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The Billings & Spencer Company


Table of Contents

Introduction

Company History

Billings & Spencer began in 1869 as the Roper Sporting Arms Company, a partnership of Charles E. Billings and Christopher Spencer. Both founders were notable inventors, and Billings in particular was one of the pioneers of the drop forging process. The company's early products were drop-forgings for the arms and sewing machine industries.

The company was reorganized as the Billings & Spencer Company in 1873, and began producing open-end wrenches and other tools shortly after this. Some products were based on designs developed and patented by Charles E. Billings, and the company also licensed designs from other inventers. Adjustable wrenches were a particular specialty during the latter part of the 19th century, and Billings produced many different styles of the smaller "bicycle wrenches", as well as pipe wrenches and tongs, pliers, and fixed wrenches.

By the early 20th century Billings & Spencer had become one of the largest tool makers, in addition to being a dominant force in the drop forging industry. (Billings produced the heavy machinery for drop forging itself, and made a business of helping other companies set up their drop forge operations.)

In later years Billings made some acquisitions to augment its own product lines. The 1939 catalog announced the acquisition of the Bemis & Call company (B&C), an old-line maker of adjustable wrenches and other tools. B&C had previously acquired the rights to the well-known Coes monkey wrenches, and thus both the B&C and Coes product lines were then available through Billings.

In the early 1950s Billings acquired the Peck, Stow & Wilcox (Pexto) company, another old manufacturer that had been a dominant force in the 19th century tool-making.

In 1962 Billings itself was acquired by the Crescent Niagara corporation, a holding company that had previously purchased Crescent Tools. Crescent Niagara subsequently acquired the tool operations of Barcalo Manufacturing and the Bridgeport Hardware Manufacturing company. The Billings product lines continued in production for some years under Crescent Niagara, but were eventually merged into Crescent's own product lines.

In 1968 Crescent Niagara was in turn acquired by the Cooper Tools conglomerate. Currently we're unsure whether the Billings line remained in production into the Cooper era, or if it had already been discontinued.


Patents

Billings received numerous patents over its many years of operations, and the table below shows only a small subset of the total.

Table 1A. Billings & Spencer: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedDescriptionExamples
212,298 C.E. Billings11/25/187802/18/1879Adjustable Wrench Billings 1879 Patent Bicycle Wrench
295,885 H.S. Pullman02/06/188403/25/1884Pipe Tongs  
470,777 C.E. Billings12/18/189103/15/1892Pocket Knife  
532,634 C.E. Billings10/19/189401/15/1895Adjustable Wrench  
D26,111 C.E. Billings08/13/189609/29/1896Design for a Bicycle Wrench Model 97 Bicycle Wrench
599,379 C.E. Billings10/25/189702/22/1898Adjustable Wrench  
669,721 W.H. Bruce12/16/190003/12/1901Pliers or Pipe Tongs Model M Pliers
804,351 W.R. Tomlinson04/28/190511/14/1905Adjustable Wrench  
881,294 C.E. Billings11/11/190703/10/1908Folding Knife  
1,000,878 F.R. Allen12/20/191008/15/1911Friction Ratchet Wrench Billings Allen Friction Ratchet
1,662,002 J.H. Dowd12/15/192503/06/1928Pipe Wrench  
1,673,761 J.H. Dowd05/03/192606/12/1928Multi-socket Brace Wrench  
1,799,622 W.S. Stuart02/15/193004/07/1931Pipe and Nut Wrench Billings "Plirench" Pipe and Nut Wrench
1,933,512 W.R. Moore10/01/193010/31/1933Chain Pipe Wrench  
1,995,687 C. Schaumberg05/05/193103/26/1935Holder for Wrench Sets  
2,138,331 F.P. Ward09/04/193611/29/1938Ratchet Wrench  
2,138,332 C.R. Giesel03/07/193811/29/1938Ratchet Wrench  

Trademarks

Billings registered a number of trademarks for its tool-related operations, beginning with the B-Triangle logo, filed as a trademark in 1893 with the first use date noted as 1870. The table below lists the known registered trademarks.

Table 1B. Billings & Spencer: Registered Trademarks
Description First Use Date Filed Date Issued Registration Notes
B [B-Triangle Logo] 09/01/1870 11/18/1893 05/22/1894 24,771 Application signed by Charles E. Billings, President.
B [B-Triangle Logo] 09/01/1870 04/04/1905 11/08/1905 45,068  
LIFE-TIME 04/01/1926 06/29/1928 10/30/1928 248,759 Renewed October 30, 1948.
Billings B [logo] 04/01/1926 10/04/1929 05/20/1930 270,927 "Billings" text narrower at center, with B-Triangle below.
Renewed May 20, 1950.
Vitalloy 10/05/1937 10/19/1937 02/22/1938 354,818 Vitalloy trademark for use on wrenches.
Vitalloy 05/10/1938 06/01/1938 10/11/1938 361,283 Vitalloy trademark for use on pliers and hammers.
BILLINGS 04/01/1926 06/03/1942 11/24/1942 398,858  
BILLINGS 04/01/1926 10/02/1947 08/23/1949 514,096  
Billings [logo] 04/01/1926 01/04/1962 05/28/1963 750,104 "Billings" text narrower at center, but no B-Triangle logo.
Filed by Crescent Niagara Corporation.

Tool Identification

Billings tools are generally easy to identify, and typically are marked with either the company name or the B-Triangle logo, or both. Their well-known triangle logo goes back many years, as it was registered as a trademark in 1905 with a claimed first usage date of 1870.

Billings tools of later production may also be marked one of their other trademarks, "Life-Time" or "Vitalloy". The "Life-Time" trademark was registered in 1926 and appears to have been used to introduce the first line of Billings alloy steel tools. The first known reference to Life-Time in Billings publications comes from a discount sheet for the 1926 36th Edition catalog, which has an entry for "Molybdenum Life-Time Wrenches". The wrenches are listed as being on pages 32A-32H, apparently a supplement to the catalog. (Unfortunately we don't have a 36th Edition catalog, just the discount sheet.)

In later usage the Life-Time mark reappeared to designate a second line of tools, possibly to be sold through other channels. (Billings tools were generally sold through industrial distributors.) The standard Billings catalogs of the 1930s through 1950s don't mention the Life-Time tools, although tools with the Life-Time mark were certainly being made during this period.

The "Vitalloy" trademark was filed by Billings in 1937 and was used specifically to indicate alloy-steel tools. ("Vita" is apparently a continuation of the "Life-Time" theme.) The Vitalloy mark is widely used in the Billings catalog illustrations.


Manufacturing Dates

Billings tools were generally not marked with any system of date codes, so the estimation of manufacturing dates must rely on other factors. Billings made a number of changes to the type and style of markings on tools over its many years of production, and these changes will provide guidelines for manufacturing dates.


Face Markings on Wrenches

The face markings on wrenches provide one very simple guide to the manufacturing date, at least for the tools where such markings are present.

[Billings Earliest Face Markings]
Fig. 1. Billings Earliest Face Markings.

The earliest Billings open-end and S-shaped wrenches are believed to have used markings similar to the example in Fig. 1 at the left. The stamped markings use a "Typewriter" style font with both upper and lower case, placing "Billings & Spencer Co." on the top line, followed by "Hartford, Conn." with the B-Triangle logo centered below.

This example was taken from a Billings 662 S-shaped wrench shown later in this article. We'll refer to this as the "Earliest Face Marking" in the text.

[Billings Standard Early Face Markings]
Fig. 2. Billings Standard Early Face Markings.

The next variation uses a slanted uppercase font with "The Billings & Spencer Co." split into two lines with the B-Triangle logo at the right, with the text "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." filling the second line.

An example of this logo is shown in Fig. 2 at the left, taken from a Billings 1568 textile wrench shown later in this article. We'll refer to this as the "Standard Early Face Marking" in the text. (A variant of this marking shortened the company name to the initials "B. & S." so it could fit on small wrenches.)

[Billings Modern Face Markings]
Fig. 3. Billings Modern Face Markings.

In the mid 1920s, Billings simplified its face markings to include only the stylized "Billings" name, plus a B-Triangle logo below bracketed by "Made in U.S.A." (or "Made U.S.A."). Note the distinctive narrowed center of the "Billings" text.

Fig. 3 at the left provides an example of this updated logo, taken from a Billings 1569 textile wrench shown in a later figure. This will be called the "Standard Modern Face Marking" in the text.

We can make estimates of the dates of usage for these three styles of face markings based on information from catalogs and trademark documents. Our only reference for the earliest marking in Fig. 1 is the 1910 Chandler & Farquhar catalog, which shows this marking on open-end wrenches. Notably, this catalog does not offer the familiar Billings 11xx series wrenches, and as a further observation, no 11xx-series wrenches have been found with the earliest face markings. However, many examples of 11xx wrenches have been found with the Fig. 2 standard early face markings, and these wrenches show several stages of improvements in production and finishing.

