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Crescent Tool Company


Table of Contents

Introduction


Company History

The Crescent Tool Company of Jamestown, New York was founded by Karl Peterson in 1907. Peterson was an active inventor who had previously been associated with two other tool makers in the Jamestown area, the J.P. Danielson Company and Wm. Hjorth & Company. (See our article on the J.P. Danielson Company for more information.)

[1908 Notice for Crescent Combination Pliers]
1908 Notice for Crescent Combination Pliers. [External Link]

Crescent Tool initially produced pliers, an example of which can be seen in the illustration at the left, published in the January 1908 issue of Engineering Review. Other early tools included a type of wrench-plier known as a "lightning wrench".

Crescent's pliers were well received, but the company soon became better known as a maker of adjustable wrenches. Crescent's particular adjustable wrench design became very well known, even to the point that all makes of this style came to be called "crescent" wrenches. The actual wrench design did not originate with Crescent, however, and there is some debate as to its origins.

The 1857 patent #17,531 by Edward J. Worcester describes the basic design of a movable jaw sliding in a slot below a fixed jaw, and all modern designs clearly owe a debt to this early patent. The Swedish company BAHCO also claims to have invented the modern style of adjustable wrench, and the BAHCO design may have served as the inspiration for Crescent's design.

According to Crescent company folklore, Karl Peterson received a visitor from Sweden who described an interesting adjustable wrench he had seen in Sweden. Peterson was intrigued and immediately set to work on carving a wooden model based on the visitor's description, and then Peterson and the other Crescent engineers tried to figure out how the wrench could be produced efficiently. Cutting the slot for the sliding jaw proved to be the most difficult operation, and for this task Crescent created a special slotting machine.

[1910 Advertisement for Crescent Adjustable Wrenches]
1910 Advertisement for Crescent Adjustable Wrenches. [External Link]

Once the production issues were resolved, the new Crescent adjustable wrench proved to be a huge success in the marketplace. The advertisement at the left shows an early Crescent wrench, published in the June 1910 issue of the Hardware Dealers' Magazine.

Although many competing adjustable wrench products were offered over time, Crescent was able to retain a good share of the market based on the high quality of their wrenches. Again according to company lore, the original wooden model of the Crescent wrench has been preserved, and is on display at the corporate headquarters of Cooper Industries, the industrial conglomerate that acquired Crescent at a later date.

[1915 Notice for Hammer-Handle Screwdriver]
1915 Notice for Hammer-Handle Screwdriver. [External Link]

In addition to its line of pliers and adjustable wrenches, Crescent also developed a distinctive folding screwdriver that doubled as a light-duty hammer. The illustration at the left is from a notice published in the July 1915 issue of Machinery.

Other early products included auto wrenches, a popular tool for automobile tool kits. An advertisement in the August 1925 issue of Popular Mechanics for the Crescent Tool Company (page 148 at the top) shows an auto wrench and slip-joint pliers, with a tool kit in the background.


Smith & Hemenway Acquisition

In 1926 Crescent acquired the Smith & Hemenway Company, a tool maker with a factory in Irvington, New Jersey. Smith & Hemenway offered a wide variety of pliers, chisels, screwdrivers, and related tools, with many of the items marked with the "Red Devil" trademark. The 1926 Crescent catalog No. 17 printed separate sections for each company's tools, with the Smith & Hemenway section being substantially larger than the Crescent section at that time. (See our brief article on Smith & Hemenway for more information on their early products.) The S & H acquisition was important to Crescent, as it expanded the company's line into cutters, nippers, needlenose, and other fixed-pivot pliers that had not been offered previously.

Crescent's use of the "Red Devil" trademark appears to have been only temporary or transitional while the Smith & Hemenway acquisition was being integrated. By 1928 the Crescent catalog showed only a few references to "Red Devil", and most of the illustrations of pliers had been changed to read "S & H Co." where "Red Devil" had previously appeared. By 1935 the Crescent catalog showed only a line of electrician's auger bits with the "Red Devil" trademark. The discontinuation of the "Red Devil" marking suggests that pliers found with this trademark were probably made prior to the acquisition by Crescent, or during a short transition period thereafter.

After selling the Smith & Hemenway company, the former owner Landon P. Smith established a new company as Landon P. Smith, Incorporated. This new Smith company sold tools related to window repair, glass cutting, and painting under the "Red Devil" brand. The continued use of the "Red Devil" brand suggests that Landon Smith had reserved the trademark as a condition of the sale of Smith & Hemenway, along with the rights to the glass repair tools he intended to sell later.


The Introduction of Crestoloy

Around 1930 Crescent introduced a line of alloy steel pliers and wrenches, which were sold under their "Crestoloy" brand, a registered trademark.


