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Bonney Forge & Tool Works


Table of Contents

Introduction

Company History

The Bonney Vise & Tool Works was founded in 1877 by Charles S. Bonney, a noted inventor. Their first location was in Philadelphia, and the company's early products included vises (as expected), pipe wrenches, monkey wrenches, and other tools.

The company remained in Philadelphia until 1906 or so, then moved to Allentown Pennsylvania, where it remained for many years. In 1921 the company changed its name to Bonney Forge & Tool Works, to better reflect its growing tool business.

In the early 1920s Bonney was a pioneer in the use of alloy steels for hand tools. To quote from a later catalog,

In July, 1923, Bonney startled the tool world by announcing a new kind of wrench "guaranteed to strip the thread or break the bolt without damage to the wrench." It was the Bonney 'CV' Engineers' Wrench ... the original alloy steel wrench.

Although the claim of first use of alloy steels could be debated -- Cornwell, Herbrand and Plomb may have a claim here -- Bonney was clearly very influential in this area. The Bonney CV wrench line was hugely successful, and by the end of the 1920s most major tool companies were using alloy steels for their products.

By the 1930s Bonney was offering a very full line of mechanics tools in their catalogs, including sockets and drive tools, wrenches, pliers, and many specialty tools. Their selection rivaled that of other leading companies such as Herbrand, Snap-On, and Plomb Tool. Bonney developed a super-tough alloy steel named "Zenel" to use for their top-of-the-line tools, and in 1939 coined the name "Bonaloy" for their chrome-vanadium alloy tools. (Both Zenel and Bonaloy were used as brand names and claimed as registered trademarks, but neither shows up in the USPTO trademark database.)

At some point in the early to mid 1950s, Bonney was acquired by Miller Manufacturing of Detroit, a maker of specialty tools and equipment for the automotive industry. With Miller's backing, Bonney built a new factory in Alliance Ohio and was in operation there by 1957; the new factory was used for production of both Bonney and Miller branded tools. Bonney also modernized their old factory in Allentown, and the older site continued to be used for some forging products.

In 1964 Bonney was purchased by Utica Tools, the tool division of the Kelsey-Hayes Corporation. Kelsey-Hayes had previously acquired Utica in 1956 and Herbrand in 1961, so with the acquisition of Bonney, all three major tool companies were under one roof. The three companies shared a huge factory in Orangeburg, South Carolina, which claimed at the time to be one of the world's largest tool-making facilities.

In 1967 the Utica, Herbrand, and Bonney combined holdings were acquired by the Triangle Corporation, and operated for a number of years as the Utica Tools division of that company. Triangle Tool was later acquired by the Cooper Tools conglomerate, and the Bonney operations were discontinued sometime in the early 1990s.


Patents

Table 1A. Bonney Forge & Tool Works: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedDescriptionExamples
105,896 C.S. Bonney08/02/187008/02/1870Improved Hollow Auger  
357,306 C.S. Bonney04/26/188602/08/1887Pipe Vise  
721,660 C.S. Bonney06/23/190203/03/1903Pipe Wrench and Cutter  
726,794 C.S. Bonney08/12/190204/28/1903Pliers with Cutter Bonney Early Universal Pliers
728,842 C.S. Bonney10/11/190205/26/1903Adjustable Alligator Wrench  
767,199 J.G. Baker11/30/190208/09/1904Adjustable Pipe Wrench and Cutter  
1,141,602 J.G. Baker08/05/191306/01/1915Adjustable Wrench Lost Motion Take-Up  
D54,516 J.E. Durham02/25/191902/24/1920Battery Terminal Pliers Bonney Battery Terminal Pliers
1,356,830 G.C. Rohrbach08/28/191910/26/1920Safety Locking Device for Hooks  
2,264,391 J.M. MacLeod08/24/193912/02/1941Brake Spring Pliers Bonney 2680 Brake Spring Pliers
2,957,377 T.G. Hare09/13/195710/25/1960Ratchet Wrench Bon-E-Con ZA707 Ratchet

Trademarks

The table below shows the trademarks registered by Bonney that have been found to date. Some of Bonney's claimed trademarks have not yet been found, including a claimed trademark for the "Zenel" alloy steel brand.

