared pliers. The second reference is to the Eifel 1932 patent 1,862,817, which describes the present tool.


American Saw Company

[1895 Advertisement for American Saw Company]
Fig. 17. 1895 Advertisement for American Saw Company. [External Link]

The American Saw Company was founded in 1867 in Trenton, New Jersey as a maker of all kinds of saws. By 1884 (or earlier) the company was offering alligator wrenches with diagonally cut teeth, and in later years the company branched out into making pipe wrenches and other tools as well.

The advertisement in Fig. 17 was published on page 15 of the April 10, 1895 issue of Hardware and shows the American Saw "Curtis" pipe wrench and alligator wrenches. The text notes that the pipe wrenches were available in four sizes up to 22 inches, and the alligator wrenches were available in five sizes, up to the 27 inch No. 5 model.

The "Alligator" Trademark

In researching the American Saw Company we found a highly useful bit of tool trivia, namely that American Saw originated (and trademarked) the term "Alligator" wrench. On May 17, 1887 American Saw filed a trademark application for "Alligator" as applied to wrenches, with the first use date given as January 17, 1878. The trademark was issued as #14,524 on June 21, 1887.

In 1901 the wrench business of American Saw was purchased by John A. Roeblings Sons, according to an announcement in The Iron Age.


American Saw No. 1 5 Inch Alligator Wrench

[American Saw No. 1 Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 18. American Saw No. 1 Alligator Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1887 to Early 1900s.

Fig. 18 shows an American Saw No. 1 5 inch alligator wrench of stamped construction, stamped with "American Saw Co." and "Alligator Pat'd" along circular arcs, with "Trenton, N.J." across the center. The reverse is stamped "1" (not shown) as the model number.

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

The patent notation is actually probably a reference to the "Alligator" trademark, registered by American Saw in 1887. (Trademarks and patents are both issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.)


Any Angle Wrench (Bovee Patent)


"Any Angle" Bovee Patent 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Any Angle Bovee Patent 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 19. "Any Angle" Bovee Patent 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1916-1925.

Fig. 19 shows an "Any Angle" 8 inch adjustable wrench of the Bovee patented design, marked with "Any Angle Wrench" and "Lima O. U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Drop Forged Steel" forged into the reverse. The shank is also marked with a "Patent Nov. 1916" patent notice.

The overall length is 8.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.

The patent date refers to patent 1,205,149, filed by R.Y. Bovee in 1913 and issued on November 21, 1916.


Arrow Tool Company

The Arrow Tool Company operated in Buffalo, New York as a maker of adjustable wrenches and possibly other tools.


Arrow Tool 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Arrow Tool 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 20. Arrow Tool 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 20 shows an Arrow Tool 10 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "Arrow Tool Company, Inc." and Buffalo, N.Y. U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Arrow" and "Drop Forged Steel" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.1 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.82 inches.

The finish is plain steel.


Artisan (Gambles Stores)

Artisan was a brand name used for tools sold by Gamble Auto Supply stores, a chain of retail stores operated by Gamble-Skogmo Inc. The company registered "Artisan" as trademark #372,934 on November 21, 1939, and claimed the first use in March of 1937.


Artisan 1/2-Drive 16-Piece Socket Set

[Artisan 1/2-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 21. Artisan 1/2-Drive 16-Piece Socket Set, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 21 shows a 1/2-drive Artisan socket set in a metal case, consisting of a ratchet, flex-head breaker bar, extension, and 13 sockets ranging in size from 7/16 up to 1-1/8.

Readers familiar with S-K Tools will immediately recognize this as an S-K set, and in fact no attempt has been made to disguise the maker, with all of the tools (except the ratchet) bearing standard S-K markings. The flex-head breaker bar is an S-K model 41653, and the 10 inch extension is an S-K model 40162. The distinctive forged-handle model 4270 ratchet was produced by S-K from the late 1930s through mid 1940s.

The sockets in the set all have the distinctive knurled base and tapered upper walls of the S-K 401xx model series. The models and sizes are, from the left, 40114 (7/16), 40116 (1/2), 40118 (9/16), 40119 (19/32), 40120 (5/8), 40122 (11/16), 40124 (3/4), 40126 (13/16), 40128 (7/8), 40130 (15/16), 40132 (1 inch), 40134 (1-1/16), and 40136 (1-1/8).

Further information on S-K can be found in our article on Sherman-Klove and S-K Tools.


Artisan 4270 1/2-Drive Forged-Handle Ratchet

[Artisan Model 4270 1/2-Drive Forged-Handle Ratchet]
Fig. 22. Artisan Model 4270 1/2-Drive Forged-Handle Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 22 shows the 1/2-drive Artisan 4270 ratchet from the above set, marked with the Artisan brand on the raised panel, and with the model number and "Pat. No. 2232477" on the reverse.

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

This ratchet can be readily identified as S-K production by the patent 2,232,477, assigned to the Sherman-Klove Company. In addition, the distinctive forged handle is identical to the S-K Model 42470 Ratchet shown in our article on S-K.


Atha Tool Company

The Atha Tool Company was a maker of hammers and other hardware items, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Atha 20 Ounce Ballpeen Hammer

[Atha 20 Ounce Ballpeen Hammer]
Fig. 23. Atha 20 Ounce Ballpeen Hammer, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 23 shows an Atha 20 ounce ballpeen hammer, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the Atha Horseshoe logo on the reverse head. The weight is not marked on the head, but the head dimensions indicate a 20 ounce nominal weight.

The overall length is 13.8 inches, and the head measures 1.4 inches wide by 4.3 inches long.


F.H. Ayer Manufacturing Company

The F.H. Ayer Manufacturing Company was founded in 1904 as a machine shop in Chicago Heights, Illinois, and was incorporated in 1906. The company produced a number of different products, including a distinctive Tee-handle ratchet used in early pressed-steel socket sets.

Interestingly enough, the F.H. Ayer company remains in business today, and their web site offers an informative page on the Company History [External Link].


F.H. Ayer 1/2-Drive Tee-Handle Ratchet

[F.H. Ayer Tee Handle Ratchet]
Fig. 24. F.H. Ayer Tee Handle Ratchet, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. Late 1910s to Early 1920s.

Fig. 24 shows an Ayer 1/2-drive Tee-handle ratchet, stamped "F.H. Ayer Mfg. Co." and "Chicago Heights, Ill. U.S.A." on the upper body. The ratchet is also marked with the "Pat. Sep. 9, 1913 Sep. 26, 1916" patent dates.

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

The earlier date refers to patent 1,072,807, filed by F.H. Ayer in 1912 and issued in 1913.

The second date refers to patent 1,199,738, filed by F.H. Ayer in 1915 and issued in 1916.

This ratchet model was typically supplied with pressed-steel socket sets along with a 1/2-square drive stud, an extension, and a universal joint.


F.H. Ayer 1/2-Drive 1-9/32 Pressed-Steel Socket

This next figure shows an example of an Ayer pressed-steel socket, taken from one of their socket sets. Ayer sockets were generally driven from the 1/2 square inside opening.

[F.H. Ayer 1/2-Drive 1-9/32 Pressed-Steel Socket]
Fig. 25. F.H. Ayer 1/2-Drive 1-9/32 Pressed-Steel Socket, with Inset for Service End, ca. Late 1910s to Early 1920s.

Fig. 25 shows a 1/2-drive Ayer 1-9/32 pressed-steel socket, stamped with the A-Circle logo and the fractional size (not shown).

The finish is plain steel.

The F.H. Ayer pressed-steel sockets were interchangeable with those supplied by the Frank Mossberg Company, the leading maker of pressed-steel socket sets. Ayer sockets were also compatible with "Ray" brand sockets from the Packer Auto Specialty Company, another Chicago-area maker of socket sets. Given the proximity of the Ayer and Packer companies, the socket sets from either company may be found with sockets or tools from the other maker included.


Barnes Tool Company

The Barnes Tool Company operated in New Haven, Connecticut as a maker of pipe tongs, pipe wrenches, and other types of tools. The company was founded in the 1880s by Elbridge F. Barnes and remained in business at least through 1909.


Barnes Tool 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[Barnes 5 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 26. Barnes 5 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 26 shows a Barnes 5 inch adjustable wrench of the bicycle style, marked with "Barnes Tool Company" forged into the shank, with "Drop Forged Steel" and a "W" code on the reverse.

The overall length is 5.5 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


H.R. Basford Company

The H.R. Basford Company was a maker of locking pliers and related tools sold under the "GRIPSO" brand. The company was located in San Francisco, California and was in operation by 1945 or earlier.

