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Various Tool Makers

This page shows examples from various tool makers for which we do not yet have enough material for a separate page.


Table of Contents

Introduction


A&E Manufacturing Company

The A&E Manufacturing Company was founded in 1932 by Daniel M. Lang in Racine, Wisconsin. The company's initial products were thickness gauges and honing stones, and one of the company's earliest customers was Snap-on Tools. (At the time Daniel Lang was working as an engineer for Snap-on.)

In the late 1940s A&E introduced a very successful line of ratcheting box wrenches based on patent #2,500,835, filed by John W. Lang in 1947 and issued in 1950. The Lang design was based on stamped flat steel pieces held together by rivets, providing both sturdy construction and economical production. The success of this design allowed A&E to become the major producer of ratcheting box wrenches. Later patents #4,748,875 and #4,819,521 by John W. Lang describe the construction of offset ratcheting box wrenches.

As a contract manufacturer A&E produces ratcheting box wrenches for many of the major tool companies and brands, including Armstrong, Craftsman, Klein Tools, OTC, Snap-on, and Williams. The company also sells wrenches under its own "Langline" brand, filed as a trademark in 1954 and issued as #613,062 in 1955.

As a side note, as the producer of ratcheting box wrenches for Snap-on, A&E has regularly included Snap-on style date codes on all of their production for several decades, thereby providing a date code for brands that normally don't mark the manufacturing date.

A&E today is a fourth-generation family-run business operating as A&E Incorporated, and interested readers can find more information on A&E History at the company's web site.


A&E Manufacturing 3/4x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench

[A&E Manufacturing 3/4x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 1. A&E Manufacturing 3/4x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1947-1950.

Fig. 1 shows an early A&E 3/4x7/8 ratcheting box wrench, stamped "A & E Mfg. Co." and "Racine Wis." with "Made in U.S.A." on the front, with a "Pat. App." patent notice on the reverse.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with some pitting due to rust.

The top inset shows the laminated and riveted construction of the wrench.

The pending status refers to patent #2,500,835, filed by John W. Lang in 1947 and issued in 1950.


Langline (A&E Manufacturing) RBM-1314 13mmx14mm Ratcheting Box Wrench

[Langline RBM-1314 13mmx14mm Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 2. Langline RBM-1314 13mmx14mm Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1981.

Fig. 2 shows an example of A&E's Langline brand, a Langline RBM-1314 13mmx14mm ratcheting box wrench. The wrench is stamped with the Langline oval logo and "Made in U.S.A." on the front, with a "Pat. No. 2,500,835" patent notice and a stylized "1" date code for 1981 on the reverse.

The overall length is 6.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The top inset shows the laminated and riveted construction of the wrench.

The patent notice cites patent #2,500,835, filed by John W. Lang in 1947 and issued in 1950.


Armstrong (A&E Manufacturing) 27-602 3/4x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench

This next figure shows an example of A&E's production for Armstrong, with the added benefit of a Snap-on style date code.

[Armstrong 27-602 3/4x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 3. Armstrong 27-602 3/4x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1979.

Fig. 3 shows an Armstrong 27-602 3/4x7/8 ratcheting box wrench, stamped "Armstrong" and "Made in U.S.A." with the Strong-Arm logo on the front, with a "Pat. No. 2,500,835" patent notice and a stylized "9" date code for 1979 on the reverse. (Note that the "9" is reversed, the "theme" for the 1970s in the Snap-on date code system.)

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

The top inset shows the laminated and riveted construction of the wrench.

The patent notice cites patent #2,500,835, filed by John W. Lang in 1947 and issued in 1950.


Craftsman (A&E Manufacturing) 42174 14mmx15mm Ratcheting Box Wrench

This next figure shows a later example of A&E's production for the Sears Craftsman brand, complete with a Snap-on style date code.

[Craftsman 42174 14mmx15mm Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 4. Craftsman 42174 14mmx15mm Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 2000.

Fig. 4 shows a Craftsman 42174 14mmx15mm ratcheting box wrench, stamped "Craftsman" and "Made in U.S.A." on the front, with a "Pat. No. 2,500,835" patent notice on the reverse. The reverse is also stamped with a hexagon symbol to the right of the patent notice, which is a stylized "0" date code for 2000 in the Snap-on date code system.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is polished chrome plating.

The top inset shows the laminated and riveted construction of the wrench.

The patent notice cites patent #2,500,835, filed by John W. Lang in 1947 and issued in 1950.


Klein (A&E Manufacturing) 68205 11/16x3/4 Ratcheting Box Wrench

This next figure shows an example of A&E's production for Klein.

[Klein 68205 11/16x3/4 Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 5. Klein 68205 11/16x3/4 Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1988.

Fig. 5 shows a Klein 68205 11/16x3/4 ratcheting box wrench, stamped "Klein Tools, Inc." and "Chi. U.S.A." on the front, with a "Pat. No. 2,500,835" patent notice on the reverse. The reverse is also stamped with a diamond symbol to the right of the patent notice, which is a stylized "8" date code for 1988 in the Snap-on date code system.

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

The top inset shows the laminated and riveted construction of the wrench.

The patent notice cites patent #2,500,835, filed by John W. Lang in 1947 and issued in 1950.


Allen Manufacturing Company

The Allen Manufacturing Company was founded in 1910 in Hartford, Connecticut. The company is best known for its eponymous "Allen wrench", the familiar ell-shaped hexagonal wrenches used with socket-head set screws.

[1910 Advertisement for Allen Manufacturing Safety Set Screws]
1910 Advertisement for Allen Manufacturing Safety Set Screws. [External Link]

One of the company's earliest products was a safety set screw using an internal hex socket. Conventional set screws for machine tool accessories used a square head that projected well above the tooling, leading to the possibility of a worker's clothing being snagged by the screw head, resulting in a gruesome accident.

Allen's safety screws were based on patent #960,244, filed by W.G. Allen in 1909 and issued on June 7, 1910. The patent describes a method of cold-forming a screw head around a hexagonal die.

The advertisement at the left was published in the 1910 Annual Convention of the International Association of Factory Inspectors and illustrates the new Allen safety set screw.


Allen Wrench & Tool Company

[1913 Notice for Allen Wrench & Tool]
1913 Notice for Allen Wrench & Tool. [External Link]

The Allen Wrench & Tool Company was founded in 1913 in Providence, Rhode Island. The small notice at the left appeared in the October 1913 issue of Mill Supplies and lists the company's founders as F.R. Allen, W.E Davis, and W.H Thornley, with the capital stock noted as $100,100.

The company's earliest products were socket sets based on a "friction ratchet" design covered by patent #1,000,878, filed in 1910 by Fred R. Allen and issued in 1911. The patent describes the design of a gearless ratchet, using a friction cam to alternately grip and release the drive wheel.

The friction ratchet went into production in 1913 and was offered in various "Allen Friction Ratchet" socket sets with pressed-steel sockets and auxiliary drive tools, with Billings & Spencer providing the manufacturing for the ratchet itself. Interestingly, Billings also produced versions of the friction ratchet marked with its B-Triangle logo and offered them in early Billings pressed-steel socket sets, with the ratchets still referred to as "Allen" ratchets.

[1914 Advertisement for Allen Friction Wrench]
1914 Advertisement for Allen Friction Wrench. [External Link]

The ad at the left appeared in the March 1914 issue of Automobile Dealer and Repairer and shows a nice illustration of the Allen Friction wrench. Interestingly, if you look closely you can see the well-known Billings B-Triangle logo on the handle, next to the patent date.

By 1915 the company was offering a new ratchet design with a swiveling drive gear as the "Allen Universal Wrench". This ratchet was described by patent #1,261,092, filed in 1914 and issued in 1918. The patent document describes a ratchet with a distinctive swiveling drive gear, allowing it to operate at an angle.

