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.


Abegg & Reinhold, Inc.

Abegg & Reinhold was founded in 1908 in Los Angeles by two Swiss immigrants, Walter Abegg and Baldwin Reinhold. The founders had studied mechanical engineering and metallurgy in Switzerland and the company became a pioneer in the heat-treating of alloy steel.

The company's early products included tools for oil field maintenance, and by 1912 the company was providing repair services for oil rigs. To fund expansion of the company, the two founders turned to a friend Edgar Vuilleumiere, and by 1914 the company was using the brand "Varco" as a shorthand for the Vuilleumiere, Abegg, and Reinhold Company. "Varco" was registered as a trademark in 1924.

With the rapid development of the auto industry, the company also developed tools for auto maintenance.

Early Use of Alloy Steel for Sockets

By 1920 the company was offering socket sets for auto maintenance, with sockets turned and broached from alloy steel. This is currently our earliest known application of alloy steel for socket construction.

[1920 Advertisement for Abegg & Reinhold Varco Tools]
Fig. 1. 1920 Advertisement for Abegg & Reinhold Varco Tools. [External Link]

Fig. 1 shows an ad for Abegg & Reinhold "Varco" tools, published on page 171 of the June, 1920 issue of Hardware World as part of a larger advertisement.

The text notes the use of nickel alloy steel.

The Varco socket tools were covered by patents 1,365,071 and 1,398,054, both filed by W.A. Abegg in 1919 and issued in 1921. The patents describe similar methods to allow a split drive stud to be expanded with a set screw, in order to provide a locking mechanism to retain the socket.

Trademarks

The company filed a trademark registration for "Varco" on November 26, 1923 and was granted trademark #182,374 on April 8, 1924.

[1924 Publication of Filing for Varco Trademark]
Fig. 2. 1924 Publication of Filing for Varco Trademark.

Fig. 2 shows the company's filing for the "Varco" trademark, published on January 29, 1924 with serial number 188,876.

The description of goods lists a number of tools, including drils, chisels, punches, and socket wrenches.


Continuing Operations

In 1973 the company changed its name to Varco International, Inc., and the company continues in business today under that name. Additional information on the company can be found in an article on Varco International [External Link].


Selected Tools

Currently we don't have any examples of Varco tools to display, but instead will show a few catalog listings of the company's products.

[1920 Catalog Listing for Varco No. 99 Socket Set]
Fig. 3. 1920 Catalog Listing for Varco No. 99 Socket Set.

Fig. 3 shows a catalog listing for a Varco No. 99 "Combination Socket Wrench Set", as published on page 4144 of the 1920 Baker, Hamilton & Pacific catalog.

The set consisted of an offset handle, an extension, a screwdriver bit, and seven hexagon sockets with sizes from 1/2 to 1-1/16. The description of the sockets notes that they are broached from alloy steel and heat treated.

The description notes the patented connection of the sockets to the handles, a reference to one of the patents 1,365,071 or 1,398,054.


Allen Wrench & Tool Company

The Allen Wrench & Tool Company was founded in 1913 in Providence, Rhode Island.

[1913 Notice for Allen Wrench & Tool]
Fig. 4. 1913 Notice for Allen Wrench & Tool.

Fig. 4 shows a notice of the founding of the company, as published on page 605 [External Link] of the October 1913 issue of Mill Supplies.

The text lists the company's founders as F.R. Allen, W.E Davis, and W.H Thornley, and notes the capital stock as $100,000. A publication from the State of Rhode Island lists the company's incorporation date [External Link] as September 5, 1913.

The Friction Ratchet

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. 5. 1914 Advertisement for Allen Friction Wrench.

The scan inFig. 5 shows an ad with an illustration of the Allen Friction wrench, as published on page 14 [External Link] of the November 1914 issue of Automobile Dealer and Repairer.

Interestingly, if you look closely you can see the well-known Billings B-Triangle logo on the handle, next to the patent date.


The Universal Wrench

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. 6. 1915 Advertisement for Allen Universal Wrench Set. [External Link]

Fig. 6 shows an ad describing the "Allen Universal" socket sets, as published on page 25 of the November 1915 edition of American Exporter.

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.

The company's products were carried by some distributors. The 1918 catalog "E" from Ducommun Hardware listed Allen friction wrench sets on page 248, including sets Nos. 9, 21, and 31, plus a "Ford Special" set.

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, as published on page 47 [External Link] of the May 4, 1922 issue of Motor Age.


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

[Allen Friction Wrench (Billings Version) 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 7. Allen Friction Wrench (Billings Version) 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1915-1920.

Fig. 7 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 back side, 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. 8. Allen Universal Wrench 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. 1914-1918.

Fig. 8 shows an Allen "Universal" 1/2-drive ratchet, marked with "Allen Universal Wrench" forged into the handle, with "Patent Pending" on the back side.

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. 9. 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. 10. Allen Friction No. 41 Socket Set To Be Added.

American Chain Company

The American Chain Company was founded in 1912 by Walter B. Lashar and operated in Bridgeport, Connecticut as a maker of chain for automobile tire chains and other applications.

The American Chain Company was closely associated with the Weed Chain Tire Grip Company, also of Bridgeport. We found background history on the two companies published beginning on page 768 [External Link] of the 1936 Volume 34 of U.S. Board of Tax Appeals Reports, with additional information on page 164 [External Link] of the 1917 History of Bridgeport and Vicinity.

In 1904 Walter B. Lashar was associated with the Bridgeport Chain Company and observed that one of their customers, Harry D. Weed, was purchasing large quantities of chain. Upon investigation, Lashar learned that Weed was using the chain to make anti-skid tire chains for automobiles, which he sold as Weed's Chain Tire Grip. Weed had received patent 768,495 in August of 1904 for his tire chain design.

[1904 Ad for Weed's Chain Tire Grip]
Fig. 11. 1904 Ad for Weed's Chain Tire Grip. [External Link]

Fig. 11 shows an ad for Weed's Chain Tire Grip, as published on page 329 of the September 28, 1904 issue of The Horseless Age.

The text notes the proprietor as H.D. Weed, with an address at 106 Pearl Street in Canastota, New York.

Seeing a business opportunity, Lashar acquired an exclusive license to the patent from Weed and by November of 1904 had formed the Weed Chain Tire Grip Company, with an office in New York City and a factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

With a new office and factory ready, H.D. Weed moved his tire chain business to the new quarters.

[1904 Notice for Weed Chain Tire Grip Company]
Fig. 12. 1904 Notice for Weed Chain Tire Grip Company. [External Link]

Fig. 12 shows a notice for H.D. Weed's move to the new location, as published on page 208 of the December 1, 1904 issue of the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal.

The text notes that H.D. Weed had moved his business from Canastota, New York to 28 Moore Street in New York City, with a new factory located in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

In researching the founding of the Weed Chain Tire Grip Company, we haven't found a public document noting its formation, but the November 1904 time frame is consistent with the move of H.D. Weed's business.

[1905 Ad for Weed Chain Tire Grip Company]
Fig. 13. 1905 Ad for Weed Chain Tire Grip Company. [External Link]

Fig. 13 shows an early ad for the Weed Chain Tire Grip Company, as published on page 1075 of the January 14, 1905 issue of Automobile Topics.

The illustration shows one of the cross-chains used by a set of tire chains.


A Tire Chain Monopoly

In addition to holding a license to H.D. Weed's patent 768,495, the Weed Chain Tire Grip Company later acquired a license to the 1903 Parsons patent 723,299 for a similar design for tire chains.

The protection from these two patents gave the Weed Chain Tire Grip Company a virtual monopoly on making non-skid tire chains, and the company successfully defended its position with patent infringement lawsuits against would-be competitors.