Based on these observations, the use of the Billings standard early face markings in Fig. 2 probably began very soon after 1910, and likely coincided with the introduction of the 11xx-series wrenches. We'll use 1911 as the estimated beginning year for the standard early face markings.

Determining the beginning year for the modern face markings in Fig. 3 is more straightforward. The design of the modern face markings matches the illustration supplied with the application for the Billings #270,927 trademark, which listed 1926 as the first use date. Thus we'll use the 1926 date from the trademark application as the starting year for the modern face markings.

The modern face markings remained in use until the acquisition by Crescent Niagara in 1962. Crescent updated the Billings trademark to remove the B-Triangle logo, and tools produced after 1962 did not have the B-Triangle marking.

The list below summarizes the estimated usage dates for the three marking styles.

  • Earliest Face Markings: 1880s to 1910
  • Standard Early Face Markings: 1911 to 1926
  • Modern Face Markings: 1926-1962

We'll update these estimates if better information becomes available.


Vitalloy Trademark

The Vitalloy trademark was introduced in 1937 and was widely used as a marking on Billings wrenches and other tools. This mark serves as a convenient dividing line between earlier and later production of alloy steel tools.


Depressed-Panel Wrench Style

In the mid to late 1930s Billings adopted a distinctive depressed-panel style for most of its wrench models, in particular the double-open "Engineer's" wrenches and the offset box wrenches. The markings were forged into the tool in raised letters, usually with "Vitalloy" and the B-Triangle logo. Examples of this style can be seen in the Billings M-1029 Wrench and Billings 8725B Wrench figures shown below. Based on a review of catalog illustrations, the depressed panel style appears to have been offered first for the open-end wrenches, probably in 1937 with the introduction of the "Vitalloy" trademark. By 1938 the depressed panel style had been extended to the offset box wrenches. (The straight shank box wrenches remained in an oval-shank design.)

The depressed-panel style remained in production until the mid to late 1940s, but by 1948 (or possibly earlier) had been replaced by a style with oval or flat shanks and stamped markings. Based on the current information, we'll estimate the production years for the depressed-panel style as 1937 to 1947.


Early Tools

The earlier tool production by Billings included items such as pipe tongs, pliers, bicycle wrenches and other adjustable wrenches, and open-end wrenches. These tools were all made of drop-forged carbon steel, the dominant technology for such tools.


Bicycle Wrenches

Billings was an early leader in the production of bicycle wrenches, a popular type of tool in the late 19th century.


Early 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench with 1879 Patent

[Billings Early 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 4. Billings Early 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1880 to 1910.

Fig. 4 shows an early Billings 5 inch bicycle wrench, marked "Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn." on the front, with "C.E. Billings" and "Pat. Feb. 18, 1879" on the reverse. (The markings are very worn, and are difficult to read even with a magnifying glass.)

The overall length is 5.0 inches retracted and 6.0 inches fully extended. The finish is nickel plating, now worn away in some areas.

The sliding jaw of the wrench is marked with a ruler graduated in 32nds of an inch, a frequent feature of Billings wrenches of this design.

The patent date corresponds to patent #212,298, issued to C.E. Billings in 1879 and the earliest of his adjustable wrench patents. The patent illustration shows the wrench with an open slot on the reverse side, as is seen in the figure here.


Model A 4 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[Billings Model A 4 Inch Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 5. Billings Model A 4 Inch Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1880 to 1910.

Fig. 5 shows a Billings Model A bicycle wrench, stamped with the B-Triangle logo above "Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn." on the front. The reverse is marked "C.E. Billings" and "Pat'd Feb. 18th, 1879", a reference to patent #212,298.

The overall length is 4.4 inches closed and 5.4 inches fully extended. The finish is nickel plating with losses due to wear and rust.


Model D 6 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[Billings Model D 6 Inch Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 6. Billings Model D 6 Inch Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1880 to 1910.

Fig. 6 shows an early Billings Model D 6 inch bicycle wrench, stamped with the B-Triangle logo above "Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn." on the front. The reverse is marked "C.E. Billings" and "Pat'd Feb. 18th, 1879", a reference to patent #212,298.

The overall length is 6.0 inches closed and 7.5 inches fully extended. The finish is polished steel, with some pitting due to rust.


Model E 7 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[Billings Model E 7 Inch Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 7. Billings Model E 7 Inch Bicycle Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 7 shows a Billings Model E 7 inch bicycle wrench, stamped on the upper jaw with the Billings early face markings.

The overall length is 6.8 inches closed and 8.5 inches fully extended. The finish is plain steel, with some of the original black paint remaining.

The use of the Billings standard early face markings suggests a manufacturing date from approximately 1911 to 1926.


Model 97 Bicycle Wrenches

In 1896 C.E. Billings filed a design patent for a compact bicycle wrench, and the resulting Model 97 wrench became one of the company's best-known products. The model 97 wrench was offered in both plated and painted finishes, and remained in production for many years.

[Billings Model 97 Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 8. Billings Model 97 Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Patent Detail, ca. 1896 to 1910.

Fig. 8 shows a Billings model 97 bicycle wrench, marked "Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn." with the B-Triangle logo.

The overall length is 4.2 inches retracted and 5.7 inches fully extended. The finish is nickel plating, though extensively worn in some areas.

The inset shows the patent notice "Patented Sept. 29, 1896" on the reverse, and the corresponding patent turns out to be #D26,111, a design patent issued to C.E. Billings.

The use of the earliest face markings suggests a production date in 1910 or earlier.

[Billings Model 97 Bicycle Wrench]
Fig. 9. Billings Model 97 Bicycle Wrench, with Inset for Patent Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 9 shows a later example of the model 97 wrench, marked "Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo.

The overall length is 4.3 inches retracted and 5.7 inches fully extended. The original black paint finish is still present in a few spots, though most has now been worn off.

The use of the standard early face markings suggests a production date in 1911-1926.


Model G 6 Inch Auto Wrench

The next several figures show examples of Billings Model G auto wrenches, a popular model series offered in a range of sizes.

[Billings Model G 6 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 10. Billings Model G 6 Inch Auto Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 10 at the left shows a Billings Model G 6 inch auto wrench, the smallest model of the series. The moveable jaw is stamped "The Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.4 inches. The finish is black paint.

The use of the standard early face markings suggests a production date in 1911-1926.

The 1919 Chandler & Farquhar catalog offered the model G auto wrench with nominal sizes ranging from 6 inches up to 18 inches. The model G was also available with a serrated pipe jaw instead of the flat jaw illustrated here.


Model G 8 Inch Auto Wrench

[Billings Model G 8 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 11. Billings Model G 8 Inch Auto Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 11 shows a Billings Model G 8 inch auto wrench with a forged steel moveable jaw, stamped "The Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo.

The overall length is 7.8 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.2 inches. The finish is black paint.

The use of the standard early face markings suggests a production date in 1911-1926.


Model G 11 Inch Auto Wrench

[Billings Model G 11 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 12. Billings Model G 11 Inch Auto Wrench.

Fig. 12 shows a Billings Model G 11 inch auto wrench in a slight different style than the previous example. The markings forged into the handle include the B-Triangle logo and "The Billings & Spencer Co. Hartford, Conn.", with "Made in U.S.A." partially obscured by the jaw.

The overall length is 11.0 inches, and the finish is black paint.

The 1919 Chandler & Farquhar catalog offered the model G auto wrench in a range of sizes from 6 inches up to 18 inches, although this particular 11 inch model was not listed in that reference.


8 Inch Locking Adjustable "S" Wrench

[Billings 8 Inch Locking Adjustable S Wrench]
Fig. 13. Billings 8 Inch Locking Adjustable "S" Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 13 shows a Billings 8 inch adjustable "S" wrench with a locking mechanism of the Tomlinson design. The handle is marked "The Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn." in forged raised letters, with "Steel Drop Forging" and "8 In." on the reverse.

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

Although this example isn't marked with a patent notice, the design is covered by patent #804,351, issued to W.R. Tomlinson in 1905. The patent describes the use of a threaded pin to provide a locking mechanism for the wrench.


8 Inch Curved-Handle Adjustable Wrench

[Billings 8 Inch Curved-Handle Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 14. Billings 8 Inch Curved-Handle Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 14 shows a Billings 8 inch adjustable wrench with a curved handle, marked with "Billings and Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Treated Steel Forging 8 In." and the B-Triangle logo forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is black paint.


Early [Model M] 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers

The next figures show two generations of the Billings 6.5 inch combination pliers.

[Billings Early [Model M] 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 15. Billings Early [Model M] 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1901-1910.

Fig. 15 shows an earlier pair of Billings [model M] 6.5 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped "Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn." with the B-Triangle logo near the pivot. Although not marked with a model number, these were identified as model M pliers by a catalog listing.

The overall length is 6.6 inches, and the finish is polished nickel, with some losses due to wear and rust.

