Alloy Artifacts  

Rancke Manufacturing Company

The Rancke Manufacturing Company (or Rancke Wrench Company) operated in Hinsdale, Illinois and is currently known only by the advertisement below. The company was likely associated with Hinsdale Manufacturing, as Albert W. Rancke was one of the founders of Hinsdale.

We've added this entry as a placeholder while we search for additional information on the company.

[1921 Ad for Rancke Wrench Company]
Fig. 324. 1921 Ad for Rancke Wrench Company. [External Link]

Fig. 324 shows an advertisement for a set of Rancke wrenches, as published on page 19 of the October 15, 1921 issue of Mercantile Co-Operator.

The illustration and description for the wrenches is quite similar to an ad for Hinsdale Wrenches, suggesting that the Rancke wrenches may have been produced by Hinsdale Manufacturing.

The examples of Rancke wrenches found online were marked with "Rancke Mfg. Co." stamped on the shank.


Reed Manufacturing Company

The Reed Manufacturing Company was founded in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1896 by Carl Reed and partners as a maker of vises, pipe tools, and other metal products. The company was incorporated in 1899 with $100,000 in capital, with a list of products including scales and bicycles as well as plumbing tools. The company built its headquarters at 1425 West 8th Street in 1899.

In 1902 the company was acquired by Reuben Wright, and his sons Paul and Ross became president and secretary-treasurer, respectively.

Reed Manufacturing remains in business today as a 5th generation family owned business, and the interested reader can find more information in the Company Profile [External Link] on their web site.

[Illustration for 1897 Katzki Patent 588,069]
Fig. 325A. Illustration for 1897 Katzki Patent 588,069.

One of the company's earliest products was a pipe wrench with a spring-loaded jaw based on the 1897 Katzki patent 588,069.

The scan in Fig. 324A shows the illustration for the patent.

[1898 Ad for Reed Manufacturing Pipe Wrenches]
Fig. 325. 1898 Ad for Reed Manufacturing Pipe Wrenches. [External Link]

Fig. 325 shows an advertisement for Reed Manufacturing pipe wrenches, as published on page 63 of the July 9, 1898 supplement issue of Scientific American.

The illustration shows the company's pipe wrench based on the 1897 Katzki patent 588,069.

[1899 Notice for Reed Manufacturing Company]
Fig. 326. 1899 Notice for Reed Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

Fig. 326 shows a notice for Reed Manufacturing, as published on page 46 of the August 3, 1899 issue of The Iron Age.


Reed Manufacturing Katzki Patent Pipe Wrench

We have an example of the Reed Katzki patent pipe wrench and are preparing it for display.

Fig. 327. Reed Manufacturing Pipe Wrench To Be Added.

Rex Wrench Company

The Rex Wrench Company was the maker of distinctive "T-Socket" wrench sets with interchangeable sockets or wrench heads, founded in 1907 and operating in Boston, Massachusetts.

[1908 Advertisement for Rex T Socket Wrench Set]
Fig. 328. 1908 Advertisement for Rex Wrench Set.

The scan in Fig. 328 shows an ad for "The Rex" wrench set, as published on page 303 of the July, 1908 edition of the Automobile Trade Directory. This ad places the company at 620 Atlantic Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts and is currently our earliest reference to the company.

Incidentally, this publication also has advertisements for other early automotive tools, such as the Auto-Clé and Yala socket sets.

A 1909 edition of the Motor Cyclopedia listed the Rex Wrench Company as a maker of socket wrenches, with an address at 184 Summer Street, Boston and with J. Frank Torbert as the company president.

A 1909 report from the Massachusetts Tax Commissioner gives December 11, 1907 as the certification date for the corporation.

The Rex Wrench tools were based on patent 820,185, filed by J.W. Edmands in 1904 and issued on May 8, 1906. The patent document clearly illustrates the operation of a Tee handle with insertable socket heads, with the connection to the handle allowing several angular offsets.

[1909 Advertisement for Rex T Adjustable Socket Wrench Set]
Fig. 329. 1909 Advertisement for Rex T Adjustable Socket Wrench Set. [External Link]

Fig. 329 shows an ad for the "REX WRENCH" socket set, as published on page 262 of the June 1, 1909 issue of the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal.

The illustration shows the "Rex T Adjustable Socket Wrench Set" on top, with a set of open-end wrenches partially visible on the bottom.

The text notes that the tools are drop forged from carbon steel.

[1909 Advertisement for Rex Wrench Set]
Fig. 330. 1909 Advertisement for Rex Wrench Set.

The scan in Fig. 330 shows an ad for a Rex open-end wrench set, as published on page 23 [External Link] of the July 7, 1909 issue of The Horseless Age.

The illustration shows a Rex Wrench set with open-end wrench heads. The wrench heads (or other attachments) all have an integral hook-shaped drive tang which fits into a special Tee handle.


Closure in 1916

The Rex Wrench Company had only a relatively short life, as the corporation was dissolved in 1916, according to a 1916 report of Special Acts by the General Court of Massachusetts.


Rex Wrench "T" Adjustable Socket Wrench Set

[Rex Wrench T Adjustable Socket Wrench Set]
Fig. 331. Rex Wrench "T" Adjustable Socket Wrench Set, ca. 1907-1916.

Fig. 331 shows a Rex Wrench "T" socket wrench set, consisting of a Tee handle, crossbar, eight hex socket heads, an open-end wrench head, and a screwdriver head.

The inside of the lid is marked "Rex T Adjustable Socket Wrench Set" in a curved arc, with "Patented May 8th, 1906" just below, and with "Made by Rex Wrench Co." and "Boston, Mass." at the bottom.

The patent date refers to patent 820,185, filed by J.W. Edmands 1904 and issued in 1906.


Rex Wrench Tee Handle from "T" Adjustable Set

[Rex Wrench Tee Handle]
Fig. 332. Rex Wrench Tee Handle from "T" Adjustable Set, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, ca. 1907-1916.

Fig. 332 shows the Rex Wrench Tee handle from the "T" adjustable set, stamped with a "Pat'd. May 6, '06" patent date on the back side.

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

The upper inset shows the construction of the drive head. The cross-bar serves to retain the socket or wrench head in the drive end, and the spring-loaded plunger holds the head in the desired position.

The patent date refers to patent 820,185, filed by J.W. Edmands 1904 and issued in 1906.


Rhode Island Tool Company

The company was founded around 1834 as William Field & Company and operated as a maker of nuts and bolts in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The company moved to Providence in 1845 and was renamed to the Providence Tool Company in 1847.