H.R. Basford filed a trademark application for "GRIPSO" on June 11 of 1945, with May 11 listed as the first use date. The trademark was issued as #429,536 on May 6 of 1947.


Gripso 8 Inch Vise Pliers

[Gripso 8 Inch Vise Pliers]
Fig. 27. Gripso 8 Inch Vise Pliers, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 27 shows an earlier pair of Gripso 8 inch vise (locking) pliers, stamped "Vise Pliers" and "Pat. Pend." on one side, with "H.R. Basford Co." and "San Francisco U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel with a black oxide coating.


Gripso 211 8 Inch Vise Pliers

[Gripso 211 8 Inch Vise Pliers]
Fig. 28. Gripso 211 8 Inch Vise Pliers, with Insets for Marking Detail.

Fig. 28 shows a later pair of Gripso 211 8 inch vise (locking) pliers, stamped with "Vise Pliers" and the model number on one side, with "H.R. Basford Co." and "San Francisco U.S.A." on the reverse. The lower edge is also marked with a "U.S. Pat. No. 2,669,145" patent notice.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel with a black oxide coating.

The patent marked on the pliers describes a finger-actuated release mechanism, visible as the small lever on the bottom of the lower handle.


Battery Equipment & Supply Company

The Battery Equipment & Supply Company (BESCO) operated in Chicago during the 1920s. Currently we don't have much information on this company, but the company appears to have been founded around 1920, based on a small advertisment in the April 1920 issue of Motor Record. The ad notes that the company was issuing their first catalog of supplies for "Battery Service Stations", and gives the company's address as 1400-1402 Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

The EMF Electrical Year Book for 1921 listed BESCO as a trade name for the company.

BESCO may have registered a trademark with serial #366,548, but we haven't yet located the document.


BESCO 9857 Giant Battery Terminal Pliers

[BESCO 9857 Giant Battery Terminal Pliers]
Fig. 29. BESCO 9857 Giant Batery Terminal Pliers, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, 1926.

Fig. 29 shows a pair of BESCO giant battery terminal pliers, designed for lifting a cable clamp from a battery post. The handle has forged-in markings for "BESCO" and "Made in U.S.A." with a B-Shield logo in the center.

The overall length is 14.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.

The B-Shield marking indicates that the pliers were forged by Bonney Forge & Tool Works, a well-known tool maker that provided forging services to a number of other companies. As is frequently the case with Bonney production, the forgings are marked with Bonney date codes, in this case a forged-in code "JR" near the handle (see right middle inset). The "R" year code indicates production in 1926.


Beckley-Ralston Company

[1914 Notice of Beckley-Ralston Exhibit]
Fig. 30. 1914 Notice for Beckley-Ralston Exhibit. [External Link]

The Beckley-Ralston Company was a distributor of automobile accessories and equipment, founded in 1897 and operating initially in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to its wholesale distribution operations, the company was also a mail-order dealer and sometimes operated as a manufacturer.

The notice in Fig. 30 was published on page 27 of the February 19, 1914 issue of Motorcycle Illustrated and shows Beckley-Ralston's new building at the corner of 18th Street and Michigan Avenue.

The company's catalogs made extensive use of private branding, for which the company's "B-R" logo was frequently used.


Beckley-Ralston "Sampson" Socket Set

This next figure shows a flyer that was acquired with an early "Yala" Socket Set made by Syracuse Wrench, which turned out to have been sold by Beckley-Ralston. The flyer revealed an interesting alternate identity as the Beckley-Ralston "Sampson" socket set, and provided valuable contextual information as well.

[Flyer from Sampson Socket Set]
Fig. 31. Flyer from "Sampson" Socket Set, 1908.

Fig. 31 shows a scan of a small flyer found with the "Yala" socket set, identifying it as the "Sampson" socket set and providing a nice illustration and description. Although this side of the flyer is not marked with a company name, the reverse side illustrates a grease gun offered by the Beckley-Ralston Company. In addition, a careful look at the illustration for the "Sampson" set shows the Beckley-Ralston "BR Co." logo on the upper cover flap.

From this we can conclude that the "Yala" socket set was distributed by Beckley-Ralston as their "Sampson" set. A subtitle just below the illustration notes the set as "A 1908 Ratchet Extension Set for the Motorist", indicating that Beckley-Ralston was offering the set at an early date. (Our earliest published reference for the "Yala" set is from March of 1908.)

This flyer is significant in providing an early date for our "Yala" socket set, as well as demonstrating that Syracuse Wrench had established distribution channels by that time. Beckley-Ralston published catalogs for mail-order sales, and having B-R as a distributor would have given Syracuse Wrench a national footprint for sales.


Beckley-Ralston 9 Inch Auto Wrench

[Beckley-Ralston 9 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 32. Beckley-Ralston 9 Inch Auto Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1910 to 1920s.

Fig. 32 shows a Beckley-Ralston 9 inch auto wrench, stamped "Beckley-Ralston Co." and "Chicago" on the shank.

The overall length is 9.1 inches, and the maximum opening is 2.2 inches. The finish is plain steel.

The end of the handle has been formed into a spoon for use in removing tires from their rims.


Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Automobile Socket Set

We were fortunate to acquire a rare Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 socket set, consisting of a friction ratchet and 8 pressed-steel sockets, with some parts missing. We haven't found an exact catalog match for the set, but the 1924 Beckley-Ralston catalog shows a very similar AT805 set.

[1924 Catalog Listing for B-R No. AT805 Socket Set]
Fig. 33. 1924 Catalog Listing for Beckley-Ralston No. AT805 Socket Set.

The scan in Fig. 33 shows a listing for the No. AT805 socket set, as found on page 218 of the 1924 Beckley-Ralston catalog. The set consisted of a B-R "Master" ratchet, an offset handle, a long extension, a short extension (or drive plug), and 8 pressed-steel sockets.

Note that with the parts illustrated, there would be no way to connect the extension bar to the offset handle.

[Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Socket Set]
Fig. 34. Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Socket Set, ca. Early to Mid 1920s.

Fig. 34 shows a partial Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 socket set, consisting of a B-R "Master" ratchet, a drive plug, and seven of the original eight pressed-steel sockets.

Our set is missing a forged offset (Ell) handle, a long extension, one hexagon socket (probably 27/32), and possibly a double-female connector. The drive plug is an unmarked replacement from our inventory.

The sockets in the set have sizes, from the left, 15/32, 17/32, 19/32, 21/32, 25/32, [27/32?], 29/32, and 1-1/32. The sockets are all marked with the fractional size, and all but one are stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the Hinsdale Round-H logo. (Remember that as Pressed-Steel Sockets, these are all 1/32 oversize for the intended nut.)

It's interesting but not really surprising that the sockets in the set were made by Hinsdale, since Beckley-Ralston carried a number of tools marked for (or recognizable as) Hinsdale. This suggests that the ET805 is basically a Hinsdale set with the B-R "Master" Ratchet interpolated.

The socket set was furnished in a wooden box, with a Beckley-Ralston brass tag below the latch. The overall dimensions are 11.5 inches wide by 3.4 inches deep by 2.7 inches high.

[Close-up of Label for Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Set]
Fig. 35. Close-up of Label for Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Set.

Fig. 35 shows a close-up of the label on the top cover. The text lists the contents of the set as 8 sockets, a ratchet handle, an offset handle, a long extension, and a "square connector socket".

There is no mention of a drive plug, and we've never heard of a drive plug being called a "square connector socket".

If the ratchet is assumed to already include a drive plug, then the extra part could mean a 1/2-inch double-female connector, so that the extension could be used with the offset handle. This might explain the difference between our No. ET805 set and the No. AT805 set in the catalog illustration.

[Close-up of Beckley-Ralston Tag]
Fig. 36. Close-up of Beckley-Ralston Tag.

Fig. 36 shows a close-up of the Beckley-Ralston tag on the front of the wooden box. The brass tag is embossed with "The Beckley-Ralston Co." and "Motor Goods" around the circumference, with "B-R" in the center.


Hinsdale 21/32 Pressed-Steel Socket from Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Set

[Hinsdale 21/32 Socket from ET805 Set]
Fig. 37. Hinsdale 21/32 Socket from ET805 Set, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 37 shows an example of the pressed-steel sockets in the ET805 set, a Hinsdale 21/32 socket stamped with the fractional size on the base, with "Made in U.S.A." and the Hinsdale Round-H logo on the reverse. All except one of the sockets in the set were marked in this fashion. (And somewhat remarkably, there were no Mossberg replacement sockets!)