The pliers are also marked with three patent dates, "Pat'd. Jan. 25, 1876", "Pat'd Mar. 25 1884", and "Pat'd. Mar. 12, 1901". The first date refers to patent #172,649, filed by A.A. Pease in 1876 and issued later that year.

The second date refers to patent #295,885, filed by H.S. Pullman in 1884 and issued later that year. This patent describes the mechanism used for the familiar slip-joint in pliers.

The last date corresponds to patent #669,721, filed by W.H. Bruce in 1900 and issued the following year. This patent describes a pair of slip-joint pliers with a hole for cutting wire, as well as the conventional side-cutting edges, making the pliers useful for both plumbing and electrical work. (The cutting hole is visible on the reverse side, near the pivot.)

The use of the earliest face markings suggests a production date in 1910 or earlier.


[Billings [Model M] 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 15B. Billings [Model M] 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 15B shows a later pair of Billings [model M] 6.5 inch slip-joint combination pliers, marked "The Billings & Spencer Co." with "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." and the B-Triangle logo. Although not marked with a model number, these were identified as model M pliers by a catalog listing.

The overall length is 6.6 inches, and the finish is a black oxide coating.

The use of the standard early face markings suggests a production date in 1911-1926.

The pliers are also marked with the patent date "Pat'd. Mar. 12 1901", which was found to be patent #669,721. The patent describes a pair of slip-joint pliers with a hole for cutting wire (not shown in photograph), as well as the conventional side-cutting edges, making the pliers useful for both plumbing and electrical work.

The 1923 Billings catalog offered the model M pliers at a price of $1.15 in oxide finish or $1.25 for nickel plate.


6.5 Inch Box-Joint Combination Pliers with Side Cutters

[Billings 6.5 Inch Box-Joint Combination Pliers with Side Cutters]
Fig. 16. Billings 6.5 Inch Box-Joint Combination Pliers with Side Cutters, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 16 shows a pair of Billings 6.5 inch box-joint combination pliers with side-cutters, stamped "The Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo. The undersides of the handles are marked with "The Billings & Spencer Co." forged into one handle, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the other.

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

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the box-joint construction and the dimpled gripping pattern on the handles. Note that the center of the dimpled pattern has a B-Triangle logo.


No. 21 9 Inch Forged Screwdriver

[Billings No. 21 9 Inch Forged Screwdriver]
Fig. 17. Billings No. 21 9 Inch Forged Screwdriver, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 17 shows a Billings No. 21 9 inch forged screwdriver, marked "The B&S Co." and "Made in U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo forged into one flange, and with "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." forged into the opposite flange. The shaft is stamped with the "No. 21" model number, as shown in the inset.

The overall length is 9.4 inches, and the tip is approximately 0.5 inches wide. The finish is plain steel with red paint on the flanges, although the paint may not be original.


No. 0 Adjustable Pin Spanner

[Billings No. 0 Adjustable Pin Spanner]
Fig. 18. Billings No. 0 Adjustable Pin Spanner, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 18 shows a Billings No. 0 adjustable pin spanner, marked with "The Billings & Spencer Co." and the B-Triangle logo forged into the handle, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is black paint. (The tool appears to have been repainted.)

Although not marked with a patent notice, this tool is described by patent #738,015, filed by J.C. Dufresne in 1902 and issued in 1903.


No. 1 Adjustable Pin Spanner

[Billings No. 1 Adjustable Pin Spanner]
Fig. 19. Billings No. 1 Adjustable Pin Spanner, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 19 shows a Billings No. 1 adjustable pin spanner, marked with "The Billings & Spencer Co." and the B-Triangle logo forged into the handle, with "No. 1" and "Patented Sept. 1st 1903" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint.

The patent date refers to patent #738,015, filed by J.C. Dufresne in 1902 and issued in 1903.


No. 2 Adjustable Pin Spanner

[Billings No. 2 Adjustable Pin Spanner]
Fig. 20. Billings No. 2 Adjustable Pin Spanner, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 20 shows a Billings No. 2 adjustable pin spanner, marked with "Billings & Spencer Co." and the B-Triangle logo forged into the handle, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint.

Although not marked with a patent notice, this tool is described by patent #738,015, filed by J.C. Dufresne in 1902 and issued in 1903.


"Plirench" Slip-Joint Nut and Pipe Wrench

[Billings Plirench Slip-Joint Nut and Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 21. Billings Plirench Slip-Joint Nut and Pipe Wrench, ca. 1930-1931.

Fig. 21 shows a Billings "Plirench" slip-joint nut and pipe plier-wrench, stamped "Plirench" and "Pat. Appl'd For" on the upper jaw, with "Made U.S.A." and the B-Triangle logo near the pivot.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The pending status refers to patent #1,799,622, filed by W.S. Stuart in 1930 and issued in 1931.


Hammers


Ballpeen Hammer

[Billings Ballpeen Hammer]
Fig. 22. Billings Ballpeen Hammer, with Insets for Head and Handle Detail.

Fig. 22 shows a Billings ballpeen hammer, marked "The B. & S. Co." with the B-Triangle logo on the head, and with the Billings name and "Genuine Hickory" on the handle.

The hammer head is 4.7 inches long, and the overall length is 14.0 inches.


Small Ballpeen Hammer

[Billings Ballpeen Hammer]
Fig. 23. Billings Ballpeen Hammer, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 23 shows a later Billings ballpeen hammer, marked "Billings" on one side, with "Made U.S.A." and the B-Triangle logo on the reverse.

The hammer head is 3.2 inches long, and the overall length is 12.0 inches.


Carbon Steel Wrenches

Billings offered an extensive selection of carbon-steel open-end wrenches in a wide range of sizes. Although the wrenches were available in all of the industry-standard sizes, Billings used their own numbering system with 11xx model numbers, although at least some wrenches were stamped with their standard number equivalents.

In 1930 the 11xx wrenches were available in sizes ranging from the 1/4x5/16 model 1100A up to the 2-1/2x2-5/8 model 1159, the latter equivalent to the standard no. 49. (A cross-reference between the Billings and industry-standard sizes is available in our Table of Wrench Sizes.)

Billings continued to use their 11xx models long after most companies had adopted the industry-standard numbers, but eventually did convert to the standard numbering system. (The fact that the industry-standard models had been promulgated by arch-rival J.H. Williams may have been a factor.)

The standard markings for early Billings wrenches consisted of a raised forging of the B-Triangle logo on the shank, along with a stamped logo and text on one face. The text was typically "The Billings & Spencer Co." and "Hartford, Conn. U.S.A.", although abbreviations were used on some of the smaller wrenches. We'll refer to this combination as the "standard early markings", to avoid needless repetition in the descriptions below.

The markings for later wrenches went through several stages. The first change was the removal of the raised logo on the shank, allowing the wrench to be easily finished by grinding. Later changes simplified the company name to just "Billings", and added "Made in U.S.A." in place of the reference to Hartford. Where possible, we'll show multiple examples of each model to illustrate the marking changes.


Early Carbon Steel Wrenches

Billings offered carbon-steel wrenches in several model lines before the introduction of the well-known 11xx series wrenches. Currently we don't have much documentation for these early wrenches, but will show a few of the known examples. We hope to expand this section in the future.


Early 270 1-1/16 Single-Open Wrench

[Billings Early 270 1-1/16 Single-Open Wrench]
Fig. 24. Billings Early 270 1-1/16 Single-Open Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1900-1910.

Fig. 24 shows a very early Billings 270 1-1/16 single-open wrench, stamped with the earliest face markings, and with a B-Triangle logo forged into the shank.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with extensive pitting due to rust.

Note the use of a "Typewriter" font in the stamped face markings, similar to the markings on the Billings bicycle wrenches of the late 19th century.


Early 678 5/8x25/32 Open-End Wrench

[Billings Early 678 5/8x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 25. Billings Early 678 5/8x25/32 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1900-1910.

Fig. 25 shows a very early Billings 678 5/8x25/32 open-end wrench, stamped with the earliest face markings, and with a B-Triangle logo forged into the shank.

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

Note the use of a "Typewriter" font in the stamped face markings, similar to the markings on the Billings bicycle wrenches of the late 19th century.

The shank is also stamped "7/16", a reference to the U.S.S. Size Convention corresponding to the 25/32 opening.


Early 349 1/2x19/32 Short S-Shaped Open-End Wrench

[Billings Early 349 1/2x19/32 Short S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 26. Billings Early 349 1/2x19/32 Short S-Shaped Wrench, ca. 1890s to 1910.

Fig. 26 shows a very early Billings 349 1/2x19/32 short S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the earliest face markings, and with the model number stamped on the shank.

The overall length is 4.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Note the use of a "Typewriter" font in the stamped face markings, similar to the markings on the Billings bicycle wrenches of the late 19th century.


Early 660 3/8x7/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench

[Billings Early 660 3/8x7/16 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 27. Billings Early 662 3/8x7/16 S-Shaped Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1890s to 1910.