In 1883 the Providence Tool Company split into the Household Sewing Machine Company and the Rhode Island Tool Company. The latter company operated as a maker of machinery, nuts, bolts, and tools, and with a location at 148 West River Street in a brick factory originally built in 1861.

Currently we don't have much information on the later operations of Rhode Island Tool, but the company is believed to have continued at least into the 1940s.


Tool Identification

Tools made by Rhode Island Tool typically have a forge mark consisting of "RI" in a circle, referred to as the RI-Circle logo in the text.


RI-Circle Logo

[RI-Circle Logo]
Fig. 333. RI-Circle Logo.

Fig. 333 shows the RI-Circle logo as found forged into a Rhode Island Tool No. 37 Wrench.


Rhode Island Tool No. 5 7/8 Single-Open Wrench

[Rhode Island Tool No. 5 7/8 Wrench]
Fig. 334. Rhode Island Tool No. 5 7/8 Single-Open Wrench, with Insets for Back Side and Marking Detail, ca. Late 1920s to 1940s.

Fig. 334 shows a Rhode Island Tool No. 5 7/8 single-open wrench, marked with the model number and RI-Circle logo forged into the shank, with the fractional size stamped on the back side face.

The overall length is 7.5 inches, and the finish is black paint with plain faces.

The across-flats size marking indicates production in 1927 or later.


Rhode Island Tool No. 37 1-1/16x1-1/4 Open-End Wrench

[Rhode Island Tool No. 37 1-1/16x1-1/4 Wrench]
Fig. 335. Rhode Island Tool No. 37 1-1/16x1-1/4 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail, ca. Late 1920s to 1940s.

Fig. 334 shows a Rhode Island Tool No. 37 1-1/16x1-1/4 open-end wrench, marked with the industry-standard number and RI-Circle logo forged into the shank, with the fractional sizes stamped on the faces.

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

The back side face is also stamped "1140", the Billings & Spencer model number for a No. 37 wrench. (Further examples of the Billings 11xx series can be found at Billings 11xx Wrenches.)

The across-flats size markings indicate production in 1927 or later.


Richards Manufacturing Company

The Richards Manufacturing Company was founded in Aurora, Illinois and was in operation by 1904 or earlier. The company's earliest products included ball-bearing door hangers and foot-powered grindstones, but their best known product was probably the "Wizard" adjustable ratchet wrench, which was in production by 1907.

The Wizard ratchet wrench was based on patent 854,174, filed by J.N. Noyer in 1906 and issued in 1907.

[1909 Advertisement for Wizard Adjustable Ratchet Wrench]
Fig. 336. 1909 Advertisement for Wizard Adjustable Ratchet Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 336 shows an ad with an illustration of the Wizard wrench, as published on page 10 of the January 1909 issue of The American Blacksmith.

A separate notice in the same publication describes the advantages of the wrench and claims that several thousand wrenches had been sold by that time.


Merger with Wilcox Manufacturing

In 1910 Richards Manufacturing merged with the Wilcox Manufacturing Company to form the Richards-Wilcox Manufacturing Company. The combined companies produced several types of wrenches in addition to the "Wizard" wrench, including a "Shark" adjustable pipe wrench, a "Yankee" monkey wrench, and various farm implement wrenches.

Interestingly, Richards-Wilcox remains in business today as a maker of overhead conveyor systems and door hardware, and readers can visit their web site at Richards-Wilcox [External Link] for more information.


Richards "Wizard" Ratcheting Adjustable Wrench

[Richards Wizard Ratcheting Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 337. Richards "Wizard" Ratcheting Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Back Side and Side Views, ca. 1908-1910.

Fig. 337 shows a Richards "Wizard" ratcheting adjustable wrench, stamped with "The Richards Mfg. Co." and "Aurora, Ill." on the face, with "Patented May 21, '07" and "Other Pats Pending" patent notices.

The overall length is 7.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date refers to patent 854,174, filed by J.N. Noyer in 1906 and issued in 1907.


Robert Wrench Company

The Robert Wrench Company was a short-lived tool company operating in New York City, known primarily as the maker of a patented self-adjusting pipe wrench. The wrench patent was issued to Frederic P. Robert in 1922, but by 1926 the patents and production of Robert Wrench had been acquired by the Hoe Corporation.


Robert Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Robert Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 338. Robert Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail.

Fig. 338 shows a Robert self-adjusting pipe wrench, with forged-in markings "Patented & Patents Pending" on one side, and with "Robert Wrench Co. N.Y." on the back side.

The overall length is 8.5 inches, and finish is plain steel.

The patent notice refers to patent 1,407,578, filed by Frederic P. Robert in 1921 and issued in 1922.


Rogers, Printz & Company

Rogers, Printz & Company was a maker of wedge-adjusting nut and pipe wrenches, founded in 1909 and operating in Warren, Pennsylvania.

[1909 Notice of Incorporation for Rogers Printz]
Fig. 339. 1909 Notice of Incorporation for Rogers, Printz & Company. [External Link]

Fig. 339 shows a notice of incorporation for Rogers Printz, as published on page 94 of the July 8, 1909 issue of the Iron Trade Review.

The principals are listed as A.M. Printz, James P. Rogers, and William R. Rogers, and the capital stock was $50,000.

The company's products were based on patents by John R. Long, initially on the earlier patent 890,146, filed in 1908 and issued on June 9, 1908. Later products used patent 955,974, filed in 1909 and issued on April 26, 1910.

Early production of the FITZALL wrenches were probably made as metal stampings, based on an example shown later.

But by 1910 Rogers Printz had decided to have the wrenches drop-forged, and planned to produce a pipe wrench version as well. We discovered information on these production decisions in the history of a later producer of the FITZALL wrenches, the Standard Wrench & Tool Company,

Standard Wrench & Tool is known to have produced the same FITZALL wedge-adjusting wrenches based on the Long patents, and it turns out that by July of 1911 Standard Wrench had acquired the wrench business from Rogers Printz. More information is available in our article on Standard Wrench, but we'll provide a brief summary here.

In 1910 Rogers Printz signed a $60,000 contract with Roren Drop Forging for production of FITZALL nut and pipe wrenches. Roren had agreed to sell its plant in Providence, Rhode Island to Union Manufacturing and Drop Forging, so the Rogers Printz contract was transferred to Union Manufacturing.

[1910 Advertisement for Rogers Printz Wedge-Adjusting Wrench]
Fig. 340. 1910 Advertisement for Rogers Printz Wedge-Adjusting Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 340 shows an advertisement illustrating the Rogers Printz wedge-adjusting pipe wrench, as published on page 74 of the August, 1910 issue of Southern Machinery.