[1910 Notice of Injunctions]
Fig. 14. 1910 Notice of Injunctions. [External Link]

Fig. 14 shows a notice of injunctions against competitors, as published on page 25 of the July 7, 1910 issue of The Motor World.

The text notes a recent victory over the Excelsior Supply Company and Motor Appliances Company, with plans to follow up with preliminary injunctions against other competitors.


The Formation of the American Chain Company

In 1912 the American Chain Company was formed to produce chain for the Weed Chain Tire Grip Company, with the latter company holding all of the common stock of the former. The formation of American Chain was based on the purchase of the chain business of the Oneida Community in Oneida, New York and the Cleveland Wire Goods Company of Cleveland, Ohio.

By 1915 Lashar had acquired all of the stock of the Weed Chain Tire Grip Company, and in December of 1915 Lashar acquired all of the assets of the Weed company at book value.

Tire Chain Accessories

In addition to producing tire chains, the Weed Chain Tire Grip Company also made accessories such as chain repair pliers and jacks.

[1915 Notice for Weed Chain Repair Pliers]
Fig. 15. 1915 Notice for Weed Chain Repair Pliers. [External Link]

Fig. 15 shows a notice for Weed chain repair pliers, as published on page 32 of the March, 1915 issue of The Accessory and Garage Journal.

The illustration shows the operation of the pliers for opening and closing the hooks securing the cross chains.

The July 29, 1913 patent date below the illustration for the tire chain pliers refers to patent 1,069,041, filed by F.A. Strong in early 1913 and issued on the noted date.

In later years a number of other companies made tire chain repair pliers, and examples can be found in the site index under "Pliers, Chain Repair".


Consolidation of Operations

In January of 1916 the American Chain Company subsumed its former parent in order to consolidate the manufacturing and sales operations. American Chain continued to use the "Weed" brand for its tire chain products.

[1916 Notice for Weed Chain Tire Grip]
Fig. 16. 1916 Notice for Weed Chain Tire Grip Company. [External Link]

Fig. 16 shows a notice of the consolidation of the two companies, as published on page 97 of the February 1, 1916 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal.

Shortly after the merger of operations, American Chain acquired the Parsons Non-Skid Company of London, England, the owner of the Parsons patent for tire chains.

In December of 1916 American Chain acquired the Standard Chain Company of Pittsburgh, which owned seven factories.

With these acquisitions American Chain became the world's largest chain manufacturer, with operations in the United States, Canada, and England.

[1917 Ad for American Chain Company]
Fig. 17. 1917 Ad for American Chain Company.

Fig. 17 shows a full-page ad for the American Chain Company's auto accessories, as published on page 107 of the July, 1917 edition of Hardware World.

The text notes a number of "Weed" brand products, including Weed tire chains for autos and trucks, Weed cross chain pliers, and a Weed chain jack.

The lower part of the ad shows the company's logo consisting of "ACCo" in a triangle, referred to as the ACCo-Triangle logo in the text here.

Some of our readers might be surprised that tire chains were being used so extensively in the early years of the auto industry. We think this is due to several factors, beginning with the relatively narrow tires on early automobiles.

In addition, the lack of snow plowing services would have made driving after a snow storm nearly impossible without chains.

A further complication for drivers was the prevalence of unpaved roads outside of major cities. Some roads quickly turned to mud after a rain, making tire chains a necessity even during the summer.


Later Operations

By 1926 American Chain had acquired 93% of the stock of the American Cable Company, and by the mid 1930s the company had changed its name to the American Chain & Cable Company.


Patents

American Chain Company: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
723,299 H. Parsons12/17/190203/24/1903 Tire chains
768,495 H.D. Weed02/09/190408/23/1904 Tire chains
1,069,041 F.A. Strong01/02/191307/29/1913 Tire chain pliers
Assigned to Weed Chain Tire Grip Company
1,141,877 T.C. Luce03/25/191506/01/1915 Tire chain pliers
Assigned to American Chain Company

Trademarks

In 1921 American Chain filed an application for a trademark on "WEED", which was registered as trademark #166,334 on March 27, 1923.

[1948 ACCO Trademark for American Chain & Cable Company]
Fig. 18. 1948 "ACCO" Trademark for American Chain & Cable Company.

In later years the American Chain Company became the American Chain & Cable Company and republished trademark #373,896 for "ACCO" in stylized text.

The scan in Fig. 18 shows the 1948 republication of the trademark for "ACCO" by the American Chain & Cable Company, originally issued as trademark #373,896 on December 26, 1939.

This trademark was renewed on November 20, 1979 by Acco Industries.


American Chain Company: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
WEED 166,334 01/01/190409/14/1921 03/27/1923 Anti-skid chains
Filed by American Chain Company.
GALACCO 356,482  12/16/1937 04/26/1938 Wire rope
Filed by American Chain & Cable Company.
Serial 400,895. Published February 15, 1938.
Renewed 4-26-58.
ACCO 373,896 01/01/193807/01/1939 12/26/1939 "ACCO" in stylized text
Used for hoists, trolleys, winches, cranes, etc.
Filed by American Chain & Cable Company.
Serial 421,230. Published October 17, 1939.
Renewed November 20, 1979 by Acco Industries.
ACCO-LOC 421,787 09/07/1945  06/18/1946 Wire rope with spliced eyes.
Filed by American Chain & Cable Company.
WEED 524,392 01/01/190405/25/1948 04/25/1950 Anti-skid chains
Filed by American Chain & Cable Company.
Renewed 3-24-70.
ACCO 646,702 01/01/193809/06/1956 06/11/1957 Wire Rope
Filed by American Chain & Cable Company.
LOADEX 1,152,116 01/11/197903/23/1979 04/28/1981 Filed by Acco Industries
Published 2-3-81.

Tool Identification

Early production from the Weed Chain Tire Grip Company (up to 1915) should be marked with the "Weed" brand, but without noting the American Chain Company.

From 1916 onward tools from the American Chain Company were typically stamped with the "Weed" brand and company name.

By 1916 the American Chain was using a logo consisting of "A C Co" in a triangle, referred to as the ACCo-Triangle logo in the text. This logo was used in advertising and may be stamped on tools.


ACCo-Triangle Logo

[ACCo-Triangle Logo]
Fig. 19. ACCo-Triangle Logo.

The scan in Fig. 19 shows the "ACCo-Triangle" logo as printed in a 1916 ad.

This logo may be stamped on tools.


Selected Tools


Weed "Sturdy" Compound-Leverage Chain Repair Pliers

[1925 Notice for Weed Sturdy Chain Repair Pliers]
Fig. 20. 1925 Notice for Weed "Sturdy" Chain Repair Pliers. [External Link]

In 1925 American Chain introduced a new model of chain repair pliers with compound leverage, the Weed "Sturdy" pliers.

Fig. 20 shows a notice for the new pliers, as published on page 24 of the September, 1925 issue of Motor Record.

[Weed Sturdy Chain Repair Pliers]
Fig. 21. Weed "Sturdy" Chain Repair Pliers, with Insets for Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1920s.

Fig. 21 shows a pair of Weed "Sturdy" chain repair pliers, stamped "Weed Sturdy Pliers" and "Patented July 29, 1913 - June 1, 1915" on the upper handle, with "American Chain Company, Inc." and "Bridgeport, Conn. U.S.A." on the lower handle.

The overall length is 16.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The lower handle is also stamped with the ACCo-Triangle logo at the right.

The first patent date refers to the patent 1,069,041, filed by F.A. Strong on January 2, 1913.

The second date refers to patent 1,141,877, filed by T.C. Luce on March 25, 1915.