Fig. 27 shows a very early Billings 660 3/8x7/16 S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the earliest face markings, and with a B-Triangle logo forged into the shank.

The overall length is 6.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Note the use of a "Typewriter" font in the stamped markings, similar to the markings on the Billings bicycle wrenches of the late 19th century.


Early 662 5/8x11/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench

[Billings Early 662 5/8x11/16 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 28. Billings Early 662 5/8x11/16 S-Shaped Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1890s to 1910.

Fig. 28 shows a very early Billings 662 5/8x11/16 S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the earliest face markings, and with a B-Triangle logo forged into the shank.

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

Note the use of a "Typewriter" font in the stamped markings, similar to the markings on the Billings bicycle wrenches of the late 19th century.


11xx-Series Carbon Steel Wrenches

In about 1911 Billings began offering its 11xx series of carbon-steel wrenches, and these wrenches became one of the most successful tool lines for the company.


1100A 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrench

We'll begin this section with the smallest wrench in the 11xx model series.

[Billings 1100A 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 29. Billings 1100A 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 29 shows a Billings 1100A 1/4x5/16 open-end wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings.

The overall length is 3.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of the original black paint.


1103 5/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1103 5/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 30. Billings 1103 5/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 30 at the left shows a Billings 1103 5/16x1/2 open-end wrench with the variant of the standard early markings. The face is stamped "The B & S Co." with "Hfd. Ct. U.S.A.", and the B-Triangle logo appears on the reverse shank.

The overall length is 4.5 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.

The Billings model 1103 was the equivalent of the industry standard No. 22 wrench.


1104 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1104 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 31. Billings 1104 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 31 at the left shows a Billings 1104 3/8x7/16 open-end wrench with the standard early markings, but with an abbreviated "The B & S Co." on the face.

The overall length is 4.5 inches. The original finish was probably black paint with polished faces.

The 1104 model corresponded to the industry standard No. 723 wrench.


1106 13/32x19/32 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1106 13/32x19/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 32. Billings 1106 13/32x19/32 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 32 shows a Billings 1106 13/32x19/32 open-end wrench with the standard modern face markings, and with both the Billings 1106 model and the industry-standard number 24 stamped on the face.

The overall length is 5.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The Billings 1106 model was the equivalent to the industry standard No. 24 wrench.


1107 13/32x1/2 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Billings 1107 wrench.

[Billings 1107 13/32x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 33. Billings 1107 13/32x1/2 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 33 at the left shows a Billings 1107 13/32x12 open-end wrench, with the standard early markings on the face and the raised logo on the shank.

The overall length is 5.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The reverse faces are marked "3/16 U.S.S." and "1/4 U.S.S.", both references to older U.S.S. size conventions. The model 1107 was the Billing equivalent of the industry standard No. 23 wrench.

One characteristic of the early Billings wrenches is that the edges typically retain the cutting marks where excess metal was trimmed after forging. The excess metal is termed "flashing", and a separate die was used to trim the flashing from the wrench body. Later Billings production added a grinding operation to provide smoothly rounded edges, and these wrenches show no trace of the trimming operation.


[Billings 1107 13/32x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 34. Billings 1107 13/32x1/2 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1920s.

Fig. 34 shows a later Billings 1107 13/32x12 open-end wrench, showing the standard early markings on the face, but without the raised logo on the shank.

The overall length is 5.1 inches.

The reverse faces are marked "3/16 Nut" and "1/4 Nut 5/16 S.A.E.", references to older U.S.S. and S.A.E. size conventions.

Unlike the earlier plain steel or painted finishes, this wrench is a nickel plated, with the finish missing in a few areas. Billings offered nickel finishes at least by 1924, as a Beckley-Ralston catalog (an automotive supplies distributor) listed Billing wrenches in nickel finish.


1109 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show two examples of the Billings 1109 wrench.

[Billings 1109 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 35. Billings 1109 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 35 shows a Billings 1109 7/16x1/2 open-end wrench with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 5.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.

The insets show the reverse face markings "1/4 U.S.S." for the larger opening and "1/4 [HEX]C" for the smaller opening, references to the older U.S.S. and Hex Capscrew conventions. The Billings model 1109 was the equivalent of the industry standard No. 725 wrench.

[Billings 1109 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 36. Billings 1109 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 36 shows a somewhat later Billings 1109 7/16x1/2 open-end wrench with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 5.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.

The Billings model 1109 was the equivalent of the industry standard No. 725 wrench, and this wrench is marked with both the Billings and industry model numbers. The reverse faces (not shown) are marked "1/4 NUT 5/16 CAP 5/16 S.A.E." for the larger opening and "1/4 CAP 1/4 S.A.E." for the smaller opening.


1110 7/16x9/16 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1110 7/16x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 37. Billings 1110 7/16x9/16 Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 37 shows a Billings 1110 7/16x9/16 open-end wrench with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 5.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.

The Billings model 1110 was the equivalent of the industry standard No. 725A wrench, a less commonly seen size. The insets show the reverse face markings "3/8 [HEX]C" at the left and "1/4 [HEX]C" at the right.


1111 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Billings 1111 wrench.

[Billings 1111 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 38. Billings 1111 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench with Raised Logo, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 38 at the left shows a Billings 1111 1/2x9/16 open-end wrench with the standard early markings.

The overall length is 5.5 inches. The original finish was probably black paint with polished faces, but only a trace of paint remains in the raised logo on the shank.

The 1111 model was the Billings equivalent of the industry standard No. 725B wrench.

[Billings 1111 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 39. Billings 1111 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 39 at the left shows a later example of the model 1111 wrench, with the standard early face markings, but no logo on the shank. The smoothly finished shank still retains much of the original black paint.

The reverse faces are have several size markings, including "5/16 S.A.E." and "3/8 S.A.E." for the older size convention.


1112 1/2x19/32 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Billings 1112 wrench.

[Billings 1112 1/2x19/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 40. Billings 1112 1/2x19/32 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 40 at the left shows a Billings 1112 1/2x19/32 open-end wrench with the standard early markings.

The overall length is 5.5 inches.

The 1112 model was the Billings equivalent of the industry standard No. 25 wrench.


[Billings 1112 1/2x19/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 41. Billings 1112 1/2x19/32 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 41 at the left shows a later version of the Billings 1112 wrench with the standard modern face markings. The other face is marked with both the Billings model and the industry standard No. 25, and the reverse faces are marked with the across-flats fractional sizes.

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


1113 1/2x5/8 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1113 1/2x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 42. Billings 1113 1/2x5/8 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 42 at the left shows a Billings 1113 1/2x5/8 open-end wrench with the standard early markings.

The overall length is 5.5 inches, and the original finish was probably black paint with polished faces.

The 1113 model was the Billings equivalent of the industry standard No. 726 wrench.


1115 1/2x3/4 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1115 1/2x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 43. Billings 1115 1/2x3/4 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 43 shows a Billings 1115 1/2x3/4 open-end wrench with the standard early face markings. The reverse faces are stamped "1/2 [HEX]C 1/2 S.A.E." and "1/4 NUT 5/16 CAP 5/16 S.A.E.", references to the older U.S.S., S.A.E., and Hex Capscrew size conventions.

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

The 1115 model offered an unusual size combination with no equivalent in the industry standard numbering system.


1116 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1116 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 44. Billings 1116 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 44 shows a Billings 1116 9/16x5/8 open-end wrench with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The 1116 model was the Billings equivalent of the industry standard No. 727 wrench. The insets show the reverse face markings "3/8 [HEX]C 3/8 S.A.E." and "7/16 [HEX]C 7/16 S.A.E.", references to the older size conventions.


1118-X 9/16x11/16 Open-End Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of a less common model, marked as a model 1118 Special in early versions and later as model 1118-X.

[Billings 1118 Special 9/16x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 45. Billings 1118 Special 9/16x11/16 Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 45 shows a rear early Billings 1118 Special 9/16x11/16 open-end wrench with the standard early markings.

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The 1118-X model was the Billings equivalent of the industry standard No. 27C wrench. The insets show the reverse face markings "3/8 [HEX]C" and "3/8 U.S.S.", references to the older size U.S.S. and Hex Capscrew size conventions.

[Billings 1118-X 9/16x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 46. Billings 1118-X 9/16x11/16 Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 46 shows a somewhat later example, a Billings 1118-X 9/16x11/16 open-end wrench with the standard early markings.

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The insets show the reverse face markings "3/8 [HEX]C 3/8 S.A.E." and "3/8 U.S.S.", references to the older size conventions.


1118 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Billings 1118 wrench.

[Billings 1118 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 47. Billings 1118 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 47 at the left shows an early Billings 1118 19/32x11/16 open-end wrench with the standard early markings.

The overall length is 6.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The 1118 model was the Billings equivalent of the industry standard No. 27 wrench. The reverse faces are marked "5/16 U.S.S." and "3/8 U.S.S." for the older size convention.