The socket appears to have a thin nickel plated finish.


Beckley-Ralston No. AT840 1/2-Drive "Master" Ratchet

[1924 Catalog Listing for B-R No. AT840 Master Ratchet]
Fig. 38. 1924 Catalog Listing for Beckley-Ralston No. AT840 "Master" Ratchet.

The scan in Fig. 38 shows a listing for the No. AT840 "Master" ratchet, as found on page 218 of the 1924 Beckley-Ralston catalog.

The B-R "master" ratchet used a roller clutch mechanism instead of a gear and pawl, and the text notes the minimal lost motion. B-R used this ratchet in all of the sockets sets listed in the 1924 catalog.

[Beckley-Ralston 1/2-Drive Master Ratchet]
Fig. 39. Beckley-Ralston 1/2-Drive "Master" Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse, Side View, and Detail, ca. 1922-1924.

Fig. 39 shows the Beckley-Ralston 1/2-drive "Master" ratchet from the ET805 socket set, marked with "The Beckley-Ralston Co." and "Chicago Ill." forged into the front, with "Drop Forged Steel" and "Heat Treated" forged into the reverse.

The reverse side also has a forge mark visible at the right, shown as a close-up in the lower inset.

The front plate is stamped "The Beckley Ralston Co. Chicago" around the periphery, with "Pat. Pend." just below the drive opening.

The overall length is 8.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The roller clutch mechanism in this ratchet gives it a very fine and smooth action, with almost no wasted motion and with little backdrag. The patent pending status is a reference to patent 1,511,226, filed by S.O. Lawrence on January 9, 1922 and issued on October 14, 1924, with assignment to Beckley-Ralston. The patent document has a clear illustration of the roller mechanism.


Bemis & Call (B&C)

Bemis & Call was an early maker of tools and hardware dating back to an 1844 partnership between Stephen C. Bemis and Amos Call. The company produced a variety of tools including pipe wrenches, monkey wrenches, and other adjustable wrenches, and was especially well known for their S-shaped adjustable wrenches.

The line of S-shaped adjustable wrenches was introduced in 1894 and proved to be very popular. The sliding jaw design was very similar to the 1857 E.J. Worcester patent 17,531, with a slotted jaw running in a rectangular keyed passageway.

In 1928 Bemis & Call acquired the rights to the wrench designs of the Coes Wrench Company, a well-known maker of adjustable wrenches operating in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1939 B&C was acquired by Billings & Spencer, which continued production of the B&C (and Coes) wrench models for some years thereafter. (See our article on Billings & Spencer for more information.)


B&C 6 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench

[B&C 6 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 40. B&C 6 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 40 shows our first example of the B&C "S" wrenches, a B&C 6 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "6-In" forged into the handle, and with "B&C" forged into the reverse (see lower inset). The face is stamped "Bemis & Call Company" and "Springfield" (see middle inset), although the markings are very worn and difficult to read.

The overall length is 6.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.

The upper inset shows a profile view of the wrench. Note the details of the jaw construction, with the milled slot in the jaw running in the keyed opening.


B&C 8 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench

[B&C 8 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 41. B&C 8 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 41 shows a B&C 8 inch S-shaped adjustable wrench, stamped "Bemis & Call Co." on the face. The nominal size "8 In." is forged into the handle, with "B&C" forged into the reverse (see lower inset).

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished steel faces.

The upper inset shows a profile view of the wrench. Note the details of the jaw construction, with the milled slot in the jaw running in the keyed opening.


B&C 10 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench

[B&C 10 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 42. B&C 10 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 42 shows a B&C 10 inch S-shaped adjustable wrench, marked with the nominal size "10 In" forged into the handle, with "B&C" forged into the reverse (see lower inset).

The overall length is 10.1 inches, and the finish is black paint.


B&C No. 80 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[B&C No. 80 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 43. B&C No. 80 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1915.

Fig. 43 shows a B&C No. 80 8 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "B&C" forged into the shank, with "8 IN" and "No 80" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


B&C 10 Inch Monkey Wrench for Fulton Brand

[Fulton AD 10 Inch Monkey Wrench]
Fig. 44. B&C 10 Inch Monkey Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 44 shows a B&C 10 inch monkey wrench with wooden handle inserts, stamped with the B&C trademark logo on the upper (fixed) jaw, with "Bemis & Call Co." and "Springfield, Mass. Made in U.S.A." on the reverse. The wrench is also stamped with "Fulton" and "AD" on the lower jaw, indicating that it was made as contract production for Sears Roebuck.

The overall length is 10.3 inches, and the maximum opening approximately 2 inches. The finish is plain steel.


Bethlehem Spark Plug Company

[1922 Advertisement for Quickway Socket Set]
1922 Advertisement for Bethlehem "Quickway" Socket Set. [External Link]

During the 1920s the Bethlehem Spark Plug Company offered a series of well-designed socket sets under the "Quickway" brand. These sets featured distinctive copper-coated sockets and tools in various sizes of hex drive.

The ad at the left was published on page 73 of the December 28, 1922 issue of Motor Age and shows two early Bethlehem "Quickway" socket sets, a Mechanics' "D" set with 23 sockets, "L"-handle, "T"-handle, and ratchet, plus an "E" set consisting of an "L"-handle and eight sockets. The text also refers to earlier "A", "B", and "C" sets.

The "D" set in the ad is an early model in a wooden box, but later versions of this set came in a nicely designed metal box with a socket organizer.

Besides the Model "D" set shown in the next figure, we have several other Quickway sets, including an early "D" in a wooden box. We hope to display them at some point.


Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive Model D Socket Set

[Bethelehem Quickway Model D 1/2-Hex Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 50. Bethlehem "Quickway" Model D 1/2-Hex Drive Socket Set, ca. 1923 to Late 1920s.

Fig. 50 shows a 1/2-hex drive Bethlehem "Quickway" Model D socket set in its metal case. The Model D set was actually two sets in one, as it included a complete Model A set to cover the smaller sizes. The larger tools consist of a ratchet, sliding Tee handle, three extensions, a universal, and 16 1/2-hex drive deep format sockets covering all sizes from 15/32 to 15/16 by 32nds. In addition, the Model A set (the small box at the back center) provides seven 3/8-hex drive sockets, with sizes ranging from 9/32 up to 1/2.

The set as acquired was reasonably complete, but is missing one of the extensions and the 15/32 socket.

The sturdy steel box measures 11.5 long by 5.2 wide by 2.0 high.


Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive Ratchet

[Bethelehm Quickway 1/2-Hex Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 51. Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, 1923.

Fig. 51 shows a 1/2-hex drive Bethlehem ratchet from the Model D socket set, marked with "Bethlehem Spark Plug Co." and "Bethlehem PA" forged into the shank, with "Drop Forged Steel" and "Made in USA" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.5 inches, and the finish is copper plating.

The shank is also marked with a forged-in shield symbol enclosing a "B", as can be seen at the righthand side. Readers familiar with our article on Bonney will immediately recognize this as the Bonney B-Shield Logo, a marking frequently found on early Bonney tools. The reverse has a forged-in code "JO.." visible at the end of the handle, another type of marking generally found on Bonney tools, and recently determined to be a date code. These markings indicate that the ratchet (or at least the forged body) was produced for Bethlehem by Bonney, and the "JO" date code indicates production in 1923.


Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive Sliding Tee Handle

[Bethelehm Quickway 1/2-Hex Drive Sliding Tee Handle]
Fig. 52. Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive Sliding Tee Handle, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 52 shows a 1/2-hex drive Bethlehem sliding Tee handle from the Model D socket set, unmarked but with the characteristic copper finish.

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

The sliding head has a threaded hole in the top for a thumbscrew, now missing from this example.


Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive 15/16 Hex Socket

[Bethelehm Quickway 1/2-Hex Drive Socket]
Fig. 53. Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive Socket, with Insets for Drive End and Broaching, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 53 shows a 1/2-hex drive Bethlehem 15/16 hex socket from the Model D socket set, marked only with the size as "15-16".

The left inset shows the 1/2-hex drive end in the turned-down base.


Bethlehem 11/16-Hex Drive 7/8 Hex Socket

In addition to its standard 1/2-hex drive sets, Bethlehem also offered a line of heavy-duty socket sets using an 11/16 hex drive size.

[Bethelehm 11/16-Hex Drive 7/8 Socket]
Fig. 54. Bethlehem 11/16-Hex Drive 7/8 Socket, with Insets for Drive End and Broaching, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 54 shows an 11/16-hex drive Bethlehem 7/8 hex socket, marked only with the fractional size.