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

The advertisement at the left was published in a 1915 edition of American Exporter and describes the "Allen Universal" socket sets. The text notes that the sets were available in nine different models, with prices ranging from $3.50 to $10.

Allen Wrench & Tool remained in business at least through the late 1920s, based on various published sources. A 1922 directory listed the company at 766 Eddy Street in Providence, noting that it was incorporated under the laws of Rhode Island with $100,000 in capital stock, and with William McCreery as president. In 1922 patent #1,426,026 was issued to Oscar A. Webster, with assignment to Allen Wrench & Tool Company. By 1922 the company was offering a specialty tool for straightening connecting rods.


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

[Allen Friction Wrench (Billings Version) 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 6. Allen Friction Wrench (Billings Version) 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1915-1920.

Fig. 6 shows the Billings version of the "Allen Friction Wrench" 1/2-drive ratchet, acquired as part of a "Ford Special" socket set. The shank is marked with "The Billings & Spencer Co. H'T'F'D. CT." forged into one side, with "Allen Friction Wrench" and the B-Triangle logo forged into the reverse, along with a "Pat Aug 15 1911" patent notice.

The overall length is 8.4 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The patent date on the shank corresponds to patent #1,000,878, filed by Fred R. Allen in 1910 and issued on that date.

This ratchet was acquired a part of the Billings Allen Friction Wrench Socket Set described in our article on Billings & Spencer.

The Allen friction ratchet was initially offered by Allen Wrench & Tool with Billings providing contract manufacturing, and Billings then later offered versions of the ratchet and socket sets under its own name.


Allen Universal Wrench 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Allen Universal Wrench 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 7. Allen Universal Wrench 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. 1914-1918.

Fig. 7 shows an Allen "Universal" 1/2-drive ratchet, marked with "Allen Universal Wrench" forged into the handle, with "Patent Pending" on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.7 inches. The finish is nickel plating, but with substantial losses due to wear and rust.

The pending status refers to patent #1,261,092, filed by F.R. Allen in 1914 and issued in 1918.


American Plierench Corporation

The American Plierench Corporation operated in Chicago under the management of Joseph Eifel, an inventor with several patents for gear-operated pliers.


Eifel No. 7 Plier Wrench

[Eifel No. 7 Plier Wrench]
Fig. 8. Eifel No. 7 Plier Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1932+.

Fig. 8 shows an Eifel No. 7 plier wrench with a removeable jaw, stamped "Made in U.S.A. by Amer. Plierench Corp'n" and "Chicago, Ill." on the front plate. The markings also include "Eifel Geared Plier" on the top line, with a "Pats. 1181654 1862817" patent notice below.

The overall length is 7.3 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The first patent number refers to the Eifel 1916 patent #1,181,654 describing an early design for geared pliers. The second reference is to the Eifel 1932 patent #1,862,817, which describes the present tool.


Any Angle Wrench (Bovee Patent)


"Any Angle" Bovee Patent 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Any Angle Bovee Patent 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 9. "Any Angle" Bovee Patent 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1916-1925.

Fig. 9 shows an "Any Angle" 8 inch adjustable wrench of the Bovee patented design, marked with "Any Angle Wrench" and "Lima O. U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Drop Forged Steel" forged into the reverse. The shank is also marked with a "Patent Nov. 1916" patent notice.

The overall length is 8.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.

The patent date refers to patent #1,205,149, filed by R.Y. Bovee in 1913 and issued on November 21, 1916.


Arrow Tool Company

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


Arrow Tool 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench

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

Fig. 10 shows an Arrow Tool 10 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "Arrow Tool Company, Inc." and Buffalo, N.Y. U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Arrow" and "Drop Forged Steel" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.1 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.82 inches.

The finish is plain steel.


Artisan (Gambles Stores)

Artisan was a brand name used for tools sold by Gamble Auto Supply stores, a chain of retail stores operated by Gamble-Skogmo Inc.


Artisan 1/2-Drive Socket Set

[Artisan 1/2-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 11. Artisan 1/2-Drive Socket Set, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 11 shows a 1/2-drive Artisan socket set in a metal case, consisting of a ratchet, flex-head breaker bar, extension, and 13 sockets ranging in size from 7/16 up to 1-1/8.

Readers familiar with S-K Tools will immediately recognize this as an S-K set, and in fact no attempt has been made to disguise the maker, with all of the tools (except the ratchet) bearing standard S-K markings. The flex-head breaker bar is an S-K model 41653, and the 10 inch extension is an S-K model 40162. The distinctive forged-handle model 4270 ratchet was produced by S-K from the late 1930s through mid 1940s.

The sockets in the set all have the distinctive knurled base and tapered upper walls of the S-K 401xx model series. The models and sizes are, from the left, 40114 (7/16), 40116 (1/2), 40118 (9/16), 40119 (19/32), 40120 (5/8), 40122 (11/16), 40124 (3/4), 40126 (13/16), 40128 (7/8), 40130 (15/16), 40132 (1 inch), 40134 (1-1/16), and 40136 (1-1/8).

Further information on S-K can be found in our article on Sherman-Klove and S-K Tools.


Artisan 4270 1/2-Drive Forged-Handle Ratchet

[Artisan Model 4270 1/2-Drive Forged-Handle Ratchet]
Fig. 12. Artisan Model 4270 1/2-Drive Forged-Handle Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 12 shows the 1/2-drive Artisan 4270 ratchet from the above set, marked with the Artisan brand on the raised panel, and with the model number and "Pat. No. 2232477" on the reverse.

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

This ratchet can be readily identified as S-K production by the patent #2,232,477, assigned to the Sherman-Klove Company. In addition, the distinctive forged handle is identical to the S-K Model 42470 Ratchet shown in our article on S-K.


Atha Tool Company

The Atha Tool Company was a maker of hammers and other hardware items, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Atha 20 Ounce Ballpeen Hammer

[Atha 20 Ounce Ballpeen Hammer]
Fig. 13. Atha 20 Ounce Ballpeen Hammer, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 13 shows an Atha 20 ounce ballpeen hammer, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the Atha Horseshoe logo on the reverse head. The weight is not marked on the head, but the head dimensions indicate a 20 ounce nominal weight.

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


F.H. Ayer Manufacturing Company

The F.H. Ayer Manufacturing Company was founded in 1904 as a machine shop in Chicago Heights, Illinois, and was incorporated in 1906. The company produced a number of different products, including a distinctive Tee-handle ratchet used in early pressed-steel socket sets.

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


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

[F.H. Ayer Tee Handle Ratchet]
Fig. 14. F.H. Ayer Tee Handle Ratchet, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. Late 1910s to Early 1920s.

Fig. 14 shows an Ayer 1/2-drive Tee-handle ratchet, stamped "F.H. Ayer Mfg. Co." and "Chicago Heights, Ill. U.S.A." on the upper body. The ratchet is also marked with the "Pat. Sep. 9, 1913 Sep. 26, 1916" patent dates.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The earlier date refers to patent #1,072,807, filed by F.H. Ayer in 1912 and issued in 1913.

The second date refers to patent #1,199,738, filed by F.H. Ayer in 1915 and issued in 1916.

This ratchet model was typically supplied with pressed-steel socket sets along with a 1/2-square drive stud, an extension, and a universal joint.


F.H. Ayer 1/2-Drive 1-9/32 Pressed-Steel Socket

This next figure shows an example of an Ayer pressed-steel socket, taken from one of their socket sets. Ayer sockets were generally driven from the 1/2 square inside opening.

[F.H. Ayer 1/2-Drive 1-9/32 Pressed-Steel Socket]
Fig. 15. F.H. Ayer 1/2-Drive 1-9/32 Pressed-Steel Socket, with Inset for Service End, ca. Late 1910s to Early 1920s.

Fig. 15 shows a 1/2-drive Ayer 1-9/32 pressed-steel socket, stamped with the A-Circle logo and the fractional size (not shown).

The finish is plain steel.