Table 1B. Bonney Forge & Tool Works: Trademarks Issued
Text Mark First Use Date Filed Date Issued Registration Notes
Bonney 1876 11/27/1907 03/17/1908 68,202 Products: Wrenches and Vises. Bonney name on a curved arc.
Renewed December 1, 1953.
[Shield Logo] 07/01/1913 11/07/1913 03/10/1914 95,737 Products: Cement-working Tools.
[Shield with "Lehigh"] 12/15/1915 01/16/1917 08/19/1919 126,250 Products: Cutlery, Machiney, and Tools.
'CV' 11/04/1922 12/30/1923 08/14/1923 171,873 Products: Wrenches. Renewed August 14, 1943.
[Bonney Chrome-Vanadium Decal] 11/15/1922 12/28/1923 05/26/1925 198,784 Products: Wrenches. Design used on wrench decals.
Renewed May 26, 1945.
Chrome-Vanadium 11/15/1922 06/02/1925 08/11/1925 202,077 Products: Wrenches of various kinds.
[Bonney CV Wrenches Triangle Logo] 11/01/1924 03/03/1928 09/18/1928 246,827 Products: Wrenches and Socket Wrench Sets.
Renewed September 18, 1948.
Bonney Tools [Oval Logo] 1935 11/02/1944 06/12/1945 414,465 Products: Wrenches, Hammers, and Screwdrivers.
Bonaloy 03/06/1939 03/30/1939 08/29/1939 370,527 Products: Wrenches. Republished December 15, 1953.
Bon-E-Con Tools 01/12/1953 09/10/1953 11/02/1954 597,597 Products: Sockets and Wrenches

Manufacturing Dates for Tools

Forged-In Codes: The Bonney Date-Code System

Many Bonney tools have a small forged-in (i.e. raised letter) code consisting of two alphabetic characters, often with one or more raised dots nearby. We have been noting these codes in the descriptions of those tools bearing such marks for some time now, but since the Bonney catalogs do not document the use of the codes, the meaning has been unclear.

Recently though one of our readers has suggested that the two-letter codes are actually a coded date, with the first letter representing the month and the second letter indicating the year. The reader cites examples of this type of coded date being used on forgings for bicycle parts, and even offers a web page of proposed dates for Bonney tools, using examples drawn from the Alloy Artifacts pages, personal tools, and Ebay listings. (The web page with the proposed dates can be viewed at www.vintage-trek.com/bonney_tool_date_codes.htm.)

The reader's suggestion seems reasonable enough, and we are now in the process of reviewing our numerous examples of tools (mostly wrenches) with forged-in codes. The preliminary results indicate that the forged-in codes do appear to represent a date coding system, although in a slightly different form than the original suggestion. The main difference is that Bonney appears to have used only the 14 letters M-Z to indicate the year, rather than all 26 letters, with the 12 letters A-L reserved for use only as the month codes. With the use of this restricted set of letters for the year code, the system would cycle through the codes every 14 years.

Some of the strongest evidence in favor of the date code intepretation comes from a series of early wrenches marked with the Chrome-Vanadium or CV-Circle logo plus a forged-in B-Shield logo. Based on this combination of markings, these wrenches would be expected to have been manufactured in 1923 or the following few years, and in the available examples the year codes are clustered together as "O", "P", and "Q". Thus if the baseline of the system is selected as 1921 for the first "M" code, the {O,P,Q} codes would correspond to 1923-1925, fitting nicely with our prior expectations.

With the baseline year and preliminary confirmation provided by the early CV and B-Shield wrenches, we then looked for additional examples to help support (or refute) the proposed date code system. This required finding tools for which a credible independent estimate of the manufacturing date could be made, using information such as markings, finish, catalog descriptions, and so on. The list below summarizes the examples identified thus far.

  • Plain or Cadmium Finishes

    Additional evidence was provided by a series of "Bonaloy" box and combination wrenches with plain steel or cadmium finishes instead of chrome plating, a production change forced by wartime restrictions. With the same 1921 baseline year assumption, the {T,U,V} codes found on some of these examples correspond to the years 1942-1944 in the second cycle of the codes. Some additional examples with plain finishes have year codes "S" or "W", corresponding to 1941 or 1945 respectively, years for which at least part of the production fell under wartime restrictions.

  • Plain or Cadmium Finish with Lower-Grade Steel

    Some examples of forged drive tools have been found without the usual marking for CV or Bonaloy steel, and with plain steel or cadmium finishes instead of chrome plating. The missing alloy specification is believed to indicate the use of a lower-grade steel, another example of the production changes common during the 1942-1945 wartime years. With the standard 1921 baseline year assumption, the {U,V} year codes found on these examples correspond to the years 1943 and 1944 in the second cycle of the codes.

  • Post-War Bonaloy Open-End Wrenches

    Several examples of Bonaloy open-end wrenches with chrome finishes and "Made in U.S.A." markings were examined, a combination of features that indicates production from late 1945 until about 1947. The example wrenches had year codes "W" or "X", corresponding to 1945 and 1946 with the assumed baseline year.

  • Obstruction Wrenches with "Patent Applied For" Notice

    Our earliest catalog reference for the right-angle obstruction wrenches is from around 1927, and the catalog description includes a "Patent Applied For" notice. No patent has been found, and later catalog listings don't mention a patent, suggesting that the patent applied notice was used only on early production. Several examples of Bonney obstruction wrenches with a "Pat. App. For" marking were examined, and the {R,S,T} codes on these wrenches correspond to the years 1926-1928 with the 1921 baseline assumption. The example wrenches were also marked with sizes in the S.A.E. or U.S.S. conventions, another indicator of early production.

