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Open-End Wrenches

Plomb offered a broad selection of open-end wrenches, with sizes ranging from a 13/64 ignition wrench up to a 1-1/2 x 1-5/8 behemoth. The standard double open-end configuration had 15-degree offsets for the ends, but some of the specialty wrench configurations had 60-degree or 75-degree offsets for one head.

3018 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Model 3018 wrench, the smallest tool in the series.

[Plomb 3018 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 32. Plomb 3018 1/4x5/16 "War Finish" Open-End Wrench, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 32 at the left shows a Plomb 3018 1/4x5/16 open-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo and an "AC" code, and with "War Finish" stamped on the face.

The overall length is 3.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel. A small amount of clear lacquer can be seen on the face at the left, probably added at the factory to help prevent rust.

[Plomb 3018 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 33. Plomb 3018 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 33 at the left shows a slightly later Plomb 3018 wrench in the pebbled style, marked "Mfd. U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo on the reverse. (The inset for the reverse has been left in its natural inverted orientation.)

The overall length is 3.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

3020 5/16x3/8 Open-End Wrenches

[Plomb 3020 5/16x3/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 34. Plomb 3020 5/16x3/8 Open-End Wrench, 1932.

Fig. 34 at the left shows an early Plomb 3020 5/16x3/8 open-end wrench, marked "Los Angeles" with the PLOMB (round-O) logo and a "2A" date code for 1932.

The overall length is 3.9 inches, and the finish is polished steel.

[Plomb 3020 5/16x3/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 35. Plomb 3020 5/16x3/8 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1939-1945.

Fig. 35 shows a later Plomb 3020 open-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo and an "AB" code.

The overall length is 3.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

[Plomb 3020 5/16x3/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 36. Plomb 3020 5/16x3/8 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 36 shows another later Plomb 3020 open-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

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

3021 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrenches

[Plomb 3021 Open-End Wrenches]
Fig. 37. Plomb 3021 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrenches Showing Four Generations, with Inset, 1936 to 1948.

Fig. 37 shows four generations of the Plomb model 3021 3/8 x 7/16 open-end wrench, covering the time span from 1936 to 1948.

The wrenches are, from the bottom, a 1936 model marked "L.A." with the PLVMB logo and a date code of "6E", a 1940 model marked "Made in U.S.A." with date code "0D", a shorter model from 1943-1945 also marked "Made in U.S.A.", and finally a pebbled wrench from 1945-1948 marked "Mfd. U.S.A." (see inset).

Note the changes in the overall length of these wrenches, with the earlier models measuring 5.1 inches and the later two models 4.3 inches.

In addition to the changes in overall length, the finish also changed over these years; the earlier two models are in polished but unplated steel, while the later two wrenches have a polished faces but an unfinished shaft. The pebbled wrench also differs with its plated chrome finish.


3025 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench

The next figures show two generations of the Plomb 3025 wrench.

[Plomb 3025 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 38. Plomb 3025 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1939-1945.

Fig. 38 shows an earlier Plomb model 3025 7/16x1/2 open-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 4.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

[Plomb 3025 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 39. Plomb 3025 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 39 shows a later Plomb model 3025 7/16x1/2 open-end wrench in the pebbled style, marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "MFD. U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 5.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


3026 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Plomb 3026 wrench, beginning with an early example from 1932.

[Plomb 3026 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 40. Plomb 3026 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, 1932.

Fig. 40 shows an early Plomb 3026 1/2x9/16 open-end wrench, stamped "PLOMB" (with a round "O") and "Los Angeles", with a "2B" date code for 1932.

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

[Plomb 3026 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 41. Plomb 3026 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, 1933.

Fig. 41 shows another early Plomb 3026 1/2x9/16 open-end wrench, stamped "PLOMB" (with a round "O") and "Los Angeles", with a "3B" date code for 1933.

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

[Plomb 3026 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 42. Plomb 3026 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 42 shows a later Plomb 3026 open-end wrench in the pebbled style, marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "Mfd. U.S.A." and the model number forged into the reverse. (The inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 5.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


3027 1/2x19/32 Open-End Wrench

[Plomb 3027 1/2x19/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 43. Plomb 3027 1/2x19/32 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 43 shows a Plomb model 3027 1/2x19/32 open-end wrench in the pebbled style, marked "Mfd. U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo on the reverse. (The inset for the reverse has been left in its natural inverted orientation.)