At this time the wrench shown in the illustration would have been made by Union Manufacturing and Drop Forging.

Some time later (probably early 1911) Union Manufacturing fell into bankruptcy, and its estate (including the Rogers Printz contract) was purchased by Standard Wrench & Tool.

Having become the contract manufacturer of the FITZALL wrenches by succession, Standard Wrench & Tool apparently thought the tools presented a good business opportunity, and went on to acquire the wrench business from Rogers Printz.


Rogers Printz 4 Inch Wedge-Adjusting Bicycle Wrench

[Rogers Printz 4 Inch Wedge-Adjusting Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 341. Rogers Printz 4 Inch Wedge-Adjusting Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail, ca. 1908-1909.

Fig. 341 shows an early Rogers Printz 4 inch wedge-adjusting bicycle wrench, produced as a souvenir for the Hudson-Fulton event of September 1909. The wrench is stamped "Souvenir Hudson-Fulton Celebration" and "New York, Sept. 25, '09" on the front, with "Mfg'd By Rogers, Printz & Company" and "Warren, PA." on the back, along with a "Pat'd June 9, 1908" patent date.

The overall length is 4.4 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with some losses due to rust.

The patent date refers to patent 890,146, filed by J.R. Long in 1908 and issued later that year.

The markings on this wrench for both the patent date and the souvenir event date indicate a manufacturing date between June 1908 and September 1909, a fairly precise estimate for a tool more than 100 years old.

The Hudson-Fulton Celebration was an event commemorating the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson's discovery of the Hudson river, together with the (approximate) 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton's successful demonstration of a steamboat on the Hudson river. Further information on this event can be found in an article on Robert Fulton [Sorry, dead link 😢] published in the September 25, 1909 edition of Scientific American.


Rogers Printz "ARPECO" 8 Inch Wedge-Adjusting Bicycle Wrench

[Rogers Printz ARPECO 8 Inch Wedge-Adjusting Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 342A. Rogers Printz "ARPECO" 8 Inch Wedge-Adjusting Bicycle Wrench, with Insets for Back Side and Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1910 to Mid 1911.

Fig. 342A shows a Rogers Printz "ARPECO" 8 inch wedge-adjusting bicycle wrench, marked with "Rogers Printz & Company" and "Warren PA." forged into the handle, with "Drop Forged Steel" forged into the back side.

The sliding sheath is stamped with "ARPECO" and "Trade Mark" in an oval outline, along with a "Patented June 9, 1908 Apr. 26 1910" patent notice.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The first patent date refers to patent 890,146, filed by J.R. Long in 1908 and issued later that year. The second patent date refers to patent 955,974, filed by J.R. Long in 1909 and issued in 1910.

The marking for the 1910 patent indicates production sometime after April of 1910, and the use of the "ARPECO" brand indicates production before July of 1911, when the ARPECO wrench business was transferred to Standard Wrench & Tool.

Based on the history outlined in our article on the Standard Wrench & Tool Company, this wrench would have been produced by either Union Manufacturing and Drop Forging or Standard Wrench and Tool, both operating from the same factory in Providence, Rhode Island.

It's unusual to be able to provide such specific production information for a tool, especially in the absence of a forge-mark to identify the maker. In this case a dispute over contract fees lead to a lawsuit, which preserved the contractual details in the court transcript.


Rogers Printz "FITZALL" 8 Inch Wedge-Adjusting Bicycle Wrench

[Rogers Printz 8 Inch Wedge-Adjusting Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 342B. Rogers Printz "FITZALL" 8 Inch Wedge-Adjusting Bicycle Wrench, with Insets for Back Side and Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1911.

Fig. 342B shows a Rogers Printz "FITZALL" 8 inch wedge-adjusting bicycle wrench, marked with "Rogers Printz & Company" and "Warren PA." forged into the handle, with "Drop Forged Steel" forged into the back side.

The sliding sheath is stamped with "FITZALL" and "Trade Mark" in a diamond outline, along with a "Patented June 9, 1908 Apr. 26 1910" patent notice.

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

The first patent date refers to patent 890,146, filed by J.R. Long in 1908 and issued later that year. The second patent date refers to patent 955,974, filed by J.R. Long in 1909 and issued in 1910.

Based on the history outlined in our article on the Standard Wrench & Tool Company, this wrench would have been produced by Standard Wrench and Tool operating from its factory in Providence, Rhode Island.

The markings on this example are a bit unexpected, as the "FITZALL" brand is generally associated with Standard Wrench & Tool, but the wrench body retains the earlier Rogers Printz markings. Our best guess is that this tool may have been made shortly after Standard Wrench & Tool took over the Rogers Printz wrench line.


Ronson Specialty Company

The Ronson Specialty Company was founded in 1909 by Louis V. Aronson and operated in Newark, New Jersey. The company was a maker of tools and automotive specialties and is best known for its "Ronson Wrench" set of stamped-steel wrenches.

[1909 Notice for Ronson Specialty Company]
Fig. 343. 1909 Notice for Ronson Specialty Company. [External Link]

Fig. 343 shows a notice of incorporation for Ronson Specialty, as published on page 54 of the December 30, 1909 issue of Motor Age.

[1910 Ad for Ronson Wrench]
Fig. 344. 1910 Ad for Ronson Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 344 shows an ad for the Ronson wrench set, as published on page 745 of the March, 1910 edition of Automobile Dealer and Repairer.

The wrench set was described by patent 942,993, filed in 1909 by L.V. Aronson and issued later that year.

In 1910 Louis V. Aronson registered "Ronson" as Trademark #77,284.

[1910 Notice for Ronson Wrench]
Fig. 345. 1910 Notice for Ronson Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 345 shows a notice for the Ronson wrench set, as published on page 1111 of the May, 1910 edition of Hardware Dealers' Magazine.

By December of 1915 the "Ronson Wrench" was being produced by the Art Metal Works, which operated at the same address as Ronson Specialty and which appears to have succeeded the prior company. By 1917 the Ronson Specialty Company had been dissolved.


Rosel, W.E. Company

The W.E. Rosel Company was a maker of automotive specialty tools operating in Columbus, Ohio. The company is currently known only for its "5 In 1" tool, which combined a spark-plug wrench, alligator wrench, and gap-setting gauge.