  • Zenel Combination Wrenches

    Based on catalog information, Zenel combination wrenches were made only from 1933 through 1938. Only a few examples of Zenel combination wrenches were available, but all of these wrenches have a "Y" year code, which corresponds to 1933 with the 1921 baseline assumption.

  • Earliest "Streamlined" Wrench

    According to catalog information, the production of Bonney's "Streamlined" wrenches began around 1950. (See the section on Modern Wrenches for more information on the "Streamlined" style.) The earliest date code observed on the available examples has an "M" year code, corresponding to 1949 with the 1921 baseline assumption.

  • Latest Use of Bonaloy

    Based on a catalog review, by 1957 Bonney was no longer using "Bonaloy" in its catalog descriptions. The latest date code observed on a Bonaloy-marked tool has a "T" year code for 1956.


Table of Bonney Date Codes

The table below illustrates how the date code system would play out with 1921 as the baseline year. The example tools in the table were selected based on having an independent estimate of the manufacturing date.

Table 2. Bonney Year Codes for 1921 Baseline Year.
Cycle Year Code Year Examples
First M 1921  
  N 1922  
  O 1923 Bonney CV 1027-C Open-End Wrench, Bonney CV 1731-A Open-End Wrench,
Bonney SE-125 Nash Wrench
  P 1924 Bonney CV 1507A Wrench, Bonney CV 403 Tappet Wrench,
Bonney CV 1027 Wrench
  Q 1925 Bonney CV 1033-C Open-End Wrench, Bonney CV 1035 Open-End Wrench,
Bonney CV 402 Tappet Wrench
  R 1926 Bonney CV 2027C Obstruction Wrench, Bonney CV 2731-A Obstruction Wrench
  S 1927 Bonney CV 2727 Obstruction Wrench, Bonney CV 2031 Obstruction Wrench
  T 1928 Bonney CV 2542 Obstruction Wrench
  U 1929  
  V 1930  
  W 1931  
  X 1932  
  Y 1933 Zenel 3114 Combination Wrench, Zenel 3118 Combination Wrench,
Zenel 3120 Combination Wrench
  Z 1934 Bonney Zenel 2894 Box Wrench
Second M 1935  
  N 1936  
  O 1937  
  P 1938  
  Q 1939  
  R 1940  
  S 1941 Bonaloy 2885 Short Box Wrench
  T 1942 Bonaloy 2894C Box Wrench, Bonaloy 1164 Combination Wrench
  U 1943 Bonaloy 2805B Box Wrench, Bonaloy 2807A Box Wrench,
Bonney 4093 1/2-Drive Ratchet
  V 1944 Bonaloy 2893B Box Wrench, Bonaloy 1160 Combination Wrench,
Bonaloy 1170 Combination Wrench, Bonaloy 1174 Combination Wrench,
Bonney T35 3/8-Drive Ratchet
  W 1945 Bonaloy 2891C Box Wrench, Bonaloy 1731-A Open-End Wrench,
Bonaloy 1035 Open-End Wrench, Bonaloy 424 Tappet Wrench
  X 1946 Bonaloy 1723 Open-End Wrench, Bonaloy 1725B Open-End Wrench,
Bonaloy 1027C Open-End Wrench, Bonaloy 1028S Open-End Wrench
  Y 1947  
  Z 1948  
Third M 1949 Bonney 1116H Combination Wrench
  N 1950  
  O 1951  
  P 1952  
  Q 1953  
  R 1954  
  S 1955  
  T 1956 Bonney 2803 Box Wrench
  U 1957  
  V 1958  
  W 1959  

Details and Disclaimers

The above discussion of the date code system has omitted a few details, so we'll attempt to cover them here.

The forged-in codes frequently include one or more raised dots and sometimes a "v", and although the meaning is not yet known, these might represent the age or cumulative usage of the forging die. If Bonney used a master die to make working dies, the dots might represent generations of the working dies.

Another possibility is that the dots might be counters for the number of impressions struck from the die, e.g. a dot for every 10,000 impressions. Or similarly, the dots could indicate a successful (passed) periodic inspection, if Bonney's quality control protocol called for inspections of the forging dies at regular intervals of time or usage.

If the various dots and "v" markings do indicate usage of the die, this would imply that tools having forged-in codes with extra markings would be somewhat older than examples with just the plain code. Currently we don't know whether this "extra age" factor is insignificant (e.g. months) or might extend into years. Usage of a forging die could depend on many factors, including whether the particular wrench model was popular or not. It might be possible to actually estimate the age value of each dot or mark, if enough examples of a particular wrench model could be examined, but this is probably unlikely for the tools being considered here.

Another point to mention (though implicit in the discussion) is that the described date codes apply to the forging dies themselves, not to the tools struck from the dies. If a die was used infrequently, the actual manufacturing date of some tools could be substantially later than the die code would imply. A true date code for tools would used a stamped date applied individually to each tool, and could be changed even daily if needed.