[Billings 1118 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 48. Billings 1118 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 48 at the left shows a somewhat later version of the model 1118 wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings. Note that the shank has been ground smooth and lacks the raised logo seen on the previous example.

The overall length is 6.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

One face is stamped with both the Billings 1118 model and the No. 27 industry-standard model, and the reverse faces are marked "5/16 NUT" and "3/8 NUT" for the older U.S.S. size convention.


1119 19/32x25/32 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1119 19/32x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 49. Billings 1119 19/32x25/32 Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 49 shows a Billings 1119 19/32x25/32 open-end wrench with the standard early markings stamped on the face, and with the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank.

The overall length is 6.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The insets show the reverse face markings "7/16 U.S.S." and "5/16 U.S.S.", references to the older U.S.S. size convention.

The model 1119 wrench was the Billings equivalent of the industry standard No. 28 wrench.


1120 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1120 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 50. Billings 1120 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 50 shows a Billings 1120 5/8x3/4 open-end wrench with the standard early markings stamped on the face.

The overall length is 6.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The reverse faces are marked "7/16 S.A.E." and "1/2 S.A.E.", references to the older S.A.E size convention.

The wrench is marked with the industry standard number 729 as well as the Billings model 1120.


1121 5/8x13/16 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1121 5/8x13/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 51. Billings 1121 5/8x13/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 51 shows a Billings 1121 5/8x13/16 open-end wrench with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 7.1 inches. The finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint.

The inset shows the reverse face markings "9/16 [HEX]C" and "7/16 [HEX]C 7/16 S.A.E.", references to the older Hex Capscrew and S.A.E. size conventions.

The Billings 1121 model was the equivalent of the industry standard No. 730 wrench.


1123 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1123 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 52. Billings 1123 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Marking Detail.

Fig. 52 shows a Billings 1123 11/16x25/32 open-end wrench with the standard early markings, including the raised B-Triangle logo on the shank.

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

The Billings 1123 model was the equivalent of the industry standard No. 29 wrench. The insets show the reverse face markings "7/16 U.S.S." and "3/8 U.S.S.", both references to the older U.S.S. size convention.


1124 11/16x7/8 Open-End Wrenches

The next pair of figures show two generations of the Billings 1124 wrench.

[Billings 1124 11/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 53. Billings 1124 11/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench.

In Fig. 53 at the left we see a Billings 1124 11/16x7/8 open-end wrench with the standard early markings, including the raised B-Triangle logo on the shank.

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

The 1124 model was the Billings equivalent of the industry standard No. 30 wrench. The reverse faces are marked "3/8 U.S.S." and "1/2 U.S.S." for the older size convention.

[Billings 1124 11/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 54. Billings 1124 11/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 54 shows a later version of the Billings 1124 wrench, with the standard early face markings but no logo on the shank. The faces are polished and have some traces of nickel plating remaining, and the shank is smooth with a plain finish.


1126 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1126 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 55. Billings 1126 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 55 at the left shows a Billings 1126 3/4x1 open-end wrench with the standard early markings, including the raised B-Triangle logo on the shank.

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

The reverse faces are marked "1/2 S.A.E." and "9/16 S.A.E.", references to the older size convention.


1127 3/4x1 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Billings 1127 wrench, a somewhat unusual 3/4x1 size.

[Billings 1127 3/4x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 56. Billings 1127 3/4x1 Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 56 shows a fine example of an earlier Billings 1127 3/4x1 open-end wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings. The insets show the reverse face markings "3/4 CAP 11/16 S.A.E." and "1/2 CAP 1/2 S.A.E.", references to the older Hex Capscrew and S.A.E. size conventions.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.

[Billings 1127 3/4x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 57. Billings 1127 3/4x1 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1926-1927.

Fig. 57 shows an somewhat later Billings 1127 open-end wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings. The reverse faces are stamped "11/16 S.A.E." and "1/2 S.A.E." (not shown), references to the older S.A.E. size convention.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.

This second wrench provides an example of the modern face markings used together with the older size conventions. The older size conventions are believed to have been phased out around 1927, providing a relatively precise estimate of the manufacturing date for this example.


1128 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1128 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 58. Billings 1128 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 58 shows a Billings 1128 25/32x7/8 open-end wrench with the standard early face markings.

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

The reverse faces are marked "7/16 U.S.S." and "1/2 U.S.S. 9/16 S.A.E. 5/8 [HEX]C", references to the older size conventions. The multiple size markings provide a good illustration of how cumbersome the older conventions had become.

The 1128 model was the Billings equivalent of the industry standard No. 31 wrench. This wrench appears to be a transitional form, as the shank no longer carries the raised B-Triangle logo, but the surface has been left with its rough forged finish.


1132 7/8x31/32 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1132 7/8x31/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 59. Billings 1132 7/8x31/32 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 59 shows a Billings 1132 7/8x31/32 open-end wrench with the standard early face markings. The reverse faces (not shown) are stamped "1/2 U.S.S." and "9/16 U.S.S.", references to the older U.S.S. Size Convention for the 7/8 and 31/32 openings, respectively.

The overall length is 10.0 inches. The finish is plain steel with polished faces, and a few traces of black paint remain on the shank.

The Billings model 1132 was equivalent to the industry standard No. 33 wrench.


1133 7/8x1 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1133 7/8x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 60. Billings 1133 7/8x1 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 60 shows a Billings 1133 7/8x1 open-end wrench with the standard early face markings, and with the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank. The reverse faces are stamped "3/4 [HEX]C" and "5/8 [HEX]C 1/2 U.S.S.", references to the older Hex Capscrew and U.S.S. Size Conventions.

The overall length is 10.0 inches, The finish is plain steel, with extensive pitting due to rust.

The Billings model 1133 was equivalent to the industry standard No. 733 wrench.

Although not shown in the photograph, the edges of this example are somewhat rough, with traces remaining from the trimming operation. The rough edges and forged-in B-Triangle logo indicate a relatively earlier manufacturing date.


1136 31/32x1-1/16 Open-End Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of the Billings model 1136 wrench.

[Billings 1136 31/32x1-1/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 61. Billings 1136 31/32x1-1/16 Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 61 shows an earlier Billings 1136 31/32x1-1/16 open-end wrench with the standard early face markings, and with the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank.

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

The Billings model 1136 was equivalent to the industry standard No. 35 wrench. The insets show the reverse face markings "5/8 U.S.S." and "9/16 U.S.S.", references to the older size convention.

[Billings 1136 31/32x1-1/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 62. Billings 1136 31/32x1-1/16 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 62 shows a somewhat later Billings 1136 wrench with the standard early face markings.

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

The reverse faces (not shown) are stamped "5/8 U.S.S." and "9/16 U.S.S.", references to the older size convention.


1140 1-1/16x1-1/4 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1140 1-1/16x1-1/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 63. Billings 1140 1-1/16x1-1/4 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 63 shows a Billings 1140 1-1/16x1-1/4 open-end wrench with the standard modern face markings.

The overall length is 12.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The Billings model 1140 was equivalent to the industry standard No. 37 wrench, and in this example the standard number is stamped on the face along with the Billings model.


1146 1-1/4x1-7/16 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1146 1-1/4x1-7/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 64. Billings 1146 1-1/4x1-7/16 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 64 shows one of the larger wrenches in the 11xx series, a Billings 1146 1-1/4x1-7/16 open-end wrench with the standard modern face markings, but with a B-Triangle logo forged into the shank as well.

The overall length is 14.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The Billings model 1146 was equivalent to the industry standard No. 39 wrench, and the standard number is stamped on the face along with the Billings model.


Textile Wrenches

Billings offered numerous models in a style called "Textile Wrenches", open-end wrenches with a 22 degree head offset, presumably originally intended for servicing looms and other textile machinery.

The examples below show a range of marking styles as the finishing techniques evolved over time. The earliest wrenches have a raised logo on the shank, with the shank retaining its natural forged finish and trimming marks. Later examples have smoothly ground contours on the shank and heads, with no trace of the trimming operation.

Within this later group, some wrenches have the older "Billings & Spencer Co." full marking on the face, but the latest examples have the "Billings Made in U.S.A." simplified mark.


1550 3/16x1/4 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

We'll begin with an example believed to be the smallest of the textile wrench models.

[Billings 1550 3/16x1/4 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 65. Billings 1550 3/16x1/4 Textile Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 65 shows a Billings 1550 3/16x1/4 textile wrench, stamped with the abbreviated standard face markings, and with the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank.

The overall length is 3.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.


1554 "Whitin Machine Works" 3/8x1/2 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

Our next example shows a textile wrench made as contract production for the Whitin Machine Works.

[Billings 1554 3/8x1/2 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 66. Billings 1554 3/8x1/2 Textile Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 66 shows a Billings 1554 3/8x1/2 textile wrench, marked with the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank, and with "Whitin Machine Wks" on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.