Post-War Expansion

In the late 1940s and 1950s Crescent benefitted from the general post-war economic expansion as well as the rising popularity of "Do-It-Yourself" projects. By the mid 1950s the product line included fixed wrenches in open-end, combination, and box-end styles, as well as sockets and drive tools in 1/4-drive through 3/4-drive sizes. The sockets and drive tools closely resembled the production of Wright Tool and are believed to have been contract production by Wright.


Formation of Crescent Niagara

Crescent Tool continued as a family-run business until 1960, when it was purchased by a group of investors and became the Crescent Niagara Corporation. Over the next few years Crescent Niagara acquired several more tool companies, beginning with the 1962 purchase of Billings & Spencer. (See our article on Billings & Spencer for more information.)

In 1963 Crescent Niagara acquired the tool operations of Barcalo Manufacturing, a diversified manufacturer that had become famous for its Barcalounger line of recliner chairs. (The furniture operations of Barcalo were acquired by a furniture company in North Carolina.) In 1964 another acquisition added Bridgeport Hardware Manufacturing as a subsidiary of Crescent Niagara.

By 1967 the Crescent catalog had been expanded considerably with the addition of tools from the acquired companies. Crescent-branded wrenches were offered in combination, box, and open-end styles, with the "scooped" style box ends seen on late Barcalo wrenches. (See for example the Barcalo TC26 Combination Wrench.) Also included was the Bridgeport Hardware product line of screwdrivers and miscellaneous tools.

Crescent continued the operations of the acquired companies for some time, but eventually merged the more important products into its own tool lines and dissolved the other corporations.


Acquisition by Cooper Industries

In 1968 Crescent Niagara itself was acquired by the Cooper Industries conglomerate, and the Crescent brand continues today as part of the Hand Tools division of Cooper.


Patents

Table 1. Crescent Tool: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedDescriptionExamples
1,023,959 K. Peterson04/03/190904/23/1912Sector Cutting Saw  
1,036,250 J.E. Johnson01/14/191108/20/1912Knurling Machine  
1,133,236 K. Peterson01/18/191503/23/1915Adjustable Wrench with Tension Spring 8-10 Inch Double Adjustable Wrench
D47,389 K. Peterson01/18/191505/25/1915"Checkerdot" Design G26 "MoToR Kit" Pliers
1,215,308 J.E. Johnson11/10/191402/06/1917Folding Screwdriver K24 Folding Screwdriver
1,994,573 J.P. Whalan04/06/193403/19/1935Wire Connector Tool  
1,994,972 J.P. Whalan07/19/193303/19/1935Wire Connector Tool  
2,982,161 T.F. Angquist et al01/27/195905/02/1961Ratchet Wrench LS70 1/2-Drive Ratchet
2,985,933 M.L. Peterson et al06/04/195905/30/1961Wire Grip  
3,193,897 T.F. Angquist04/09/196307/13/1965Wire Grip  
3,398,451 T.F. Angquist06/27/196608/27/1968Spring-Opened Nipper  

Trademarks

Crescent Tool registered several trademarks for its products, including the "Crescent" name and a "CTCO" logo, both used as early as 1907. The "Cee Tee Co" trademark was used beginning in 1913, and the "Crestoloy" trademark (for alloy-steel tools) was first used in 1930.

Crescent appears to have acquired the "Red Devil" trademark as part of its Smith & Hemenway acquisition, but only for a limited line of electrician's auger bits. Other references to "Red Devil" disappeared from the catalogs within a few years of the acquisition.


Manufacturing Dates


Adjustable Wrenches

Adjustable wrenches were one of the earliest products of Crescent Tool, and Crescent's particular design became very popular, perhaps too popular. Even today it's common to hear an adjustable wrench referred to as a crescent wrench regardless of the brand.


Crescent 8-10 Inch Double Adjustable Wrench

We'll begin with an early double-ended wrench, a once common tool that's now regarded as a novelty.

[Crescent 8-10 Inch Double Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 1. Crescent 8-10 Inch Double Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 1 shows an early Crescent 8-10 inch double-ended adjustable wrench, marked "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." in forged raised letters, with "Crescent" and "Drop Forged Steel" on the reverse.

The overall length is 10.1 inches, and the maximum jaw openings were measured at 1.0 and 1.1 inches for the 8 and 10 inch ends, respectively. The finish is polished steel.

The head thickness was measured at 0.58 and 0.73 inches for the 8 and 10 inch ends, respectively.

This wrench has an additional "Patented" marking forged into the shank, and this is believed to be a reference to patent #1,133,236, issued to K. Peterson in 1915. The patent describes the use of a tension spring to help hold the adjusting screw in position.