What about the month code, the first letter of the forged-in code? Currently we don't have sufficiently precise date estimates to test whether the first letter actually indicates the month when the die was made, although it seems to be a reasonable assumption. We'll add more on this later if new information becomes available.


Applications for the Date Code System

Now that the date code system has been reasonably well validated, we can use the system to derive some useful secondary results, beyond the obvious usage for estimating the production date of individual tools. We have several applications in mind, all of them related to estimating the date of certain marking changes. The specific changes of interest are:

  1. Discontinuation of the B-Shield Forge Mark on Wrench Shanks.
  2. Discontinuation of U.S.S. and S.A.E. Sizes for Wrench Openings.
  3. Discontinuation of Bonney Name with Embedded Shield.
  4. Change from "Made in U.S.A." to "U.S.A." Marking.

For all of these cases we know the approximate date of the change, but there are good reasons for attempting to get a more precise date. For some tools the date code may be missing or unreadable, and these secondary marking features may provide the only means of estimating the production date. In addition, some of the marking changes may apply to other classes of tools (e.g. sockets) that don't have date codes at all.


Estimated Date for Change from "Made in U.S.A." to "U.S.A." Marking

We'll begin by looking at the date of the change from the "Made in U.S.A." marking to the simpler "U.S.A." form, both of which were used as stamped markings on wrench faces and shanks. This change had previously been estimated as occurring in the late 1940s, but we should be able to be more precise using the date codes.

Table 3. Selected Examples for Transition to "U.S.A." Marking.
Marking Date Code Mfg. Date Examples
"Made in U.S.A." BX. 2/46 Bonaloy 1165 Combination Wrench
  DX.. 4/46 Bonaloy 1723 Open-End Wrench
  DX.. 4/46 Zenel 3729 Open-End Wrench
  FX.. 6/46 Bonaloy 1167 Combination Wrench
  HX. 8/46 Bonaloy 1163 Combination Wrench
  JX.. 10/46 Bonaloy 1027C Open-End Wrench
  AY. 1/47 Bonaloy 2887 Box Wrench
  AY. 1/47 Bonaloy 1170 Combination Wrench
"U.S.A." BY... 2/47 Bonaloy 1232 Waterpump Wrench
  CY. 3/47 Zenel 3723A Open-End Wrench
  CY. 3/47 Zenel 3729 Open-End Wrench
  IY. 9/47 Bonaloy 1163 Combination Wrench
  JY. 10/47 Bonaloy 1721 Open-End Wrench
  LY. 12/47 Bonaloy 1031 Open-End Wrench

Our approach will be to list examples of the older marking ("Made in U.S.A.") with the latest date codes, then list examples of the new marking ("U.S.A.") with the earliest date codes, but still later than the last older marking. The reason for this last constraint is that we might expect to see some examples with the new marking but an older date code, if the code includes dots to suggest later production. Once the examples are listed in chronological order, the dividing line should be a reasonable estimate of the date for the marking change.

The preliminary results in the table at the left indicate that the marking change probably occurred between January and February of 1947. This is right around the time previously estimated for the change, but using the date codes has allowed a much more precise estimate.

While selecting the examples for the table, we found a few wrenches with newer ("U.S.A.") face markings but an older date code, suggesting that the actual production was somewhat later than the date code would indicate. In all of these cases the older date codes included extra dots, and we can look at these as an opportunity to make a (crude) estimate of the "age value" of the dots.

The following exceptions were noted:

  • Bonaloy 1731-A Open-End Wrench. This wrench has an "LX." date code, nominally corresponding to December 1946. If we take the transition date for the marking change as February 1947, this would suggest a value of two months for the dot in the date code.
  • Bonaloy 1031 Open-End Wrench. This example has an "LX..." date code, again nominally corresponding to December 1946, but with three dots. For this case, the transition date in February 1947 would suggest a value of less than one month for each dot in the date code.
  • Bonney E28 Ignition Wrench. This is another example with an "LX..." date code for December 1946 but with three dots. The transition date in February 1947 would suggest a value of less than one month for each dot in the date code.
  • Bonaloy 2729 Obstruction Wrench. This example has an "AX..." date code, nominally corresponding to January of 1946 but with three dots. This is about 13 months before the February 1947 transition date, suggesting a value of about four months for each dot in the date code.

Estimated Date for Discontinuation of B-Shield Forge Mark

Our next application will be to examine the B-Shield forge mark, an older marking that continued briefly into the CV era. As with the previous case, the approach will be to list the relevent examples in (presumed) chronological order, and then observe the dividing line.