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


3030 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show several generations of the Plomb 3030 wrench, beginning with an early example from 1933.

[Plomb 3030 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 44. Plomb 3030 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench, 1933.

Fig. 44 shows an early Plomb 3030 9/16x5/8 open-end wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" with the PLOMB (round-O) logo and a "3A" date code for 1933.

The overall length is 6.2 inches. The finish is polished steel, with some pitting due to rust.

[Plomb 3030 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 45. Plomb 3030 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench, 1936.

Fig. 45 shows a Plomb 3030 9/16x5/8 open-end wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" with the PLVMB logo and a "6D" date code for 1936.

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

[Plomb 3030 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 46. Plomb 3030 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 46 shows a later Plomb 3030 9/16x5/8 open-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo and a "KC" code.

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

In addition to the plain steel finish, the faces of this wrench have a rough texture with faint machining marks, suggesting production during the wartime years.

[Plomb 3030 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 47. Plomb 3030 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 47 shows a later Plomb 3030 open-end wrench in the pebble style, marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "MFD. U.S.A." and the model number forged into the reverse. (The inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 6.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


3034 5/8x11/16 Open-End Wrenches

[Plomb 3034 5/8x11/16 Open-End Wrenches]
Fig. 48. Plomb 3034 5/8x11/16 Open-End Wrenches, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

In Fig. 48 we show two generations of the Plomb model 3034 5/8x11/16 open-end wrench. The bottom wrench is marked "Made in U.S.A." with a code "GC", and the top wrench is a pebble-style model marked "Mfd. U.S.A." on the reverse. The inset for the top reverse has been left upside-down, as it appears when the wrench is turned over.

The overall lengths of the wrenches are noticeably different, measuring 7.9 inches and 7.4 inches for the bottom and top, respectively.

Both wrenches are finished in chrome plating with polished ends.


[Plomb 3034 5/8x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 49. Plomb 3034 5/8x11/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 49 shows another example of the Plomb model 3034 in the pebbled version, marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "Made in U.S.A." and the model number forged into the reverse. (The inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 7.1 inches. The finish is plain steel with some pitting due to rust.


3036 11/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench

[Plomb 3036 11/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 50. Plomb 3036 11/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 50 at the left shows a Plomb 3036 11/16x7/8 open-end wrench in the pebbled style, marked "Mfd. U.S.A." on the reverse.

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


3037 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench

[Plomb 3037 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 51. Plomb 3037 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench, 1939-1945.

Fig. 51 shows an example of a less common size, a Plomb model 3037 11/16x25/32 open-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with an "EC" code.

The overall length is 7.9 inches. The finish is a thin chrome plating, now worn off in some areas.


3040 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench

[Plomb 3040 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 52. Plomb 3040 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, 1945-1948.

Fig. 52 shows a Plomb 3040 13/16x7/8 open-end wrench in the pebbled style, marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional sizes forged into the pebbled background, with "Mfd. U.S.A." and the sizes forged into the reverse. (The inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with some losses due to wear.


3041 7/8x1-1/16 Open-End Wrenches

The next pair of figures illustrate two generations of the Plomb 3041 wrench, beginning with an example from the USA Period.

[Plomb 3041 7/8x1-1/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 53. Plomb 3041 7/8x1-1/16 Open-End Wrench, 1939-1945.

Fig. 53 shows an earlier Plomb model 3041 7/8x1-1/16 open-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 11.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.

[Plomb 3041 7/8x1-1/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 54. Plomb 3041 7/8x1-1/16 Pebbled Open-End Wrench, 1945-1948.

Fig. 54 shows the pebbled version, the Plomb model 3041 wrench marked "Mfd. U.S.A." on the reverse. (The inset has been left upside-down, as it would appear if the wrench is turned over.)

The overall length is 10.4 inches, somewhat shorter than the previous example.

The finish is chrome plating, though missing in some areas due to rust and abrasion.


3050 1-1/16x1-1/8 Open-End Wrench

[Plomb 3050 1-1/16x1-1/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 55. Plomb 3050 1-1/16x1-1/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 55 shows a fine example of a larger pebble-style model, a Plomb model 3050 1-1/16x1-1/8 open-end wrench. The wrench is marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional sizes forged into the shank, with the model number, fractional sizes, and "Mfd. U.S.A." forged into the reverse. (The inset has been left in the original orientation.)