Crescent 6-8 Inch Double Adjustable Wrench

[Crescent 6-8 Inch Double Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 2. Crescent 6-8 Inch Double Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 2 shows a later Crescent 6-8 inch double-ended adjustable wrench, marked "Mfd. By Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." in forged raised letters, with "Drop Forged Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the maximum jaw openings were measured at 0.8 and 1.0 inches for the 6 and 8 inch ends, respectively.

The finish is polished steel.


Crescent 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Crescent 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 3. Crescent 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 3 shows a Crescent 8 inch adjustable wrench, marked "Mfd. By Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." in forged raised letters, with "Drop Forged Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the maximum jaw opening is 1.0 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.56 inches.

The finish is plain steel.


Crescent 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Crescent 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 4. Crescent 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 4 shows a Crescent 12 inch adjustable wrench, marked "Mfd. By Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." in forged raised letters, with "Drop Forged Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 12.3 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.3 inches. This wrench is made of carbon steel wrench and has a relatively thick head, measured at 0.88 inches.

The finish is plain steel.


The Crestoloy Era

In 1930 Crescent introduced a line of alloy-steel tools under the "Crestoloy" trademark. The extra strength of the alloy steel allowed the new wrenches to be thinner and lighter than the older models, but still stronger. Advertisements for the new wrenches typically claimed them to be "30% Thinner" but "200% Stronger".

The next several figures will shows examples of Crestoloy adjustable wrenches.


Crestoloy 4 Inch Adjustable Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of Crestoloy wrenches in the 4 inch size.

[Crestoloy 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 5. Crestoloy 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 5 at the left shows a Crescent 4 inch adjustable wrench, marked "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." in forged raised letters, with "Crestoloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of red paint.

[Crestoloy 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 6. Crestoloy 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 6 shows another example of the Crescent 4 inch adjustable wrench, marked "Crestoloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." in forged raised letters, with "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.3 inches, and the maximum opening is 0.5 inches. The finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


Crestoloy (PWA 1056) 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Crescent Crestoloy (PWA 1056) 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 7. Crescent Crestoloy (PWA 1056) 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 7 shows a Crescent Crestoloy 8 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "Forged Crestoloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the handle, with "Mfd. By Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." forged into the reverse. The wrench is also stamped "PWA 1056" near the adjusting knurl, indicating production for Pratt-Whitney Aircraft.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.0 inches. The maximum head thickness was measured at 0.49 inches.

The finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


Crestoloy 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Crescent Crestoloy 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 8. Crescent Crestoloy 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 8 shows a Crescent Crestoloy 12 inch adjustable wrench, marked "Forged Crestoloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." in forged raised letters, with "Mfd. By Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." on the reverse.

The overall length is 12.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.3 inches. The maximum head thickness was measured at 0.72 inches.

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


Other Early Tools


Crescent K24 T-Handle Folding Screwdriver

[Crescent Folding Screwdriver]
Fig. 9. Crescent Folding Screwdriver, with Insets for "T" Position and Marking Detail.

Fig. 9 shows an unusual Crescent K24 folding screwdriver, marked "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." on the shank, with "4 In" and "Patented" on the reverse.

The overall length is 6.4 inches in the "T" position and 7.6 inches when extended. The finish is chrome plating.

Although the model number is not marked on the tool, a Crescent catalog from 1928 lists this as an "All Steel Screwdriver" with model number K24. Larger versions were available as models K25 and K26, with blade lengths of 5 and 6 inches, respectively.

The design for this tool is described by patent #1,215,308, issued in 1917 to J.E. Johnson and assigned to Crescent Tool. (Thanks to a diligent reader for the patent reference.)

The patent document calls this a "Combination Tool" and mentions an additional feature: the ability to drive sockets inserted in the handle when in the "T" position. The present tool did not come with any such sockets, and it's not clear that Crescent actually made such accessories for the tool. Another feature intended by the patent is the use as a light-duty hammer, with the screwdriver blade acting as a handle.

The patent was filed in 1914, so this model may have been in production as early as that time, and it remained in production at least through the late 1920s.


Crescent No. 175 1 Inch Wood Chisel

Readers who know Crescent Tools only as a maker of wrenches and pliers may be a bit surprised by the next figure.

[Crescent No. 175 1 Inche Wood Chisel]
Fig. 10. Crescent No. 175 1 Inch Wood Chisel, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 10 shows a Crescent No. 175 1 inch wood chisel with a four-lobed steel handle, marked "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y.", with "No. 175 1 Inch" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse. The overall length is 7.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The No. 175 chisel is listed in a 1928 Crescent catalog and was available in three widths, 3/4, 1, and 1-1/4 inches. The catalog notes that the chisels were popular with electricians and plumbers, and that the blade was hardened for its full length, to permit numerous resharpenings.


Slip-Joint Pliers


"MoToR Kit" [G26] 6 Inch Combination Pliers

[Crescent MoToR KiT G26 6 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 11. Crescent "MoToR KiT" [G26] 6 Inch Combination Pliers, with Inset for Side view.