The F.H. Ayer pressed-steel sockets were interchangeable with those supplied by the Frank Mossberg Company, the leading maker of pressed-steel socket sets. Ayer sockets were also compatible with "Ray" brand sockets from the Packer Auto Specialty Company, another Chicago-area maker of socket sets. Given the proximity of the Ayer and Packer companies, the socket sets from either company may be found with sockets or tools from the other maker included.


Barnes Tool Company

The Barnes Tool Company operated in New Haven, Connecticut as a maker of pipe tongs, pipe wrenches, and other types of tools. The company was founded in the 1880s by Elbridge F. Barnes and remained in business at least through 1909.


Barnes Tool 5 Inch Bicycle Wrench

[Barnes 5 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 19. Barnes 5 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 19 shows a Barnes 5 inch adjustable wrench of the bicycle style, marked with "Barnes Tool Company" forged into the shank, with "Drop Forged Steel" and a "W" code on the reverse.

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


H.R. Basford Company

The H.R. Basford Company was a maker of locking pliers and related tools sold under the "GRIPSO" brand. The company was located in San Francisco, California and was in operation by 1945 or earlier.

H.R. Basford filed a trademark application for "GRIPSO" on June 11 of 1945, with May 11 listed as the first use date. The trademark was issued as #429,536 on May 6 of 1947.


Gripso 8 Inch Vise Pliers

[Gripso 8 Inch Vise Pliers]
Fig. 20. Gripso 8 Inch Vise Pliers, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 20 shows an earlier pair of Gripso 8 inch vise (locking) pliers, stamped "Vise Pliers" and "Pat. Pend." on one side, with "H.R. Basford Co." and "San Francisco U.S.A." on the reverse.

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


Gripso 211 8 Inch Vise Pliers

[Gripso 211 8 Inch Vise Pliers]
Fig. 21. Gripso 211 8 Inch Vise Pliers, with Insets for Marking Detail.

Fig. 21 shows a later pair of Gripso 211 8 inch vise (locking) pliers, stamped with "Vise Pliers" and the model number on one side, with "H.R. Basford Co." and "San Francisco U.S.A." on the reverse. The lower edge is also marked with a "U.S. Pat. No. 2,669,145" patent notice.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel with a black oxide coating.

The patent marked on the pliers describes a finger-actuated release mechanism, visible as the small lever on the bottom of the lower handle.


Battery Equipment & Supply Company

The Battery Equipment & Supply Company (BESCO) operated in Chicago during the 1920s. Currently we don't have much information on this company, but the company appears to have been founded around 1920, based on a small advertisment in the April 1920 issue of Motor Record. The ad notes that the company was issuing their first catalog of supplies for "Battery Service Stations", and gives the company's address as 1400-1402 Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

The EMF Electrical Year Book for 1921 listed BESCO as a trade name for the company.

BESCO may have registered a trademark with serial #366,548, but we haven't yet located the document.


BESCO 9857 Giant Battery Terminal Pliers

[BESCO 9857 Giant Battery Terminal Pliers]
Fig. 22. BESCO 9857 Giant Batery Terminal Pliers, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, 1926.

Fig. 22 shows a pair of BESCO giant battery terminal pliers, designed for lifting a cable clamp from a battery post. The handle has forged-in markings for "BESCO" and "Made in U.S.A." with a B-Shield logo in the center.

The overall length is 14.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.

The B-Shield marking indicates that the pliers were forged by Bonney Forge & Tool Works, a well-known tool maker that provided forging services to a number of other companies. As is frequently the case with Bonney production, the forgings are marked with Bonney date codes, in this case a forged-in code "JR" near the handle (see right middle inset). The "R" year code indicates production in 1926.


Bemis & Call (B&C)

Bemis & Call was an early maker of tools and hardware dating back to an 1844 partnership between Stephen C. Bemis and Amos Call. The company produced a variety of tools including pipe wrenches, monkey wrenches, and other adjustable wrenches, and was especially well known for their S-shaped adjustable wrenches.

The line of S-shaped adjustable wrenches was introduced in 1894 and proved to be very popular. The sliding jaw design was very similar to the 1857 E.J. Worcester patent #17,531, with a slotted jaw running in a rectangular keyed passageway.

In 1928 Bemis & Call acquired the rights to the wrench designs of the Coes Wrench Company, a well-known maker of adjustable wrenches operating in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1939 B&C was acquired by Billings & Spencer, which continued production of the B&C (and Coes) wrench models for some years thereafter. (See our article on Billings & Spencer for more information.)


B&C 6 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench

[B&C 8 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 23. B&C 6 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 23 shows our first example of the B&C "S" wrenches, a B&C 6 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "6-In" forged into the handle, and with "B&C" forged into the reverse (see lower inset). The face is stamped "Bemis & Call Company" and "Springfield" (see middle inset), although the markings are very worn and difficult to read.

The overall length is 6.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of black paint.

The upper inset shows a profile view of the wrench. Note the details of the jaw construction, with the milled slot in the jaw running in the keyed opening.


B&C 8 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench

[B&C 8 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 24. B&C 8 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 24 shows a B&C 8 inch S-shaped adjustable wrench, stamped "Bemis & Call Co." on the face. The nominal size "8 In." is forged into the handle, with "B&C" forged into the reverse (see lower inset).

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is black paint with polished steel faces.

The upper inset shows a profile view of the wrench. Note the details of the jaw construction, with the milled slot in the jaw running in the keyed opening.


B&C 10 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench

[B&C 10 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 25. B&C 10 Inch S-Shaped Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 25 shows a B&C 10 inch S-shaped adjustable wrench, marked with the nominal size "10 In" forged into the handle, with "B&C" forged into the reverse (see lower inset).

The overall length is 10.1 inches, and the finish is black paint.


B&C No. 80 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[B&C No. 80 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 26. B&C No. 80 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1915.

Fig. 26 shows a B&C No. 80 8 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "B&C" forged into the shank, with "8 IN" and "No 80" forged into the reverse.

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


B&C 10 Inch Monkey Wrench for Fulton Brand

[Fulton AD 10 Inch Monkey Wrench]
Fig. 27. B&C 10 Inch Monkey Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 27 shows a B&C 10 inch monkey wrench with wooden handle inserts, stamped with the B&C trademark logo on the upper (fixed) jaw, with "Bemis & Call Co." and "Springfield, Mass. Made in U.S.A." on the reverse. The wrench is also stamped with "Fulton" and "AD" on the lower jaw, indicating that it was made as contract production for Sears Roebuck.

The overall length is 10.3 inches, and the maximum opening approximately 2 inches. The finish is plain steel.


Bergman Tool Manufacturing Company

The Bergman Tool Manufacturing Company was founded in Buffalo, New York during the early part of the 20th century. The company was a maker of adjustable wrenches, pliers, and possibly other tools, and their products were sold under the Bergman, "Queen City", and "Blue Bird" brands.

In 1927 Bergman Tool filed a trademark application for "Blue Bird Tools" in a design showing a bird in the center. The application listed the company address as 1573-1576 Niagara Street in Buffalo, and their products were listed as tinner's snips and hand shears. The trademark was issued as #230,677 on August 2, 1927. The members of the firm at this time were Caroline E. Bergman, Jerome E. Bergman, and Ray W. Kempner.

In 1956 the company filed a trademark for "BLUE BIRD" as block text (no design), with the company's products listed as tinner's snips, battery service tools, and pliers. The trademark was issued as #629,907 on July 3, 1956. This trademark was renewed as recently as 1996, and the company's address is given as 8400 Lakeview Parkway in Kenosha, Wisconsin.


Bergman No. 708 Combination Pliers

[Bergman No. 708 8 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 28. Bergman No. 708 8 Inch Combination Pliers, with Inset for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 28 shows a pair of Bergman No. 708 combination pliers in the 8 inch size, stamped "Guaranteed" and "Buffalo U.S.A." near the pivot (see lower inset).