[Rosel 5 In 1 Specialty Wrench]
Fig. 346. 1920 Notice for Rosel "5 In 1" Specialty Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 346 shows a 1920 notice for the Rosel "Five-in-One" tool, as published on page 72 of the May, 1920 edition of The Accessory and Garage Journal.

The text notes the company address as 858 South 17th Street in Columbus.


Rosel "5 In 1" Specialty Wrench

[Rosel 5 In 1 Specialty Wrench]
Fig. 347. Rosel "5 In 1" Specialty Wrench, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. 1919 to Early 1920s.

Fig. 347 shows a Rosel "5 In 1" specialty wrench, marked with "W.E. Rosel" and "Col. O." cast into the shank, with "5 In 1 Tool" and "Pat July 22 1919" cast into the back side.

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

The patent date refers to design patent D53,641, filed by W.E. Rosel in 1919 and issued later that year.


Scholler Manufacturing Company

The Scholler Manufacturing Company operated in Buffalo, New York as a maker of adjustable wrenches and possibly other tools. Published references indicate that the company was in operation by 1915 (or earlier) and remained in business at least through the 1920s.

[1915 Notice for Scholler Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 348. 1915 Notice for Scholler Adjustable Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 348 shows a notice describing the Scholler adjustable wrenches, as published on page 167 of the October, 1915 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal.

The text notes that the jaws are offset by 22.5 degrees, and the wrenches were available in sizes from 4 to 10 inches.


Scholler 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Scholler 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 349. Scholler 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 349 shows a Scholler 8 inch adjustable wrench, marked with the Scholler name forged into the handle, with "Scholler Mfg. Co. Inc." and "Buffalo N.Y." forged into the back side.

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

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench, illustrating the relatively thick head and stepped rectangular keyway.


Scholler 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Scholler 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 350. Scholler 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 350 shows a Scholler 10 inch adjustable wrench, marked with the Scholler name forged into the handle, with "The Scholler Mfg. Co." and "Buffalo N.Y." forged into the back side.

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.3 inches. The finish is plain steel.

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench, illustrating the relatively thick head and stepped rectangular keyway.


Schriver, O.P. & Company

O.P. Schriver & Company was a maker of pumps and other hardware items operating in Cincinnati, Ohio. A 1906 issue of the Hardware Dealer's Magazine noted the company as a maker of wire cloth and netting, and a 1907 report by the Ohio Secretary of State listed the company's products as "Pumps, etc.", with a capital stock of $20,000. The company's earlier address appears to have been at 208 Elm Street in Cincinnati, but by 1914 the address was being reported as 621 East Pearl Street. A 1918 bulletin by the Industrial Commission of Ohio reported a total of 25 employees at that time.

In later years the company produced a line of chain repair pliers described by patent 1,320,547, issued in 1919 to E.P. Happensack and assigned to the company.


Schriver IXL 7 Inch Chain Repair Pliers

The next two figures show examples of the Schriver IXL 7 inch pliers, with minor differences in the forged-in markings.

[Schriver IXL 7 Inch Chain Repair Pliers]
Fig. 351. Schriver IXL 7 Inch Chain Repair Pliers, With Insets for Marking Detail.

Fig. 351 shows a pair of Schriver IXL 7 inch chain repair pliers, marked with "IXL Chain Plier Patented" and "Malleable Iron" forged into the handles, with "OP Schriver Co. Cin. O." and "1320547" forged into the undersides.

The overall length is 6.9 inches. The finish is plain steel with traces of a coppery paint, although it's not known whether the paint is original.

The pliers are marked with patent 1,320,547, filed by E.F. Happensack in 1919 and issued later that year.

[Schriver IXL 7 Inch Chain Repair Pliers]
Fig. 352. Schriver IXL 7 Inch Chain Repair Pliers, With Insets for Marking Detail.

Fig. 352 shows another similar pair of Schriver IXL 7 inch chain repair pliers, marked with "IXL Chain Plier Patented" and "Malleable Iron" forged into the handles, with "OP Schriver Co." and "Cin. O." forged into the undersides.

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

The "Patented" marking refers to patent 1,320,547, filed by E.F. Happensack in 1919 and issued later that year.


Service Engineering Corporation

More than a decade ago we acquired two socket sets with "Service" embossed on the top cover, but at the time didn't recognize "Service" as part of a company's name, and the sets languished in the vaults as "mystery" tools. Recently though (2021) we noticed a "Boston 27" address forged into the ratchet handle, and this address turned out to be the clue needed to discover the notice in Fig. 355, leading us to the Service Engineering Corporation.

Service Engineering was a maker of automotive socket sets operating in Boston during the early 1920s, with the company's address being noted as 568 East First Street, Boston 27, Massachusetts in a 1922 publication.

[1921 Notice for Service Engineering Corp.]
Fig. 353. 1921 Notice for Service Engineering Corporation. [External Link]

Fig. 353 shows a notice reporting the formation of the Service Engineering Corporation, as published on page 1704 of the December 29, 1921 issue of Iron Age.

The company officers were Arthur L. Lewis as president, Carroll W. Prochaska as vice-president, and Frederick J. Shepard, Jr. as treasurer.

[1922 Notice for Service Engineering Corp.]
Fig. 354. 1922 Notice for Service Engineering Corporation. [External Link]

Fig. 354 shows a slightly later notice for the company, found on page 428 of a 1922 Massachusetts Manufacturers' Directory.

The directory listing notes that the company had 10 employees and mentions an additional officer, E.S. Church as secretary.

[1922 Notice for Service Wrench Set]
Fig. 355. 1922 Notice for Service Wrench Set.

Fig. 355 shows a notice for a Service Wrench Set No. 1, as published on page 86 [External Link] of the May 1, 1922 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal. The illustration shows the set in a clam-shell metal case, and the description notes the use of alloy steel for the sockets, universal joint, and ratchet gear.

A similar notice was found on page 43 of the February 23, 1922 issue of Motor Age, and another notice (with an illustration on the following page) was found on page 28 of the April 15, 1922 issue of The Commercial Vehicle. These earlier notices have illustrations with just the tools, possibly because the cases weren't ready yet.

Apart from these notices, we haven't found any further information for the company — not even an advertisement!

The lack of advertisements may be a clue that the company pursued a different route for sales. Perhaps they had a contract to supply toolkits for large commercial or industrial customers, or maybe this was a repair kit for a fleet of taxis.

The Lewis-Shepard Company

While looking for more information on Service Engineering, we ran into a related company called the Lewis-Shepard Company. Lewis-Shepard was run by two of the principals at Service Engineering and shared a contiguous address on East First Street in Boston.