Fig. 11 shows a pair of Crescent "MoToR KiT" [G26] 6 inch slip-joint combination pliers, marked "Jamestown, N.Y. U.S.A." with the CTCo logo.

The overall length is 6.5 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Checkerdot" gripping pattern on the handles. This pattern was registered in the 1915 Peterson design patent #D47,389.


CeeTeeCo [H25] 5 Inch Combination Pliers

[Crescent CeeTeeCo H25 5 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 12. Crescent CeeTeeCo [H25] 5 Inch Combination Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 12 shows a pair of CeeTeeCo [H25] 5 inch slip-joint pliers, marked "Jamestown, N.Y." on the handle.

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

The inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Checkerdot" gripping pattern on the handles. This pattern was registered in the 1915 Peterson design patent #D47,389.


CeeTeeCo [H28] 8 Inch Combination Pliers

[Crescent CeeTeeCo H28 8 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 13. Crescent CeeTeeCo [H28] 8 Inch Combination Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 13 shows a pair of CeeTeeCo [H28] 8 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped "Crescent USA" on the handle.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Checkerdot" gripping pattern on the handles. This pattern was registered in the 1915 Peterson design patent #D47,389.


L25 5 Inch Thin-Nose Slip-Joint Pliers

[Crescent L25 5 Inch Thin-Nose Slip-Joint Pliers]
Fig. 14. Crescent L25 5 Inch Thin-Nose Slip-Joint Pliers, with Inset for Side view.

Fig. 14 shows a pair of Crescent L25 5 inch thin-nose combination pliers, stamped "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y. U.S.A." near the pivot.

The overall length is 5.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Checkerdot" gripping pattern on the handles. This pattern was registered in the 1915 Peterson design patent #D47,389.


L26 6 Inch Thin-Nose Slip-Joint Combination Pliers

The next two figures show earlier and later examples of the Crescent L26 thin-nose combination pliers.

[Crescent L26 6 Inch Thin-Nose Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 15. Crescent L26 6 Inch Thin-Nose Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Inset for Side view.

Fig. 15 shows an earlier pair of Crescent L26 6 inch thin-nose combination pliers, stamped "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y. U.S.A." on the handle.

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

The distinctive pattern on the handles of these pliers (and other models) is called "Checkerdot Knurling" in some catalog listings. This pattern was registered in the 1915 Peterson design patent #D47,389. Crescent Tool probably began using this pattern in 1915 or shortly thereafter, and it has remained in use since then.


[Crescent L26 6 Inch Thin-Nose Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 16. Crescent L26 6 Inch Thin-Nose Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Inset for Side view.

Fig. 16 shows a later pair of Crescent L26 thin-nose combination pliers, stamped "U.S.A." on the handle.

The overall length is 6.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the thin-nose construction and the "Checkerdot" gripping pattern on the handles.


[J26] Thin-Nose Bent Combination Pliers

[Crescent J26 Thin-Nose Bent Combination Pliers]
Fig. 17. Crescent [J26] Thin-Nose Bent Combination Pliers, with Inset for Side view.

Fig. 17 shows a pair of Crescent J26 thin-nose pliers with bent or angled jaws, marked "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y. U.S.A." with the CTCo logo.

The overall length is 6.7 inches. The original finish was nickel plating, but most has been lost due to wear and rust.

The inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Checkerdot" gripping pattern on the handles. This pattern was registered in the 1915 Peterson design patent #D47,389.


CeeTeeCo Slip-Joint Specialty Pliers

[Crescent CeeTeeCo Slip-Joint Specialty Pliers]
Fig. 18. Crescent CeeTeeCo Slip-Joint Specialty Pliers, with Inset for Handle Pattern.

Fig. 18 shows a pair of CeeTeeCo slip-joint specialty pliers, marked "Jamestown NY U.S.A." on the handle.

The overall length is 6.4 inches, and the finish is black oxide.

The inset shows the "Checkerdot" gripping pattern on the handles, which is based on the 1915 Peterson design patent #D47,389.


The Smith & Hemenway Acquisition

By 1926 Crescent had acquired the Smith & Hemenway Company, a maker of pliers and other tools in operation since the early 1900s (or before). Crescent continued to use the S&H factory in Irvington, New Jersey, and the full S&H product line was added to the Crescent catalogs beginning with catalog No. 17 in (late) 1926. Incidentally, catalog No. 17 appears to have been the first catalog published by Crescent's own printing facility. (See our brief article on Smith & Hemenway for more information on their early products.)

After the Smith & Hemenway acquisition Crescent may have used the "Red Devil" brand on pliers for a limited transitional period, as most of the S&H product line was stamped with this marking.