Neither of the above patents describes the elaborate compound-leverage connections used for this tool, which may have been the subject of the "Other Patents Pending" marking. The other patents (if issued) are not yet known.


American Plierench Corporation

The American Plierench Corporation operated in Chicago from the early 1930s onward as a maker of gear-operated pliers. The company's products were based on patents by Joseph Eifel.

American Plierench was the successor to the Flash Sales Corporation, which had been formed in 1918 as the maker of a "Pliwrench", a tool with parallel moving jaws that combined aspects of a wrench and pliers.

[1919 Notice for Flash Sales Corp.]
Fig. 22. 1918 Notice for Flash Sales Corporation. [External Link]

Fig. 22 shows a notice for the Flash Sales Corporation, as published on page 170 of 1918 edition of The National Corporation Reporter.

The notice lists Catherine E. Eifel as the incorporator and notes $10,000 in capital. A report from the Illinois Secretary of State listed the company's incorporation date as March 1 of 1918.

The early "Pliwrench" tool was based on patent 1,181,654, filed by J. Eifel in 1912 and issued in 1916. The patent describes a plier-like tool with gear teeth on the end of one handle to control a movable jaw.

This patent had an interesting history, as it was first used in a highly modified form for the Cochran "Speednut" Wrench. The "Speednut" wrench had just a single handle and did not resemble pliers at all, but it used gear teeth at the end of the handle to control the opening and closing of the jaws, similar to the mechanism in the Eifel patent.

[1920 Notice for Flash Sales Corp.]
Fig. 23. 1920 Notice for Flash Sales Corporation. [External Link]

Fig. 23 shows the entry for The Flash Sales Corporation, as published on page 334 of the 1920 Certified List of Domestic and Foreign Corporations from the State of Illinois.

[1922 Ad for Eifel-Flash PlieRench]
Fig. 24. 1922 Ad for Eifel-Flash PlieRench. [External Link]

The company's address is given as 4809 North Ashland Avenue in Chicago.

By 1922 the company was calling its tool a PlieRench.

Fig. 24 shows an ad for the Eifel-Flash PlieRench, as published on page 116 of the 1922 Union Labor Directory.

The text notes Joseph Eifel as the manager of the company, and lists the foundry where the tools were made as the R.M Eddy Foundry Company.

[1924 Ad for Flash Sales PlieRench]
Fig. 25. 1924 Ad for Flash Sales PlieRench. [External Link]

Fig. 25 shows an ad for the Plierench from the Flash Sales Corporation, as published on page 606 of the December 1, 1924 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal.


Eifel No. 7 Plier Wrench

[Eifel No. 7 Plier Wrench]
Fig. 26. Eifel No. 7 Plier Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1932+.

Fig. 26 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 patent 1,862,817, filed by J. Eifel in 1927 and issued in 1932. This latter patent describes the present tool.


American Saw Company

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.

[1895 Advertisement for American Saw Company]
Fig. 27. 1895 Advertisement for American Saw Company. [External Link]

Fig. 27 shows an ad for the American Saw "Curtis" pipe wrenches and alligator wrenches, as published on page 15 of the April 10, 1895 issue of Hardware.

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. 28. American Saw No. 1 Alligator Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1887 to Early 1900s.

Fig. 28 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 back side 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.)


Arrow Tool Company

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

[1919 Notice of Incorporation for Arrow Tool]
Fig. 29. 1919 Notice of Incorporation for Arrow Tool. [External Link]

Fig. 29 shows a notice of incorporation for Arrow Tool, as published on page 1416 of the November 20, 1919 issue of The Iron Trade Review.

The text notes the capital as $100,000, and the principals are named as R.J. Mackenzie, K.R. Macdonald and J.R. McArthur.

[1922 Ad for Arrow Tool Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 30. 1922 Ad for Arrow Tool Adjustable Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 30 shows an ad for an Arrow Tool adjustable wrench, as published on page 62 of the August, 1922 issue of Hardware World.


Arrow Tool 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Arrow Tool 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 31. Arrow Tool 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Edge View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 31 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 back side.

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 (Gamble Stores)

Artisan was a brand name used for tools sold by Gamble Stores, a chain of retail stores operated by Gamble-Skogmo, Incorporated. The company also sold goods by mail order through its Gamble's Auto Supply catalogs.

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. 32. Artisan 1/2-Drive 16-Piece Socket Set, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 32 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. 33. Artisan Model 4270 1/2-Drive Forged-Handle Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 33 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 back side.

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 operating in Newark, New Jersey during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The company was founded by Benjamin Atha, who had previously operated steel mills in the Newark area. Based on public references, the company was in business by 1883 and was incorporated in 1888.

[1888 Notice for Atha Tool Company]
Fig. 34. 1888 Notice for Atha Tool Company.

The scan in Fig. 34 shows a notice of incorporation for the Atha Tool Company, as published on page 3 [External Link] of the May 26, 1888 issue of Electrical Review.

The text notes the incorporation of both Benjamin Atha & Company, a steel company with $750,000 in capital, and the Atha Tool Company, with $100,000 in capital.

A publication of the State of New Jersey provides the date of incorporation as May 9, 1888.

[1890 Ad for Atha Tool Company]
Fig. 35. 1890 Ad for Atha Tool Company.

The scan in Fig. 35 shows an ad for the Atha Tool Company, as published on page 82 [External Link] of the export section of the 1890 Seeger & Guernsey's Cyclopaedia.

The illustration shows the company's logo consisting of a horseshoe with an "A" inside. Atha tools were typically marked with this stamped logo.

[1896 Notice for Atha Tool Catalog]
Fig. 36. 1896 Notice for Atha Tool Catalog.

The scan in Fig. 36 shows a notice announcing an illustrated catalog and price list from the Atha Tool Company, as published on page 1216 [External Link] of the May 21, 1896 issue of The Iron Age.

The text notes that the catalog consisted of 158 pages bound by cloth covers, with illustrations of the company's products. The listed products included a wide variety of hammers plus other tools such as railroad track wrenches, crowbars, blacksmith's tongs, and chisels.

[1913 Ad for Atha Tool Claw Hammer]
Fig. 37. 1913 Ad for Atha Tool Claw Hammer. [External Link]

Fig. 37 shows an ad for an Atha Tool claw hammer, as published on page 23 of the January, 1913 issue of American Carpenter and Builder.

In 1913 the Atha Tool Company was acquired by Stanley Tools and afterwards operated as a division of Stanley.


Tool Identification

Atha tools were typically stamped with the "Atha Horseshoe" logo shown below.

A-Horseshoe Logo

[Atha Tool A-Horseshoe Logo]
Fig. 38. Atha Tool A-Horseshoe Logo.

The scan in Fig. 38 shows the "A-Horseshoe" logo, as published on page 1 of the 1912 Atha Tool catalog.

The design shows a horseshoe outline with a large "A" in the center, with "Atha Tool Co." along the curve of the horseshoe.

On a small stamping the company name might be reduced to "A.T.Co." or eliminated entirely, thus the need to recognise this logo.


Atha 20 Ounce Ballpeen Hammer

[Atha 20 Ounce Ballpeen Hammer]
Fig. 39. Atha 20 Ounce Ballpeen Hammer, with Inset for Back Side Detail.

Fig. 39 shows an Atha 20 ounce ballpeen hammer, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the Atha Horseshoe logo on the opposite side of the head.

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

The weight is not marked on the head, but the head dimensions indicate a 20 ounce nominal weight.


Ayer, F.H. Manufacturing Company

The F.H. Ayer Manufacturing Company was founded by Fred H. Ayer in 1904 as a machine shop in Chicago Heights, Illinois. The company was incorporated on March 23, 1906 with $10,000 capital.