[1922 Ad for Lewis-Shepard Company]
Fig. 356. 1922 Advertisement for Lewis-Shepard Company. [External Link]

Fig. 356 shows an ad for Lewis-Shepard, published on page 88 of the December, 1922 issue of Industrial Management. As can be seen from the ad, Lewis-Shepard was in the materials-handling business and made jacks, lift trucks, wheeled dollies, and so on.

Lewis-Shepard was a substantial operation with branch offices in other cities. The company filed trademarks from before the 1920s into the 1940s and beyond — for example, the company received trademark #119,194 for "Jacklift" on October 30 of 1917. Lewis-Shepard is actually still in operation today as a division of Hyster.

Materials handling is a bit far afield from our primary interests here at Alloy Artifacts, but the discovery of Lewis-Shepard is immediately relevant for Service Engineering. First of all it shows that the management would have had extensive contacts with large commercial and industrial companies — the kind of businesses that needed Lewis-Shepard products. Maybe it will even turn out that the Service socket sets were toolkits for early fork-lift trucks.

Secondly, we can assume that as a maker of heavy industrial equipment, Lewis-Shepard would have had substantial engineering and production resources.

And for one last point, since we haven't discovered the eventual fate of Service Engineering, the existence of a related company raises the possibility that Service could have merged quietly into the bigger company, avoiding the messiness of a bankruptcy auction and corporate dissolution.

Readers familiar with King Pressed Steel may have noted some similarities with the present company and wondered about a connection. There are some obvious similarities — both were obscure companies operating in the Greater Boston area in the 1920s, both sold socket sets in clam-shell metal cases with wooden organizers, and their sockets have a similar shape with a radius groove at the base. We can offer a fairly simple explanation for the similarities of their socket sets.

When Service Engineering was designing their socket set in late 1921, they would have needed to consider some kind of case for the tools. King Pressed Steel is known to have advertised their metal stamping services, and since they were located nearby, it's reasonable to think that Service Engineering would have contacted King.

At this time King was producing socket sets in clam-shell cases with a chessboard design on top, and presumably they would have shown examples to Service Engineering. Obviously Service Engineering liked the design, so they could have contracted with King Pressed Steel for similar cases with "Service" embossed on top.

The similarity of the sockets is also easy to explain. Since both companies were small and new to the socket business, both almost certainly would have used a screw machine company to produce their socket blanks. So whether Service Engineering used the same screw machine contractor or not, sockets of this design would have been easy to produce on an automatic screw machine.

Beyond the superficial similarities of the companies' products are some significant differences. The King Pressed Steel sets were 7/16-hex drive and were suitable mostly for light-duty work, and didn't even include a ratchet.

In contrast, Service Engineering designed their set with a greater awareness of the demands of maintenance tools. The set used a heavier 1/2-hex drive, and the company went to the trouble of designing a combination-tool ratchet made with a custom drop-forging. (Even the adapter plug for their asymmetrical universal was drop-forged.) More importantly, based on the published specs the company used alloy steel for the sockets and other parts, which would make Service Engineering the first company to produce alloy sockets. [Editor's note: After this article was written, we discovered that Abegg & Reinhold offered nickel alloy steel sockets in 1920.]

It may seem remarkable that a virtually unknown company would have been the first to produce alloy-steel socket sets, but sometimes history takes surprising turns. We hope our readers will enjoy exploring this long-forgotten company's products.


Service 1/2-Hex Drive No. 1 Socket Set

We have two socket sets from Service Engineering, a No. 1 set closely matching the illustration in Fig. 355, and another (possibly later) set with a different and interesting Peerless ratchet. Both sets were supplied in metal boxes with "Service" embossed on the lid, with a wooden insert to organize the sockets and tools.

[Service 1/2-Hex Drive No. 1 Socket Set]
Fig. 357. Service 1/2-Hex Drive No. 1 Socket Set, ca. 1922.

Fig. 357 shows a 1/2-hex drive Service No. 1 socket set, consisting of a ratchet, two drive plugs, an extension, a double-female universal, and 9 hexagon sockets. The set as shown is missing its screwdriver bit.

The socket sizes are, from the left, 1 inch, 7/8, 13/16, 3/4, 11/16, 5/8, 9/16, 1/2, and 7/16. The sockets are numbered from 9 to 1, but are not marked with the fractional sizes.

[Top Cover of Service No. 1 Socket Set]
Fig. 358. Top Cover of Service No. 1 Socket Set, ca. 1922.

Fig. 358 shows the top cover of the Service No. 1 socket set, with "Service" embossed in block letters in the center. The case still retains some of its original black paint.

The dimensions of the case are 11.0 inches wide by 4.8 inches deep by 1.4 inches high.

The set as acquired was missing the universal, the screwdriver bit, and one socket, but also came with a mystery piece. The drive stud in the ratchet was a 1/2-hex to 5/8-hex adapter plug, with no obvious function except to secure the ratchet head in the provided hole. We assumed it was just an interpolation by the former owner.

Then when we went to borrow a universal from the second set, we found that the piece that looked like a universal was actually a 1/2-hex drive universal socket. For a moment it looked like neither set had a working universal, until we remembered the odd adapter plug in the first set. It fit the universal socket perfectly and the design was then clear: instead of making a conventional symmetrical universal, the company designed an asymmetrical universal and added an adapter plug! This allowed the set to include both the expected drive universal as well as a universal socket with a useful opening size.


Service 1/2-Hex Drive Ratchet

[Service 1/2-Hex Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 359. Service 1/2-Hex Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. 1922.

Fig. 359 shows the 1/2-hex drive Service ratchet and drive plug from the No. 1 set. The paneled handle is marked with "Service" and "Pat. Appd." forged into the front, with "Boston 27" and "Mass" forged into the back side.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The ratchet mechanism has a relatively stiff and coarse action with 12 teeth on the gear.

The forged ratchet handle provides two openings broached for 1/2-hex drive, one at the center and one at the end, and these openings allow the ratchet handle to function as a Tee or Ell handle with a drive plug or extension. Effectively the ratchet is a type of combination tool, allowing more functionality within the limits of a compact tool kit.

Since the ratchet mechanism itself is rather pedestrian (even for the 1920s), we suspect that the patent application may have made claims about the ratchet handle as a combination tool. The patent has not yet been found.


Service 1/2-Hex Drive 10 Inch Extension

[Service 1/2-Hex Drive 10 Inch Extension]
Fig. 360. Service 1/2-Hex Drive 10 Inch Extension, ca. 1922.