Red Devil 925-10 Slip-Joint Combination Pliers

[Red Devil 925-10 Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 19. Red Devil 925-10 Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Detail.

Fig. 19 shows a pair of Red Devil 925-10 combination pliers, marked "U.S.A." on the handle with "Forged Steel" on the underside.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

These are heavy, well-built pliers with numerous features to earn their rating as "combination pliers". The jaws include two gripping areas for round objects, plus a V-groove for holding small pins (see lower inset). There's also a slot for cutting wire, and the end of one handle is flattened for use as a screwdriver or light-duty prybar.


Red Devil 1906 Fencing Pliers

[Red Devil 1906 Fencing Pliers]
Fig. 20. Red Devil 1906 Fencing Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Jaw Detail.

Fig. 20 shows a pair of Red Devil 1906 fencing pliers, marked "S.&H. Co. U.S.A." near the pivot.

The overall length is 10.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Fixed-Pivot Pliers

As late as 1926 Crescent itself offered only a single model of fixed-pivot pliers, a long-nose design intended for radio work. However, with its purchase of Smith & Hemenway, Crescent had acquired an extensive line of fixed-pivot pliers and cutters, including lineman's pliers, diagonal and end cutters, and needlenose pliers.


Lineman's Pliers


Crestoloy 1950-8 8 Inch Lineman's Pliers

[Crestoloy 1950-8 8 Inch Lineman's Pliers]
Fig. 21. Crestoloy 1950-8 8 Inch Lineman's Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 21 shows a pair of Crescent 1950-8 8 inch lineman's pliers, stamped "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." around the pivot, with "Crestoloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.


Button's Pattern Pliers

Button's Pattern pliers were a style of wire-cutters first introduced by J.M. King & Company in the late 1860s. These pliers were typically produced with two or three wire-cutting slots situated at the sides or between the jaws.

Crescent's Button's pliers first appeared in 1926 as the S&H No. 1000 "Heavy Combination" pliers, with the "Red Devil" brand still visible in the illustration. The illustrations of these early models show the angled sides of the jaws with a flat (planar) surface.


Crescent 1000-8 8 Inch Button's Pliers

The next two figures show examples of the Crescent 1000-8 Button's pliers, with minor differences in construction and marking.

[Crescent 1000-8 8 Inch Button's Pliers]
Fig. 22A. Crescent 1000-8 8 Inch Button's Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Construction Detail, ca. Late 1940s.

Fig. 22A shows a pair of Crescent 1000-8 8 inch Button's pliers, stamped the model number and "Crescent" around the pivot, with "Made in U.S.A." below.

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

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Checkerdot" gripping pattern on the handles. Note also that the angled outer face of the jaws has been ground to a curved surface, with an abrupt termination just before the cutting slot.

The middle inset shows a close-up of the jaw construction. Note that the cutting slot between the jaws is at a right angle to the faces.

[Crescent 1000-8 8 Inch Button's Pliers]
Fig. 22B. Crescent 1000-8 8 Inch Button's Pliers, with Insets for Side View, Construction, and Marking Detail, ca. Late 1940s.

Fig. 22B shows another pair of Crescent 1000-8 8 inch Button's pliers, stamped "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." around the pivot, with "Made in U.S.A." below.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with extensive pitting due to rust.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Checkerdot" gripping pattern on the handles. Note also that the angled outer face of the jaws has been ground to a curved surface, with an abrupt termination just before the cutting slot.

The middle inset shows a close-up of the jaw construction. For these pliers the cutting slot between the jaws is slightly offset from a right angle.


Diagonal Cutters and End Nippers


Crestoloy 542-7 7 Inch Heavy-Duty Diagonal Cutters

[Crescent Crestoloy 542-7 7 Inch Heavy-Duty Diagonal Cutter Pliers]
Fig. 23A. Crescent "Crestoloy" 542-7 7 Inch Heavy-Duty Diagonal Cutter Pliers, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. 1930s to 1950s.

Fig. 23A shows a pair of Crescent "Crestoloy" 542-7 7 inch heavy-duty diagonal cutters, stamped with "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." around the pivot, with "Crestoloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

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


Crestoloy 742-7 7 Inch Heavy-Duty Diagonal Cutters

[Crescent Crestoloy 742-7 7 Inch Diagonal Cutter Pliers]
Fig. 23. Crescent "Crestoloy" 742-7 7 Inch Diagonal Cutter Pliers, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. Early 1930s.

Fig. 23 shows a pair of Crescent "Crestoloy" 742-7 7 inch heavy-duty diagonal cutters, stamped with "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." around the pivot, with "Crestoloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

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

The top inset illustrates the dimpled gripping pattern on the handles, a pattern seldom seen on Crescent pliers. Crescent generally preferred plain handles, and when it did use a gripping pattern, it was usually the "Checkerdot" pattern.