Estimated Date for Discontinuation of U.S.S. and S.A.E. Size Markings

Table 5. Selected Examples for Transition from U.S.S./S.A.E. to Fractional Sizes.
Marking Date Code Mfg. Date Examples
U.S.S./S.A.E. AQ 1/25 Bonney CV 1035 Open-End Wrench
  ER.. 5/26 Bonney CV 1027C Open-End Wrench
  LR 12/26 Bonney CV 2731-A Obstruction Wrench
  AS. 1/27 Bonney CV 2727 Obstruction Wrench
  BS 2/27 Bonney CV 2031 Obstruction Wrench
  DS 4/27 Bonney CV 1723 Open-End Wrench
Fractional IS 9/27 Bonney CV 1723-A Open-End Wrench
  LS 12/27 Bonney CV 1723 Open-End Wrench
  BT... 2/28 Bonney CV 1731-A Open-End Wrench
  FT 6/28 Bonney CV 2725B Obstruction Wrench
  JT. 10/28 Bonney CV 1729 Open-End Wrench

Estimated Date for Change from Embedded Shield to Plain Bonney Name

The final application will be to estimate the date of the change from the embedded shield face marking to the plain Bonney name.

Table 6. Selected Examples for Transition from Embedded Shield to Plain Bonney.
Marking Date Code Mfg. Date Examples
Embedded Shield AU 1/29 Bonney 1028-S Open-End Wrench
  CV 3/30 Bonney CV 1033-C Open-End Wrench
  EV.... 5/30 Bonney CV 426 Tappet Wrench
Plain Bonney CV.... 03/30 Bonney CV 1033-C Open-End Wrench
  JY 10/33 Bonney Zenel 3420 Tappet Wrench
  CM..v.. 3/35 Bonney Zenel 3028S Open-End Wrench
  IM 9/35 Bonney Zenel 3725B Open-End Wrench
  IN...v 9/36 Bonney CV 1037 Open-End Wrench
  BO... 2/37 Bonney CV 1727 Open-End Wrench
  JO..v 10/37 Bonney CV 1725B Open-End Wrench

The initial results for this exercise are less helpful than in the previous cases, as we don't have enough early examples to narrow the gap between the two marking styles. In addition, the earliest "Plain Bonney" example is somewhat confusing, as it bears an early year code but is followed by four dots.

At this point we can be reasonably certain that the change from embedded shield to plain Bonney had occurred by 1933, but it may have occurred somewhat earlier, possibly by 1931. Hopefully some additional examples will be found to fill in the missing years.


Other Dates and Events

Not all Bonney tools are marked with a forged-in code, either because the tool was made before the code system was adopted, or because of the nature of the tool (e.g. a machined socket). In these cases the manuacturing date must be estimated based on other factors, such as the design and construction, markings, patents, registered trademarks, or catalog illustrations.

The following list of observations and events may be helpful in estimating the manufacturing date for some tools.

  • Allentown, Pennsylvania. Second location for Bonney, moved in 1906.
  • B-Shield Forge Mark. B-Shield logo with a "B" enclosed by a shield. First use unknown, used until approximately mid 1920s. The date code system indicates that this marking was discontinued in mid to late 1925.
  • Bonney Forge & Tool Works. Company name changed from Bonney Vise & Tool on February 8, 1921 (date given in 1925 catalog).
  • Bonney Name with Embedded Shield. Logo with an embedded shield in the Bonney name between the two "N" letters. Probably first used with the change to the Bonney Forge & Tool name, marked on wrench faces until approximately mid 1930s. The date code system indicates that this marking had been replaced by the plain Bonney name by early 1933.
  • Alloy Steel Tools. Tool world startled in 1923 by Bonney's claims for alloy steel tools.
  • CV Chrome-Vanadium. CV-Circle logo with Chrome-Vanadium, used in advertisements as early as 1923 with a claimed trademark registration in 1925. Phased out in favor of Bonaloy beginning in 1939.
  • Wrench Sizes with U.S.S. or S.A.E. Size Conventions. Opening sizes on earlier wrenches were generally marked using a mix of U.S.S., S.A.E., or Hex Capscrew size conventions. With the adoption of the American Standard system in the late 1920s, Bonney (and most other makers) switched to marking wrench openings with the fractional sizes. The date code system indicates that Bonney had switched to fractional sizes by early 1927.
  • Zenel. Brand name used for highest-grade alloy steel, in use from 1933 until the mid 1950s.
  • Bonney Tools. Trademark with words enclosed in an oval, registered in 1935.
  • Bonaloy. Brand name for alloy steel tools, in use from 1939 until the mid 1950s.
  • Cadmium or Plain Finishes. Bonney alloy steel tools were generally finished with chrome plating from the late 1920s onward. Wartime material shortages forced the use of cadmium or plain steel finishes during the years 1942-1945, and these finishes serve as a valuable date marker.
  • U.S.A. Stamped Markings. Stamped markings on wrench faces and shanks changed to "U.S.A" (from "Made in U.S.A.") in the late 1940s, based on post-war examples of Bonaloy wrenches that show both markings with some frequency. The date code system indicates the change had occurred by February 1947.
  • Streamlined Wrench Design. Bonney redesigned their open-end and combination wrenches around 1950 and referred to the new style as the "Streamlined" design. The design used a rectangular shank with depressed darts and a raised oval, in place of the older flatish or oval tapered shank. Wrenches in this design were marked with "U.S.A." stamped or forged into the shank, with no mention of Bonaloy or other alloy brands.
  • Bon-E-Con. Trademarked name for economy tool line, claimed as a trademark as early as 1950, but registration filed in 1953.
  • Alliance, OH. Third location for Bonney, moved around 1957.
  • Outlined Design on Wrenches. By 1963 the streamlined design for wrenches had been replaced by outlines of the design elements, with two dart shapes flanking a center oval.