The overall length is 12.7 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


3055 1-1/4x1-5/16 Open-End Wrench

[Plomb 3055 1-1/4x1-5/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 56. Plomb 3055 1-1/4x1-5/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 56 shows another of the larger pebble-style models, a Plomb 3055 1-1/4x1-5/16 open-end wrench. The wrench is marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional sizes forged into the shank, with the model number, fractional sizes, and "Mfd. U.S.A." forged into the reverse. (The inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 14.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


Ignition Wrenches

Ignition wrenches are a subset of open-end wrenches and typically feature thin construction and offset openings. Plomb produced two styles of open-end ignition wrenches, an older 32xx series and a later 33xx series.


3211 Midget Open-End Wrench

[Plomb 3211 13/64x15/64 Ignition Wrench]
Fig. 57. Plomb 3211 13/64x15/64 Ignition Wrench, 1943-1945.

Fig. 57 at the left shows a Plomb 3211 13/64x15/64 ignition wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 3.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The 32xx ignition wrench series (the Plomb catalogs called them "Midget O.E." wrenches) featured 15- and 60-degree offsets with different sizes on each end. Each wrench then had a paired model with the same opening sizes, but with the opposite offset angles. The paired model for this wrench was the Plomb 3210.


3216 Midget Open-End Wrench

[Plomb 3216 7/32x1/4 Ignition Wrench]
Fig. 58. Plomb 3216 7/32x1/4 Ignition Wrench, 1943-1945.

Fig. 58 at the left shows a Plomb 3216 7/32x1/4 ignition wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 3.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The paired model for this wrench was the Plomb 3215.


3220 Midget Open-End Wrench

[Plomb 3220 9/32x5/16 Ignition Wrench]
Fig. 59. Plomb 3220 9/32x5/16 Ignition Wrench, with Inset for "War Finish", 1943-1945.

Fig. 59 at the left shows a Plomb model 3220 9/32x5/16 ignition wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with "War Finish" on the reverse.

The overall length is 3.5 inches.

The paired model for this wrench was the Plomb 3221.


3226 Midget Open-End Wrenches

[Plomb 3226 11/32x3/8 Ignition Wrench]
Fig. 60. Plomb 3226 11/32x3/8 Ignition Wrench, ca. 1933-1939.

Fig. 60 at the left shows an early Plomb model 3226 11/32x3/8 ignition wrench, marked "L.A." with the PLVMB logo.

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

The paired model for this wrench was the Plomb 3225.

[Plomb 3226 11/32x3/8 Ignition Wrench]
Fig. 61. Plomb 3226 11/32x3/8 Ignition Wrench, 1941.

Fig. 61 at the left shows a somewhat later Plomb 3226 ignition wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo and a "1C" date code.

The overall length is 3.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


3320 Electrical Open-End Wrenches

The next several figures show a slightly different style of ignition wrench, called "Electrical O.E." by the Plomb catalogs. These wrenches were designed with equal-sized openings, but set at different offset angles of 15 and 75 degrees.

[Plomb 3320 5/16 Electrical Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 62. Plomb 3320 5/16 Electrical Open-End Wrench, 1939-1948.

Fig. 62 at the left shows a Plomb model 3320 5/16 electrical open-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 3.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

[Plomb 3320 5/16 Electrical Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 63. Plomb 3320 5/16 Electrical Open-End Wrench, ca. 1945.

Fig. 63 at the left shows another Plomb 3320 wrench but with a panelled shank, marked with just the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 3.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel with a black oxide coating.

The unusual panelled design of this wrench may have been an early variant of the pebbled style, introduced in 1945 and used through 1948.


3322 Electrical Open-End Wrench

[Plomb 3322 11/32 Electrical Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 64. Plomb 3322 11/32 Electrical Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, 1943-1945.

Fig. 64 at the left shows another example of the "Electrical O.E." style, a Plomb model 3322 11/32 ignition wrench marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo, and with "War Finish" on the reverse.

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


3336 9/16x9/16 Electrical Open-End Wrench

[Plomb 3322 9/16x9/16 Electrical Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 65. Plomb 3336 9/16x9/16 Electrical Open-End Wrench, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 65 shows a Plomb 3336 9/16x9/16 "Electrical Open-End" ignition wrench, stamped "MFD. U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 5.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Tappet Wrenches

Tappet wrenches are another important subset of open-end wrenches, typically intended for adjusting the lock nuts on valve tappets. These wrenches feature thin construction with longer handles.