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


Bergman "Queen City" 6 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Bergman Queen City 6 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 29. Bergman "Queen City" 6 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 29 shows a Bergman "Queen City" 6 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "Bergman Tool Mfg. Co." and "Buffalo N.Y. U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Queen City" and "Drop Forged Steel" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 6.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 0.8 inches.

The finish is plain steel.


Blue Bird No. 11 Battery Pliers

[Blue Bird No. 11 Battery Terminal Pliers]
Fig. 30. Blue Bird No. 11 Battery Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 30 shows a pair of Blue Bird No. 11 battery terminal pliers, marked with "Blue Bird" and "U.S.A." forged into the handle, with "Forged Alloy" and "No. 11" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Although not marked with a patent notice, these pliers resemble the design described in patent #1,775,270, filed by J.E. Bergman in 1928 and issued in 1930.


Blue Bird No. 21 Battery Terminal Puller

[Blue Bird No. 21 Battery Terminal Puller]
Fig. 31. Blue Bird No. 21 Battery Terminal Puller, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 31 shows a Blue Bird No. 21 battery terminal puller, stamped "U.S.A." and "Patented" on the yoke.

The overall length of the screw is 4.9 inches. The finish is plain steel, with a few traces of blue paint remaining.

The patent notice refers to patent #1,893,353, filed by J.E. Bergman in 1931 and issued in 1933.


Bethlehem Spark Plug Company

During the 1920s the Bethlehem Spark Plug Company offered a series of well-designed socket sets under the "Quickway" brand. These sets featured distinctive copper-coated sockets and tools in various sizes of hex drive.


Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive Model D Socket Set

[Bethelehem Quickway Model D 1/2-Hex Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 32. Bethlehem "Quickway" Model D 1/2-Hex Drive Socket Set, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 32 shows a 1/2-hex drive Bethlehem "Quickway" Model D socket set in its metal case. The Model D set was actually two sets in one, as it included a complete Model A set to cover the smaller sizes. The larger tools consist of a ratchet, sliding Tee handle, three extensions, a universal, and 16 1/2-hex drive deep format sockets covering all sizes from 15/32 to 15/16 by 32nds. In addition, the Model A set (the small box at the back center) provides seven 3/8-hex drive sockets, with sizes ranging from 9/32 up to 1/2.

The set as acquired was reasonably complete, but is missing one of the extensions and the 15/32 socket.

The sturdy steel box measures 11.5 long by 5.2 wide by 2.0 high.


Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive Ratchet

[Bethelehm Quickway 1/2-Hex Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 33. Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, 1923.

Fig. 33 shows a 1/2-hex drive Bethlehem ratchet from the Model D socket set, marked with "Bethlehem Spark Plug Co." and "Bethlehem PA" forged into the shank, with "Drop Forged Steel" and "Made in USA" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.5 inches, and the finish is copper plating.

The shank is also marked with a forged-in shield symbol enclosing a "B", as can be seen at the righthand side. Readers familiar with our article on Bonney will immediately recognize this as the Bonney B-Shield Logo, a marking frequently found on early Bonney tools. The reverse has a forged-in code "JO.." visible at the end of the handle, another type of marking generally found on Bonney tools, and recently determined to be a date code. These markings indicate that the ratchet (or at least the forged body) was produced for Bethlehem by Bonney, and the "JO" date code indicates production in 1923.


Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive Sliding Tee Handle

[Bethelehm Quickway 1/2-Hex Drive Sliding Tee Handle]
Fig. 34. Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive Sliding Tee Handle, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 34 shows a 1/2-hex drive Bethlehem sliding Tee handle from the Model D socket set, unmarked but with the characteristic copper finish.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is copper plating.

The sliding head has a threaded hole in the top for a thumbscrew, now missing from this example.


Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive 15/16 Hex Socket

[Bethelehm Quickway 1/2-Hex Drive Socket]
Fig. 35. Bethlehem "Quickway" 1/2-Hex Drive Socket, with Insets for Drive End and Broaching, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 35 shows a 1/2-hex drive Bethlehem 15/16 hex socket from the Model D socket set, marked only with the size as "15-16".

The left inset shows the 1/2-hex drive end in the turned-down base.


Bethlehem 11/16-Hex Drive 7/8 Hex Socket

In addition to its standard 1/2-hex drive sets, Bethlehem also offered a line of heavy-duty socket sets using an 11/16 hex drive size.

[Bethelehm 11/16-Hex Drive 7/8 Socket]
Fig. 36. Bethlehem 11/16-Hex Drive 7/8 Socket, with Insets for Drive End and Broaching, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 36 shows an 11/16-hex drive Bethlehem 7/8 hex socket, marked only with the fractional size.

The overall height is 2.1 inches, and the finish is copper plating.

The left inset shows the 11/16 hex drive end, and the right inset shows the 7/8 hex service end.


H. Boker & Company

H. Boker & Company was the American branch of a company with roots going back to the 17th century in Remscheid, Germany. The company was primarily known as a maker of knives, but also produced pliers and other tools.

Boker USA maintains a web site with an interesting History of the company, and readers can visit there for the full story.


Boker Lineman's Pliers

[Boker Lineman's Pliers]
Fig. 37. Boker Lineman's Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

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


Boos Tool Corporation

The Boos Tool Corporation is currently known only for an adjustable wrench of distinctive design, as shown in the next figure.


Boos Tool Adjustable Wrench

[Boos Tool Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 38. Boos Tool Adjustable Wrench, ca. 1941.

Fig. 38 shows a Boos Tool adjustable wrench, stamped "Boos Tool Corp." and "Chrome Molybdenum" with "Pat. Pend." and "K.C. MO." below.

The overall length (retracted) is 7.6 inches, and the finish is polished chrome.

The patent pending status refers to design patent #D130,015, filed in 1941 for J.B. Boos by the executor of his estate.


Brosnihan Wrench Company

The Brosnihan Wrench Company was founded by Thomas Brosnihan in Worcester, Massachusetts, and its organization certificate was issued on December 11, 1905, according to a report from the Massachusetts Tax Commissioner.

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

The Brosnihan Wrench Company is known primarily as the maker of a pipe wrench with a sliding jaw, patented in 1900 by Thomas H. Brosnihan. The advertisement at the left, published in the 1911 issue Railway Master Mechanic, shows the design of the Brosnihan pipe wrench.


Brosnihan 8 Inch Pipe Wrench

[Brosnihan 8 Inch Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 39. Brosnihan 8 Inch Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 39 shows a Brosnihan 8 inch pipe wrench, stamped "Union Made" on the upper jaw, with "Sargent" (partially struck) and "Brosnihan" on the reverse. The reverse is also marked with a "Patent Sept. 4, 1900" patent date.

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

The wrench was originally fitted with a turned wooden handle, but was acquired with a poorly fitting replacement, omitted for the photograph here.

The patent date refers to patent #657,391, filed by T.H. Brosnihan in 1899 and issued in 1900.

The partially stamped "Sargent" marking indicates that this example was sold through Sargent & Company, a major hardware dealer.


Brown Company

The Brown Company was a maker of automotive accessories and tools operating in Syracuse, New York during the early 20th century. Based on published notices, the company appears to have been in operation as early as 1908 and remained in operation at least into the 1920s.

[1912 Advertisement for Brown Impulse Tire Pump]
1912 Advertisement for Brown Impulse Tire Pump. [External Link]

The company's early products included compression gauges and automobile tire pumps. The advertisement at the left, from the May 1912 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine, illustrates the company's "Impulse" tire pump and describes its advantages. (The pump operates by using the compression from one of the engine's cylinders.) At this time the company address was listed as Tallman Street in Syracuse.

An advertisement appearing in the September 1914 issue of The Rotarian illustrates the Brown Impulse Tire Pump and another smaller model. This publication lists the company address as 10 Bellevue Avenue in Syracuse.