Early Tools

Carbon steel was the dominant material for tool making before the introduction of alloy steels in the 1920s. Bonney continued to produce carbon steel wrenches well after their alloy counterparts had become popular, as for some applications carbon steel was still preferred.

Early Bonney tools were typically marked with the Bonney name in a curved oval outline.


Early Universal Pliers with Wire-Cutting Slots

[Bonney Early Universal Pliers]
Fig. 1. Bonney Early Universal Pliers, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1903-1910.

Fig. 1 shows an early pair of universal pliers with wire-cutting slots, marked with "C.S. Bonney" forged into the handles, and with a "Pat'd Apr. 28 '03" patent date on the lower jaw.

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

The patent date refers to patent #726,794, filed by Charles S. Bonney in 1902 and issued the following year.


Early Vixen "Alligator" Wrench

[Bonney Vixen Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 2. Bonney Vixen "Alligator" Wrench, ca. 1906-1920.

Early 501 1/2x9/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 501 1/2x9/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 3. Bonney 501 1/2x9/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench, ca. Before 1920.

Early 130 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench with Stamped Construction

[Bonney 130 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 4. Bonney 130 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. Before 1920.

Fig. 4 shows a Bonney 130 1/2x9/16 wrench of stamped construction, marked with the Bonney name and embedded shield.

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


6 Inch Curved-Handle Adjustable Wrench

[Bonney 6 Inch Curved-Handle Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 5. Bonney 6 Inch Curved-Handle Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1915-1920.

Fig. 5 shows an early Bonney 6 inch adjustable wrench with a curved or S-shaped handle, marked with "Bonney" forged into the handle, with "6 In" on the reverse.

The overall length is 5.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Bonney's adjustable wrenches of this style were generally marked with a June 1, 1915 patent date, although the marking (if present) is no longer legible on this example. The date refers to patent 1,141,602, filed by J.G. Baker in 1913.


10 Inch Curved-Handle Adjustable Pipe Wrench

[Bonney 10 Inch Curved-Handle Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 6. Bonney 10 Inch Curved-Handle Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1915-1920.

Fig. 6 shows an early Bonney 10 inch adjustable pipe wrench with a curved or S-shaped handle, marked with the B-Shield logo forged into the head, with "10 Inch" forged into the handle. The reverse is marked with "Bonney" forged into the handle, with "Patented June 1, 1915" stamped below the jaws.

The overall length is 9.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date refers to patent #1,141,602, filed by J.G. Baker in 1913.


Early 6 Inch Stillson-Pattern Pipe Wrench

[Bonney 6 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 7. Bonney 6 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. Pre-1920.

Fig. 7 shows an early Bonney 6 inch Stillson-pattern pipe wrench with a turned wooden handle, stamped "Stillson Pattern Wrench" with "Bonney Vise & Tool Wks. Inc." and "Allentown, PA. U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 5.8 inches closed and 6.8 inches fully extended. The finish is plain steel.


Early "Automobile" 8 Inch Stillson-Pattern Pipe Wrench

[Bonney Automobile 8 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 8. Bonney "Automobile" 8 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. Pre-1920.

Fig. 8 shows an early Bonney 8 inch "Automobile" pipe wrench, stamped "Stillson Pattern Wrench" with "Bonney Vise & Tool Wks. Inc." and "Allentown, PA. U.S.A." on the shank, and with "Automobile" forged into the handle panel.

The overall length is 6.9 inches closed and 8.1 inches fully extended. The finish is plain steel.


8 Inch Stillson-Pattern Pipe Wrench

[Bonney 8 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 9. Bonney 8 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, 1926.

Fig. 9 shows a somewhat later Bonney 8 inch Stillson-pattern pipe wrench, marked with "Bonney" and the B-Shield logo forged into the shank, with "Allentown, PA." and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse. The jaw is also marked with the B-Shield logo (not shown) and has a forged-in code "GR" visible in the depressed panel, shown as a close-up in the middle inset.

The overall length is 7.0 inches closed and 8.0 inches fully extended. The finish is plain steel.

The "R" year code indicates production in 1926.


Early 10 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench

[Bonney 10 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 10. Bonney 10 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1921.