3425 7/16x1/2 Tappet Wrench

[Plomb 3425 7/16x1/2 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 66. Plomb 3425 7/16x1/2 Tappet Wrench, 1939-1945.

Fig. 66 at the left shows a Plomb model 3425 7/16x1/2 tappet wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


3426 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrenches

The next figures show three generations of the Plomb 3426 tappet wrench.

[Plomb 3426 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 67. Plomb 3426 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench, 1932.

Fig. 67 shows an early Plomb model 3426 1/2x9/16 tappet wrench, stamped with the PLOMB (round-O) logo and "Los Angeles", and with a "2A" date code for 1932.

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

[Plomb 3426 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 68. Plomb 3426 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench, 1939-1945.

Fig. 68 at the left shows a Plomb model 3426 1/2x9/16 tappet wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

[Plomb 3426 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 69. Plomb 3426 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench, 1945-1948.

Fig. 69 shows a later model Plomb 3426 1/2x9/16 tappet wrench, marked "MFD. U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

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


3430 9/16x5/8 Tappet Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Plomb 3430 wrench.

[Plomb 3430 9/16x5/8 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 70. Plomb 3430 9/16x5/8 Tappet Wrench, 1933.

Fig. 70 shows an early Plomb 3430 9/16x5/8 tappet wrench, stamped "PLOMB Los Angeles" with a "3A" date code for 1933.

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

[Plomb 3430 9/16x5/8 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 71. Plomb 3430 9/16x5/8 Tappet Wrench, 1938.

Fig. 71 shows a somewhat later Plomb 3430 9/16x5/8 tappet wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" with the PLVMB logo, and with a date code of "8A" for 1938.

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


3435 11/16x3/4 Tappet Wrench

[Plomb 3435 11/16x3/4 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 72. Plomb 3435 11/16x3/4 Tappet Wrench, ca. 1939-1948.

Fig. 72 shows a Plomb model 3435 11/16x3/4 tappet wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


3440 13/16x7/8 Tappet Wrench

[Plomb 3440 13/16x7/8 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 73. Plomb 3440 13/16x7/8 Tappet Wrench, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 73 shows a Plomb model 3440 13/16x7/8 tappet wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel with some pitting due to rust. The faces show faint traces from the machining process, indicating that the faces weren't polished; this suggests a wartime manufacturing date.


Single-Open Wrenches

The previous figures have shown double-open end wrenches, the most common and most popular style. Plomb also produced single-open wrenches in a style often called engineer's wrenches, although these are not listed in the standard Plomb catalogs and may have been special order tools.


3542 1-5/16 Single-Open Engineer's Wrench

[Plomb 3542 1-5/16 Single-Open Engineer's Wrench]
Fig. 74. Plomb 3542 1-5/16 Single-Open Engineer's Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1942-1945.

Fig. 74 shows an example of a single-open model, a Plomb 3542 1-5/16 engineer's wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 12.0 inches. The finish is cadmium plating, indicating a likely manufacturing date in 1942-1945.

The inset shows a side view of the wrench, to illustrate the massive head and rugged construction of the wrench.


Box-End Wrenches

Plomb produced a variety of box-end wrenches, in flat, offset, and deep patterns and in a range of lengths as well. The most commonly seen box wrenches are those in the 11xx series, a style with angled but not offset box ends. Other models include the offset 818x series and short offset 816x series.


1120 5/16x3/8 Box-End Wrench

We'll turn now to the standard angled box-end 11xx wrenches, beginning with the smallest wrench of the series.

[Plomb 1120 5/16x3/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 75. Plomb 1120 5/16x3/8 Box-End Wrench, 1939-1945.

Fig. 75 shows a Plomb model 1120 5/16x3/8 box-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 4.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


1122 3/8x7/16 Box-End Wrenches

The next figures show several generations of the Plomb 1122 box wrench.

[Plomb 1122 3/8x7/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 76. Plomb 1122 3/8x7/16 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1938.

Fig. 76 shows an earlier Plomb model 1122 3/8x7/16 box-end wrench, stamped with the PLVMB logo and an "8B" date code for 1938.

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

The inset shows a side view of the wrench, illustrating the angled box ends of the Plomb box wrench style.

[Plomb 1122 3/8x7/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 77. Plomb 1122 3/8x7/16 Box-End Wrench, 1939-1945.

Fig. 77 shows a slighty later Plomb model 1122 box wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 4.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.

[Plomb 1122 3/8x7/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 78. Plomb 1122 3/8x7/16 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1945-1948.