The use of the dimpled gripping pattern is believed to be a holdover from S&H production, suggesting that these cutters were probably made in the early 1930s, soon after the introduction of the Crestoloy brand.


Crestoloy 940-6 [PWA 1057] Diagonal Cutter Pliers

[Crestoloy 940-6 Diagonal Cutter Pliers]
Fig. 24. Crestoloy 940-6 Diagonal Cutter Pliers, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 24 shows a pair of Crescent 940-6 diagonal cutters, marked "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y.", with "Crestoloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

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

The pliers are also marked "PWA 1057", indicating that these were contract production for Pratt-Whitney Aircraft.


Crestoloy 942-4 Diagonal Cutter Pliers

[Crestoloy 942-4 Diagonal Cutter Pliers]
Fig. 25. Crestoloy 942-4 Diagonal Cutter Pliers, with Insets for Detail.

Fig. 25 shows a pair of Crescent 942-4 diagonal cutters, stamped "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." near the pivot, with "Crestoloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

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

The top inset shows a side view of the head.


Crestoloy 942-5 1/2 Diagonal Cutter Pliers

[Crestoloy 942-5-1/2 Diagonal Cutter Pliers]
Fig. 26. Crestoloy 942-5-1/2 Diagonal Cutter Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 26 shows a pair of Crescent 942-5-1/2 diagonal cutters, stamped "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." near the pivot, with "Crestoloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 5.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.


Crestoloy 942-6 Diagonal Cutter Pliers

[Crestoloy 942-6 Diagonal Cutter Pliers]
Fig. 27. Crestoloy 942-6 Diagonal Cutter Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 27 shows a pair of Crescent 942-6 diagonal cutters, stamped "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." near the pivot, with "Crestoloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

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


Crestoloy 72-7 7 Inch End Nippers

[Crestoloy 72-7 7 Inch End Nippers]
Fig. 28. Crestoloy 72-7 7 inch End Nippers, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 28 shows a pair of Crescent 72-7 7 inch end nippers, stamped "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." on the front, with "Crestoloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.3 inches, and the width of the cutters is 1.1 inches. The finish is plain steel with polished faces.


Crestoloy 72-8 8 Inch End Nippers

[Crestoloy 72-8 8 Inch End Nippers]
Fig. 29. Crestoloy 72-8 8 Inch End Nippers, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 29 shows a fairly recent pair of Crescent 72-8 8 inch end nippers, marked "Crescent" on one side with "Crestoloy" and "U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.3 inches, and the width of the cutters is 1.1 inches. The finish is plain steel with polished faces.


Flat-Nose and Needlenose Pliers Nippers


Crestoloy 23-7 Duckbill Pliers

[Crestoloy 23-7 Duckbill Pliers]
Fig. 30. Crestoloy 23-7 Duckbill Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 30 shows a pair of Crescent 23-7 duckbill pliers, marked "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." around the pivot, with "Crestoloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

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


Crestoloy 654-7 7 Inch Needlenose Pliers

[Crestoloy 654-7 7 Inch Needlenose Pliers]
Fig. 31. Crestoloy 654-7 7 Inch Needlenose Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 31 shows a pair of Crescent 654-7 7 inch needlenose pliers, stamped "Crescent Tool Co." and Jamestown, N.Y." on the front, with "Crestoloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

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


Crestoloy 777-6 6 Inch Needlenose Pliers

[Crestoloy 777-6 6 Inch Needlenose Pliers]
Fig. 32. Crestoloy 1033-6 6 Inch Needlenose Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 32 shows a recent pair of Crescent 777-6 6 inch needlenose pliers, stamped "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." around the pivot, with "Crestoloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

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


Crestoloy 1033-6 Needlenose Pliers

[Crestoloy 1033-6 Needlenose Pliers]
Fig. 33. Crestoloy 1033-6 Needlenose Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 33 shows a recent pair of Crescent 1033-6 needlenose pliers, marked "U.S.A." on the pivot. (The markings are etched rather than stamped and are a bit difficult to read.)

The overall length is 6.5 inches, and the finish is black oxide with polished faces.


Later Production

In the mid 1950s Crescent decided to become more of a full-service tool company and broadened its product line to include such items as fixed wrenches and socket tools. These changes occurred before the company's reorganization as Crescent Niagara and subsequent tool-company acquisitions.

Crescent's catalog 29M from 1958 includes fixed wrenches in open-end, combination, and box styles, plus a selection of sockets and drive tools in sizes from 1/4 to 3/4-drive.


Crescent C1725-B 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench

[Crescent C1725-B 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 34. Crescent C1725-B 1/2x9/18 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 34 shows a Crescent C1725-B 1/2x9/16 open-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse shank.