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

The company's automotive tools were sold under the "Brownbilt" brand. The illustration at the left was published in the April 1922 issue of Automobile Dealer and Repairer as part of a notice for the Brown Company tools. The notice lists the company address as 218 Bellevue Avenue in Syracuse.


Brownbilt 116 1/2 Universal Tee Socket Wrench

[Brownbilt 116 1/2 Universal Tee Socket Wrench]
Fig. 40. Brownbilt 116 1/2 Universal Tee Socket Wrench, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 40 shows a Brownbilt 116 1/2 universal Tee socket wrench, stamped "Brownbilt" and "Syracuse, N.Y. U.S.A." on the handle.

The overall length is 13.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Brownbilt 664 1/2 Speeder Socket Wrench

[Brownbilt 664 1/2 Speeder Socket Wrench]
Fig. 41. Brownbilt 664 1/2 Speeder Socket Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 41 shows a Brownbilt 664 1/2 socket wrench of the speeder style, marked "Syracuse, N.Y. U.S.A." as shown in the inset.

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

The end of the shank is missing the original rotating end piece, and a hole near the end suggests that it was secured with a spring-loaded pin.


Buffum Tool Company

The Buffum Tool Company was founded by Frank W. Buffum and operated in Louisiana, Missouri during the early years of the 20th century. Their products included printing presses, adjustable wrenches, alligator wrenches, chisels, punches, bearing scrapers, and other forged tools. The exact founding date for the company is not yet known, but the earliest published reference to Buffum Tool is a 1908 advertisement for their printing press.

Buffum tools were generally marked with the company name and notably with a swastika logo, the design that later became infamous as the symbol of Nazi Germany. (Buffum's use of the swastika design predated the Nazi party by some decades.) The advertisement at the left appeared on page 1222 of the June 1910 issue of the Hardware Dealers' Magazine. Note that the advertisement claims the swastika logo as a trademark registered with the U.S. Patent Office.

An advertisement for the Buffum Tool Company on page 821 of the June 1, 1918 issue of Aviation shows a selection of the company's tools at that time. The illustration includes a set of chisels, a hammer, bearing scrapers, pliers, and other tools.


Buffum 9 Inch Forged Steel Screwdriver

[Buffum 9 Inch Forged Steel Screwdriver]
Fig. 42. Buffum 9 Inch Forged Steel Screwdriver, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 42 shows a Buffum forged steel screwdriver, marked with "Buffum Tool Co." and "Louisiana, MO." forged into the handle, and with the Swastika logo forged into the reverse.

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


Buffum 12 Inch Bearing Scraper

[Buffum 12 Inch Bearing Scraper]
Fig. 43. Buffum 12 Inch Bearing Scraper, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 43 shows a Buffum bearing scraper with a wooden handle, stamped "Buffum Tool Co." and "Louisiana, MO." on the shank, with the Swastika logo forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 11.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Buhl Sons Company

Buhl was a maker of farm and implement wrenches, and occasionally of automotive tools, as will be seen below. Currently we have no further information on the company.


Buhl 29 Open-End Wrench

[Buhl 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 44. Buhl 29 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 44 shows a Buhl 29 11/16x25/32 open-end wrench, marked "Buhl" in raised letters on the shank.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Buhl Double Alligator Wrench

[Buhl Double Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 45. Buhl Double Alligator Wrench.

Fig. 45 shows a Buhl alligator wrench made of stamped steel, marked "Buhl Sons Co." on one side.

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


Buhl 9 Inch Auto Wrench

[Buhl 9 Inch Auto Wrench]
Fig. 46. Buhl 9 Inch Auto Wrench.

Fig. 46 shows a Buhl 9 inch auto wrench, marked "Buhl Sons Co" on the shank.

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


Bullard Automatic Wrench Company

The Bullard Automatic Wrench Company operated in Providence, Rhode Island as a maker self-adjusting pipe wrenches.

[1906 Advertisement for Bullard Automatic Wrench]
1906 Advertisement for Bullard Automatic Wrench. [External Link]

The advertisement at the left was published on page 196 of the October 6, 1906 issue of Domestic Engineering.


Bullard No. 1 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Bullard No. 1 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 47. Bullard No. 1 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Early 1900s.

Fig. 47 shows a Bullard No. 1 self-adjusting pipe wrench, marked with "No. 1 Bullard Wrench" forged into the shank, with "Pat. Oct. 27, '03" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 9.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date corresponds to patent #742,389, filed by F.D. Bullard in 1903 and issued later that year.


Bullard No. 3 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench

[Bullard No. 3 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 48. Bullard No. 3 Self-Adjusting Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Early 1900s.

Fig. 48 shows a Bullard No. 3 self-adjusting pipe wrench, marked with "No. 3 Bullard Wrench" forged into the shank, with "Pat. Oct. 27, '03" forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 17.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date corresponds to patent #742,389, filed by F.D. Bullard in 1903 and issued later that year.


California Tool Company

The California Tool Company (CTC) is a tool distributor and manufacturer with an interesting connection to one of the founders of Plomb Tool. California Tool was formed by S.C. Miller in 1927 when he acquired the A. Plomb Tool Company, a maker of automotive and specialty tools founded by Alphonse Plomb. Readers familiar with the Plomb Tool Company will recall that Alphonse Plomb was one of the founders of that company, and when he left Plomb Tool around 1917, he started the A. Plomb Tool Company business.

California Tool continued to manufacture the A. Plomb line of tools for some years, and the tools were typically marked with both "Calif-Tool" and "A. Plomb" stamped markings. The "A. Plomb" marking was probably intended to show continuity with the older business and its customers; as far as is known, Alphonse Plomb retired after selling his business and had no further involvement with CTC.

By the 1930s California Tool had also became a distributor for other companies, notably Thorsen Manufacturing and Plomb Tool (later Proto). The Thorsen tools sold by California Tool are believed to have been privately branded for CTC, thereby blurring the lines between distributor and manufacturer.

Currently we don't have much information for California Tool beyond the historical connections outlined above, but will fill in more details when available.


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

[California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 49. California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 49 shows a California Tool BB2 3/8x7/16 offset box-end wrench with hex openings, probably intended for brake service. The shank is stamped with "Calif-Tool" and the fractional sizes on one side, with the model number and "A. Plomb" on the reverse.

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


California Tool BB2L 3/8x7/16 Long Offset Box-End Wrench

[California Tool BB2L 3/8x7/16 Long Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 50. California Tool BB2L 3/8x7/16 Long Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1920s to 1930s.

Fig. 50 shows a California Tool BB2L 3/8x7/16 long offset box-end wrench with hex openings, probably intended for brake service. The shank is stamped with "Calif-Tool" and the fractional sizes on one side, with the model number and "A. Plomb" on the reverse.

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


California Tool Rare 1/2-Drive 11/16 Double-Hex Socket

[California Tool 1/2-Drive 11/16 Double-Hex Socket]
Fig. 51. California Tool 1/2-Drive 11/16 Double-Hex Socket, with Inset for Broaching, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 51 shows a 1/2-drive California Tool 11/16 double-hex socket, stamped with the CT-Logo and fractional size as "11-16".

The finish is polished steel.

The inset shows the interior of the socket, made using a hot-forging process.

This socket resembles the early production of Thorsen Manufacturing, which was known to have developed a "Techni-Heat" hot-forging process in the early 1930s. Based on the history of CTC as one of Thorsen's distributors, this socket is believed to have been made by Thorsen and private-branded for CTC. See our article on Thorsen Manufacturing for more information.


Carll, Addison B.

In 1913 Addison B. Carll received a patent for a novel reversible adjustable wrench, which featured a sliding jaw that could be removed and reversed to switch between flat or serrated jaws. The Carll wrench design was produced by one or more companies and apparently achieved some degree of popularity, as examples of this tool can be found readily.


Carll Reversible Adjustable Wrench

[Carll Reversible Wrench]
Fig. 52A. Carll Reversible Adjustable Wrench.