The overall height is 2.1 inches, and the finish is copper plating.

The left inset shows the 11/16 hex drive end, and the right inset shows the 7/8 hex service end.


H. Boker & Company

H. Boker & Company was the American branch of a company with roots going back to the 17th century in Remscheid, Germany. The company was primarily known as a maker of knives, but also produced pliers and other tools.

Boker USA maintains a web site with an interesting history of the company, and readers can visit the Company History Page [External Link] for the full story.


Boker Lineman's Pliers

[Boker Lineman's Pliers]
Fig. 55. Boker Lineman's Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

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


Boos Tool Corporation

The Boos Tool Corporation is currently known only for an adjustable wrench of distinctive design, as shown in the next figure.


Boos Tool Adjustable Wrench

[Boos Tool Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 56. Boos Tool Adjustable Wrench, ca. 1941.

Fig. 56 shows a Boos Tool adjustable wrench, stamped "Boos Tool Corp." and "Chrome Molybdenum" with "Pat. Pend." and "K.C. MO." below.

The overall length (retracted) is 7.6 inches, and the finish is polished chrome.

The patent pending status refers to design patent D130,015, filed in 1941 for J.B. Boos by the executor of his estate.


Brosnihan Wrench Company

The Brosnihan Wrench Company was founded by Thomas Brosnihan in Worcester, Massachusetts, and its organization certificate was issued on December 11, 1905, according to a report from the Massachusetts Tax Commissioner.

The Brosnihan Wrench Company is known primarily as the maker of a pipe wrench with a sliding jaw, patented in 1900 by Thomas H. Brosnihan.

[1911 Advertisement for Brosnihan Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 57. 1911 Advertisement for Brosnihan Pipe Wrench. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 57 was published on page 25 of the January 1911 issue of Railway Master Mechanic and shows the design of the Brosnihan pipe wrench.


Brosnihan 8 Inch Pipe Wrench

[Brosnihan 8 Inch Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 58. Brosnihan 8 Inch Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 58 shows a Brosnihan 8 inch pipe wrench, stamped "Union Made" on the upper jaw, with "Sargent" (partially struck) and "Brosnihan" on the reverse. The reverse is also marked with a "Patent Sept. 4, 1900" patent date.

The overall length is 8.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The wrench was originally fitted with a turned wooden handle, but was acquired with a poorly fitting replacement, omitted for the photograph here.

The patent date refers to patent 657,391, filed by T.H. Brosnihan in 1899 and issued in 1900.

The partially stamped "Sargent" marking indicates that this example was sold through Sargent & Company, a major hardware dealer.


Brown Company

The Brown Company was a maker of automotive accessories and tools operating in Syracuse, New York during the early 20th century. Based on published notices, the company appears to have been in operation as early as 1908 and remained in operation at least into the 1920s.

[1912 Advertisement for Brown Impulse Tire Pump]
Fig. 59. 1912 Advertisement for Brown Impulse Tire Pump. [External Link]

The company's early products included compression gauges and automobile tire pumps. The advertisement in Fig. 59, from the May 1912 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine, illustrates the company's "Impulse" tire pump and describes its advantages. (The pump operates by using the compression from one of the engine's cylinders.) At this time the company address was listed as Tallman Street in Syracuse.

An advertisement appearing on page 11 of the September 1914 issue of The Rotarian illustrates the Brown Impulse Tire Pump [External Link] and another smaller model. This publication lists the company address as 10 Bellevue Avenue in Syracuse.

[1922 Notice for Brownbilt Tools]
Fig. 60. 1922 Notice for Brownbilt Tools. [External Link]

The company's automotive tools were sold under the "Brownbilt" brand. The illustration in Fig. 60 was published on page 55 [External Link] of the April 1922 issue of Automobile Dealer and Repairer as part of a notice for the Brown Company tools. The notice lists the company address as 218 Bellevue Avenue in Syracuse.


Brownbilt 116 1/2 Universal Tee Socket Wrench

[Brownbilt 116 1/2 Universal Tee Socket Wrench]
Fig. 61. Brownbilt 116 1/2 Universal Tee Socket Wrench, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 61 shows a Brownbilt 116 1/2 universal Tee socket wrench, stamped "Brownbilt" and "Syracuse, N.Y. U.S.A." on the handle.

The overall length is 13.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Brownbilt 664 1/2 Speeder Socket Wrench

[Brownbilt 664 1/2 Speeder Socket Wrench]
Fig. 62. Brownbilt 664 1/2 Speeder Socket Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 62 shows a Brownbilt 664 1/2 socket wrench of the speeder style, marked "Syracuse, N.Y. U.S.A." as shown in the inset.

The overall length is 11.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plate.

The end of the shank is missing the original rotating end piece, and a hole near the end suggests that it was secured with a spring-loaded pin.


Buffum Tool Company

The Buffum Tool Company was founded by Frank W. Buffum and operated in Louisiana, Missouri during the early years of the 20th century. Their products included printing presses, adjustable wrenches, alligator wrenches, chisels, punches, bearing scrapers, and other forged tools. The exact founding date for the company is not yet known, but the earliest published reference to Buffum Tool is a 1908 advertisement for their printing press.

Buffum tools were generally marked with the company name and notably with a swastika logo, the design that later became infamous as the symbol of Nazi Germany. (Buffum's use of the swastika design predated the Nazi party by some decades.)

[1910 Advertisement for Buffum Tool Company]
Fig. 63. 1910 Advertisement for Buffum Tool Company.

The advertisement in Fig. 63 appeared on page 1222 of the June 1910 issue of the Hardware Dealers' Magazine. Note that the advertisement claims the swastika logo as a trademark registered with the U.S. Patent Office.

An advertisement for the Buffum Tool Company [External Link] on page 821 of the June 1, 1918 issue of Aviation shows a selection of the company's tools at that time. The illustration includes a set of chisels, a hammer, bearing scrapers, pliers, and other tools.


Industrial Distributors

Buffum tools were carried by some industrial distributors. The 1918 Ducommun catalog "E" lists three pages of Buffum tools starting on page 281, including bearing and carbon scrapers, packing tools, a cotter-pin remover, and an offset screwdriver.

The 1933 Ducommun catalog "H" lists Buffum tools on pages 178 and 179, including bearing and carbon scrapers, packing tools, and cotter-pin removers. Also listed is the No. 1750R bearing scraper set in a hardwood box.


Buffum 9 Inch Forged Steel Screwdriver

[Buffum 9 Inch Forged Steel Screwdriver]
Fig. 64. Buffum 9 Inch Forged Steel Screwdriver, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 64 shows a Buffum forged steel screwdriver, marked with "Buffum Tool Co." and "Louisiana, MO." forged into the handle, and with the Swastika logo forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Buffum 12 Inch Bearing Scraper

[Buffum 12 Inch Bearing Scraper]
Fig. 65. Buffum 12 Inch Bearing Scraper, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 65 shows a Buffum bearing scraper with a wooden handle, stamped "Buffum Tool Co." and "Louisiana, MO." on the shank, with the Swastika logo forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 11.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Buhl Sons Company

Buhl was a maker of farm and implement wrenches, and occasionally of automotive tools, as will be seen below. Currently we have no further information on the company.


Buhl 29 Open-End Wrench

[Buhl 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 66. Buhl 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 66 shows a Buhl 29 11/16x25/32 open-end wrench, marked "Buhl" in raised letters on the shank.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Buhl Double Alligator Wrench

[Buhl Double Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 67. Buhl Double Alligator Wrench.

Fig. 67 shows a Buhl alligator wrench made of stamped steel, marked "Buhl Sons Co." on one side.

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


Buhl 9 Inch Auto Wrench

[Buhl 9 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 68. Buhl 9 Inch Auto Wrench.

Fig. 68 shows a Buhl 9 inch auto wrench, marked "Buhl Sons Co" on the shank.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Bullard Automatic Wrench Company

The Bullard Automatic Wrench Company operated in Providence, Rhode Island as a maker self-adjusting pipe wrenches.

[1906 Advertisement for Bullard Automatic Wrench]
Fig. 69. 1906 Advertisement for Bullard Automatic Wrench. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 69 was published on page 196 of the November 24, 1906 issue of Domestic Engineering.

[1909 Notice of Auction of Bullard Automatic Wrench]
Fig. 70. 1909 Notice of Auction of Bullard Automatic Wrench Property. [External Link]

By 1909 the company had failed and their property and equipment was sold at auction to satisfy creditors. The notice in Fig. 70 was published on page 1807 of the June 3, 1909 issue of The Iron Age and notes that the company's property had been purchased by John H. Congdon, representing the creditors.