Fig. 360 shows the unmarked 1/2-hex drive 10 inch extension from the Service No. 1 set.

The overall length is 9.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel. The extension uses an embedded steel ball at each end as a stop.


Service 1/2-Hex Drive Universal and Adapter Plug

This next figure shows the unusual two-piece universal from the Service No. 1 set.

[Service 1/2-Hex Drive Universal and Adapter Plug]
Fig. 361. Service 1/2-Hex Drive Universal and Adapter Plug, ca. 1922.

Fig. 361 shows the unmarked 1/2-hex drive universal and adapter plug from the Service No. 1 set. The tool consists of two pieces: a 1/2-hex drive 5/8 universal socket and a 5/8-hex to 1/2-hex drive adapter.

The overall length is 2.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

[Service 1/2-Hex Drive Adapter Plug]
Fig. 362. Service 1/2-Hex Drive Adapter Plug, ca. 1922.

Fig. 362 shows the unmarked 1/2-hex to 5/8-hex adapter plug. Note the parting line visible on the right end, indicating that the adapter was drop-forged rather than machined.

The overall length is 1.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The unusual combination design of this universal allowed the set to include a useful universal socket as well as a fully functional universal.


Service 1/2-Hex Drive Sockets

[Service 1/2-Hex Drive Sockets]
Fig. 363. Service 1/2-Hex Drive Sockets, ca. 1922.

Fig. 363 shows the three largest 1/2-hex drive sockets from the Service No. 1 set. The socket sizes are, from the left, 1 Inch, 7/8, and 13/16.

The sockets are numbered sequentially but are not marked with the fractional size.

Note the relatively clean interior of the sockets, with no chips or fragments from the broaching process. The sockets were designed with a machined recess below the broached area, which allowed the metal chips to break off during broaching.


Southington Manufacturing Company

The Southington Manufacturing Company was founded in 1909 in Southington, Connecticut as a maker of tools, automobile tool kits, and forgings.

[1909 Notice for Southington Manufacturing Company]
Fig. 367. 1909 Notice for Southington Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

Fig. 367 shows a notice of the founding of Southington Manufacturing, as published on page 1807 of the June 3, 1909 issue of The Iron Age.

[1912 Notice of Incorporation for Southington Manufacturing Company]
Fig. 368. 1912 Notice of Incorporation for Southington Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

Fig. 368 shows a notice of the incorporation of Southington Manufacturing, as published on page 827 of the march 28, 1912 issue of The Iron Age.

[1912 Advertisement for Southington Mfg. Screwdriver]
Fig. 369. 1912 Advertisement for Southington Mfg. Screwdriver. [External Link]

Fig. 369 shows an ad for Southington "bolt head" screwdrivers, as published on page 1135 of the November, 1912 issue of the Hardware Dealers' Magazine.

[1922 Advertisement for Southington Manufacturing Company]
Fig. 370. 1922 Advertisement for Southington Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

Fig. 370 shows an ad illustrating an S-shaped wrench, as published on page 1142 of the June, 1922 edition of the Hardware Dealers' Magazine.

The ad shows the SMCo logo on each side, with "S" over "M.Co" inside a circle.


Tool Identification

Southington Manufacturing marked its tools with an SMCo-Circle forge mark, as seen in the next figure.


SMCo-Circle Logo

[SMCo-Circle Logo]
Fig. 371. SMCo-Circle Logo.

Fig. 371 shows a close-up of the SMCO-Circle logo from the 1922 ad in the figure above.


SMCo 504 7/8x1 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench

[SMCo 504 7/8x1 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 372. SMCo 504 7/8x1 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1910s to 1920s.

Fig. 372 shows a Southington "SMCo" 7/8x1 S-Shaped open-end wrench, marked with "Drop Forged" and the SMCo logo forged into the shank, and with "504" forged into the back side [not shown].

The overall length is 10.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The inset shows a close-up of the SMCO logo on the shank, although it's not very clear.


Specialty Tools, Inc.

Specialty Tools, Inc. operated in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as the maker of a "Ratchet Action Speed Wrench", a type of open-end wrench with one of the jaws cut away to allow a ratchet-like action. The wrenches were based on patent 3,762,244, filed by James P. Evans in 1971 and issued in 1973.

The design described by the Evans patent is very similar to the 1953 Wilder patent 2,652,735, which was used for the Speed-Hed wrenches generally attributed to Thorsen but manufactured by Vlchek.


[Specialty Tools] SW-1003 5/8x11/16 Speed Wrench

[Specialty Tools SW-1003 5/8x11/16 Speed Wrench]
Fig. 373. [Specialty Tools] SW-1003 5/8x11/16 Speed Wrench, with Inset for Back Side, ca. Early 1970s.

Fig. 373 shows a [Specialty Tools] SW-1003 5/8x11/16 speed wrench, stamped "Ratchet Action Speed Wrench" on the raised panel, with "USA" and "Pats. Pending" on the back panel.

The overall length is 7.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The pending status refers to patent 3,762,244, filed by James P. Evans in 1971 and issued in 1973. (This patent was a continuation of an earlier application in 1970.)


Spring Leaf Lubricator Company

The Spring Leaf Lubricator Company operated in Ann Arbor, Michigan as the maker of Knowlson brand spring leaf spreaders.

The company was in business by 1912, based on a notice in the November 23, 1912 issue of Automobile Topics announcing their spring leaf spreader tool. Other public notices and advertisements indicate that the company remained in business at least into the early 1920s.

[1915 Advertisement for Spring Leaf Lubricator Company]
Fig. 374. 1915 Advertisement for Spring Leaf Lubricator Company.

The scan in Fig. 374 shows an ad for the company's Knowlson No. 1 spring leaf spreader, as published on page 157 [External Link] of the October, 1915 issue of Motor.

By 1918 the company was producing a slightly smaller Knowlson No. 3 spring spreader as well.

The Knowlson spring spreaders were based on patent 1,108,111, filed by C.F. Adamson in 1912 and issued on August 18, 1914, and patent 1,142,280, filed by J.H. Stevenson and F. Knowlson in 1912 and issued on June 8, 1915.


Knowlson No. 3 Spring Leaf Spreader

[Knowlson No. 3 Spring Leaf Spreader]
Fig. 375. Knowlson No. 3 Spring Leaf Spreader, ca. 1918 to Early 1920s.

Fig. 375 shows a Knowlson No. 3 spring leaf spreader, marked with "Knowlson No. 3" and "Pat. Aug 18 1914" forged (or cast) into the body.

The overall length is 8.0 inches fully extended, and the length of the crossbar is 3.8 inches. The finish is plain steel.