Fig. 10 shows a Bonney 10 inch Stillson pipe wrench, with forged markings "Bonney Stillson" and the B-Shield logo on the front shank, and with "Allentown, PA" and "Made in USA" forged into the reverse. The reverse also has a forged-in code "CM" below the fixed jaw, shown as a close-up in the lower left inset.

The overall length is 9.2 inches closed and 10.3 inches fully extended. The finish is plain steel.

The "M" year code indicates production in 1921, in the first year of Bonney's date code system.


Early Battery Terminal and Grease Cup Pliers

[Bonney Battery Terminal and Grease Cup Pliers]
Fig. 11. Bonney Battery Terminal and Grease Cup Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, 1921.

Fig. 11 shows a pair of Bonney battery terminal specialty pliers, stamped "Battery Terminal and Grease Cup Pliers" with the Bonney B-Shield logo, and with a "Pat. Feb. 24, 1920" patent notice. Both handles are also marked with a forged-in code "EM" below the pivot (see lower inset).

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

The patent date refers to design patent D54,516, filed by J.E. Durham, Jr. in 1919.

The "M" year code indicates production in 1921, in the first year of Bonney's date code system.


Open-End Wrenches


Early 21 5/16x13/32 Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 21 5/16x13/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 12. Bonney 21 5/16x13/32 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1915-1920.

Fig. 12 shows an early Bonney 21 5/16x13/32 open-end wrench, marked with the B-Shield logo forged into the shank, and with the Bonney name and embedded shield stamped on the face.

The overall length is 3.2 inches. The finish is plain steel with extensive pitting due to rust, making the markings a bit difficult to read.

The reverse faces are stamped "1/8" and "3/16" as implicit references to the U.S.S. size convention, corresponding to the 5/16 and 13/32 across-flats openings.

This wrench is not marked with a forged-in code, suggesting a production date before 1921.


Early 550AS 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 550AS 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 13. Bonney 550AS 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1915-1920.

Fig. 13 shows an early Bonney 550AS 3/8x7/16 open-end wrench, marked with the B-Shield logo forged into the shank, and with the Bonney name and embedded shield stamped on the face. The reverse faces are stamped with the fractional sizes.

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


Early 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 725 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 14. Bonney 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1915-1920.

Fig. 14 shows an early Bonney 29 11/16x25/32 open-end wrench, marked with the B-Shield logo forged into the shank, and with the Bonney name and embedded shield stamped on the face.

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

The reverse faces are stamped "3/8" and "7/16" as implicit references to the U.S.S. size convention, corresponding to the 11/16 and 25/32 across-flats openings.

This wrench is not marked with a forged-in code, suggesting a production date before 1921.


Early 5/8x11/16 "Reverse Gear" Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 5/8x11/16 Reverse Gear Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 15. Bonney 5/8x11/16 "Reverse Gear" Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1915-1920.

Fig. 15 shows an early Bonney 5/8x11/16 "Reverse Gear" open-end wrench, marked with "Reverse Gear Wrench" and the B-Shield logo forged into the shank.

The overall length is 8.9 inches. The finish is plain steel with extensive pitting due to rust.

This wrench was designed for adjusting the reverse and brake bands on the Model T Ford, and the shank is offset at the 11/16 end to provide better access.


725 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 725 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 16. Bonney 725 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench, 1923.

Fig. 16 shows a Bonney 725 7/16x1/2 open-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." in raised letters with the B-Shield logo, and with the Bonney name and embedded shield stamped on the face. The reverse shank has a forged-in code "FO" (not shown).

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

The reverse faces are stamped "1/4 [HEX]C" and "1/4 U.S.S. 5/16 [HEX]C", references to the older size conventions.

The "O" year code and B-Shield forge mark indicate production in 1923.


727 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Bonney 727 wrench.

[Bonney Early 727 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 17. Bonney Early 727 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench, 1923.

Fig. 17 at the left shows an early Bonney 727 9/16x5/8 open-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." in raised letters with the B-Shield logo, and with the Bonney name and embedded shield stamped on the face. The reverse shank has a forged-in code "EO" (not shown), and the reverse faces are stamped "3/8 S.A.E." and "7/16 S.A.E.", references to the older size convention.

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

The "O" year code and B-Shield forge mark indicate production in 1923.


[Bonney 727 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 18. Bonney 727 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench, 1925.

Fig. 18 shows a somewhat later Bonney 727 9/16x5/8 open-end wrench, with the face stamped "Made in U.S.A." and with the shield logo in the Bonney name. The reverse shank has a forged-in code "HQ" (not shown).

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished end faces.

The reverse faces are stamped "3/8 S.A.E. 3/8 [HEX]C" and "7/16 S.A.E. 7/16 [HEX]C", references to the older size conventions.

The "Q" year code and embedded shield marking indicate production in 1925.