The only tools known to have been made by the company are pressed-steel socket sets, which included a distinctive Tee-handle ratchet based on patents by F.H. Ayer.

The F.H. Ayer sets are not especially rare, but somewhat curiously we have not been able to find any advertisements for them in the trade press, raising the question as to how the company managed to sell its products.

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


Tool Identification


A-Circle Logo

[A-Circle Logo]
Fig. 40. A-Circle Logo.

Fig. 40 shows the A-Circle logo, as stamped on a socket from an F.H. Ayer set.


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

[F.H. Ayer Tee Handle Ratchet]
Fig. 41. F.H. Ayer Tee Handle Ratchet, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. Late 1910s to Early 1920s.

Fig. 41 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.


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.

[Ayer 1/2-Drive 1-9/32 Pressed-Steel Socket]
Fig. 42. Ayer 1/2-Drive 1-9/32 Pressed-Steel Socket, with Inset for Service End, ca. Late 1910s to Early 1920s.

Fig. 42 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 cutters, pipe wrenches, and other types of tools. The company was founded in the 1880s by Elbridge F. Barnes and remained in business until at least the 1940s. The 1899 Seeger and Guernsey's Cyclopedia had entries for Barnes Tool under a number of categories, including plumber's tools and bicycle wrenches.

In 1883 Elbridge F. Barnes received patents 282,435 and 287,899 for a pipe cutter with three cutting wheels, and the resulting tool became the company's best known product.

[1901 Ad for Barnes Tool Pipe Cutter]
Fig. 43. 1901 Advertisement for Barnes Tool Pipe Cutter. [External Link]

Fig. 43 shows a small advertisement for a Barnes pipe cutter, as published on page 67 of the June 27, 1901 issue of The Iron Age.

[1905 Listing for Trademark Serial #9,091]
Fig. 44. 1905 Listing for Trademark Serial #9,091.

Note the "B" in a diamond logo, which the company claimed as a registered trademark.

In 1905 the company filed a registration for the logo, and Fig. 44 shows the trademark application, as published in the October 3, 1905 issue of the Official Gazette of the USPTO.

The trademark was issued as #47,914 on November 28, 1905. The company renewed this trademark on November 28, 1945.

[1905 Notice for Barnes Tool]
Fig. 45. 1905 Notice for Barnes Tool Company. [External Link]

Fig. 45 shows a notice for the Barnes Tool Company, as published on page 29 of the May 25, 1905 issue of Hardware.

The text describes some of the company's products, including pipe cutters, pipe wrenches, tongs, and bicycle wrenches, and announces a new catalog for their products.

[1908 Ad for Barnes Tool]
Fig. 46. 1908 Advertisement for Barnes Tool Company. [External Link]

Fig. 46 shows an advertisement for the Barnes Tool Company, as published on page 204 of the January, 1908 issue of Hardware Dealers' Magazine.

The text notes the company's products as pipe cutters, kerosene furnaces, and bicycle wrenches, plus sawing machines and steering wheels for yachts(!).


Barnes Pipe Cutters

Barnes Tool became quite well known for its three wheel pipe cutters, which were based on patents 282,435 and 287,899, both issued to E.F. Barnes on July 31, 1883. The patents expired in 1900 and as often happens in the tool industry, other companies copied the design. Sometimes the copies were listed as "Barnes Pattern" pipe cutters, but on other occasions the tools were simply "Barnes" pipe cutters from other companies.

[1911 Directory Listing for Pipe Cutters]
Fig. 47. 1911 Directory Listing for Pipe Cutters. [External Link]

Fig. 47 shows part of a directory listing for pipe cutters, as published on page 700 of the 1911 Engineering Directory.

The listing shows "Barnes" cutters made by The Erie Tool Works, "Barnes Genuine" from Barnes itself, and "Barnes Pattern" from Collmer Brothers, Oswego Tool, and Reed Manufacturing.

[1925 Catalog Listing for Barnes Pipe Cutters]
Fig. 48. 1925 Catalog Listing for "Barnes" Pipe Cutters.

The scan in Fig. 48 shows a catalog listing for "Barnes" three-wheel pipe cutters, as published on page 379 of the 1925-1926 Williams Hardware Company catalog.

A close look at the illustration shows "Erie" on the moving carrier, indicating that the cutters were actually made by The Erie Tool Works.

The pipe cutters were available in four sizes, with No. 1 handling pipes from 1/8 to 1 inch, and No. 4 for pipes from 2-1/2 to 4 inches.

The text notes that the three wheel design allows the cutters to work in confined spaces where the tool cannot revolve completely around the work.


Tool Identification

B-Diamond Logo

[Barnes B-Diamond Logo]
Fig. 49. Barnes B-Diamond Logo from Trademark #47,914..

The scan in Fig. 49 shows the Barnes B-Diamond logo as it was presented for trademark #47,914.


Barnes Tool 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[Barnes 5 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 50. Barnes 5 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail.

Fig. 50 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 back side.

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


Basford, H.R. 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. 51. Gripso 8 Inch Vise Pliers, with Inset for Back Side Detail.

Fig. 51 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 back side.

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

These pliers are fitted with a small release level nestled within the lower handle, which is presumably described by the pending patent.


Gripso 211 8 Inch Vise Pliers

[Gripso 211 8 Inch Vise Pliers]
Fig. 52. Gripso 211 8 Inch Vise Pliers, with Insets for Marking Detail.

Fig. 52 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 back side.

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 notation refers to patent 2,669,145, filed by H.A. Mead in 1952 and issued in 1954. The patent describes a finger-actuated release mechanism, which is 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 registered trademark #330,163 on November 19, 1935 for a "C Liquid" logo used for cleaning and polishing glass. The first use was given as 1931.


BESCO 9857 Giant Battery Terminal Pliers

[BESCO 9857 Giant Battery Terminal Pliers]
Fig. 53. BESCO 9857 Giant Battery Terminal Pliers, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, 1926.

Fig. 53 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 which 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

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.

[1914 Notice of Beckley-Ralston Exhibit]
Fig. 54. 1914 Notice for Beckley-Ralston Exhibit.

The scan in Fig. 54 was published on page 27 [External Link] 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. 55. Flyer from "Sampson" Socket Set, 1908.

The scan in Fig. 55 shows 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 back 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. 56. Beckley-Ralston 9 Inch Auto Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1910 to 1920s.

Fig. 56 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. 57. 1924 Catalog Listing for Beckley-Ralston No. AT805 Socket Set.

The scan in Fig. 57 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. 58. Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Socket Set, ca. Early to Mid 1920s.

Fig. 58 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. 59. Close-up of Label for Beckley-Ralston No. ET805 Set.

Fig. 59 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. 60. Close-up of Beckley-Ralston Tag.

Fig. 60 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. 61. Hinsdale 21/32 Socket from ET805 Set, with Inset for Back Side.

Fig. 61 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 back side. 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. 62. 1924 Catalog Listing for Beckley-Ralston No. AT840 "Master" Ratchet.

The scan in Fig. 62 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. 63. Beckley-Ralston 1/2-Drive "Master" Ratchet, with Insets for Back Side, Side View, and Detail, ca. 1922-1924.

Fig. 63 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 back side.

The back 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.


Boker, H. & 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 8 Inch Lineman's Pliers

[Boker 8 Inch Lineman's Pliers]
Fig. 64A. Boker 8 Inch Lineman's Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 64A shows a pair of Boker 8 inch lineman's pliers, stamped "H. Boker & Co." and "Made in U.S.A." around the pivot.

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


Boker 5.5 Inch Flat-Nose Pliers

[Boker 5.5 Inch Flat-Nose Pliers]
Fig. 64B. Boker 5.5 Inch Flat-Nose Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 64B shows a pair of Boker 5.5 inch flat-nose pliers, stamped "H. Boker" and "[Made in] U.S.A." around the pivot.

