Alloy Artifacts  

Whitman & Barnes Mfg. Company

Table of Contents

Introduction

Whitman & Barnes (W&B) was a well-known tool maker active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its main office in Akron, Ohio.


Whitman & Barnes Manufacturing Company

The Whitman & Barnes Manufacturing Company (W&B) was founded in 1877 by the merger of the Whitman & Miles Company with George Barnes & Company, and initially operated as a maker of knives for mowers and reapers. The company's principal location was in Akron, Ohio, with a secondary location in Syracuse, New York.

The company later built factories in Chicago and in St. Catherines, Ontario.

[1891 Advertisement for Capitol Mfg. Acme Wrench]
Fig. 1. 1891 Advertisement for Capitol Mfg. Acme Wrench. [External Link]

In 1893 the company acquired the Acme line of monkey wrenches from the Capitol Manufacturing Company of Chicago.

Fig. 1 shows an ad for Capitol Mfg. Acme wrenches, as published in page 127 of the March 5, 1891 issue of The Iron Age.

The illustration shows the distinctive twisted handle of the Acme wrench.

In subsequent years the company expanded its wrench business with various models of bicycle wrenches, pipe wrenches, fixed and adjustable alligator wrenches, auto wrenches, and other tools. One of their best known products was the line of "Bull Dog" alligator wrenches, produced in a range of sizes.

[1904 Advertisement for Whitman & Barnes Wrench]
Fig. 2. 1904 Advertisement for Whitman & Barnes Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 2 shows an ad for a Whitman & Barnes "knife handle" monkey wrench, as published on page 78 of the September 8, 1904 issue of American Machinist.

[1909 Advertisement for W&B Twist Drills]
Fig. 3. 1909 Advertisement for Whitman & Barnes Twist Drills. [External Link]

Twist drills were another important product of W&B. The illustration in Fig. 3 shows an advertisement for twist drills published in the December 2, 1909 issue of The Iron Age.

[1915 Advertisement for W&B Tools]
Fig. 4. 1915 Advertisement for Whitman & Barnes Tools. [External Link]

Fig. 4 shows an ad for various W&B tools, as published on page 1 of the December, 1915 issue of the Railroad Journal.

The illustration shows a reamer, a twist drill, and two wrenches inside a "W & B Co." diamond logo. The text at the bottom notes the company's factories in Akron, Chicago, and St. Catherines, Ontario.

In 1920 the J.H. Williams company acquired the drop-forge and wrench operations of Whitman & Barnes, and the W&B president A.D. Armitage became a vice-president of J.H. Williams. Some of the W&B product lines (e.g. monkey wrenches and alligator wrenches) remained in production under J.H. Williams.


Patents

Whitman & Barnes: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
273,170 F.H. Seymour 01/12/188302/27/1883 Monkey Wrench with Twist Handle
544,738 H.J. Martin 05/07/189508/20/1895 Wrench
544,739 H.J. Martin 05/07/189508/20/1895 Wrench
670,681 H.J. Martin 11/10/190003/26/1901 Adjustable Pipe and Nut Wrench

Trademarks

Whitman & Barnes registered a number of trademarks for its various products. The table below shows the known trademarks applying to tools; additional trademarks were registered for the company's farm implement related business.

Whitman & Barnes: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
Vlchek 254,241 01/01/191001/03/1929 03/12/1929 Underline logo.
Used for tools.
W&B 49,625  11/14/1905 02/13/1906 Wrenches.
"W&B" in a Diamond logo.
Serial 14,590. Published 12/19/1905.
Bull Dog 51,576  11/16/1905 04/17/1906 Wrenches.
Serial 14,714. Published 02/20/1906.
W & B Co. 52,966  11/14/1905 05/22/1906 Wrenches.
"W & B Co." in a Diamond logo.
Serial 14,591. Published 03/27/1906.
Railroad Special 54,259  11/16/1905 06/26/1906 Wrenches.
Serial 14,713. Published 05/01/1906.
ACME 77,973  02/16/1909 05/17/1910 Wrenches and hay-carriers.
Serial 40,584. Published 07/13/1909.

References and Resources

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

Catalog Coverage

Currently we do not have any catalogs for Whitman & Barnes.

Industrial Distributors

Whitman & Barnes tools were widely available from industrial distributors. We will add references as time permits.


Selected Tools


W&B No. 1 Alligator Wrench

[W&B No. 1 Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 5. W&B No. 1 Alligator Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 5 shows a W&B No. 1 alligator wrench, stamped with the W+B-Diamond logo and "Made in U.S.A." on one side, with the model number on the reverse.

The overall length is 5.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with pitting due to rust.


W&B 5 Inch Double-Ended Alligator Wrench

[W&B 5 Inch Double-Ended Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 6. W&B 5 Inch Double-Ended Alligator Wrench.

Fig. 6 shows a W&B 5 inch double-ended alligator wrench, stamped with the WBCo-Diamond logo, with "Made in U.S.A." in the center.

The overall length is 4.9 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


W&B 5.5 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[W&B 5.5 Inch Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 7. W&B 5.5 Inch Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 7 shows a W&B 5.5 inch bicycle wrench, stamped with the WBCo-Diamond logo, with "Made in U.S.A." below.

The overall length is 5.6 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The prominent grooves in the shank give the wrench a distinctive appearance, but the intent appears to be cosmetic rather than functional.


W&B No. 27 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench

[W&B No. 27 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 8. W&B No. 27 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 8 shows a W&B No. 27 19/32x11/16 open-end wrench, marked with "Made in U.S.A." and the W+B-Diamond logo forged into the shank.

The overall length is 5.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The insets show the reverse face markings "3/8" and "5/16", references to the older U.S.S. size convention.


W&B No. 501 1/2x5/8 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench

[W&B No. 501 1/2x5/8 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 9. W&B No. 501 1/2x5/8 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 9 shows a W&B No. 501 1/2x5/8 S-shaped open-end wrench, marked with the model number and "Made in U.S.A." plus the W+B-Diamond logo forged into the shank, with the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

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


W&B No. 287 19/32 Single-Open Toolpost Wrench

[W&B No. 287 19/32 Single-Open Toolpost Wrench]
Fig. 10. W&B No. 287 19/32 Single-Open Toolpost Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 10 shows a W&B No. 287 19/32 single-open toolpost wrench, marked with the W+B-Diamond logo forged into the head, with the model number forged into the reverse.

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


Whitman & Barnes No. 478 1/2 Open-End Spud Wrench

[W&B No. 478 1/2 Open-End Spud Wrench]
Fig. 11. W&B No. 478 1/2 Open-End Spud Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 11 shows a W&B No. 478 1/2 single open-end wrench with a spud handle, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the W+B-Diamond logo forged into the shank.

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


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