The patent date refers to patent 1,108,111, issued to C.F. Adamson in 1914.

In use, the chisel points would be placed between the leaves of the spring and the screw tightened to force the leaves apart.

Once the spring leaves were separated, a suitable lubricant could then be applied to the springs. (The company recommended a mixture of heavy grease and graphite.)


Standard Wrench & Tool Company

The Standard Wrench & Tool Company was a drop-forge operator in Providence, Rhode Island and is best known as the maker of FITZALL wedge-adjusting nut and pipe wrenches. The dates of operation for the company are a bit uncertain, but it appears to have operated only briefly, from around 1911 to late 1913. (A reference in a 1918 engineering directory is likely just a stale listing.)

The FITZALL wedge-adjusting wrench was based on patents issued to John R. Long, and had previously been offered by Rogers, Printz & Company of Warren, Pennsylvania. The connection between Rogers Printz and Standard Wrench turns out to be a bit convoluted.

[1911 Notice of Succession]
Fig. 376. 1911 Notice of Succession by Standard Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 376 shows a notice of the succession by Standard Wrench to the wrench business of Rogers Printz, as published on page 323 of the July, 1911 edition of Mill Supplies.

[1915 Court Report for ROREN vs. UNION]
Fig. 377. 1915 Court Report for ROREN vs. UNION. [External Link]

Fig. 377 provides background information on Standard Wrench & Tool in a summary of a court decision for ROREN DROP FORGING COMPANY vs. UNION MANUFACTURING AND DROP FORGING COMPANY, as published starting on page 396 of the 1915 Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Appellate for the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

According to the court report, in 1910 Rogers, Printz & Company signed a contract for $60,000 with Roren Drop Forging for the production of FITZALL nut and pipe wrenches.

At the time Roren had agreed to sell its plant in Providence to Union Manufacturing and Drop Forging, so the Rogers Printz contract was transferred to Union Manufacturing, but with the stipulation that a portion of the fees would be paid to Roren to cover the foregone profit. (A dispute over these fees lead to a lawsuit and ultimately to the court decision.)

Some time later Union Manufacturing fell into bankruptcy, and the assets of the company (including the Rogers Printz contract) were purchased by Standard Wrench & Tool. So at this point Standard Wrench had become the contract manufacturer of the FITZALL wrenches, and by July of 1911 had reached an agreement to acquire the "Arpeco" wrench business from Rogers Printz.

The FITZALL Wrench

The February 8, 1912 issue of The Automobile includes a description of the FITZALL wedge-adjusting wrench on page 453 [External Link], with an illustration on the previous page.

[1912 Ad for FITZALL Wedge-Adjusting Wrench]
Fig. 378. 1912 Ad for FITZALL Wedge-Adjusting Wrench.

The scan in Fig. 378 shows an ad for the FITZALL wrench, as published on page 130 [External Link] of the April 5, 1912 edition of The Hardware Reporter.

The ad notes that the wrenches were available in both nut and pipe wrench versions, with the latter having a serrated upper jaw.

In addition, the text notes that the upper jaw of the pipe wrench was replaceable.

[1912 Notice for FITZALL Wedge-Adjusting Wrench]
Fig. 379. 1912 Notice for FITZALL Wedge-Adjusting Wrench.

The composite scan in Fig. 379 provides a more detailed description of the FITZALL wrench, as published on page 60 [External Link] of the August, 1912 issue of Engineering Review.


Financial Problems

By late in 1913 Standard Wrench had run into financial trouble and its creditors petitioned for bankruptcy.

[1913 Notice of Petition for Bankruptcy]
Fig. 380. 1913 Notice of Petition for Bankruptcy.

Fig. 380 shows a notice of a petition for bankruptcy by the creditors of Standard Wrench, as published on page 360 of the August 21, 1913 issue of The Iron Trade Review.

[1913 Notice of Bankruptcy Auction]
Fig. 381. 1913 Notice of Bankruptcy Auction for Standard Wrench & Tool. [External Link]

Fig. 381 shows a notice of a pending bankruptcy auction for Standard Wrench & Tool, as published on page 101 of the November 25, 1913 issue of the Automobile Journal.

The text notes William B. Greenough as the Trustee in Bankruptcy for Standard Wrench & Tool. In his role as Trustee, Greenough had to stand in as the defendant in the court case cited previously.


Standard Wrench "FITZALL" Wedge-Adjusting Wrench

[Standard Wrench FITZALL Wedge-Adjusting Wrench]
Fig. 382. Standard Wrench FITZALL Wedge-Adjusting Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1911-1913.

Fig. 382 shows a Standard Wrench "FITZALL" wedge-adjusting nut wrench, marked with "Standard Wrench & Tool Co." and "Providence R.I. U.S.A." forged into the shank. The adjusting sleeve is stamped "Trade FITZALL Mark" inside a diamond outline, with "Patented June 9, 1908 Apr. 26, 1910" below (see inset).

The opposite side of the shank is also marked "Drop Forged Steel' (not shown).

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

The first patent date refers to patent 890,146, filed by J.R. Long in 1908. The second patent date refers to patent 955,974, filed by J.R. Long in 1909 and issued in 1910.

Despite the "Trade Mark" notation on this wrench, no trademarks for Standard Wrench & Tool have been found.


Stephens Wrench Company

In 1909 H.E. Stephens received patent 943,757 for an open-end wrench with an adjustable offset angle.

[1911 Notice for Stephens Wrench Company]
Fig. 383. 1911 Notice for Stephens Wrench Company.

Fig. 383 shows a notice describing the operation of the Stephens wrench, as published on page 39 of the April 13, 1911 issue of Motor Age.

The maker is identified as the Stephens Wrench Company of Chicago.

[1912 Ad for Stephens Ratchet Wrench]
Fig. 384. 1912 Ad for Stephens Ratchet Wrench.

Fig. 384 shows an ad for the Stephens ratchet wrench, as published on page 67 of the January, 1912 issue of American Motorist. The text provides the address of the company as 1409 Michigan Avenue in Chicago.


Stephens 1-1/4 Angle Wrench

[Stephens 1-1/4 Angle Wrench]
Fig. 385. Stephens 1-1/4 Angle Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail,

Fig. 385 shows a rare Stephens 1-1/4 angle wrench, marked with "Stephens Wrench" forged into the handle, with "Pat'd. Dec. 21, 09" forged into the back side.

The overall length is 9.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of nickel plating.

The wrench face is stamped with "3/4", a reference to the older U.S.S. size convention for the 1-1/4 opening.

