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Lectrolite Corporation

Table of Contents

Introduction

The Lectrolite Corporation of Defiance, Ohio was closely associated with S-K Tools during the 1950s and 1960s, but operated independently in the 1930s and 1940s. Although we haven't been able to find much information about the company's early operations, we recently made a discovery (during an online Google search) that provided surprising information on the company's founding.

Company History

Various public documents and news archives have allowed us to piece together some of the early history of Lectrolite. The Lectrolite Corporation operated in Defiance, Ohio, and the company was known to have been run by Harold L. Schlosser during the 1930s, as his name appears on patent documents with assignment to Lectrolite, and his son William F. Schlosser was president of Lectrolite during the 1950s.

Recently an online search turned up several articles that outline the founding of the Lectrolite Corporation. An article on page 8 of Automotive Industries (published by the Chilton Company as v.67 1932 Jul-Dec) bears the caption "Schlosser Heads Auto Parts Merger" with the dateline October 4, 1932. The brief article notes that Harold L. Schlosser, previously of the Monroe Auto Equipment Company, would be working on the merger of The Milwaukee Tool & Forge Company with the Pressed Products Company of Napoleon, Ohio and the Saturn Electric Water Heater Company of Bryan, Ohio. The article reports that the combined companies would produce automotive parts, hardware, and water heaters. The merger of the three companies is also reported in a separate article on page 5 of the same Automotive Industries publication.

The three-way merger is confirmed separately by an article in The New York Times for September 28, 1932, entitled "MILWAUKEE TOOL MERGES". The article reports an announcement by a citizens' committee of Defiance, Ohio of the merger of the Milwaukee Tool & Forge Company, Pressed Products Company, and the Saturn Electric Water Heater Company. The merged companies planned to set up operations in Defiance, presumably the goal of the citizens' committee.

Although these sources do not mention the name "Lectrolite" -- possibly the company name had not yet been decided -- the association with Schlosser and the Defiance location provide positive identification. Other online sources have shown that Lectrolite used a brand name "Saturn" during the 1930s. In addition, Lectrolite used the brand name "TruFit" (or "Tru-Fit") for some of its tools, and this can now be seen as a variant of the "True-Fit" brand long used by Milwaukee Tool & Forge. Readers interested in further information can refer to our article on Milwaukee Tool & Forge for examples of their tools.

The discovery of the connection between Milwaukee Tool & Forge and the Lectrolite Corporation has provided a very satisfying conclusion to two long-running mysteries here at Alloy Artifacts. The first concerned the fate of Milwaukee Tool & Forge, a very successful company in the 1920s that just seemed to disappear; and the second mystery was regarding the origin of the Lectrolite Corporation itself.


Patents

Table 1. Lectrolite Corporation: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedDescriptionExamples
1,932,071 L.W. Hodges01/19/193110/24/1933Thermostatic Switch  
2,060,638 H.L. Schlosser03/05/193411/10/1936Steam Cleaner  
2,137,786 H.L. Schlosser04/09/193611/22/1938Spray Oiler  

Trademarks

No trademarks are known to have been filed by Lectrolite.


Wrenches

We have a fairly extensive collection of early Lectrolite tools and plan to expand this section as time permits.


Box-End Wrenches

Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3001 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite 3001 3/8x7/16 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 1. Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3001 3/8x7/16 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 1 shows a Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3001 3/8x7/16 offset box-end wrench with raised panels, stamped "Lectrolite" on the panel with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank. The reverse is stamped with "Tru-Fit" and the model number on the panel, with the fractional sizes forged into the shank.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3004 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench

The next two figures show examples of the model 3004 box wrench, with minor differences in the markings.

[Lectrolite Tru-Fit 3004 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 2. Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3004 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 2 shows a Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3004 3/4x25/32 offset box-end wrench with raised panels, marked with "Tru-Fit" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 11.2 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

[Lectrolite Tru-Fit 3004 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 3. Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3004 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 3 shows another Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3004 offset box wrench, very similar to the previous example, but with the markings on the opposite sides. The front is marked with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "Tru-Fit" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 11.2 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3005 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Tru-Fit model 3005 wrench.

[Lectrolite 3005 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 4. Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3005 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 4 shows a Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3005 13/16x7/8 offset box-end wrench with depressed panels on the shank. The shank is marked with "Tru-Fit" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the front panel, with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 13.0 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

[Lectrolite 3005 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 5. Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3005 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 5 shows a later Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3005 13/16x7/8 offset box-end wrench, with depressed panels on the shank. The shank is marked with "Tru-Fit" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the depressed panel, with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse panel.

The overall length is 12.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3006 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite 3006 15/16x1 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 6. Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3006 15/16x1 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 6 shows a Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3006 15/16x1 offset box-end wrench with raised panels, marked with "Tru-Fit" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 14.3 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Lectrolite "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 3003 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite Chrome Vanadium Steel 3003 5/8x11/16 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 7. Lectrolite "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 3003 5/8x11/16 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 7 shows a Lectrolite 3003 5/8x11/16 offset box-end wrench, marked with "Lectrolite Corp." and "Defiance O." forged into the shank with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" forged into the reverse.

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


Lectrolite "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 3004 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite Chrome Vanadium Steel 3004 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 8. Lectrolite "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 3004 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 8 shows a Lectrolite 3004 3/4x25/32 offset box-end wrench, marked with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the model number forged into the shank, with "Lectrolite Corp." and "Defiance O." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 11.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating, with losses due to wear and rust.