The overall length is 5.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


Boker 6507-10 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Waterpump Pliers

[Boker 6507-10 10 Inch Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 65. Boker 6507-10 10 Inch Waterpump Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 65 shows a pair of Boker 6507-10 10 inch tongue-and-groove waterpump pliers, stamped with "Boker U.S.A." and the model number on the handle.

The overall length is 9.8 inches, and the finish is polished chrome.

The curved ridges for the tongue-and-groove mechanism have been forged into the handles and provide five working positions.


Bonner, C.E. Manufacturing

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. 66. 1904 Notice for C.E. Bonner Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

Fig. 66 shows a notice of the founding of the company, as published on page 550 of the January 7, 1904 issue of American Manufacturer.

The text lists the founders as C.E. Bonner, George W. Fair, and D.B. Tucker, with capital of $30,000.


"Victor" Tools

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

[1910 Ad for C.E. Bonner Manufacturing]
Fig. 67. 1910 Ad for C.E. Bonner Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

Fig. 67 shows an advertisement for a C.E. Bonner "Victor" tool kit, as published on page 456 of the February, 1910 issue of Hardware Dealers' Magazine.


Bonner "Victor" 15 Inch Pipe Wrench

[Bonner Victor Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 68. Bonner "Victor" 15 Inch Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1904+.

Fig. 68 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 back side. 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. 69. Bonner No. 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1904+.

Fig. 69 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.)


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. 70. Boos Tool Adjustable Wrench, ca. 1941.

Fig. 70 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.

The 1941 Wilde catalog offered a No. 690 "Direct Pressure Wrench" with an illustration closely matching the Boos adjustable wrench. Wilde was located in Kansas City at that time, making it likely that Wilde Tool was the manufacturer of the Boos wrench.


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. 71. 1911 Advertisement for Brosnihan Pipe Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 71 shows an ad for the Brosnihan pipe wrench, as published on page 25 of the January, 1911 issue of Railway Master Mechanic.


Brosnihan 8 Inch Pipe Wrench

[Brosnihan 8 Inch Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 72. Brosnihan 8 Inch Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail.

Fig. 72 shows a Brosnihan 8 inch pipe wrench, stamped "Union Made" on the upper jaw, with "Sargent" (partially struck) and "Brosnihan" on the back side. The back side 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.

The Auto-Creeper

One of the company's earliest products was a rolling platform for working underneath an automobile. We recently (January 2022) discovered the 1910 trademark #79,554 for "AUTO-CREEPER", and this led us to listings in the 1909 Monnier Auto Supply catalog and other distributor catalogs, as well as published references in the trade press.

[1908 Advertisement for Brown Auto Creeper]
Fig. 73. 1908 Advertisement for Brown Auto Creeper. [External Link]

Fig. 73 shows an ad for the Brown Company's "AUTO-CREEPER", as published on page 14 of the June 24, 1908 issue of The Horseless Age.

The text lists the company's address at 523 East Water Street in Syracuse.

The "AUTO-CREEPER" was picked up by some early automotive products dealers, as the next figure shows.

[1909 Catalog Listing for Brown Company Auto Creeper]
Fig. 74. 1909 Catalog Listing for Brown Company Auto Creeper.

The scan in Fig. 74 shows a catalog listing for a Brown Company "Auto Creeper", as published on page 35 of the 1909 Monnier Auto Supply catalog.

The illustration shows "The Brown Co." and "Syracuse, N.Y." location.

A similar listing appeared on page 123 of the 1910 Chanslor & Lyon catalog.

Within a few years other companies were offering competing "creeper" products, and some public notices around this time used the term "Auto Creeper" as a generic reference, suggesting that the Brown Company may have had difficulty in enforcing its trademark. For example, a notice on page 247 of the May, 1916 issue of the Automobile Trade Directory mentions an All-Steel Auto Creeper [External Link] made by the Macon Machine Company of Macon, Missouri.

In later years auto creepers became ubiquitous fixtures at small garages unable to afford a lift or grease pit, and we suspect that a good number of our readers (and your editor as well) have used these devices. It appears that the Brown Company may have been the originator of the auto creeper, and it certainly coined the familiar term.

Impulse Tire Pump

The company's early products also included compression gauges and automobile tire pumps.

[1912 Advertisement for Brown Impulse Tire Pump]
Fig. 75. 1912 Advertisement for Brown Impulse Tire Pump.

Fig. 75 shows an ad for the company's "Impulse" tire pump, as published on page 118I [External Link] of the May 1912 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine.

The ad illustrates the "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 [External Link] of the September 1914 issue of The Rotarian illustrates the Brown Impulse tire pump and another smaller model. This publication lists the company address as 10 Bellevue Avenue in Syracuse.

The Brownbilt Brand

[1922 Notice for Brownbilt Tools]
Fig. 76. 1922 Notice for Brownbilt Tools. [External Link]

By the 1920s the company's automotive tools were being sold under the "Brownbilt" brand.

Fig. 76 shows an illustration of tools made by the Brown Company, part of a notice published on page 55 [External Link] of the April, 1922 issue of Automobile Dealer and Repairer. The notice lists the company address as 218 Bellevue Avenue in Syracuse.


Trademarks

The Brown Company filed a trademark application for "AUTO-CREEPER" on May 3, 1910 with serial 49,540, and the application was published on July 19, 1910. The company received trademark #79,554 on September 10, 1910.


Distribution Channels

The Brown Company appears to have had some success with distribution channels, but listings of the company's products may be difficult to find, as the company's name may appear only in the illustration, or not at all.

Brown Company Spark Plug Wrench

[1912 Catalog Listing for Brown Company Spark Plug Wrench]
Fig. 77. 1912 Catalog Listing for Brown Company Spark Plug Wrench.

The scan in Fig. 77 shows a catalog listing for a Brown Company spark plug wrench, as published on page 320 of the 1912 Cray Brothers catalog.

This same catalog page also illustrates the "AUTO-CREEPER", a movable platform for working under cars. Although the company name is not mentioned, "AUTO-CREEPER" was registered as a trademark in 1910 by the Brown Company.


Brownbilt 116 1/2 Universal Tee Socket Wrench

[Brownbilt 116 1/2 Universal Tee Socket Wrench]
Fig. 78. Brownbilt 116 1/2 Universal Tee Socket Wrench, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 78 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. 79. Brownbilt 664 1/2 Speeder Socket Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 79 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.


Buhl, Sons & Company

Buhl, Sons & Company was a wholesale hardware seller operating in Detroit, Michigan beginning in the mid 19th century. The company offered farm and implement wrenches, and later automotive tools, as part of its product line.

[1891 Notce for Buhl, Sons & Company]
Fig. 80. 1891 Notice for Buhl, Sons & Company. [External Link]

Fig. 80 shows the entry for Buhl Sons in the 1891 publication Detroit in History and Commerce, and the text provides some background on the company. The company was founded in 1855 by Christian H. Buhl and Charles Ducharme as Buhl & Ducharme, and by 1880 had become Buhl, Sons & Company.

In 1907 Willis E. Buhl, a grandson of the founder, became president of the company. By that time the Buhl family holdings also included a Buhl Stamping Company and a Buhl Malleable Company.


Buhl 29 Open-End Wrench

[Buhl 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 81. Buhl 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 81 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. 82. Buhl Double Alligator Wrench.

Fig. 82 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. 83. Buhl 9 Inch Auto Wrench.

Fig. 83 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 the maker of patented self-adjusting pipe and nut wrenches. The company was founded by Frank D. Bullard, and the company's wrenches were based on patent 742,389, filed by F.D. Bullard in 1903 and issued on October 27 of that year.