Fig. 78 shows a later Plomb model 1122 wrench in the pebble style, marked with the model number and "Mfd. U.S.A." forged into the shank, with the PLVMB logo on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


1126 1/2x9/16 Box-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the model 1126 box wrench.

[Plomb 1126 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 79. Plomb 1126 1/2x9/16 Box-End Wrench, 1939.

The earlier model is shown in Fig. 79, a Plomb model 1126 1/2x9/16 box-end wrench marked with PLVMB and "Los Angeles", and with a "9A" date code for 1939.

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

[Plomb 1126 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 80. Plomb 1126 1/2x9/16 Box-End Wrench, 1941.

Fig. 80 shows a slightly later Plomb model 1126 wrench, marked PLVMB and "Made in U.S.A." with a "1D" date code for 1941.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


1127 1/2x19/32 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 1127 1/2x19/32 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 81. Plomb 1127 1/2x19/32 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1945-1948.

Fig. 81 shows a Plomb model 1127 box-end wrench in the pebbled style, marked "MFD. U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench, illustrating the design used by Plomb for its box-end wrenches. Note that the shank joins the box at its top surface, and that the box projects below the bottom of the shank.


1130 9/16x5/8 Box-End Wrenches

[Plomb 1130 9/16x5/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 82. Plomb 1130 9/16x5/8 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1935.

Fig. 82 shows an earlier Plomb 1130 9/16x5/8 box-end wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" with the PLVMB logo and a "5B" date code for 1935.

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

[Plomb 1130 9/16x5/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 83. Plomb 1130 9/16x5/8 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1941.

Fig. 83 shows a somewhat later Plomb 1130 9/16x5/8 box-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo and a "1C" date code for 1941.

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


1131 5/8x3/4 Box-End Wrenches

[Plomb 1131 5/8x3/4 Box-End Wrenches]
Fig. 84. Plomb 1131 5/8x3/4 Box-End Wrenches, with Inset for Top Reverse, 1945-1948.

Fig. 84 presents two generations of the Plomb model 1131 5/8x3/4 box-end wrench, a flat shank example on the bottom with a pebble-style wrench on top. The bottom wrench is marked "Made in U.S.A.", and the top example is marked "Mfd. U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 9.0 inches for both examples.

Both wrenches have a satin-finish chrome plating. The bottom wrench would have a nominal date range of 1939-1945, but the chrome finish suggests a 1945 manufacturing date.


1134 5/8x11/16 Box-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Plomb 1134 wrench.

[Plomb 1134 5/8x11/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 85. Plomb 1134 5/8x11/16 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1936.

Fig. 85 shows an earlier Plomb 1134 5/8x11/16 box-end wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" with the PLVMB logo and a "6E" date code for 1936.

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

[Plomb 1134 5/8x11/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 86. Plomb 1134 5/8x11/16 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1945-1948.

Fig. 86 shows a later Plomb 1134 5/8x11/16 box-end wrench in the pebble style, marked "Mfd. U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo on the reverse.

The overall length is 9.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


1135 11/16x3/4 Box-End Wrench

The next figures show two generations of the Plomb 1135 wrench.

[Plomb 1135 11/16x3/4 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 87. Plomb 1135 11/16x3/4 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1939-1945.

Fig. 87 shows a Plomb 1135 11/16x3/4 box-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo and an "AC" code.

The overall length is 10.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

[Plomb 1135 11/16x3/4 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 88. Plomb 1135 11/16x3/4 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1945-1948.

Fig. 88 shows a later Plomb 1135 11/16x3/4 box-end wrench in the pebbled style, marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "Made in U.S.A." and the model number forged into the reverse. (The lower inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 10.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


1136 11/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 1136 11/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 89. Plomb 1136 11/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1945-1948.

Fig. 89 shows a Plomb 1136 11/16x7/8 box-end wrench in the pebble style, marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "Mfd. U.S.A." and the model number forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 10.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


1140 13/16x7/8 Box-End Wrenches

[Plomb 1140 13/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 90. Plomb 1140 13/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench, 1940.

Fig. 90 shows a Plomb 1140 13/16x7/8 box-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo and a "0A" date code for 1940.

The overall length is 12.2 inches, and the finish is polished steel.

[Plomb 1140 13/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 91. Plomb 1140 13/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 91 shows a later Plomb 1140 13/16x7/8 box wrench in the pebbled style, marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "Made in U.S.A." and the model number forged into the reverse. (The inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 12.2 inches.