Fig. 52A shows a Carll reversible adjustable wrench in its standard flat-jaw position, with the marking "Carll" forged into the shank, and with a "Pat'd May 6 - 13" patent notice on the reverse.

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.

The patent notice corresponds to patent #1,060,891, filed by A.B. Carll in 1912 and issued in 1913.


[Carll Reversible Wrench in Pipe Wrench Position]
Fig. 52B. Carll Reversible Wrench in Pipe Wrench Position.

Fig. 52B shows the Carll wrench with the jaw reversed to operate as a pipe wrench.


C.E. Bonner Manufacturing Company

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

The C.E. Bonner Manufacturing Company was founded in 1904 in Chrisman, Illinois as a maker of wrenches and other tools. A notice published in the January 7, 1904 issue of American Manufacturer listed the founders as C.E. Bonner, George W. Fair, and D.B. Tucker, and noted the capital as $30,000.

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


Bonner "Victor" 15 Inch Pipe Wrench

[Bonner Victor Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 53. Bonner "Victor" 15 Inch Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1904+.

Fig. 53 shows a Bonner "Victor" 15 inch pipe wrench, marked with "Victor" and "Trade Mark" forged into the shank, and with a "Bonner's Pat. 1902 - 1903" forged into the reverse. The sliding jaw is stamped with the patent dates "Pat. Dec. 23, 1902" and "Pat. Aug. 25, 1903" on the side (see middle inset).

The overall length is 15.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.

The first patent date corresponds to patent #716,515, filed by William S. Bonner in 1902 and issued later that year. The second patent date corresponds to patent #737,199, filed by Clarence E. Bonner in 1903 and issued later that year.


Charles Miller Company

The Charles Miller Company (or possibly Charles Miller as an individual) was an early maker of ratchet wrenches and socket sets, with operations in Syracuse, New York. Currently we don't have much information regarding the company, but it was likely in operation by 1905 or shortly thereafter.

In 1907 Charles Miller received several patents for ratchets and socket wrenches, and these patents formed the basis of the Miller socket sets. The first patent was #845,716, filed by C. Miller in 1905 and issued in 1907. It describes a ratchet wrench of simple and inexpensive construction.

The second patent #845,717, also filed by C. Miller in 1905 and issued in 1907, describes a Tee-handle socket wrench.

The third patent describes an alternate form for a ratchet wrench similar to that in patent #845,716. This patent was filed by C. Miller in 1905 and issued as #853,930 in 1907.

Charles Miller appears to have had an association with other early tool companies in the Syracuse area, including the Miller Combination Tool Company, C.M.B. Wrench Company, and Syracuse Wrench Company. Miller Combination Tool produced a socket wrench set based on the 1907 Miller patents #845,716 and #845,717. The similarity of design along with the name in common suggest that Miller Combination Tool was formed to produce the Miller patented designs.

The C.M.B. Wrench Company included Charles Miller as one of its founders (providing the "M" initial), and the company's products were based on later Miller patents for a swivel-headed ratchet.

The Syracuse Wrench Company is believed to have used the 1907 Miller patent #853,930 for the ratchet in one of its socket sets. The early Syracuse Wrench socket sets also used cast malleable iron sockets similar to those in the Miller sets.

We hope to discover more information on Charles Miller and these other early companies. If any of our readers have further information to share, please send us an email.


Charles Miller No. 99 Socket Set

[Charles Miller No. 99 Socket Set]
Fig. 54. Charles Miller No. 99 Socket Set, ca. 1905-1910.

Fig. 54 shows a Charles Miller No. 99 socket set in a wooden box, consisting of a ratchet, extension, sliding Tee head, nine hex sockets, and two square sockets. The set is marked with a paper label on the inside of the lid, reading "No. 99 Set" at the top, followed by "Charles Miller" and "Sole Manufacturer", with "Syracuse New York" on the next line. The remainder of the label offers illustrations of the various tools and combinations in the set.

The drive size for the set is a nominal 5/8 square, with the ratchet providing a 5/8 square opening and the sockets using a 5/8 male drive tang. The female drive openings are fitted with a spring clip to hold the inserted drive stud, except that the top of the sliding Tee head uses a detent ball.

The socket sizes and models in the front row are, from left to right, 1-1/16 (No. 10), 1 Inch (No. 9), 7/8 (No. 8), 13/16 (No. 7), 11/16 (No. 6), 5/8 (No. 5), and 9/16 (No. 6c). The sockets in the back row are, from left to right, 5/8 (No. 5 Square), 1/2 (No. 4 Square), 7/16 (No. 4c), and 1/2 (No. 4). All of the sizes listed above are the nominal service openings; the actual measured sizes are approximately 1/32 larger. The sockets are marked with the model numbers cast into the side, with "Miller" stamped on the drive tang.


Charles Miller 5/8-Drive Ratchet from No. 99 Socket Set

[Charles Miller Ratchet from No. 99 Socket Set]
Fig. 55. Charles Miller Ratchet from No. 99 Socket Set, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1905-1910.

Fig. 55 shows the (unmarked) 5/8-square female drive ratchet from the Charles Miller No. 99 Socket Set.

The overall length is 9.8 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The ratchet consists of a cast malleable steel head holding an 11-tooth drive gear (also of malleable steel) with a nominal 5/8 square opening. The stem of the drive head is hollow to hold a pawl and spring, with a steel rod inserted at the other end as a handle. The small screw on the side of the ratchet head is a retaining screw and fits into a slot in the drive gear.

The drive opening is fitted with a spring clip to hold a socket or extension in place.

Although not marked with a patent notice, this ratchet is covered by patent #845,716, filed by C. Miller in 1905 and issued in 1907.


Charles Miller 5/8-Drive 8 Inch Extension from No. 99 Socket Set

[Charles Miller 5/8-Drive 8 Inch Extension from No. 99 Socket Set]
Fig. 56. Charles Miller 5/8-Drive 8 Inch Extension from No. 99 Socket Set, with Inset for End Detail, ca. 1905-1910.

Fig. 56 shows the unmarked 5/8-drive 8 inch extension from the Charles Miller No. 99 Socket Set.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The inset shows a close-up of the socket drive end of the extension, with a spring clip to hold the socket. (However, the spring clip on this tool is broken.)


Charles Miller 5/8- Drive Sliding Tee Head from No. 99 Socket Set

[Charles Miller 5/8-Drive Sliding Tee Head from No. 99 Socket Set]
Fig. 57. Charles Miller 5/8-Drive Sliding Tee Head from No. 99 Socket Set, with Inset for End Detail, ca. 1905-1910.

Fig. 57 shows the (unmarked) 5/8-drive sliding Tee Head from the Charles Miller No. 99 Socket Set.

The overall length is 2.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The inset shows the drive opening in the cylindrical end, fitted with a spring clip to hold the inserted drive stud.

This tool can be used to make either a fixed offset handle or sliding Tee head. With the extension bar fitted into the ball end and a socket in the cylindrical end, the combination becomes a sliding Tee handle, and the detent ball helps to hold the slider in position. With the extension bar inserted into the cylindrical end and a socket in the ball end, the combination forms a fixed offset handle.


Charles Miller 5/8 Male Drive Sockets from No. 99 Socket Set

[Charles Miller 5/8 Male Drive Hex Sockets from No. 99 Socket Set]
Fig. 58. Charles Miller 5/8 Male Drive Hex Sockets from No. 99 Socket Set, with Inset for Top View, ca. 1905-1910.

Fig. 58 shows two of the 5/8 male drive hex sockets from the Charles Miller No. 99 Socket Set, the No. 8 hex socket on the left and the No. 10 hex socket on the right. The sockets are marked with the model number cast into the side, and with "Miller" stamped at an angle on the drive tang.

The socket sizes were measured at 29/32 (No. 8) and 1-3/32 (No. 10), intended for nominal sizes 7/8 and 1-1/16 respectively, with a 1/32 oversize allowance.