The overall length is 6.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


Crescent C1729 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench

[Crescent C1729 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 35. Crescent C1729 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 35 shows a Crescent C1729 5/8x3/4 open-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse shank.

The overall length is 7.7 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


Crescent C1731-B 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench

[Crescent C1731-B 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 36. Crescent C1731-B 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 36 shows a Crescent C1731-B 13/16x7/8 open-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse shank.

The overall length is 9.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


Crescent "Life-Time" LE1922 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench

[Crescent Life-Time LE1922 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 37. Crescent LE1922 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 37 shows a Crescent "Life-Time" LE1922 19/32x11/16 open-end wrench, stamped with the Crescent "Hex-in-a-C" logo and "Life-Time" on the raised panel, with "Forged USA" forged into the depressed panel on the reverse side. The fractional sizes are forged into depressed panels on the ends.

The overall length is 7.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.

This wrench has an odd combination of design and marking features borrowed from the tool companies acquired by Crescent Niagara. The design includes features found in late Barcalo production, in particular the raised panel on one side and the depressed panel on the reverse, as well as the forged-in sizes in the faces. The stamped markings use the "Life-Time" trademark acquired from Billings & Spencer, together with the "Hex-in-a-C" symbol of late Crescent production.


Crescent "Life-Time" LS70 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Crescent Life-Time LS70 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 38. Crescent "Life-Time" LS70 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1963+.

Fig. 38 shows a 1/2-drive Crescent LS70 ratchet, marked with the "Life-Time" brand stamped into the panelled handle, with "Patent No. 2982161" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 10.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

This ratchet is covered by patent #2,982,161, issued to T.F. Angquist et al in 1961 with assignment to Crescent.


Crescent CT70 3/8-Drive Ratchet

[Crescent CT70 3/8-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 39. Crescent CT70 3/8-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. 1959-1960.

Fig. 39 shows a 3/8-drive Crescent CT70 ratchet, marked with "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." forged into the panelled handle, and with "Pat. Pend." and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The pending status refers to patent #2,982,161, filed by T.F. Angquist et al in 1959 and issued in 1961, with assignment to the Crescent Niagara Corporation.

This particular ratchet was acquired as an unused "new old stock" item in its original box. Since the labeling on the box does not mention Crescent Niagara, it's likely that the production occurred before the company's reorganization in 1960.


Crescent "Crestogrip" P-210 Box-Joint Waterpump Pliers

[Crescent Crestogrip P-210 Box-Joint Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 40. Crescent "Crestogrip" P-210 Box-Joint Waterpump Pliers, with Inset for Side View, ca. Mid 1950s.

Fig. 40 shows a pair of Crescent "Crestogrip" P-210 box-joint waterpump pliers, stamped "Crestogrip" with the registered trademark symbol on one handle, with "Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y. U.S.A." on the other handle.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is zinc plating.

The inset shows the box-joint construction of the pliers and the "Checkerdot" gripping pattern on the handles.


Later Adjustable Wrenches

In later years Crescent redesigned its adjustable wrenches, extending the depressed panel in the handle all the way to the adjusting screw. At the opposite end, the panelled region was terminated sharply in a line, leaving a squared off area around the hole. (Previously the hole had been within the panel, and had not had a ridge around it.)

Based on a review of catalog illustrations and magazine advertisements, the new handle design went into production sometime between 1958 and 1960, and by 1960 was being used for Crescent's plain finish (non-Crestoloy) wrenches. By 1967 the new design was being used for all adjustable wrenches except for the double-ended models.

The 1967 catalog refers to the "open handle design" as an improvement in the ease of adjustment, and the design gave their wrenches a distinctive appearance as well. From our standpoint, the redesign had an additional advantage, in that it makes it easier to identify Crescent as the contract maker for other brands. (However, later wrench production from Diamond Tool used a similar handle design.)

The next several figures will show examples of later production with this updated design.


Crestoloy 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, Later Design

[Crestoloy 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 41. Crestoloy 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1960s+.

Fig. 41 shows a later Crescent 8 inch adjustable wrench, marked "Forged Crestoloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." in forged raised letters, with "Mfd. By Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.0 inch. The maximum head thickness was measured at 0.47 inches.

The finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


Crestoloy 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench, Later Design

[Crestoloy 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 42. Crestoloy 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1960s+.

Fig. 42 shows a later Crescent 10 inch adjustable wrench, marked "Forged Crestoloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." in forged raised letters, with "Mfd. By Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y." on the reverse.

The overall length is 10.1 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.1 inches. The maximum head thickness was measured at 0.61 inches.

The finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


Crescent "Alloy" 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench, Later Design

This next figure shows a later wrench with a plain finish, marked with "Alloy" instead of "Crestoloy".

[Crescent Alloy 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 43. Crescent "Alloy" 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1960s+.