Somewhat curiously, the company was actually incorporated in Los Angeles, California, where the founder was located. A notice of the incorporation can be found on page 114 of the November 5, 1903 issue of the Iron Trade Review.

[1904 Ad for Bullard Automatic Wrench]
Fig. 84. 1904 Ad for Bullard Automatic Wrench.

Fig. 84 shows an ad for the Bullard Automatic Wrench, as published on page 134 [External Link] of the December 29, 1904 issue of The Iron Age.

The text notes the quick adjustment and the October 27, 1903 patent date.

[1907 Advertisement for Bullard Automatic Wrench]
Fig. 85. 1907 Advertisement for Bullard Automatic Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 85 shows an advertisement for the Bullard automatic wrench, as published on page 128 of the February 2, 1907 issue of Domestic Engineering.

The illustration shows the Bullard wrench grasping a hexagonal nut.


Failure in 1909

By 1909 the company was no longer able to pay its creditors, and the company's property and equipment was sold at auction.

A notice on page 1807 [External Link] of the June 3, 1909 issue of The Iron Age states that the property of the Bullard Automatic Wrench Company had been purchased at auction by John H. Congdon, on behalf of the creditors.

The notice further states that the committee of creditors proposed to sell the property as soon as possible, and that it was very unlikely that the wrench business would be continued.


Bullard No. 1 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Bullard No. 1 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 86. Bullard No. 1 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1904-1909.

Fig. 86 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 back side.

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. 2 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Bullard No. 2 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 87. Bullard No. 2 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1904-1909.

Fig. 87 shows a Bullard No. 2 self-adjusting pipe wrench, marked with "No. 2 Bullard Wrench" forged into the shank, with "Pat. Oct. 27, '03" forged into the back side.

The overall length is 12.7 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. 88. Bullard No. 3 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1904-1909.

Fig. 88 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 back side.

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) was 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 if possible.


Tool Identification

California Tool generally marked its tools with the company name, but some smaller tools (e.g. sockets) may be marked with the "CT" logo shown below.

CT-Logo

[CT-Logo]
Fig. 89. CT-Logo.

Fig. 89 shows the CT-Logo as found stamped on a socket.

In this design the arc of the letter "C" encloses the letter "T".


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

[California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 90. California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 90 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 back side.

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

Fig. 91 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 back side.

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

Fig. 92 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.

[1915 Ad for Carll Reversible Wrench]
Fig. 93. 1915 Advertisement for Carll Reversible Adjustable Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 93 shows a full-page ad for the Carll reversible wrench, as published on page 1 of the December 4, 1915 issue of American Artisan and Hardware Record.

The advertisement notes the maker as the M.W. Robinson Company of Brooklyn, New York, which describes itself as a maker of mechanics' tools and hardware specialties.

However, later references have been found citing the Practical Tools Company as the maker, with M.W. Robinson as the sales agent.

[1920 Ad for Carll Reversible Wrench]
Fig. 94. 1920 Ad for Carll Reversible Adjustable Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 94 shows an ad for the Carll reversible wrench, as published on page 1067 of the October, 1920 edition of the Automobile Trade Directory.


Other Patents

Addison B. Carll also received at least three other patents. Patent 1,052,313 describes an offset pipe wrench, which is believed to have been produced by Greenfield Tap & Die.

In addition, patent 1,138,276 describes a ratchet drill, patent 1,138,277 describes a ratchet mechanism for tools, and patent 1,410,993 describes a chain pipe wrench.

It's not yet known whether the latter three patents actually went into production.


Carll Reversible Adjustable Wrench

[Carll Reversible Wrench]
Fig. 95. Carll Reversible Adjustable Wrench.

Fig. 95 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 back side.

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. 96. Carll Reversible Wrench in Pipe Wrench Position.

Fig. 96 shows the same Carll wrench with the jaw reversed to operate as a pipe wrench.


Carlson Manufacturing Company

The Carlson Manufacturing Company of East Hartford, Connecticut was formed in late 1925 or early 1926 to make "Carlson" brand offset pliers, which previously had been produced by a contract manufacturer.

[1926 Notice for Carlson Mfg.]
Fig. 97. 1926 Notice for Carlson Manufacturing Company.

The scan in Fig. 97 shows a notice of the formation of the Carlson Manufacturing Company, as published on page 32 [External Link] of the January, 1926 issue of Brass World.

The text notes that the company planned to make pliers, wrenches, and other tools, including Carlson "super-plyers", and that these were currently manufactured under contract.

Carlson pliers were an unusual style of offset or "parrot-head" pliers and had been offered as early as 1922.

[1922 Ad for Carlson Mfg.]
Fig. 98. 1922 Ad for Carlson Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

Fig. 98 shows an ad for Carlson "Super-Pliers", as published on page 103 of the October 26, 1922 issue of Motor Age.

The illustration shows the pliers set at different adjustments of the slip-joint to show the range of openings possible. The text notes the drop-forged construction and that the pliers were available in a plain or nickel plated finish.

We found a somewhat later notice on page page 820 of the May 31, 1923 issue of American Machinist stating that the Carlson pliers were being manufactured by the Noble & Westbrook Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut. This notice mentions only a charcoal or gun-metal finish.

From an unexpected source we were able to learn that the person behind the Carlson pliers was Gustave O. Carlson of Wethersfield, Connecticut. A 1923 seed catalog from the Charles C. Hart Seed Company offered the Carlson pliers, and the description noted the maker as G.O. Carlson of Wethersfield.

A check of patent records then found that a number of tool patents were issued to Gustave O. Carlson of Wethersfield during the mid 1920s. The 1924 Carlson patent 1,518,251 was assigned to Mayhew Steel Products, which used it for a line of "Solid Joint" pliers. An example can be seen as the Mayhew No. 62 "Solid Joint" Pliers.

The other Carlson patents are not known to have been produced.

The Carlson parrot-head pliers were functionally similar to the Eagle Claw Wrench-Pliers that were popular from the mid 1910s through early 1920s. Although the jaws are shaped differently, both tools have one jaw situated close to the pivot pin, which provides high leverage to allow a greater gripping force.

At some point the Carlson pliers were provided to Pexto as contract production, although we don't have a catalog reference to refine the time.


Patents

One of the patents issued to G.O. Carlson was assigned to Mayhew Steel Products, which used it for a line of "Solid Joint" pliers.

Carlson Manufacturing Company: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
1,518,251 G.O. Carlson01/14/192112/09/1924 Solid joint pliers
Mayhew No. 62 "Solid Joint" Pliers
1,520,170 G.O. Carlson11/22/192312/23/1924 Wrench
1,520,171 G.O. Carlson12/06/192312/23/1924 Wrench
1,520,172 G.O. Carlson12/06/192312/23/1924 Wrench
1,522,804 G.O. Carlson02/14/192401/13/1925 Wrench
1,607,434 G.O. Carlson04/20/192511/16/1926 Anti-skid mechanism
1,643,835 G.O. Carlson12/18/192509/27/1927 Pivot pin for pliers

Carlson 7 Inch Slip-Joint Parrot-Head Pliers

[Carlson 7 Inch Slip-Joint Parrot-Head Pliers]
Fig. 99. Carlson 7 Inch Slip-Joint Parrot-Head Pliers, ca. Mid 1920s.

Fig. 99 shows a pair of Carlson 7 inch parrot-head pliers, marked with "Carlson" forged into an oval panel on the handle, and stamped with the PEXTO-Oval logo and "Made in U.S.A." on the other handle.