The patent date refers to patent 943,757, filed in 1908 by H.E. Stephens and issued in 1909.


St. Pierre Chain Corporation

The St. Pierre Chain Corporation was founded in Worcester (Massachusetts) in 1920 as a maker of tire chains. The founder was Henry St. Pierre, an inventor from Vermont who had created an improved type of tire chains. The company later added automotive service tools and chain-repair tools to its product line, and later still began making pitching horseshoes for the game of horseshoes.

The company continues in operation today as the St. Pierre Manufacturing Corporation, and interested readers can visit their web site at www.stpierreusa.com [External Link] for further information. Our coverage here will focus on their automotive service tools, and we have a number of examples of pliers, wrenches, and chain-related tools to show.


St. Pierre [No. 1] Chain-Repair Pliers

[St. Pierre No. 1 Chain-Repair Pliers]
Fig. 386. St. Pierre [No. 1] Chain-Repair Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1925-1928.

Fig. 386 shows an early pair of St. Pierre [No. 1] chain-repair pliers, marked with "St. Pierre" and "Worcester Mass U.S.A." forged into one handle, with "Pat Pending" forged into the back side. No model number was marked on this example, but this model is marked as "No. 1" in the next figure.

The overall length is 9.4 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The patent pending status corresponds to the patent 1,657,978, filed by H. St. Pierre in 1925 and issued in 1928.


St. Pierre No. 1 Chain-Repair Pliers

[St. Pierre No. 1 Chain-Repair Pliers]
Fig. 387. St. Pierre No. 1 Chain-Repair Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1925-1928.

Fig. 387 shows another pair of St. Pierre No. 1 chain-repair pliers, with forged-in markings for the company name and "Worcester Mass U.S.A." near the pivot, and with the model number and a "Pat Pending" notice on the back side.

The overall length is 9.4 inches, and the finish is black paint.

The pliers are also marked with the M-Circle logo of the Moore Drop Forging Company, indicating that these pliers were made by Moore.

The patent pending status corresponds to the patent 1,657,978, filed by H. St. Pierre in 1925 and issued in 1928.


St. Pierre 11 Inch Compound-Leverage Chain-Repair Pliers

[St. Pierre Compound-Leverage Chain-Repair Pliers]
Fig. 388. St. Pierre Compound-Leverage Chain-Repair Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1929 to 1930s.

Fig. 388 shows a pair of St. Pierre 11 inch compound-leverage chain-repair pliers, marked with "Pat. No. 1657978-1658995-1710554" forged into the handle. Although not marked with the company name, the pliers can be identified by the patent markings and resemblance to the St. Pierre No. 1 pliers.

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

The first patent number listed on the handle is 1,657,978, filed by H. St. Pierre in 1925 and issued in 1928. The second patent number listed is 1,658,995, filed by J.N. MacDonald in 1925 and issued in 1928. The third patent number listed is 1,710,554, filed by H. St. Pierre in 1926 and issued in 1929.


St. Pierre 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[St. Pierre 1/2x9/16 Offset Terminal Box Wrench]
Fig. 389. St. Pierre 1/2x9/16 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail.

Fig. 389 shows a St. Pierre 1/2x9/16 offset box wrench, stamped "Chrome Alloy" on the shank, with "St. Pierre" on the back side.

The overall length is 9.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


St. Pierre 9/16x5/8 Battery Terminal Box-End Wrench

[St. Pierre 9/16x5/8 Battery Terminal Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 390. St. Pierre 9/16x5/8 Battery Terminal Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 390 shows a St. Pierre 9/16x5/8 battery terminal box-end wrench, stamped with "St. Pierre" and "Worcester, Mass." on the shank.

The overall length is 5.9 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Superior Wrench Company

The Superior Wrench Company was a maker of self-adjusting pipe wrenches operating in Marshalltown, Iowa. The company was founded in 1909 as the Lake Superior Wrench Company in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, but by 1910 had moved to the Iowa location. The company name was later simplified by dropping the leading "Lake".

The company's best known product was a self-adjusting pipe wrench described by the Munro 1909 933,096 and Boulieu 1910 972,052 patents.

[1909 Advertisement for Superior Wrench]
Fig. 391. 1909 Advertisement for Lake Superior Wrench Co. [External Link]

The early advertisement in Fig. 391 appeared in a 1909 issue of Technical World Magazine and refers to the tool as an "Automatic Auto Wrench". The ad offers the 12 inch model for $1 prepaid, or a set of four wrenches with sizes from 6 to 16 inches for just $3 prepaid.

At this time the company was still the Lake Superior Wrench Company, and the address is listed as 124 Maple Street, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

A brief article [External Link] in the March, 1910 issue of Hardware Dealer's Magazine describes the operation and advantages of the wrenches, and an illustration shows models available from 6 inches up to 20 inches.


Lake Superior 6 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Lake Superior 6 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 392. Lake Superior 6 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, 1910.

Fig. 392 shows an early Lake Superior 6 inch self-adjusting pipe wrench, stamped "Lake Superior Wrench Co." and "Sault Ste. Marie, Mich." on the handle. The wrench is also marked with a patent notice "Patented U.S.A. Oct. 4-10 Canada July 12-10" stamped between the swing arms.

The overall length is 5.4 inches with the jaw retracted, and the maximum opening is 0.75 inches. The finish is plain steel, with pitting due to rust.

The first patent date refers to patent 972,052, filed by J. Boulieu in 1909 and issued in 1910.

The markings for the 1910 patent date and earlier company location indicate production in 1910.


Lake Superior 16 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Lake Superior 16 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 393. Lake Superior 16 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1909-1910.

Fig. 393 shows an earlier Lake Superior 16 inch self-adjusting pipe wrench, marked with "Lake Superior Wrench Co." and "Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan" forged into the handle, and with a "Pat. Pend." patent notice stamped between the swing arms.

The pending status refers to patent 972,052, filed by J. Boulieu in 1909 and issued in 1910.

The overall length is 16.0 inches with the jaw retracted and 17.5 inches fully extended. The maxiumum opening is approximately 2.0 inches.

The finish is plain steel, with pitting due to rust.


Superior 12 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Superior 12 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 394. Superior 12 Inch Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1910-1920.

Fig. 394 shows a later Superior 12 inch self-adjusting pipe wrench, marked with "Superior Wrench Company" forged into the handle.

The overall length is 12.0 inches with the jaw retracted, and the maxiumum opening is 1.3 inches. The finish is plain steel, with extensive pitting due to rust.


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