Fig. 43 shows a later Crescent 12 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "Crescent" and "Forged Alloy" forged into the front, with "Mfd. By Crescent Tool Co." and "Jamestown, N.Y. U.S.A." on the reverse. The shank also has a forged-in code "34" near the hanging hole.

The overall length is 12.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.4 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.68 inches.

The finish is black oxide with polished faces, with minor pitting due to rust.


Crestoloy 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench, Late Production

In still later production the forged-in markings were replaced by stamped markings, except for some small production codes at the end of the handle.

[Crestoloy 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 44. Crestoloy 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 44 shows a Crescent 4 inch adjustable wrench, stamped "Crescent" and "U.S.A." with a registered trademark symbol, with "Forged Crestoloy Steel" and and another registered symbol on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.3 inches, and the maximum opening is 0.5 inches.

The finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


References and Resources

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


Catalog Coverage

Our Crescent Tool catalog resources are summarized in the table below.

Catalog Date Notes
No. 14 1922 Adjustable wrenches, slip-joint pliers, and folding screwdrivers. Illustrations show "Checkerdot" handles.
No. 16 Jan, 1926 Crescent tools only, no mention of Smith & Hemenway.
No. 17 July, 1926 Includes Smith & Hemenway catalog. Printed by Crescent.
No. 18 1928  
No. 21 1935  
No. 24 1941  
No. 24A 1946  
No. 26 1950 No mention of Smith & Hemenway brand.
No. 27 1953  
No. 29M 1958 Lists wrenches in open-end, combination, and box-end styles. Lists sockets and drive tools in 1/4 to 3/4-drive.
No. 36 1967 Division of Crescent Niagara. Includes wrenches and socket tools. Also includes Bridgeport Hardware line.

Industrial Distributors

Crescent Tools were widely available through automotive and industrial distributors, and the catalogs from these companies provide an additional source of information.

  • Harron, Rickard & McCone 1918. The 1918 catalog No. 2 from Harron, Rickard & McCone, an industrial distributor, lists Crescent adjustable wrenches on page 126 and CeeTeeCo combination pliers on page 140. Adjustable wrenches were available in 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 inch nominal sizes, at prices ranging from $0.80 to $2.80 respectively. Double-ended Crescent wrenches were also listed in the 6-8 and 8-10 sizes, priced at $1.55 and $1.90 respectively. The CeeTeeCo pliers were specified with a nickel finish in 5 or 6 inch sizes, priced at $0.45 and $0.65 respectively.

  • Cragin Catalog No. 2. The 1921 catalog No. 2 from Cragin & Co. of Seattle lists Crescent adjustable wrenches in single and double-ended models, plus several models of slip-joint pliers. The pliers include the Motorkit combination models G25,G26, G28, and G210, CeeTeeCo No. 100 combination pliers, and Crescent No. 70 universal pliers. The Motorkit pliers are illustrated with the Checkerdot handle pattern.

  • 1294 Ford Owner's Supply Book. The 1924 Ford Owner's Supply Book from Western Auto Supply, a major retailer of automotive products, lists Crescent adjustable wrenches in both single and double-ended models. The catalog description, under the heading "Genuine Crescent Wrenches", calls them the "strongest and handiest adjustable wrenches made", and prices were set at $0.65 for the 6 inch single and $1.25 for the 6-8 inch double-end. The catalog also offered "Crescent Type Adjustable Wrenches", with no brand name mentioned, for about 30% less.

  • Channon Catalog No. 101. The 1930 catalog No. 101 from the H. Channon Company lists three pages of Crescent and Red Devil brand pliers, including diagonal cutters, end nippers, needlenose pliers, and slip-joint pliers. Adjustable wrenches were also listed, in single-ended sizes from 4 to 18 inches plus four double-ended models.

  • Sligo Catalog No. 70. The 1930 catalog No. 70 from the Sligo Iron Store Company lists Crescent adjustable wrenches in single and double-ended styles, plus a number of models of pliers. The pliers include the CeeTeeCo H2x series, Crescent "MoToR KiT" G2x series, the Crescent thin-nose L2x series, and several others.

  • S. Harris Catalog No. 57. The 1931 catalog No. 57 from the Samuel Harris Company, an industrial supplier, lists Crescent adjustable wrenches in both single-ended (A-1x) and double-ended (B-1x) models. Also offered were Crestoloy adjustable wrenches, very new at that time, which were advertised as "30% Thinner" but "200% Stronger" than the standard wrenches. The catalog also lists one model series of Crescent pliers, the CeeTeeCo model H-2x combination pliers.


Patents and Trademarks

Patent and trademark information was obtained from the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO) web site at uspto.gov. Patent documents were obtained from sites offering free downloads, notably freepatentsonline.com.


Feedback

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