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

Offset or "Parrot-head" pliers are an unusual style, but at least two other examples are known. The interested reader can view the J.P. Danielson 7 Inch Parrot-Head Pliers and Vacuum Grip No. 207 7 Inch Parrot-Head Pliers.

Both of these other examples are believed to have come after the mid 1920s, so Carlson may have originated the style.


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. 100. 1922 Notice for H.H. Chase Company. [External Link]

Fig. 100 shows a notice announcing 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.

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.

There is strong evidence that the Chase company had been acquired by New Britain Machine by around 1925 or 1926. New Britain Machine is known to have used the "Handle Lock" patent 1,438,900 for its None Better socket sets, which follow the patented design and have the patent date stamped on the container.

In addition, New Britain Machine filed a trademark for "Handle Lock" in 1926, with the first use claimed in September of 1921. The patent could have been licensed, but it's unlikely that a company would transfer its main brand if it intended to remain in business, and the first use claim indicates that New Britain was the successor to Chase.

Despite the evidence for an acquisition, we haven't found any published confirmation that Chase was acquired. (See our discussion of New Britain Stealth Acquisitions for more information.)

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

Fig. 101 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. 102 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. 102. Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Ell Handle, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1920s.

Fig. 102 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.


Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Sockets

[Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Sockets]
Fig. 103. Handle Lock 7/16-Hex Drive Sockets, with Inset for Top View, ca. Mid 1920s.

Fig. 103 shows the three largest sockets from the Handle Lock 7/16-hex drive socket set.

The sizes are, from the left, 15/16, 7/8, and 3/4. The sockets are unmarked, and the finish is plain steel.

The top inset shows the broached interior of the sockets. The service end has an undercut groove below the broached area to allow for chip removal, but the chips from the drive end have been left in place.


Cleveland Wrench Company

The Cleveland Wrench Company was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1946 and is currently known only for the "Auto-Grip" self-adjusting nut and pipe wrench.

[1946 Snippet for Cleveland Wrench]
Fig. 104. 1946 Snippet for Cleveland Wrench.

The scan in Fig. 104 shows a screenshot of a snippet noting the founding of the Cleveland Wrench Company, as published on page 116 of volume 157 of The Iron Age.

The text notes that the company planned to offer a patented nut and pipe wrench, and that the manufacturing would be contracted out.

The text in the screenshot notes the company address as 1836 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.

[1948 Notice for Cleveland Wrench Auto-Grip Wrench]
Fig. 105. 1948 Notice for Cleveland Wrench "Auto-Grip" Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 105 shows a notice describing the "Auto-Grip" wrench, as published on page 84 of the January 1, 1948 issue of Hardware Age.

Readers familiar with the Heller Brothers "Masterench" will recognize the "Auto-Grip" as a knock-off of the popular earlier wrench. The Masterench was based on the 1925 Lynch patent 1,533,602, which would have expired in the early 1942, opening the door for imitators.


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

[Cleveland Wrench Auto-Grip 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Wrench]
Fig. 106. Cleveland Wrench "Auto-Grip" 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Wrench, with Inset for Back Side, ca. Late 1940s.

Fig. 106 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 back side.

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.


Cochran Pipe Wrench Manufacturing Company

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

The company's first product was a pipe wrench based on patent 885,322, filed by J.M. Cochran in 1907 and issued in 1908. The pipe wrench went into production in 1908, with Kilborn & Bishop initially providing contract production.

The company was incorporated in 1910 with $100,000 capital, and a notice of the incorporation can be found on page 37 [External Link] of the October, 1910 issue of The Heating and Ventilating Magazine.

[1910 Notice for Cochran Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 107. 1910 Notice for Cochran Pipe Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 107 shows a notice with an illustration of the Cochran pipe wrench, as published on page 716 of the October 14, 1910 issue of the Railway Age Gazette.

The text notes that the company was building a new plant in Chicago at 78th and Woodlawn to increase production of the wrenches, which up to that time had been handled by the Kilborn & Bishop Company.

The text goes on to describe the advantages of the wrench in great detail, in particular noting that the frame to hold the jaw was integral with the handle casting, thereby eliminating a point of weakness in the common Stillson design.

A 1913 Certified List of Illinois Corporations noted the company at 7800 Woodlawn Avenue in Chicago, with W.H. Hill as president and Walter W. Taylor as secretary.

[1912 Ad for Cochran Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 108. 1912 Ad for Cochran Pipe Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 108 shows an ad for the Cochran pipe wrench, as published on page 1 of the December 6, 1912 issue of The Hardware Reporter.

The illustration shows a 1908 patent date for the wrench.


The Speednut Wrench

By 1914 Cochran Pipe Wrench was producing a self-adjusting nut wrench referred to as the Cochran "Speednut" wrench.

The company registered "SPEEDNUT" as a trademark, and the application gave March 1, 1914 as the first-use date.

[1913 Notice for Cochran Speednut Wrench]
Fig. 109. 1914 Notice for Cochran Speednut Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 109 shows a notice describing the Speednut wrench, as published on page 31 of the June, 1914 issue of Commercial America.

The illustration conveniently provides a cut-away view to show the meshing gear teeth of the handle and movable jaw, which force the jaw to close as the handle is rotated clockwise.

From a functional standpoint, the Speednut wrench is quite similar to the tool described in patent 1,181,654, filed by J. Eifel in 1912 and issued in 1916.

However, the Eifel patent describes a plier-wrench with two handles, so the appearance of the Speednut wrench is quite different from the tool described by the patent.

The illustration also includes a "Pat. Pending" marking on the wrench, which we think referred to the Eifel patent at the time the above illustration was made.

So how did the Speednut wrench come to resemble the operation of the Eifel plier-wrench? We think it's likely that Cochran saw a prototype of the Eifel plier-wrench and then engineered a simpler one-handled version, with the work-piece supporting one jaw while the handle forces the other jaw to close.

The Eifel patent was pending in 1914, and Cochran may have originally intended to license the patent, which would account for the "Pat. Pending" notice in the 1914 illustration above. Then when the licensing agreement didn't go through, Cochran commissioned a design patent to provide some semblance of patent protection.

Design patent D48,996 was filed by W.W. Taylor (the company's secretary) in 1915 and provides an illustration of a wrench closely resembling the Speednut wrench. And in a strange (but oddly appropriate) coincidence, the Eifel functional patent and Taylor design patent were both issued on May 2, 1916!

Cochran was able to get the Speednut wrench into distribution channels, as the wrench was listed on page 185 of the 1916 catalog No. 80 from the H. Channon Company of Chicago.

A Name Change

By October of 1919 Cochran Pipe Wrench had changed its name to the Cochran Manufacturing & Forging Company.

[1919 Notice of Name Change]
Fig. 110. 1919 Notice of Name Change. [External Link]

Fig. 110 shows a notice of the name change, as published on page 44 of the October 25, 1919 issue of Implement & Tractor Trade Journal.

The text notes that the name change was intended to better reflect the current activities of the company.


Succession by Larco Wrench

By 1920 the wrench business of Cochran Mfg. & Forging had been succeeded by Larco Wrench & Manufacturing, at the same 7800 Woodlawn Avenue address in Chicago.

[1920 Notice of Business Succession by Larco]
Fig. 111. 1920 Notice of Business Succession by Larco. [External Link]

Fig. 111 shows a notice of the business succession by Larco, as published on page 70 of the July 1, 1920 issue of the Chilton Tractor Journal.

The text notes that the Cochran Speednut wrench would remain in production by Larco. (The notice goes on beyond what is shown in our clip.)

Although not mentioned in this notice, the Cochran forging business had been reorganized into the Great Lakes Forge Company prior to the sale of the wrench business.