The sockets were made as malleable steel castings, with no post-casting machining except for turning the tops flat. The hollow drive tang is a nominal 5/8 square slightly undersized for clearance; one was measured at 0.60 by 0.61 inches.


Cleveland Wrench Company


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

[Cleveland Wrench Auto-Grip 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Wrench]
Fig. 59. Cleveland Wrench "Auto-Grip" 10 Inch Self-Adjusting Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 59 shows a Cleveland Wrench "Auto-Grip" 10 inch self-adjusting wrench, marked with "Cleveland Wrench Co." and "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Auto-Grip" and "Chrome Alloy" forged into the reverse.

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

The wrench is also marked with a patent notice "Pat. No. 138173", a reference to design patent #D138,173, filed by E. Matthews in 1943 and issued in 1944.


Coes Wrench Company

[1907 Advertisement for Coes Wrench Company]
1907 Advertisement for Coes Wrench Company. [External Link]

The advertisement at the left appeared in Railway Shop Up To Date by Maham H. Haig, published in 1907 by the Crandall Publishing Company.


C.M.B. Wrench Company

The C.M.B. Wrench Company was an early maker of socket sets operating initially in Syracuse, New York. The company was founded in 1909 by W. Barton Coe, Charles Miller, and James J. Boyd, with these three principals providing the "C.M.B." initials for the company's name.

[1909 Notice of Incorporation for C.M.B. Wrench]
1909 Notice of Incorporation for C.M.B. Wrench Company. [External Link]

The brief notice at the left was published on page 1133 of the June 17, 1909 issue of The Iron Trade Review. The text provides the details of the company's incorporation and lists the founders, with the initial capital noted as $15,000. One of the founders, Charles Miller, was an inventor with several patents for ratchets and socket-related tools. Charles Miller was also associated with other tool-related ventures in the Syracuse area, and the interested reader can find further information in the section on the Miller Combination Tool Company and the Charles Miller Company.

[1909 Advertisement for C.M.B. Socket Set]
1909 Advertisement for C.M.B. Socket Set. [External Link]

The advertisement at the left appeared on page 272 of the June 1, 1909 issue of the Automobile Trade Journal, from the date probably only shortly after the company had been organized. The illustration shows the one of the company's socket wrench sets, and the text notes the company address as the Industrial Building in Syracuse.

[1910 Advertisement for Silver King Socket Set]
1910 Advertisement for "Silver King" Socket Set. [External Link]

The advertisement at the left appeared on page 149 of the September 8, 1910 issue of Motor Age. The illustration shows the company's "Silver King" socket set, with the company's name faintly visible on the lid of the box.

By 1913 C.M.B. Wrench had relocated to Garwood, New Jersey, where it remained in operation until at least the early 1920s. A 1915 Industrial Directory of New Jersey noted C.M.B. Wrench with four employees.


Cochran Pipe Wrench Manufacturing Company

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

[1913 Notice for Cochran Speednut Wrench]
1913 Notice for Cochran Speednut Wrench. [External Link]

The notice at the left was published in the July, 1913 issue of Commercial America.


Cochran Speednut Adjustable Wrench

[Cochran Speednut Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 60. Cochran Speednut Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1912-1916.

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

The patent pending notice corresponds to patent #1,181,654, filed by J. Eifel in 1912 and issued in 1916. The Eifel patent actually describes a plier-wrench, with one handle holding a fixed jaw while the other handle pivots to move the sliding jaw. The Cochran design has simplified the tool by eliminating the fixed handle; reaction against the work piece allows the jaws to clamp the nut firmly.

A later patent #1,830,033 issued to J.V. Larson in 1931 appears to describe a very similar tool; its relation to Cochran (if any) is not known.


Crescent Manufacturing Company

The Crescent Manufacturing Company was a maker of automobile accessories, tools, and hardware items, located in New York City and operating during the early part of 20th century.

[1915 Advertisement for Crescent Manufacturing Company]
1915 Advertisement for Crescent Manufacturing Company. [External Link]

The advertisement at the left was published on page 103 of the June 12, 1915 issue of American Artisan and Hardware Record.

A 1918 catalog for the company lists a wide variety of items, including mirrors, grease guns, tire pumps, shock absorbers, automobile bumpers, valve spring compressors, chisels and punches, and socket wrench sets. The company address is given as 129 Reade Street in New York.


Crescent Manufacturing 12 Inch Bearing Scraper

[Crescent Manufacturing 12 Inch Bearing Scraper]
Fig. 61. Crescent Manufacturing 12 Inch Bearing Scraper, with Inset for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1910 to 1920s.

Fig. 61 shows a Crescent Manufacturing 12 inch bearing scraper, stamped with "Crescent Mfg. Co." and "New York, N.Y." on the shank.

The overall length is 12.4 inches, and the finish is polished steel.


Crescent Manufacturing 15/16x1-1/16 Offset Hex Box Wrench

[Crescent Manufacturing 15/16x1-1/16 Offset Hex Box Wrench]
Fig. 62. Crescent Manufacturing 15/16x1-1/16 Offset Hex Box Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1910 to 1920s.

Fig. 62 shows a Crescent Manufacturing hex box wrench with measured openings 15/16 on the straight end and 1-1/16 on the offset end. The wrench is marked with "Crescent Mfg. Co." forged into the shank.

The overall length is 8.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of black paint.

This wrench was probably intended for servicing spark plugs on early automobiles, with the offset end allowing access to a recessed location. The construction appears to be a malleable iron casting.


Crescent Manufacturing No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench"

[Unmarked 11/16-Drive Ratchet Matching No. 5 Crescent Ratchet Wrench]
Fig. 63. Unmarked 11/16-Drive Ratchet Matching No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench", ca. 1910 to 1920.

Fig. 63 shows an unmarked 11/16-drive ratchet, identified as the No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench" by a listing in the 1918 Crescent Manufacturing catalog (see next figure).

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with extensive losses due to wear and rust.

Although not marked with a patent notice, the construction of this ratchet is very similar to the description in the 1907 Miller patent #845,716. Other examples of the Miller patent ratchet are known to have been made by the Miller Combination Tool Company, but it seems likely that Crescent had licensed the patent and adapted the design for their own production.

The three major parts of the ratchet (the body, cover plate, and drive gear) are all made of malleable iron castings.

[Catalog Listing for No. 5 Crescent Ratchet Wrench]
Fig. 64. Catalog Listing for No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench", 1918.

Fig. 64 shows a catalog listing for the No. 5 "Crescent Ratchet Wrench", scanned from the 1918 Crescent Manufacturing catalog. The text notes that the ratchet was designed to work with the pressed-steel sockets offered by Crescent Manufacturing as well as the standard sockets available from Mossberg, Walden, and others.

The construction of the ratchet resembles the style produced by the Miller Combination Tool Company, which were based on the 1907 Charles Miller patent #845,716.


Cronk & Carrier Manufacturing Company

Cronk & Carrier was a maker of pliers, wrenches, and other tools, and operated in Elmira, New York during the early part of the 20th century. Cronk & Carrier was the successor (after 1902) to the Cronk Hangar Company, an earlier company founded by William Cronk in the 1890s. William Cronk was a noted inventor with numerous patents for pliers and other tools.

[1900 Advertisement for Cronk Lineman's Pliers]
1900 Advertisement for Cronk Lineman's Pliers. [External Link]

The Cronk Hanger Company was initially a maker of anti-friction hangers for barn doors, but by 1900 (or earlier) was also producing pliers. The advertisement at the left for Cronk "Telegraph" pliers was published in 1900 in the Volume IV index for Science and Industry. The illustration shows the Cronk No. 80 pliers in a design typical of early lineman's side-cutting pliers, and the text shows prices for sizes from 5 to 8 inches and in both plain and nickel finishes. (Although not noted, the prices shown would be per dozen.)