Bullard No. 1 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Bullard No. 1 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 71. Bullard No. 1 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Early 1900s.

Fig. 71 shows a Bullard No. 1 self-adjusting pipe wrench, marked with "No. 1 Bullard Wrench" forged into the shank, with "Pat. Oct. 27, '03" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date corresponds to patent 742,389, filed by F.D. Bullard in 1903 and issued later that year.


Bullard No. 3 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Bullard No. 3 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 72. Bullard No. 3 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Early 1900s.

Fig. 72 shows a Bullard No. 3 self-adjusting pipe wrench, marked with "No. 3 Bullard Wrench" forged into the shank, with "Pat. Oct. 27, '03" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 17.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date corresponds to patent 742,389, filed by F.D. Bullard in 1903 and issued later that year.


California Tool Company

The California Tool Company (CTC) is a tool distributor and manufacturer with an interesting connection to one of the founders of Plomb Tool. California Tool was formed by S.C. Miller in 1927 when he acquired the A. Plomb Tool Company, a maker of automotive and specialty tools founded by Alphonse Plomb. Readers familiar with the Plomb Tool Company will recall that Alphonse Plomb was one of the founders of that company, and when he left Plomb Tool around 1917, he started the A. Plomb Tool Company business.

California Tool continued to manufacture the A. Plomb line of tools for some years, and the tools were typically marked with both "Calif-Tool" and "A. Plomb" stamped markings. The "A. Plomb" marking was probably intended to show continuity with the older business and its customers; as far as is known, Alphonse Plomb retired after selling his business and had no further involvement with CTC.

By the 1930s California Tool had also became a distributor for other companies, notably Thorsen Manufacturing and Plomb Tool (later Proto). The Thorsen tools sold by California Tool are believed to have been privately branded for CTC, thereby blurring the lines between distributor and manufacturer.

Currently we don't have much information for California Tool beyond the historical connections outlined above, but will fill in more details when available.


California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 73. California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 73 shows a California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 offset box-end wrench with hex openings, probably intended for brake service. The shank is stamped with "Calif-Tool" and the fractional sizes on one side, with the model number and "A. Plomb" on the reverse.

The overall length is 5.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


California Tool BB2L 3/8x7/16 Long Offset Box-End Wrench

[California Tool BB2L 3/8x7/16 Long Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 74. California Tool BB2L 3/8x7/16 Long Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 74 shows a California Tool BB2L 3/8x7/16 long offset box-end wrench with hex openings, probably intended for brake service. The shank is stamped with "Calif-Tool" and the fractional sizes on one side, with the model number and "A. Plomb" on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


California Tool 1/2-Drive 11/16 Double-Hex Socket

[California Tool 1/2-Drive 11/16 Double-Hex Socket]
Fig. 75. California Tool 1/2-Drive 11/16 Double-Hex Socket, with Inset for Broaching, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 75 shows a rare California Tool 1/2-drive 11/16 double-hex socket, stamped with the CT-Logo and fractional size as "11-16".

The finish is polished steel.

The inset shows the interior of the socket, made using a hot-forging process.

This socket resembles the early production of Thorsen Manufacturing, which was known to have developed a "Techni-Heat" hot-forging process in the early 1930s. Based on the history of CTC as one of Thorsen's distributors, this socket is believed to have been made by Thorsen and private-branded for CTC. See our article on Thorsen Manufacturing for more information.


Carll, Addison B.

In 1913 Addison B. Carll received a patent for a novel reversible adjustable wrench, which featured a sliding jaw that could be removed and reversed to switch between flat or serrated jaws. The Carll wrench design was produced by one or more companies and apparently achieved some degree of popularity, as examples of this tool can be found readily.


Carll Reversible Adjustable Wrench

[Carll Reversible Wrench]
Fig. 76. Carll Reversible Adjustable Wrench.

Fig. 76 shows a Carll reversible adjustable wrench in its standard flat-jaw position, with the marking "Carll" forged into the shank, and with a "Pat'd May 6 - 13" patent notice on the reverse.

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

The patent notice corresponds to patent 1,060,891, filed by A.B. Carll in 1912 and issued in 1913.


[Carll Reversible Wrench in Pipe Wrench Position]
Fig. 77. Carll Reversible Wrench in Pipe Wrench Position.

Fig. 77 shows the Carll wrench with the jaw reversed to operate as a pipe wrench.


C.E. Bonner Manufacturing Company

The C.E. Bonner Manufacturing Company was founded in 1904 in Chrisman, Illinois as a maker of wrenches and other tools.

[1904 Notice for C.E. Bonner Manufacturing]
Fig. 78. 1904 Notice for C.E. Bonner Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 78 was published on page 550 of the January 7, 1904 issue of American Manufacturer and lists the founders as C.E. Bonner, George W. Fair, and D.B. Tucker, with capital of $30,000.

The company produced tools including the Victor quick-adjusting pipe wrench and Victor chain pipe wrench.


Bonner "Victor" 15 Inch Pipe Wrench

[Bonner Victor Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 79A. Bonner "Victor" 15 Inch Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1904+.

Fig. 79A shows a Bonner "Victor" 15 inch pipe wrench, marked with "Victor" and "Trade Mark" forged into the shank, and with a "Bonner's Pat. 1902 - 1903" forged into the reverse. The sliding jaw is stamped with the patent dates "Pat. Dec. 23, 1902" and "Pat. Aug. 25, 1903" on the side (see middle inset).

The overall length is 15.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.

The first patent date corresponds to patent 716,515, filed by William S. Bonner in 1902 and issued later that year. The second patent date corresponds to patent 737,199, filed by Clarence E. Bonner in 1903 and issued later that year.


Bonner No. 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench

[Bonner No. 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 79B. Bonner No. 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1904+.

Fig. 79B shows a Bonner No. 29 11/16x25/32 open-end wrench, stamped with "Bonner Quality Tools" and the model number on the faces.

The overall length is 6.8 inches, and the original finish is plain steel. (A former owner appears to have coated the wrench with a polyurethane sealer.)


Chase, H.H. Company

The H.H. Chase Company operated in Jamestown, New York as a maker of "Handle Lock" socket sets. The company was founded in 1922 by Henry H. Chase.

[1922 Notice for H.H. Chase Company]
Fig. 80A. 1922 Notice for H.H. Chase Company.

The notice in Fig. 80A announces the formation of the company, as published on page 868b of the November 30, 1922 issue of American Machinist. The text notes that the founder had previously worked for the Salisbury Axle Company.

The "Handle Lock" products were initially based on patent 1,438,900 for a socket wrench container, issued to H.H. Chase on December 12, 1922. The patent document describes a metal container for sockets, with the sockets secured in place by an Ell-handle passing through holes in brackets at the ends. This first patent was apparently licensed by New Britain Machine, as None Better socket sets used this design and stamped the patent date on the container.

A later patent 1,538,621 for a wrench container was issued to H.H. Chase on May 19, 1925.

Thus far a search for information about the company or its founder has turned up very little beyond the notice of incorporation and the two patents noted above. One of our tool examples is marked for the Handle Lock Wrench Corporation, but we have not found any published references to this entity, suggesting that it might have been just a "doing business as" name.

We have examples of two "Handle Lock" products and are preparing them for display.


Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Socket Set

[Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Socket Set
Fig. 80B. Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Socket Set, with Inset for Top View, ca. Mid 1920s.

Fig. 80B shows a Handle Lock 7/16-hex drive socket set, consisting of an ell handle and seven hexagon sockets in a metal tray, plus an additional socket on the end of the handle.

The ell handle is stamped with an "HL" logo plus "Handle Lock Wrench Corp." and "Jamestown, N.Y. U.S.A." on the shank.

The markings can be seen as a close-up in Fig. 80C below.

The ell handle is also marked with a patent date "Pat.-12-12-22", a reference to patent 1,438,900, filed by H.H. Chase in 1921 and issued on that date in 1922. The patent describes a socket container with the sockets secured by a handle on top, and the illustration is very similar to the present example.

The sockets in the set have sizes 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4, 7/8, and 15/16. The sockets are unmarked (without even the fractional sizes), and the finish is plain steel. (All eight sockets will actually fit in the container if pushed alternately from side to side.)

The dimensions of the container (exclusive of handle) are 7.5 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep by 2.0 inches high. The finish is black paint.


Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Ell Handle from Socket Set

[Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Ell Handle]
Fig. 80C. Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Ell Handle, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1920s.