Patents

Cochran Pipe Wrench Mfg.: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
597,762 J.M. Cochran05/19/189701/25/1898 Pipe Wrench
885,332 J.M. Cochran09/12/190704/21/1908 Pipe Wrench
D48,996 W.W. Taylor05/07/191505/02/1916 Design for Wrench ("Speednut")

Trademarks

On March 23, 1914 Cochran Pipe Wrench filed an application for a "SPEEDNUT" trademark, claiming a first use date of March 1, 1914. The application was given serial number 76,843 and was published on April 21, 1914. The trademark was issued as #97,823 on June 23, 1914.

Cochran Pipe Wrench Mfg.: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
SPEEDNUT 97,823 03/01/191403/23/1914 06/23/1914 Used for wrenches.
Serial 76,843. Published April 21, 1914.

Selected Tools


Cochran "Speednut" Self-Adjusting Wrench

[Cochran Speednut Self-Adjusting Wrench]
Fig. 112. Cochran "Speednut" Self-Adjusting Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail, ca. 1914-1916.

Fig. 112 shows a Cochran "Speednut" self-adjusting wrench, makred with "Cochran Speednut Wrench" forged into the shank, with "Pat. Pending" forged into the back side.

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

The patent pending notice on the tool is ambiguous, but from a functional stanpoint should correspond 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 radically simplified the tool by eliminating the fixed handle, and instead relies on reaction against the work piece to allow the jaws to clamp the nut firmly.

The commonality between the Eifel patent and the Cochran design is the sliding jaw with gear teeth meshing with corresponding teeth in the handle.

When the Speednut wrenches came out in 1914 the company may have intended to license the Eifel design and marked the tools as patent pending. However, there's no proof that Cochran actually did license the Eifel patent, and in 1915 the company filed its own design patent for the Speednut wrench.

As a side note, a later patent 1,830,033 issued to John V. Larson in 1931 describes a tool very similar to the Cochran design. Larson was the founder of Larco Wrench & Manufacturing and spent much of the 1920s trying to build up the Speednut business. The later patent was basically a codification of the Speednut design, which differed substantially from the original Eifel patent.


Collins Company

The company was founded in 1826 as Collins & Company, a partnership between brothers David C. and Samuel W. Collins along with their cousin William Wells. The company initially maintained offices in Hartford, Connecticut, and their early products were axes and other edge tools manufactured at a converted grist mill in nearby Collinsville. Tools made at this time were marked "Collins & Co., Hartford".

In May of 1834 the Collins Manufacturing Company was created (by act of legislature) as the successor to the partnership, for the stated purpose of manufacturing edge tools. The corporation was located in the town of Canton, about 15 miles from Hartford. The corporation continued to use the earlier "Collins & Co., Hartford" marking as a trademark.

As a side note, the reorganization of the partnership into Collins Manufacturing was for the benefit of creditors, as the partnership had failed when banks demanded immediate repayment of loans. The partners assigned their goodwill and reputation to the corporation and in return received a salary and shares of stock.

In May of 1843 the legislature enlarged the corporate charter to include the manufacturing of any articles of iron and steel, with the name changed to The Collins Company and capital of $300,000. Over time the company expanded its production to include agricultural implements such as hoes, shovels, and machetes for cutting cane. The company developed a strong export business and at one point was producing 150 varieties of machetes for export to 35 countries.

Screw-Adjusting Wrenches

By 1867 the company had begun manufacturing screw-adjusting wrenches based on patent 50,364, issued in 1865 to Lucius Jordan and Leander E. Smith. This patent described a step-plate backed by a nut threaded onto the shank of the wrench to absorb the force transmitted through the adjusting screw, thereby avoiding damage to the wooden handle.

[1867 Advertisement for Collins Screw Wrench]
Fig. 113. 1867 Ad for Collins Screw Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 113 shows an ad for the Collins screw wrench, as published on page 771 of the August 10, 1867 issue of the American Railroad Journal.

The text below the illustration describes the patented improvements to prevent damage to the handle.

[1868 Advertisement for Collins Screw Wrench]
Fig. 114. 1868 Ad for Collins Screw Wrench.

The scan in Fig. 114 shows a full-page ad for the Collins patent screw wrench, as published on page 124 [External Link] of the 1868 507 Mechanical Movements by Henry T. Brown.

This ad provides a very clear illustration, and various parts of the wrench are annotated for further explanation in the text below.

The Jordan and Smith patent was subsequently clarified by reissue patents RE3,852 of 1870 and RE5,294 of 1873.

Patent Litigation

In 1875 the company filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Loring Coes & Company, thereby beginning a protracted period of litigation. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court and wasn't resolved until March 5, 1889, with a decision that the 1865 patent 50,364 was void for lack of novelty.

We'll fill in more details on this case at a later time.

The Collins Company continued producing wrenches at least through 1910, but these tools never became major products on the scale of the company's edge tools and farm implements.


Patents

Collins Company: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
50,364 L. Jordan et al10/10/186510/10/1865 Improved Wrench
82,085 L. Chapman09/15/186809/15/1868 Improvement in wrenches
RE3,852 L. Jordan et al02/22/187002/22/1870 Improvement in wrenches
123,554 L. Chapman02/13/187202/13/1872 Improvement in Dies for Wrench Heads
RE5,294 L. Jordan et al02/25/187302/25/1873 Improvement in wrenches
300,445 L. Chapman10/29/188306/17/1884 Manufacture of Wrench Forgings

Trademarks

The Collins Company was very prolific in its trademark activities during the latter part of the 19th century, probably as a result of earlier litigation to defend its company markings in the era prior to formal trademarks. The table below shows a selected sample of a larger number of trademarks.


Collins Company: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
C.C.S. 850    06/04/1872 For edge tools and agricultural implements.
Collins 6,112    11/07/1882 For edge tools.
Collins & Co., Hartford 7,094    03/11/1879 For edge tools.
Collins & Co. 9,704    10/03/1882 For edge tools.
Collins & Co., Hartford 29,536 01/01/182612/18/1896 01/26/1897 For earthworking tools.
Filed by The Collins Company, Canton, Connecticut
Collins 29,537 01/01/182612/18/1896 01/26/1897 For sledges, hammers, wrenches, shoes, dies, and saws.
Filed by The Collins Company, Canton, Connecticut
Collins & Co., Hartford 29,539 01/01/182612/18/1896 01/26/1897 For sledges, hammers, wrenches, shoes, dies, and saws.
Filed by The Collins Company, Canton, Connecticut

References and Resources

Background information on the Collins Company was found in a court case THE COLLINS COMPANY v. OLIVER AMES & SONS CORPORATION from 1882, published beginning on page 561 [External Link] of the Federal Reporter.

Additional information on the company can be found in an article on The Collins Company [External Link] at ConnecticutHistory.org.

The Collins Company published a history of its first 100 years in 1926, which is available at One Hundred Years 1826-1926 on the Archive.org site. However, there is no mention of wrenches in this publication, an indication of the relative unimportance of wrenches as a product of the company.

Currently we do not have any catalogs for the Collins Company.


Selected Tools

We have a Collins Company screw-adjusting wrench marked for patent 50,364 and are preparing it for display.


Crescent Forgings Company

The Crescent Forgings Company was a merchant drop-forger operating in Oakmont, Pennsylvania beginning around 1906. In addition to producing custom drop-forgings, the company also offered pipe wrenches based on patent 898,267, issued to H.N. Rothweiler in 1908.

[1908 Advertisement for Crescent Forgings Company]
Fig. 115. 1908 Advertisement for Crescent Forgings Company. [External Link]

The advertisement in Fig. 115 illustrates the Rothweiler pipe wrench, as published on page 606 of the October, 1908 issue of Hardware Dealers' Magazine.


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