Cronk Hanger Early 6 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers

[Cronk Hanger Early 6 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers]
Fig. 65. Cronk Hanger Early 6 Inch Button's Pattern Pliers, with Insets for Side View, Construction, and Marking Detail, ca. 1890s.

Fig. 65 shows an early pair of Cronk Hanger 6 inch Button's Pattern pliers, stamped with "Cronk Hanger Co" and "Pat'd June 29, 1886" on the handles (see insets).

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

The patent date refers to patent #344,769, filed by William Cronk in 1885 and issued the following year. The specific patented feature of these pliers are the concave grooves on the inside of the jaws, visible in the left middle inset. According to the patent description, the grooves in the jaw are designed to help grasp nails or close rings of wire. (The patent document and illustration also describe a number of additional features that are not present on these pliers.)


Cronk 6.5 Inch Combination Pliers

[Cronk 6.5 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 66. Cronk 6.5 Inch Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 66 shows a pair of Cronk 6.5 inch combination pliers, stamped with "Cron?" near the pivot.

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

These pliers have a fixed pivot rather than the slip-joint attachment commonly used for combination pliers.


Cronk 10 Inch Fencing Pliers with Button's Cutters

[Cronk 10 Inch Staple-Pulling Pliers]
Fig. 67. Cronk 10 Inch Staple-Pulling Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 67 shows a pair of Cronk 10 inch fencing pliers, incorporating a hammer head and Button's style cutting slot on each side. The pliers are stamped with "Cronk" near the pivot.

The overall length is 10.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

These pliers have the characteristic raised ridges on both sides, used by Cronk's design for grasping staples and cutting wire.


Cronk 8 Inch Staple-Pulling Pliers

[Cronk 8 Inch Staple-Pulling Pliers]
Fig. 68. Cronk 8 Inch Staple-Pulling Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 68 shows a pair of Cronk 8 inch staple-pulling pliers, stamped with the Cronk name (upside-down in the photograph) on the upper handle.

The overall length is 8.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

These pliers have the characteristic raised ridges on both sides, used by Cronk's design for grasping staples and cutting wire. The pliers have another unusual feature with concave and convex surfaces on the inside of the handles just before the pivot, possibly intended for bending wire into staples.

Cronk 8 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers

[Cronk 8 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 69. Cronk 8 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers.

Fig. 69 shows a pair of Cronk 8 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped with the Cronk name and "Elmira, N.Y." near the pivot.

The overall length is 8 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


Cronk 6 Inch Slide-Adjustable Nut Wrench

[Cronk 6 Inch Slide-Adjustable Nit Wrench]
Fig. 70. Cronk 6 Inch Slide-Adjustable Nut Wrench, with Inset for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 70 shows a Cronk 6 inch slide-adjustable nut wrench, stamped with the Cronk name. In addition to the adjustable jaws, the handle is broached with a 7/8 hexagonal opening.

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

The wrench opening can be adjusted by sliding the friction screw in the slot, with the opening sizes ranging from about 1/4 up to 11/16. Once the desired size is set, the friction nut can be tighted to clamp the position.

Although not marked with a patent notice, the design of this wrench is covered by patent #1,041,967, issued to William Cronk on October 22, 1912. The patent document describes an adjustable alligator wrench with an adjustment mechanism consisting of a friction screw sliding in opposing slots.


E.T. Company

The E.T. Company was a maker of pliers operating in Norwalk, Connecticut. Currently the company is known only for the Woodworth patent chain repair pliers shown in the figure below, but we hope to locate other examples of their production.

E.T. Company Woodworth Patent Chain Repair Pliers

[E.T. Company Woodworth Patent Chain Repair Pliers]
Fig. 71. E.T. Company Woodworth Patent Chain Repair Pliers, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 71 shows a pair of E.T. Company chain repair pliers of the Woodworth patent design. The pliers are stamped "E.T. Co. Norwalk CT" with a "Pat. May 4'20" patent date, with "Woodworth" and "Lewiston, ME." stamped on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is polished steel with a thin nickel plating.

The patent date corresponds to patent #1,338,804, filed by D.C. Woodworth in 1919 and issued in 1920.


Eagle Claw Wrench Company

The Eagle Claw Wrench Company operated in Chicago in the 1910s and 1920s, and is best known for a series of plier-wrench tools of the same name.

[1914 Advertisement for Eagle Claw Wrenches]
1914 Advertisement for Eagle Claw Wrenches. [External Link]

The advertisement at the left, published in the January 1914 issue of the Plumbers, Gas and Steam Fitters' Journal, illustrates the various models and sizes of the tools. The text lists the company address as 36 West Randolph Street in Chicago.

Currently we don't have any further information on this company, but the tool (and company) did merit a mention in Kenneth Cope's book American Wrench Makers, 1830-1930 (Second Edition), which shows an advertisement for several sizes of the plier-wrenches.

Eagle Claw 7 Inch Plier-Wrench

[Eagle Claw 7 Inch Plier-Wrench]
Fig. 72. Eagle Claw 7 Inch Plier-Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1912-1920.

Fig. 72 shows an Eagle Claw 7 inch plier-wrench, stamped "Eagle Claw Wrench Co." and "Chicago, U.S.A." on the handle, with a "Pat'd. Feb. 6, 1912" patent date below.

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

The patent date corresponds to patent #1,016,296, filed by J. Schlehr in 1910 and issued in 1912. The patent refers to the tool as a "bolt-holder", and describes a fairly conventional slip-joint plier mechanism but with the jaws arranged to give considerable clamping leverage.


Elgin Tool & Socket Company

The Elgin Tool & Socket Company operated in Elgin, Illinois during the late 19th century, and was best known as the original maker of the "Elgin" adjustable alligator wrench. In 1899 production of the Elgin wrench was assumed by the Star Manufacturing Company.


Elgin Adjustable Alligator Wrench

[Elgin Adjustable Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 73. Elgin Adjustable Alligator Wrench, ca. Late 1890s to Early 1900s.

Fig. 73 shows an Elgin adjustable alligator wrench, stamped "The Elgin" and "Pat. June 8, '97" on the handle.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is polished nickel, with some losses due to rust.

The patent date refers to patent #584,019, filed by H.A. Smith in 1896 and issued on the noted date.


Erie Tool Works

The Erie Tool Works operated in Erie, Pennsylvania as a maker of pipe wrenches, adjustable wrenches, vises, and other tools.

[1905 Advertisement for Erie Tool Works Pipe Vise]
1905 Advertisement for Erie Tool Works Pipe Vise. [External Link]

The advertisement at the left was published on page 8 of the August 26, 1905 issue of Domestic Engineering.

[1921 Advertisement for Erie Tool Works]
1921 Advertisement for Erie Tool Works. [External Link]

The advertisement at the left was published on page 60 of the July 1921 issue of American Exporter.


Erie Tool Works No. 10 Automatic Pipe Wrench

[Erie Tool Works No. 10 Automatic Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 74. Erie Tool Works No. 10 Automatic Pipe Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 74 shows an Erie Tool Works No. 10 automatic pipe wrench, marked with "Erie Tool Works" and "Erie, PA U.S.A." forged into the shank, with "Auto No 10" forged into the reverse.

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


Fawsco Wrench Company

The Fawsco Wrench Company was a maker of automotive service tools operating in New York City from around 1915 until about 1930. The company is believed to have been founded by Julian H. Faw, an inventor with several tool patents.


Fawsco 1085 5/8 Offset Socket Wrench

[Fawsco 1085 5/8 Offset Socket Wrench]
Fig. 75. Fawsco 1085 5/8 Offset Socket Wrench, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail.

Fig. 75 shows a Fawsco 1085 5/8 offset socket wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the model and fractional size.

The overall length is 10.2 inches. The finish is plain steel with some of the original black paint.

The socket size and distinctive offset in the shank suggest that this wrench was probably designed for servicing the infamous 4th connecting rod of the Model T Ford.


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