Fig. 80C shows the Handle Lock 7/16-hex drive ell handle from the socket set, stamped with an "HL" logo plus "Handle Lock Wrench Corp." and "Jamestown, N.Y. U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel. The ell handle has friction balls on both ends to hold the sockets in place.

The ell handle is also marked with a patent date "Pat.-12-12-22", a reference to patent 1,438,900, filed by H.H. Chase in 1921 and issued on that date in 1922.


Cleveland Wrench Company


Cleveland Wrench "Auto-Grip" 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Wrench

[Cleveland Wrench Auto-Grip 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Wrench]
Fig. 81. Cleveland Wrench "Auto-Grip" 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 81 shows a Cleveland Wrench "Auto-Grip" 10 inch self-adjusting wrench, marked with "Cleveland Wrench Co." and "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Auto-Grip" and "Chrome Alloy" forged into the reverse.

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

The wrench is also marked with a patent notice "Pat. No. 138173", a reference to design patent D138,173, filed by E. Matthews in 1943 and issued in 1944.


Coes Wrench Company

[1907 Advertisement for Coes Wrench Company]
1907 Advertisement for Coes Wrench Company. [External Link]

The advertisement at the left appeared in Railway Shop Up To Date by Maham H. Haig, published in 1907 by the Crandall Publishing Company.


Cochran Pipe Wrench Manufacturing Company

[1913 Notice for Cochran Speednut Wrench]
Fig. 82. 1914 Notice for Cochran Speednut Wrench. [External Link]

The Cochran Pipe Wrench Manufacturing Company operated in Chicago as a maker of pipe wrenches and other tools.

The notice in Fig. 82 was published on page 31 of the June, 1914 issue of Commercial America.


Cochran "Speednut" Self-Adjusting Wrench

[Cochran Speednut Self-Adjusting Wrench]
Fig. 83. Cochran "Speednut" Self-Adjusting Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1912-1916.

Fig. 83 shows a Cochran "Speednut" self-adjusting wrench, makred with "Cochran Speednut Wrench" forged into the shank, with "Pat. Pending" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent pending notice corresponds to patent 1,181,654, filed by J. Eifel in 1912 and issued in 1916. The Eifel patent actually describes a plier-wrench, with one handle holding a fixed jaw while the other handle pivots to move the sliding jaw. The Cochran design has simplified the tool by eliminating the fixed handle; reaction against the work piece allows the jaws to clamp the nut firmly.

A later patent 1,830,033 issued to J.V. Larson in 1931 appears to describe a very similar tool; its relation to Cochran (if any) is not known.


Crescent Manufacturing Company

The Crescent Manufacturing Company was a maker of automobile accessories, tools, and hardware items, located in New York City and operating during the early part of 20th century.

[1915 Advertisement for Crescent Manufacturing Company]
Fig. 84. 1915 Advertisement for Crescent Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 84 was published on page 103 of the June 12, 1915 issue of American Artisan and Hardware Record.

A 1918 catalog for the company lists a wide variety of items, including mirrors, grease guns, tire pumps, shock absorbers, automobile bumpers, valve spring compressors, chisels and punches, and socket wrench sets. The company address is given as 129 Reade Street in New York.

Many of the tools offered by Crescent Manufacturing were made as malleable iron castings.


Crescent Manufacturing 12 Inch Bearing Scraper

[Crescent Manufacturing 12 Inch Bearing Scraper]
Fig. 85. Crescent Manufacturing 12 Inch Bearing Scraper, with Inset for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1910 to 1920s.

Fig. 85 shows a Crescent Manufacturing 12 inch bearing scraper, stamped with "Crescent Mfg. Co." and "New York, N.Y." on the shank.

The overall length is 12.4 inches, and the finish is polished steel.


Crescent Manufacturing 15/16x1-1/16 Offset Spark Plug Wrench

[Crescent Manufacturing 15/16x1-1/16 Offset Spark Plug Wrench]
Fig. 86. Crescent Manufacturing 15/16x1-1/16 Offset Spark Plug Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1910 to 1920s.

Fig. 86 shows a Crescent Manufacturing offset box-end wrench with measured hexagon openings of 15/16 on the straight end and 1-1/16 on the offset end. The wrench is marked with "Crescent Mfg. Co." forged into the shank.

The overall length is 8.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint.

The 1918 Crescent Manufacturing catalog identifies this as a spark plug wrench, with the smaller opening intended for servicing 1/2 inch or metric spark plugs, and the larger opening intended for 7/8 inch or A.L.A.M. spark plugs.

The construction appears to be a malleable iron casting.


Crescent Manufacturing No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench"

[Unmarked 11/16-Drive Ratchet Matching No. 5 Crescent Ratchet Wrench]
Fig. 87. Unmarked 11/16-Drive Ratchet Matching No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench", ca. 1910 to 1920.

Fig. 87 shows an unmarked 11/16-drive ratchet, identified as the No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench" by a listing in the 1918 Crescent Manufacturing catalog (see next figure).

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with extensive losses due to wear and rust.

Although not marked with a patent notice, the construction of this ratchet is very similar to the description in the 1907 Miller patent 845,716. Other examples of the Miller patent ratchet are known to have been made by the Miller Combination Tool Company, but it seems likely that Crescent had licensed the patent and adapted the design for their own production.

The three major parts of the ratchet (the body, cover plate, and drive gear) are all made of malleable iron castings.

[Catalog Listing for No. 5 Crescent Ratchet Wrench]
Fig. 88. Catalog Listing for No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench", 1918.

Fig. 88 shows a catalog listing for the No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench", scanned from the 1918 Crescent Manufacturing catalog. The text notes that the ratchet was designed to work with the sockets made by Crescent Manufacturing, as well as the standard pressed-steel sockets available from Mossberg, Walden, and others.

The construction of the ratchet resembles the style produced by the Miller Combination Tool Company, which were based on the 1907 Charles Miller patent 845,716.


Crescent Manufacturing Four-Way Socket Wrench

[Crescent Mfg. Four-Way Socket Wrench]
Fig. 89. Crescent Mfg. Four-Way Socket Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1910 to 1920.

Fig. 89 shows a Crescent four-way socket wrench, marked with "Crescent Mfg. Co" cast into the shank, with "New York" and "U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint.

The opening sizes were measured as 13/16 and 15/16 on the left socket, with 1 inch and 1-1/8 on the right socket. We're not sure of the intended application, though it might be a spark plug socket.

The construction of the wrench appears to be a malleable iron casting.


Crescent Manufacturing "Pick-Up" Socket Set

Our brief article on New Britain Manufacturing mentions that the company produced socket sets built around the patented "Pick-Up" ratchet, initially in the 1909-1910 time frame. Sometime later the manufacturing responsibility for the sets was transferred to Crescent Manufacturing, and we were able to acquire an example of a "Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench" set made by Crescent.

Thus far we haven't found any advertisements or other public references to the "Pick-Up" set as a Crescent product, so the manufacturing dates for the Crescent version are still uncertain. We do know that New Britain Manufacturing was listed as a maker of the sets until 1916 or 1917, and that the "Pick-Up" set was not listed in a 1918 Crescent Manufacturing catalog. We think it's unlikely that Crescent would have started making the set after 1918, as the "Pick-Up" ratchet is fairly primitive and the set wouldn't have been competitive.

Our current hypothesis is that Crescent was acting as a contract manufacturer and supplied sets to New Britain Manufacturing, as well as marking them for its own brand. With this assumption a 1911-1917 production time frame would mesh well with the known information, and we will use that estimate unless additional information becomes available.

The set we acquired seems to be fairly complete, but the hinges of the box were broken and the top cover had only a part of the original label. Strangely enough, we were later able to acquire a fragment of the box from another example of the same set, with no tools but including the top cover and part of the lower box, with working hinges and a partial label missing different parts than our original set.

[Label for a Crescent Mfg. Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench Set]
Fig. 90A. Label for a Crescent Mfg. Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench Set, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 90A shows the paper label for a Crescent Mfg. "Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench" socket set. (This is our "backup" label.) The label has deteriorated badly and is only partially legible, but still conveys valuable information about the set.

Note that the line below the top states "Formerly Manufactured by New Britain Mfg. Co.", providing a positive connection with New Britain Manufacturing.

[Label for Crescent Mfg. Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench Set]
Fig. 90B. Label for Crescent Mfg. Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench Set, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 90B shows the partial paper label on the lid of our Crescent Mfg. socket set. Although a large part of the label is missing, the remaining portion is in reasonably good condition.

In particular, the illustration in the center is clear and provides the layout of the sockets in the set.