Lectrolite "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 3/4x25/32 Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite Chrome Vanadium Steel 3/4x25/32 Box Wrench]
Fig. 9. Lectrolite "Chrome Vanadium Steel" 3/4x25/32 Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 9 shows a Lectrolite 3/4x25/32 box-end wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Lectrolite Corp." and "Defiance O." forged into the front panel, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse panel.

The overall length is 7.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating, with extensive losses due to rust and pitting.


Lectrolite B-2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite B-2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 10. Lectrolite B-2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Late 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 10 shows a later Lectrolite B-2628 13/16x7/8 offset box-end wrench, stamped "Alloy" and "Forged in U.S.A." on the raised panel, with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 13.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Open-End Wrenches


Lectrolite 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench

The next two figures show similar examples of tappet wrenches, one with an unusual marking for the alloy composition, and the other showing the use of the Tru-Fit brand.

[Lectrolite 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 11. Lectrolite 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 11 at the left shows a Lectrolite 5/8x11/16 tappet wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." in raised letters with ".05 Chrome .05 Vanadium" on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.7 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The reverse marking is apparently giving the composition of the chrome-vanadium alloy used for this wrench, a marking not often seen on tools.


Lectrolite "TruFit" 8002 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench

[Lectrolite TruFit 8002 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 12. Lectrolite TruFit 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 12 shows an example of the Tru-Fit brand, a Lectrolite 8002 5/8x11/16 tappet wrench marked "Made in U.S.A." in raised letters, with "Tru-Fit 8002" on the reverse.

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

This tappet wrench is very similar to the example in the previous figure, but with the Tru-Fit brand marking instead of the alloy composition.


Lectrolite "Lectromium" 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench

[Lectrolite Lectromium 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 13. Lectrolite Lectromium 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 13 shows a Lectrolite 1/2x9/16 tappet wrench, stamped "Lectrolite Corp." and "Defiance, O." on one side, with "Lectromium" on the reverse.

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

The "Lectromium" marking was previously unknown before this example was found. It suggests an alloy steel composition, perhaps as a reaction to the Armaloy, Barcaloy, Bonaloy, etc. markings on competitors' products.


Combination Wrenches


Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3016 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Lectrolite Tru-Fit 3016 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 14. Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3016 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 14 shows a Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 3016 5/8 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped with "Tru-Fit" and the fractional size on the front panel, with "Lectrolite" and the model number on the reverse panel. The reverse is also marked with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank.

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


Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 2116 11/16 Combination Wrench

[Lectrolite Tru-Fit 2116 11/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 15. Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 2116 11/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 15 shows a Lectrolite "Tru-Fit" 2116 11/16 combination wrench with raised panels, marked with "Tru-Fit" and the fractional size forged into the front panel, with "Lectrolite" and the model number forged into the reverse panel. The reverse is also marked with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Later Tru-Fit Economy Tools

By the late 1940s Lectrolite had begun using the Tru-Fit brand for a line of economy tools, with wrenches available in open-end, box-end, and combination styles. The wrench design featured shanks with oval depressed panels, similar to the Vlchek "Panel-Bar" wrenches or the "Penens-Chicago" wrenches of the 1950s.

These economy wrenches were initially marked with the Lectrolite company name, or with both Lectrolite and Tru-Fit, but later production was marked with only the Tru-Fit brand.


Lectrolite 3/4x25/32 Panelled Box-End Wrench

[Lectrolite 3/4x25/32 Panelled Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 16. Lectrolite 3/4x25/32 Panelled Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 16 shows a Lectrolite 3/4x25/32 box-end wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the front panel, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse panel.

The overall length is 7.2 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


TruFit 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench

[TruFit 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 17. TruFit 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 17 shows a TruFit 3/4x25/32 offset box wrench depressed panels, marked with the TruFit logo and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the front panel, with "Forged Steel" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse panel.

The overall length is 10.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with possible traces of cadmium plating.


TruFit 11/16x3/4 Open-End Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of TruFit panelled wrenches in the 11/16x3/4 size.

[Lectrolite TruFit 11/16x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 18. Lectrolite "TruFit" 11/16x3/4 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. Late 1940s.

Fig. 18 shows an earlier Lectrolite "TruFit" 11/16x3/4 open-end wrench with oval depressed panels, marked with the TruFit logo and "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Lectrolite" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


[TruFit 11/16x3/4 Panelled Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 19. TruFit 11/16x3/4 Panelled Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 19 shows a later TruFit 11/16x3/4 open-end wrench, marked with the TruFit logo and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Forged Steel" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

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


TruFit 9/16 Combination Wrench

[TruFit 9/16 Panelled Combination Wrench]
Fig. 20. TruFit 9/16 Panelled Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 20 shows a later TruFit 9/16 combination wrench with depressed panels, marked with the TruFit logo and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the front panel, with "Forged Steel" and the fractional size forged into the reverse.

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


The S-K Era

During the 1950s Lectrolite and S-K published a combined catalog showing both company's tools, and some later production was marked with both the "S-K" and "Lectrolite" names.


References and Resources

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


Catalog Coverage

Currently we have only limited catalog resources for Lectrolite, consisting of one catalog from the early 1950s, plus a combined S-K/Lectrolite publication from the late 1950s.


Patents and Trademarks

Patent 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

If any readers have additional information on the Lectrolite Corporation, please let us know via the "Contact Us" link on the home page. Your comments and suggestions are welcome as well.


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