Whitin Machine Works of Whitinsville, Massachusetts was at one time the world's largest producer of textile machinery, so the term "Textile Wrench" clearly applies to this tool.


1557 7/16x1/2 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1557 7/16x1/2 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 67. Billings 1557 7/16x1/2 Textile Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 67 shows a Billings 1557 7/16x1/2 textile wrench with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 4.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.

The insets show the reverse face markings "1/4 U.S.S. 5/16 [HEX]C" and "1/4 [Hex]C", references to the older U.S.S. and Hex Capscrew size conventions. (The markings for the smaller opening have been stamped twice, making them difficult to read.)


1559 1/2x19/32 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1559 1/2x19/32 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 68. Billings 1559 1/2x19/32 Textile Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 68 shows a Billings 1559 1/2x19/32 textile wrench with the standard early markings.

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


1560 1/2x5/8 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1560 1/2x5/8 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 69. Billings 1560 1/2x5/8 Textile Wrench.

The overall length is 5.9 inches.


1561 1/2x11/16 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of the 1561 textile wrench, a model with a less common 1/2x11/16 size.

[Billings 1561 1/2x11/16 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 70. Billings 1561 1/2x11/16 Textile Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 70 shows an earlier a Billings 1561 1/2x11/16 textile wrench with the standard early markings, including the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank.

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The reverse faces are stamped "1/4 U.S.S." and "3/8 U.S.S.", references to the older U.S.S. size convention.

[Billings 1561 1/2x11/16 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 71. Billings 1561 1/2x11/16 Textile Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.
Fig. 71 shows a somewhat later example, a Billings 1561 1/2x11/16 textile wrench with the standard early face markings, but without a B-Triangle logo on the shank.

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

The reverse face markings are shown as insets, and the smaller opening illustrates the excessive marking sometimes required under the old conventions, being stamped "1/4 NUT 5/16 CAP 5/16 S.A.E." for all three systems. The larger opening is stamped "3/8 U.S.S." for the U.S.S. size convention.


1562 9/16x5/8 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1562 9/16x5/8 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 72. Billings 1562 9/16x5/8 Textile Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 72 shows a Billings 1562 9/16x5/8 textile wrench, stamped with the modern face markings.

The overall length is 5.6 inches.


1564 19/32x5/8 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1564 19/32x5/8 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 73. Billings 1564 19/32x5/8 Textile Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 73 shows a Billings 1564 19/32x5/8 textile wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 5.6 inches.

The reverse faces (not shown) are marked "5/16 NUT" and "3/8 NUT", references to the older U.S.S. size convention.


1567 11/16x7/8 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1567 11/16x7/8 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 74. Billings 1567 11/16x7/8 Textile Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1926-1927.

Fig. 74 shows a Billings 1567 11/16x7/8 textile wrench, stamped with the modern face markings. The reverse faces are stamped "1/2 NUT 5/8 CAP 9/16 S.A.E." and "3/8 NUT", references to the older U.S.S., S.A.E., and Hex Capscrew size conventions.

The overall length is 6.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

This wrench has a relatively uncommon combination of opening sizes, and in addition has an unusual combination of the modern face markings with the older size conventions, allowing a more precise estimate of the manufacturing date.


1568 3/4x13/16 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1568 3/4x13/16 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 75. Billings 1568 3/4x13/16 Textile Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 75 shows a Billings 1568 3/4x13/16 textile wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 7.2 inches.


1569 3/4x7/8 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1569 3/4x7/8 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 76. Billings 1569 3/4x7/8 Textile Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 76 shows a Billings 1569 3/4x7/8 textile wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.


1571 13/16x7/8 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1571 13/16x7/8 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 77. Billings 1571 13/16x7/8 Textile Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 77 shows a Billings 1571 13/16x7/8 textile wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 8.3 inches.


1577X 15/16x1-1/16 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1577X 15/16x1-1/16 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 78. Billings 1577X 15/16x1-1/16 Textile Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 78 shows a Billings 1577X 15/16x1-1/16 textile wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings. The insets show the reverse face markings "5/8 U.S.S. 3/4 S.A.E" and "5/8 S.A.E.", references to the older U.S.S. and S.A.E. size conventions.

The overall length is 9.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


1578 31/32x1-1/16 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1578 31/32x1-1/16 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 79. Billings 1578 31/32x1-1/16 Textile Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 79 shows a Billings 1578 31/32x1-1/16 textile wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings, including the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank. The insets show the reverse face markings "5/8 U.S.S." and "9/16 U.S.S.", references to the older U.S.S. Size Convention.

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


[1575] "B&B Special" 1x1-1/16 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1575 B&B Special 1x1-1/16 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 80. Billings [1575] "B&B Special" 1x1-1/16 Textile Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 80 shows a Billings [1575] "B&B Special" 1x1-1/16 textile wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings on the front, with "34" and "32" on the reverse faces, apparently representing the opening sizes in 32nds. The reverse side is also marked with "B&B Special" and the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank.

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

Although not marked with a model number, this wrench is the same size as the model 1575 textile wrench. The "B&B Special" marking is presumed to indicate the customer for the wrench.


1575 "Johnson-Bassett" 1x1-1/16 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1575 1x1-1/16 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 81. Billings 1575 1x1-1/16 Textile Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 81 shows another Billings 1575 1x1-1/16 textile wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings. The shank is also stamped "Johnson-Bassett, Inc.", presumed to be the customer for the wrench.

The overall length is 9.3 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.


761 1/2x5/8 Textile-Pattern Open-End Wrench

In later years Billings offered textile-pattern wrenches in a 76x model number series.

[Billings 761 1/2x5/8 Textile Wrench]
Fig. 82. Billings 761 1/2x5/8 Textile Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 82 shows a Billings 761 1/2x5/8 textile-pattern open-end wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings.

The overall length is 5.7 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.


Thin or Check-nut Wrenches

Billings produced a 13xx series of thin open-end wrenches, sometimes called check-nut wrenches for their most common application.

In later years the check-nut wrenches were offered in a 6xx model number series.


1336 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench

[Billings 1336 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 83. Billings 1336 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 83 shows a Billings 1336 5/8x11/16 tappet wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings. The reverse faces are marked "NUT 3/8" and "7/16 S.A.E.", references to the older U.S.S. and S.A.E. size conventions.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of the original black paint.

This wrench is designed as an automotive tappet wrench, with a longer shank than the older check-nut wrench series.


1354 19/32x11/16 Thin Open-End (Check-Nut) Wrench

[Billings 1354 19/32x11/16 Thin Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 84A. Billings 1354 19/32x11/16 Thin Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1926-1927.

Fig. 84A shows a Billings 1354 19/32x11/16 thin open-end (check-nut) wrench, stamped with the modern face markings. The reverse faces are stamped "3/8 U.S.S." and "NUT 5/16", references to the older U.S.S. Size Convention corresponding to the 11/16 and 19/32 openings, respectively.

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


1356 11/16x25/32 Thin Open-End (Check-Nut) Wrench

[Billings 1356 11/16x25/32 Thin Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 84B. Billings 1356 11/16x25/32 Thin Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 84B shows a Billings 1356 11/16x25/32 thin open-end (check-nut) wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings, and with the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank.

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

The insets show the reverse face markings "7/16 U.S.S." and "3/8 U.S.S.", references to the older size convention.


[Billings 1356 11/16x25/32 Thin Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 85. Billings 1356 11/16x25/32 Thin Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 85 shows a somewhat later Billings 1356 11/16x25/32 thin open-end wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings, and with a smoothly ground shank.

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

The insets show the reverse face markings "7/16 U.S.S." and "3/8 U.S.S.", references to the older size convention.


1357 "Special" Thin Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1357 Special 9/16x7/8 Thin Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 86. Billings 1357 "Special" 9/16x7/8 Thin Open-End Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 86 shows a Billings 1357 "Special" 9/16x7/8 thin open-end wrench with the modern face markings, with "Special" stamped on the shank.

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


1358 Thin Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1358 25/32x7/8 Thin Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 87. Billings 1358 25/32x7/8 Thin Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 87 shows a Billings 1358 25/32x7/8 thin open-end wrench with the standard early markings, including the raised B-Triangle logo on the shank.

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

The reverse faces are marked "7/16 U.S.S." and "1/2 U.S.S.", references to the older size convention.


623C Check-Nut Wrench

[Billings 623C Special 3/8x7/16 Check-Nut Wrench]
Fig. 88. Billings 623C "Special" 3/8x7/16 Check-Nut Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 88 at the left shows a Billings 623C "Special" 3/8x7/16 check-nut wrench with the standard modern face markings.

The overall length is 4.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The reverse faces are stamped with the fractional sizes.


629D Check-Nut Wrench

[Billings 629D 5/8x3/4 Check-Nut Wrench]
Fig. 89. Billings 629D 5/8x3/4 Check-Nut Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 89 shows a Billings 629D 5/8x3/4 check-nut wrench with the standard modern face markings, and with the fractional sizes stamped on the reverse faces.