The label with the set itself is less complete but more legible than the "backup", and at some point we may be able to combine the two to make a digital reconstruction.

[Crescent Mfg. Pick-Up Socket Set]
Fig. 91. Crescent Mfg. "Pick-Up" Socket Set, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 91 shows our Crescent Mfg. "Pick-Up Ratchet Wrench" socket set in its lower box.

The set originally consisted of a "Pick-Up" ratchet, a drive plug, a 9 inch extension, a universal, two screwdriver blades, 27 hexagon sockets, three square sockets, and one spark-plug socket.

Our set as acquired was missing one standard socket (No. 11), the spark plug socket, and one screwdriver blade. (The drive plug does double-duty as the screwdriver blade holder.)

The sockets in the set were made as malleable iron castings, an unusual method of fabrication only known to have been used by two other companies, Syracuse Wrench and Chicago Manufacturing and Distributing. The hexagon sockets have sequential cast-in numbers from 1 (the smallest) up to 27, but were not marked with the fractional size.

In trying to list the socket sizes for the set, we're hampered by the barely legible label, plus the fact that the label has 28 sizes for 27 hexagon sockets. Our best guess is that this set would have been modeled after the Mossberg large Auto-Clé set, which also had 27 hexagon sockets and 3 square sockets, and which was probably the most popular socket set at the time when the "Pick-Up" set came out.

With that assumption, the sizes corresponding to the hexagon socket numbers would be 1 (5/16), 2 (11/32), 3 (3/8), 4 (13/32), 5 (7/16), 6 (15/32), 7 (1/2), 8 (17/32), 9 (9/16), 10 (19/32), 11 (5/8), 12 (21/32), 13 (11/16), 14 (23/32), 15 (3/4), 16 (25/32), 17 (13/16), 18 (27/32), 19 (7/8), 20 (29/32), 21 (15/16), 22 (31/32), 23 (1 inch), 24 (1-1/32), 25 (1-3/32), 26 (1-5/32), and 27 (1-9/32).


Crescent Mfg. "Pick-Up" Ratchet from Socket Set

[Crescent Mfg. Pick-Up Ratchet]
Fig. 92B. Crescent Mfg. "Pick-Up" Ratchet, with Inset for Top View, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 92B shows the unmarked Crescent Mfg. 1/2-drive "Pick-Up" ratchet from the socket set. The inset provides a top view, showing the 1/2 inch opening for a drive plug or extension.

The overall length is 7.8 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with substantial losses from the handle.

The "Pick-Up" ratchet was actually a splined clutch rather than a true ratchet. The drive barrel had seven slots in the top that could be intermittently engaged by lifting the handle, providing a coarse ratchet-like operation.

The ratchet was covered by patent 847,601, filed by G.B. Pickop in 1907 and issued later that year.


Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Short Extension (Drive Plug) from "Pick-Up" Socket Set

[Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Short Extension Plug]
Fig. 92C. Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Short Extension, with Inset for End View, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 92C shows the unmarked Crescent Mfg. 1/2-drive short extension (or drive plug) from the "Pick-Up" socket set. One side of the extension is fitted with a bowed strip of spring steel to help secure the connection with the ratchet and socket.

The overall length is 1.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint.

This tool also served as the holder for the screwdriver bits, and the inset shows the hole and pin in the end of the extension.


Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Universal from "Pick-Up" Socket Set

[Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Universal]
Fig. 92D. Crescent Mfg. 1/2-Drive Universal, ca. 1911-1917.

Fig. 92D shows the unmarked Crescent Mfg. 1/2-drive double-male universal from the "Pick-Up" socket set. Note that the drive tangs are fitted with bowed spring clips to help hold the tools together.

The overall length is 3.6 inches, and the finish is black paint.


Currier-Koeth Manufacturing Company

The Currier-Koeth Manufacturing Company was founded in 1907 in Coudersport, Pennsylvania as a maker of machinery and tools.

[1907 Incorporation Notice for Currier-Koeth]
Fig. 93. 1907 Incorporation Notice for Currier-Koeth. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 93 was published on page 43 of the List of Charters of Corporations for Pennsylvania, covering 1907 through 1909.

The notice states that the company was incorporated with capital of $53,000 on November 12, 1907, and that the intended line of business was machinery, castings, tools and novelties.

Speaking of novelties, the company's earliest product was a plier-like combination tool described by patent 677,770, filed by E.D.C. Koeth in 1900 and issued in 1901. The tool consisted of a pair of handles and several sets of interchangeable jaws, and was sold in a wooden box as "Koeth's Kombination Kit".

[1907 Ad for Koeth's Kombination Kit]
Fig. 94A. 1907 Ad for Koeth's Kombination Kit.

The scan in Fig. 94A shows an advertisement for the Koeth's Kombination Kit, as published on page 1413 of the December, 1907 issue of Popular Mechanics. The illustration shows the different blades in the set and the way they install into the handles.

The Kombination Kit was available by late 1907 and remained in production until at least 1913, and was advertised widely during this period. In later years the company emphasized the interchangeability of the tools, calling it the "K-I-T" for Koeth's Interchangeable Tools.

By around 1914 the company had begun producing tools for valve grinding under the brand "Curko".

[1915 Notice for Curko Valve Refacer]
Fig. 94B. 1915 Notice for Curko Valve Refacer. [External Link]

The illustration in Fig. 94B shows a Curko valve refacing machine, part of a two-page article beginning on page 198 of the January, 1915 edition of the Automobile Trade Journal. Under the heading "Curko Valve-Treating Tools", the article describes various Curko tools, including a valve lifter, the refacing machine, and a valve grinding set.

Around this time the company began producing other types of tools as well, including adjustable wrenches and hex-drive socket sets. These later tools were also sold under the "Curko" brand.

[1917 Notice for Currier-Koeth Mfg.]
Fig. 95. 1917 Notice for Currier-Koeth Mfg. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 95 was published on page 28 of the January 17, 1917 issue of Motor World. The text describes a small socket wrench set consisting of an ell handle and five sockets from 5/16 to 7/16, and a Crescent-style adjustable wrench available in four sizes.

Illustrations of the tools appeared on the prior page of the source.


Acquistion by Graham Roller Bearing

By late 1916 Currier-Koeth had been acquired by the Graham Roller Bearing Company.

[1916 Notice for Graham Roller Bearing]
Fig. 96A. 1916 Notice for Graham Roller Bearing. [External Link]

The notice in Fig. 96A was published on page 33 of the November 4, 1916 issue of Michigan Manufacturer and Financial Record and notes that Graham had purchased the Currier-Koeth manufacturing facility in order to expand.

Graham Roller Bearing continued to produce at least some of Currier-Koeth's products, including the valve-grinding tools and socket sets, and continued to use the "Curko" brand in advertisements.

[1919 Ad for Curko Socket Wrenches]
Fig. 96B. 1919 Ad for Curko Socket Wrenches. [External Link]

Fig. 96B shows an advertisement for Curko socket wrenches, as published on page 48 of the January, 1919 edition of American Garage & Auto Dealer.

Graham continued to offer Curko socket sets at least through 1920, but advertisements after that time no longer mention the Curko brand.


Currier-Koeth "Koeth's Kombination Kit"

[Currier-Koeth Koeth's Kombination Kit]
Fig. 97A. Currier-Koeth Koeth's Kombination Kit, ca. 1907-1913.

Fig. 97A shows a Currier-Koeth "Koeth's Kombination Kit" in its wooden box. The kit consists of a pair of handles in the lower bay, with six pairs of interchangeable blades in the upper bays.

After the desired blades are installed in the slot in each handle, the handles are held together with the bolt and wingnut visible in the upper right bay.

The functions of the various blades are, from the left, straight shears, alligator wrench (?), curved shears, punch or awl, combination pliers, and end nippers.

[Label for Koeth's Kombination Kit]
Fig. 97B. Label for Koeth's Kombination Kit, ca. 1907-1913.

Fig. 97B shows the paper label on the lid of the wooden box, identifying the tools as "Koeth's Kombination Kit".

The text at the bottom notes "Currier-Koeth Manufacturing Co." with "Coudersport, Pa." and "U.S.A." below.

The dimensions of the box are 10.5 inches wide by 5.9 inches deep by 1.7 inches high.


Currier-Koeth 9 Inch End Nippers from "Koeth's Kombination Kit"

[Currier-Koeth 9 Inch End Nippers]
Fig. 98A. Currier-Koeth 9 Inch End Nippers from Koeth's Kombination Kit, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1907-1913.