33F 7/8x15/16 Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 33F 7/8x15/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 19. Bonney 33F 7/8x15/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 19 shows a Bonney 33F 7/8x15/16 open-end wrench, marked with the model number and B-Shield logo forged into the shank, with the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished faces.


33 7/8x31/32 Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 33 7/8x31/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 20. Bonney 33 7/8x31/32 Open-End Wrench, 1922.

Fig. 20 shows a Bonney 7/8x31/32 open-end wrench with the industry-standard number 33. The wrench is marked "Made in U.S.A." in raised letters with the B-Shield logo, and the Bonney name (with embedded shield) is stamped on the face. The reverse shank has a forged-in code "LN" (not shown), and the reverse faces are stamped "1/2 USS 5/8 CAP" and "9/16 USS", references to the older size conventions.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel with a few traces of black paint remaining.

The "N" year code and B-Shield forge mark indicate production in 1922. This wrench is one of our earliest examples marked with a Bonney date code.


37 1-1/14x1-1/4 Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 37 1-1/16x1-1/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 21. Bonney 37 1-1/16x1-1/4 Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail, 1922.

Fig. 21 shows a larger example with the raised logo, a Bonney No. 37 1-1/16x1-1/4 open-end wrench, stamped on the face with the Bonney name and embedded shield. The shank has forged-in markings "Made in U.S.A." with the B-Shield logo, with a forged-in code "HN" on the reverse (see lower inset).

The overall length is 11.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The upper insets show the reverse face markings "5/8 U.S.S." and "3/4 U.S.S. 1 [HEX]C", references to the older U.S.S. and Hex Capscrew size conventions. The "N" year code and B-Shield forge mark indicate production in 1922. This tool is currently our earliest example marked with a Bonney date code.


725B 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 725B 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 22. Bonney 725B 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, 1928.

Fig. 22 at the left shows a Bonney 725B 1/2x9/16 open-end wrench, with the face stamped "Made in U.S.A." with an embedded shield logo in the Bonney name. The shank has a small forged-in "PT" code visible at the right.

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

The "T" year code and embedded shield marking indicate production in 1928.


S-Shaped Wrenches


Early 501A 1/2x9/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 501A 1/2x9/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 23. Bonney 501A 1/2x9/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Marking Detail.

Fig. 23 shows a Bonney 1/2x9/16 S-shaped wrench, stamped with an unusual form of the B-Shield logo displaying the Bonney name across the top (see upper right inset), and with the model number stamped on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


504 15/16x1 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 504 15/16x1 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 24. Bonney 504 15/16x1 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 24 shows a Bonney 504 15/16x1 S-shaped wrench with the Bonney name and embedded shield stamped on the face, and with a shield emblem forged into the shank.

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

The markings on this wrench appear to indicate a transitional form, as the shield emblem on the shank hasn't yet become the B-Shield logo.


500A (75-B) 3/8x7/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 500A (75-B) 3/8x7/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 25. Bonney 500A (75-B) 3/8x7/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 25 shows a Bonney 500A 3/8x7/16 S-shaped wrench also marked as a model 75-B, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the Bonney name and embedded shield on the face. The shank has a forged-in code "EO" visible at the left.

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


502D 9/16x5/8 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 502D 9/16x5/8 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 26. Bonney 502D 9/16x5/8 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench, 1924.

Fig. 26 shows a Bonney 502D 9/16x5/8 S-shaped wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." in raised letters with the B-Shield logo, and with the Bonney name and embedded shield stamped on the face. The shank has a forged-in code "JP" visible at the left.

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

The "P" year code and B-Shield forge mark indicate production in 1924.


502G 19/32x11/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench

[Bonney 502G 12/32x11/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 27. Bonney 502G 19/32x11/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Marking Detail, 1925.

Fig. 27 shows a Bonney 502G 19/32x11/16 S-shaped wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the Bonney name and embedded shield on the face. The reverse shank has a forged-in code "GQ" visible at the left (see middle inset), and the reverse faces are stamped "5/16 U.S.S." and "3/8 U.S.S.", references to the older U.S.S. Size Convention.

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

The "Q" year code and embedded shield marking indicate production in 1925.


664S 9/16x11/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench for Textile Machine Works

[Bonney 664S Textile Machine Works 9/16x11/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 28. Bonney 664S "Textile Machine Works" 9/16x11/16 S-Shaped Open-End Wrench, 1925.

Fig. 28 shows a Bonney 664S 9/16x11/16 S-shaped wrench made for the Textile Machine Works company, a major manufacturer of textile machinery. The wrench is stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the Bonney name and embedded shield on the face, with "Textile Machine Works" on the shank. The shank also has a forged-in code "GQ" visible at the left.

The overall length is 7.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The left and right insets show the reverse face markings "3/8 S.A.E. 3/8 CAP" and "7/16 S.A.E. 7/16 CAP", references to the older S.A.E. and Hex Capscrew size conventions.

The "Q" year code and embedded shield marking indicate production in 1925.


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