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


631 Check-Nut Wrench

[Billings 631 25/32x7/8 Check-Nut Wrench]
Fig. 90. Billings 631 25/32x7/8 Check-Nut Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 90 shows a Billings 631 25/32x7/8 check-nut wrench with the standard modern face markings, and with the fractional sizes stamped on the reverse faces.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.


639 Check-Nut Wrench

[Billings 639 1-1/4x1-7/16 Check-Nut Wrench]
Fig. 91. Billings 639 1-1/4x1-7/16 Check-Nut Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 91 shows a much larger example of the check-nut style, a Billings 639 1-1/4x1-7/16 check-nut wrench with the standard modern face markings, and with the fractional sizes stamped on the reverse faces.

The overall length is 12.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


1303 25/32 Single-Ended Check-Nut Wrench

[Billings 1303 25/32 Single-Ended Check-Nut Wrench]
Fig. 92. Billings 1303 25/32 Single-Ended Check-Nut Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 92 shows a Billings 1303 25/32 single-ended check-nut wrench with the standard early face markings. The reverse face is stamped "7/16 U.S.S.", a reference to the U.S.S. Size Convention corresponding to the 25/32 opening.

The overall length is 6.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


603 11/16 Single-Ended Check-Nut Wrench

[Billings 603 11/16 Single-Ended Check-Nut Wrench]
Fig. 93. Billings 603 11/16 Single-Ended Check-Nut Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 93 shows a Billings 603 11/16 single-ended check-nut wrench with the standard modern face markings, and with the fractional size stamped on the reverse face.

The overall length is 5.5 inches, and the finish is black "crackle" paint.


S-Shaped Wrenches

Billings produced a 20xx series of graceful S-shaped open-end wrenches, small and thin enough to get into some tight places, but accordingly recommended only for light-duty work. The next several figures will show examples of these tools.


2000 3/8x7/16 S-Shaped Wrenches

[Billings 2000 3/8x7/16 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 94. Billings 2000 3/8x7/16 S-Shaped Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 94 shows an earlier Billings 2000 3/8x7/16 S-shaped wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings, and with the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank. The reverse faces are stamped "1/4 [HEX]C" and "3/16 [HEX]C", references to the older Hex Capscrew Size Convention.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.

[Billings 2000 3/8x7/16 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 95. Billings 2000 3/8x7/16 S-Shaped Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 95 shows a somewhat later Billings 2000 3/8x7/16 S-shaped wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.


2001 3/8x1/2 S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 2001 3/8x1/2 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 96. Billings 2001 3/8x1/2 S-Shaped Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 96 at the left shows a Billings 2001 3/8x1/2 S-shaped wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings, and with the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The insets show the reverse face markings "1/4 U.S.S." (partially obscured) and "3/16 [HEX]C", references to the older U.S.S. and Hex Capscrew size conventions.


2005 7/16x1/2 S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 2005 7/16x1/2 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 97. Billings 2005 7/16x1/2 S-Shaped Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 97 at the left shows a Billings 2005 7/16x1/2 S-shaped wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings.

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

The reverse faces are stamped "1/4 S.A.E." and "5/16 S.A.E.", references to the older size convention.


2007 1/2x9/16 S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 2007 1/2x9/16 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 98. Billings 2007 1/2x9/16 S-Shaped Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 98 shows a Billings 2007 1/2x9/16 S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 7.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


2017 5/8x11/16 S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 2017 5/8x11/16 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 99. Billings 2017 5/8x11/16 S-Shaped Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 99 shows a Billings 2017 5/8x11/16 S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings.

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


2021 11/16x3/4 S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 2021 11/16x3/4 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 100. Billings 2021 11/16x3/4 S-Shaped Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. Early to Mid 1920s.

Fig. 100 shows a Billings 2021 11/16x3/4 S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings. The reverse faces are stamped "1/2 [HEX]C 1/2 S.A.E." and "3/8 U.S.S.", references to the older U.S.S., S.A.E., and Hex Capscrew size conventions.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The nickel plated finish suggests production during the early to mid 1920s, when Billings was known to have offered this finish option.


2022 11/16x25/32 S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 2022 11/16x25/32 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 101. Billings 2022 11/16x25/32 S-Shaped Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 101 shows a Billings 2022 11/16x25/32 S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings.

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

The insets show the reverse face markings "7/16 U.S.S." and "3/8 U.S.S.", references to the older U.S.S. size convention.


2025 3/4x13/16 S-Shaped Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Billings 2025 S-shaped wrench.

[Billings 2025 3/4x13/16 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 102. Billings 2025 3/4x13/16 S-Shaped Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 102 shows an earlier Billings 2025 3/4x13/16 S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 9.4 inches, and the finish is black paint steel with polished faces.

The insets show the reverse face markings "9/16 CAP" and "1/2 CAP 1/2 S.A.E.", references to the older Hex Cap and S.A.E. size conventions.

[Billings 2025 3/4x13/16 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 103. Billings 2025 3/4x13/16 S-Shaped Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 103 shows a later Billings 2025 3/4x13/16 S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings.

The overall length is 9.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.


2026 3/4x7/8 S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 2026 3/4x7/8 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 104. Billings 2026 3/4x7/8 S-Shaped Wrench, ca. 1926-1927.

Fig. 104 shows a Billings 2026 3/4x7/8 S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings.

The overall length is 9.5 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.

The reverse faces (not shwon) are stamped "1/2 S.A.E." and "9/16 S.A.E.", references to the older size convention. The older size conventions are believed to have been phased out around 1927, providing a relatively precise date estimate for this example.


2033 7/8x15/16 S-Shaped Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Billings model 2033, one of the larger S-wrench models.

[Billings 2033 7/8x15/16 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 105. Billings 2033 7/8x15/16 S-Shaped Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 105 shows an earlier Billings 2033 7/8x15/16 S-shaped open-end wrench with the standard early markings on the face and shank.

The overall length is 10.4 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.

One of the faces on the reverse is marked "1/2 U.S.S." for the older size convention.

This is an older model wrench, and the edges of the wrench have a rough finish from the trimming operation.

[Billings 2033 7/8x15/16 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 106. Billings 2033 7/8x15/16 S-Shaped Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. 1926-1927.

Fig. 106 shows a later Billings 2033 7/8x15/16 S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the modern face markings.

The overall length is 10.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.

The reverse faces are stamped "5/8 S.A.E." and "1/2 NUT 5/8 CAP 9/16 S.A.E.", references to the older size conventions. The combination of the modern face markings with the older size conventions allows a relatively more precise estimate of the manufacturing date.


77 1/2x5/8 S-Shaped Wrench

In later years Billings updated the model numbers for the light-duty S-wrenches to use the industry-standard 7x numbers.

[Billings 77 1/2x5/8 S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 107. Billings 77 1/2x5/8 S-Shaped Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 107 shows a Billings 77 1/2x5/8 S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the modern face markings.

The overall length is 7.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


70 3/8x7/16 Short S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 70 3/8x7/16 Short S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 108. Billings 70 3/8x7/16 Short S-Shaped Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 108 shows a Billings 70 3/8x7/16 short S-shaped open-end wrench for setscrew applications, stamped with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 4.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The reverse faces are stamped "7/16 SET 1/4 [HEX]C 5/16 [SQ]C" and "3/8 SET 3/16 [HEX]C 1/4 [SQ]C", references to the older U.S.S. Setscrew, Hex Capscrew, and Square Capscrew size conventions.


1401S "Acme" 3/16x1/2 Short S-Shaped Wrench

In addition to the 20xx series of S-shaped wrenches, Billings also produced a 14xx series of short S-shaped wrenches.

[Billings Acme 1401S 3/16x1/2 Short S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 109. Billings "Acme" 1401S 3/16x1/2 Short S-Shaped Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 109 shows our first example, a Billings 1401S 3/16x1/2 short S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with a variant of the standard early face markings. The shank is stamped "Acme Automatic" on the front with "The National Acme Mfg. Co." on the reverse.

The overall length is 3.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The markings for Acme indicate that this wrench was contract production.


1402 5/16x7/16 Short S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 1402 5/16x7/16 Short S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 110. Billings 1402 5/16x7/16 Short S-Shaped Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 110 shows a Billings 1402 5/16x7/16 short S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with a variant of the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 3.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The insets show the reverse face markings "1/4 [HEX]C" and "1/8 [Hex]C 1/8 U.S.S.", references to the older Hex Capscrew and U.S.S. size conventions.


1411 1/2x9/16 Short S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 1411 1/2x9/16 Short S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 111. Billings 1411 1/2x9/16 Short S-Shaped Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 111 shows a Billings 1411 1/2x9/16 short S-shaped open-end wrench with the standard early face markings.

The overall length is 5.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.