Fig. 98A shows a pair of Currier-Koeth 9 inch end nippers from the "Koeth's Kombination Kit". The handle is stamped "K.K.K. Tool" and "Currier, Koeth Mfg. Co." around the pivot, with "Coudersport, Pa." below.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers.

The overall length is 8.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The pliers are also marked with a "Pat. July 2, 1900" notation, an intended reference to patent 677,770. The patent was actually issued to E.D.C. Koeth on July 2, 1901.

The lower handle has a piece of curved spring steel attached at the midway point, which can be pivoted to provide spring-opened jaws.

[Detail for Currier-Koeth 9 Inch End Nippers]
Fig. 98B. Detail for Currier-Koeth 9 Inch End Nippers, ca. 1907-1913.

Fig. 98B shows the lower handle of the Currier-Koeth nippers, illustrating the way the interchangeable jaws fit into a slot in the handle.


E.T. Company

The E.T. Company was a maker of pliers operating in Norwalk, Connecticut. Currently the company is known only for the Woodworth patent chain repair pliers shown in the figure below, but we hope to locate other examples of their production.

E.T. Company Woodworth Patent Chain Repair Pliers

[E.T. Company Woodworth Patent Chain Repair Pliers]
Fig. 99. E.T. Company Woodworth Patent Chain Repair Pliers, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 99 shows a pair of E.T. Company chain repair pliers of the Woodworth patent design. The pliers are stamped "E.T. Co. Norwalk CT" with a "Pat. May 4'20" patent date, with "Woodworth" and "Lewiston, ME." stamped on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is polished steel with a thin nickel plating.

The patent date corresponds to patent 1,338,804, filed by D.C. Woodworth in 1919 and issued in 1920.


Eagle Claw Wrench Company

The Eagle Claw Wrench Company is best known for a series of plier-wrench tools of the same name. The company was founded in 1912 and initially operated in Chicago, Illinois. Page 106 of a 1912 report from the Secretary of State of Illinois lists the company's incorporation date as January 19, 1912 and the capital as $25,000.

The company's plier-wrench tool was covered by patent 1,016,296, filed by J. Schlehr in 1910 and issued in 1912. The patent refers to the tool as a "bolt-holder", and describes a fairly conventional slip-joint plier mechanism but with the jaws arranged to give considerable clamping leverage.

[1913 Trademark Application for Eagle Claw Wrenches]
Fig. 100. 1913 Trademark Application for Eagle Claw Wrenches. [External Link]

Fig. 100 shows a trademark application for "Eagle Claw Wrench", as published on page 1041 of the November 25, 1913 issue of Offical Gazette of the USPTO.

The application was filed by the company on September 2, 1913 and claimed a first use date of September 1, 1912.

An announcement on page 1319 of the December 4, 1913 issue of Iron Age noted that the company had moved its headquarters from 36 West Randolph Street in Chicago to Rockford, Illinois. The company seems to have maintained an office in Chicago though, as some later ads give the Chicago address.

[1914 Advertisement for Eagle Claw Wrenches]
Fig. 101. 1914 Advertisement for Eagle Claw Wrenches. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 101, published in the January 1914 issue of the Plumbers, Gas and Steam Fitters' Journal, illustrates the various models and sizes of the tools. The text lists the company address as 36 West Randolph Street in Chicago.

Currently we don't have any further information on this company, but the tool (and company) did merit a mention in Kenneth Cope's book American Wrench Makers, 1830-1930 (Second Edition), which shows an advertisement for several sizes of the plier-wrenches.

Eagle Claw 7 Inch Plier-Wrench

[Eagle Claw 7 Inch Plier-Wrench]
Fig. 102. Eagle Claw 7 Inch Plier-Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1912-1920.

Fig. 102 shows an Eagle Claw 7 inch plier-wrench, stamped "Eagle Claw Wrench Co." and "Chicago, U.S.A." on the handle, with a "Pat'd. Feb. 6, 1912" patent date below.

The overall length is 7.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date corresponds to patent 1,016,296, filed by J. Schlehr in 1910 and issued in 1912. The patent refers to the tool as a "bolt-holder", and describes a fairly conventional slip-joint plier mechanism but with the jaws arranged to give considerable clamping leverage.


Eastern Machine Screw Corporation

[1922 Advertisement for H & G Socket Set]
1922 Advertisement for H & G Socket Set. [External Link]

The Eastern Machine Screw Corporation operated in New Haven, Connecticut and produced a well designed "H & G" socket set during the 1920s.

The advertisement at the left appeared on page 241 of the May, 1922 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal and describes the H & G socket set. The ad lists the company address as 11-12 Barclay Street in New Haven.

The H & G socket sets were one of the few examples to use sockets with hexagonal male drive tangs, a design previously explored by the short-lived Edgar C. Guthard Company with their Billmont "Master Wrench" Sets.

We have an example of an H & G socket set and will prepare it for display.


Elgin Tool & Socket Company

The Elgin Tool & Socket Company operated in Elgin, Illinois during the late 19th century, and was best known as the original maker of the "Elgin" adjustable alligator wrench. In 1899 production of the Elgin wrench was assumed by the Star Manufacturing Company.


Elgin Adjustable Alligator Wrench

[Elgin Adjustable Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 103. Elgin Adjustable Alligator Wrench, ca. Late 1890s to Early 1900s.

Fig. 103 shows an Elgin adjustable alligator wrench, stamped "The Elgin" and "Pat. June 8, '97" on the handle.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is polished nickel, with some losses due to rust.

The patent date refers to patent 584,019, filed by H.A. Smith in 1896 and issued on the noted date.


Enderes Tools

Enderes Logo
Enderes Logo from 1918 Trademark

Enderes Tools was founded in 1896 in Littleport, Iowa by Ernst Enderes as a maker of nippers, pliers, and chisels. The company moved to Albert Lea, Minnesota in 1910 in a merger with the Albert Lea Machinery Company. The company's earliest tools were 14 inch nippers, staple-pulling pliers, and cold chisels.

The company continues in business today as a maker of chisels, punches, mason's tools, farrier's tools, and other tools. Interested readers can find more information at the EnderesTools web site.


Patents

Enderes Tools: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
796,305 E. Enderes01/16/190508/01/1905 Wrench
983,271 E. Enderes07/21/190902/07/1911 Pipe Wrench

Trademarks

Enderes Tools: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
Enderes Logo 121,609 05/09/1917 10/27/1917 05/14/1918 Used for pliers, chisels, punches, knives.
Enderes [logo] 368,228 03/20/1917 05/26/1938 06/13/1939 Used for pliers, chisels, punches, other tools.

Erie Tool Works

The Erie Tool Works operated in Erie, Pennsylvania as a maker of pipe wrenches, adjustable wrenches, vises, and other tools.

[1905 Advertisement for Erie Tool Works Pipe Vise]
Fig. 104. 1905 Advertisement for Erie Tool Works Pipe Vise. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 104 was published on page 8 of the August 26, 1905 issue of Domestic Engineering.

[1921 Advertisement for Erie Tool Works]
Fig. 105. 1921 Advertisement for Erie Tool Works. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 105 was published on page 58 of the August, 1921 issue of American Exporter.


Erie Tool Works No. 10 Automatic Pipe Wrench

[Erie Tool Works No. 10 Automatic Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 106. Erie Tool Works No. 10 Automatic Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 106 shows an Erie Tool Works No. 10 automatic pipe wrench, marked with "Erie Tool Works" and "Erie, PA U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Auto No 10" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 10.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


J.H. Faw "Fawsco" Company

[1922 Advertisement for Fawsco Wrenches]
Fig. 107. 1922 Advertisement for Fawsco Wrenches. [External Link]

The J.H. Faw Company was a maker of automotive tools and accessories operating in New York City from around 1915 until about 1930. The company sold products under the "Fawsco" brand and is believed to have been founded by Julian H. Faw, an inventor with several tool patents.

The advertisement in Fig. 107 was published on page 64 of the August, 1922 edition of Automobile Dealer and Repairer and shows a selection of Fawsco wrenches.


Fawsco 1085 5/8 Offset Socket Wrench

[Fawsco 1085 5/8 Offset Socket Wrench]
Fig. 108. Fawsco 1085 5/8 Offset Socket Wrench, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail.

Fig. 108 shows a Fawsco 1085 5/8 offset socket wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the model and fractional size.

The overall length is 10.2 inches. The finish is plain steel with some of the original black paint.

The socket size and distinctive offset in the shank suggest that this wrench was probably designed for servicing the infamous fourth connecting rod of the Model T Ford.


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