1417 9/16x3/4 Short S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 1417 9/16x3/4 Short S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 112. Billings 1417 9/16x3/4 Short S-Shaped Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 112 shows a Billings 1417 9/16x3/4 short S-shaped open-end wrench with the standard early face markings. The reverse faces are stamped "1/2 [HEX]C" and "3/8 [HEX]C", references to the older Hex Capscrew Size Convention.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.


1433 7/8x1 Short S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 1433 7/8x1 Short S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 113. Billings 1433 7/8x1 Short S-Shaped Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 113 shows a Billings 1433 7/8x1 short S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.

This wrench is also marked with model 665E, another number series commonly used for S-shaped wrenches.


1434 7/8x1-1/16 Short S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 1434 7/8x1-1/16 Short S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 114. Billings 1434 7/8x1-1/16 Short S-Shaped Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 114 shows a Billings 1434 7/8x1-1/16 short S-shaped open-end wrench, stamped with the standard early face markings, and with the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank. The reverse faces are stamped "5/8 U.S.S." and "5/8 [HEX]C 1/2 U.S.S.", references to the older U.S.S. and Hex Capscrew Size Conventions for the 1-1/16 and 7/8 openings, respectively.

The overall length is 9.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with extensive pitting due to rust.


1440 1-1/16x1-1/4 Short S-Shaped Wrench

[Billings 1440 1-1/16x1-1/4 Short S-Shaped Wrench]
Fig. 115. Billings 1440 1-1/16x1-1/4 Short S-Shaped Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 115 shows a Billings 1440 1-1/16x1-1/4 short S-shaped open-end wrench, marked with the standard early face markings and with the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank. The reverse faces are stamped "1 [HEX]C 3/4 U.S.S." and "5/8 U.S.S.", references to the U.S.S. and Hex Capscrew Size Conventions corresponding to the 1-1/4 and 1-1/16 openings, respectively.

The overall length is 10.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with extensive pitting due to rust.


Toolpost Wrenches


1525 1/4x5/16 Toolpost Wrench

[Billings 1525 1/4x5/16 Toolpost Wrench]
Fig. 116. Billings 1525 1/4x5/16 Toolpost Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 116 shows a Billings 1525 1/4x5/16 toolpost wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings.

The overall length is 4.1 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.


1534 1/2x5/8 Toolpost Wrench

[Billings 1534 1/2x5/8 Toolpost Wrench]
Fig. 117. Billings 1534 1/2x5/8 Toolpost Wrench, ca. 1911-1926.

Fig. 117 shows a Billings 1525 1/4x5/16 toolpost wrench with the standard early face markings, and with the B-Triangle logo forged into the shank.

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


Single-Open Wrenches


703 Single-Open Wrench

[Billings 703 5/8 Single-Open Wrench]
Fig. 118. Billings 703 5/8 Single-Open Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 118 shows a Billings 703 5/8 single-open wrench, stamped with the modern face markings on one side, with the model and fractional size on the reverse face.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.


No. 3 Single-Open Engineer's Wrench

[Billings No. 3 11/16 Single-Open Engineer's Wrench]
Fig. 119. Billings No. 3 11/16 Single-Open Engineer's Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 119 shows a Billings No. 3 11/16 single-open wrench, stamped with the modern face markings on one side, with the model and fractional size on the reverse face.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the finish is black paint.


Whitworth and Metric Wrenches


1016W 3/4 Whitworth Engineer's (Single-Open) Wrench

[Billings 1016W 3/4 Whitworth Engineer's Wrench]
Fig. 120. Billings 1016W 3/4 Whitworth Engineer's Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 120 shows a Billings 1016W 3/4 Whitworth engineer's wrench with a 1.3 inch nominal opening, stamped with the standard modern face markings.

The overall length is 11.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.

The reverse face is stamped "3/4" for the Whitworth size.


1123W 3/8Wx7/16W Whitworth Open-End Wrench

[Billings 1123W 3/8Wx7/16W Whitworth Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 121. Billings 1123W 3/8Wx7/16W Whitworth Open-End Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 121 shows a Billings 1123W 3/8Wx7/16W Whitworth open-end wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is black oxide.

The reverse faces are stamped "3/8" and "7/16" for the Whitworth sizes, measured at approximately 0.71 and 0.82 inches respectively.


Tee Socket Wrenches

Billings produced a series of single-opening socket wrenches, offering them with either fixed or removable handles.


967A Tee Socket Wrench

[Billings 967A 11/16 Tee Socket Wrench]
Fig. 122. Billings 967A 11/16 Tee Socket Wrench.

Fig. 122 at the left shows a Billings 967A 11/16 tee socket wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo.

The overall length is 6.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Specialty Tools and Contract Production


C27 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench

This next two figure show examples of a Billings C-series wrench, a line of carbon-steel wrenches with unusual (for Billings) forged-in markings.

[Billings C27 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 123. Billings C27 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 123 shows a Billings C27 19/32x11/16 open-end wrench, marked with "Billings" and a "B & S" logo forged into the shank, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The carbon-steel C-series wrenches may be an earlier version of the Billings alloy C-series wrenches, an example of which can be seen as the Billings C-1027 Open-End Wrench.


C33C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench

[Billings C33C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 124. Billings C33C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 124 shows a Billings C33C 15/16x1 open-end wrench, marked with "Billings" and a "B & S" logo forged into the shank, with "Made in U.S.A." and the model number forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.0 inches. The finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.

The carbon-steel C-series wrenches may be an earlier version of the Billings alloy C-series wrenches, an example of which can be seen as the Billings C-1033C Open-End Wrench.

Currently we don't have a catalog reference for these tools, suggesting that they may have been sold through an alternate sales channel.


DS-0 Draper Loom Wrench

[Billings DS-0 3/8x9/16 Draper Loom Wrench]
Fig. 125. Billings DS-0 3/8x9/16 Draper Loom Wrench.

Fig. 125 shows a Billings DS-0 3/8x9/16 open-end wrench for Draper loom service, stamped "Made U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo.

The overall length is 4.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


DS-4 Draper Loom Wrench

[Billings DS-4 25/32x7/8 Draper Loom Wrench]
Fig. 126. Billings DS-4 25/32x7/8 Draper Loom Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 126 shows a Billings DS-4 specialty wrench for Draper loom service, combining a deeply offset 25/32 hex box opening with a 7/8 open end. The face is stamped "Billings" and "Made U.S.A." with the B-Triangle logo, and the model number is forged into the shank.

The overall length is 7.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


422 7/8x1-1/4 Open-End Slugging Wrench

[Billings 422 7/8x1-1/4 Open-End Slugging Wrench]
Fig. 127. Billings 422 7/8x1-1/4 Open-End Slugging Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 127 shows a Billings 422 7/8x1-1/4 open-end wrench with a massively thick shank, apparently intended as a slugging wrench. The shank is marked with a forged-in B-Triangle logo visible at the right, as well as the stamped markings "422" and "J102", the latter of which may be the customer's model number.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The inset shows a side view of the wrench to illustrate the massive construction.


33 "Mack" 7/8x31/31 Open-End Wrench

[Billings Mack 33 7/8x31/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 128. Billings "Mack" 33 7/8x31/32 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 128 shows a Billings 33 7/8x31/32 open-end wrench, stamped with the B-Triangle logo on the face, and with the Mack script logo on the shank. The shank is also marked "Drop Forged" in forged raised letters, an marking not usually seen on a Billings wrench.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is black paint.


5B782 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench

Recently several references have indicated that certain wrenches with 5Bxxx model numbers were probably made for Caterpillar equipment tool kits. Currently we don't have any Caterpillar maintenance manuals to confirm this, but if any readers have further information, please let us know.

[Billings 5B782 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 129A. Billings 5B782 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 129A shows a Billings 5B782 91/16x5/8 open-end wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings on one end, with the model number on the other end. The reverse shank also has a forged-in code "ARX" visible at the right.

The overall length is 6.5 inches, and the finish is black paint.

The wrench is believed to be contract production for Caterpillar.


5B783 11/16x3/4 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 5B783 11/16x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 129B. Billings 5B783 11/16x3/4 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 129B shows a Billings 5B783 11/16x3/4 open-end wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings on one end, with the model number on the other end. The reverse shank also has a forged-in code "3M" visible at the left.

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

The wrench is believed to be contract production for Caterpillar.


5B784 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 5B784 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 130. Billings 5B784 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 130 shows a Billings 5B784 13/16x7/8 open-end wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings on one end, with the model number on the other end.

The overall length is 9.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of the original black paint.

The wrench is believed to be contract production for Caterpillar.


5B785 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench

[Billings 5B785 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 131. Billings 5B785 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1926+.

Fig. 131 shows a Billings 5B785 15/16x1 open-end wrench, stamped with the standard modern face markings on one end, with the model number on the other end.

The overall length is 10.4 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.

The wrench is believed to be contract production for Caterpillar.


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