1141 7/8x1-1/16 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 1141 7/8x1-1/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 92. Plomb 1141 7/8x1-1/16 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 92 shows a Plomb 1141 7/8x1-1/16 box-end wrench in the pebbled style, marked with "Made in U.S.A." and the fractional sizes forged into the shank, with the PLVMB logo forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 14.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


1145 15/16x1 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 1145 15/16x1 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 93. Plomb 1145 15/16x1 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 93 shows a Plomb 1145 15/16x1 box wrench in the pebbled style, marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "MFD. U.S.A." and the model number forged into the reverse. (The lower inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 14.0 inches. The finish is chrome plating, but with extensive losses due to wear and rust.


1147 15/16x1-1/16 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 1147 15/16x1-1/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 94. Plomb 1147 15/16x1-1/16 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 94 shows a Plomb 1147 15/16x1-1/16 box wrench in the pebbled style, marked with "Mfd. U.S.A." and the fractional sizes forged into the shank, with the PLVMB logo forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 15.0 inches. The finish is chrome plating, with some loss and discoloration due to rust.


1151 1-1/16x1-1/4 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 1151 1-1/16x1-1/4 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 95. Plomb 1151 1-1/16x1-1/4 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, 1945-1948.

Fig. 95 shows an example of a larger pebble-style wrench, a Plomb 1151 1-1/16x1-1/4 box wrench marked "Mfd. U.S.A." on one side, with the PLVMB logo on the reverse. (The bottom inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 17.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


1161 1-1/4x1-7/16 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 1161 1-1/4x1-7/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 96. Plomb 1161 1-1/4x1-7/16 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, 1939-1945.

Fig. 96 shows a Plomb 1161 1-1/4x1-7/16 box wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo and a "CC" code.

The overall length is 18.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


1162 1-7/16x1-1/2 Box-End Wrenches

The next figures show three generations of the Plomb 1162 box wrench.

[Plomb 1162 1-7/16x1-1/2 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 97. Plomb 1162 1-7/16x1-1/2 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, 1934.

Fig. 97 shows an earlier Plomb 1162 1-7/16x1-1/2 box wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" with the PLVMB logo, and with a "4D" date code for 1934.

The overall length is 20.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

[Plomb 1162 1-7/16x1-1/2 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 98. Plomb 1162 1-7/16x1-1/2 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1939-1945.

Fig. 98 shows a somewhat later Plomb 1162 1-7/16x1-1/2 box wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 21.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

[Plomb 1162 1-7/16x1-1/2 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 99. Plomb 1162 1-7/16x1-1/2 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 99 shows a later Plomb 1162 1-7/16x1-1/2 box wrench in the pebble style, marked with "MFD. U.S.A." and the model number forged into the pebbled panel, with the PLVMB logo forged into the reverse. (The lower inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 20.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


1163 1-7/16x1-5/8 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 1163 1-7/16x1-5/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 100. Plomb 1163 1-7/16x1-5/8 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 100 shows a Plomb 1163 1-7/16x1-5/8 box wrench in the pebbled style, marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "MFD. U.S.A." and the model number forged into the reverse. (The lower inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 22.4 inches. The original finish was likely chrome plating, but has been lost due to rust.


Early Offset Box-End Wrenches: The Wilpen Mystery

Plomb's original design for box-end wrenches featured a flat profile, with the box ends angled slightly but not offset. Sometimes it's desirable to have an offset wrench for access to recessed nuts, and in the early 1930s the Plomb catalogs started offering a new line of offset box wrenches, the 818x series. The new wrenches were offered in six models, ranging in size from 3/8x7/16 (model 8180) up through 15/16x1 (model 8185).

The figures below will show some examples of these wrenches, but first we need to provide some background on the unusual and interesting history of the 818x wrench series. Instead of being introduced as new Plomb models, the wrenches were actually offered in 1933 under the brand name "Wilpen", with the catalog listing them as "Wilpen Chrome Molybdenum Box Wrenches". Plomb used the Wilpen name in catalogs until at least 1936, and the wrenches themselves were marked Wilpen, with no Plomb name or logo, until early to mid 1940.

The origin of the "Wilpen" name itself is a mystery, as the catalogs offered no background or explanation. It could be a place name or a person's name, but no trademark or company references to Wilpen have been found in an extensive search.

In addition to the unexpected name, the 818x wrenches were offered at extremely low prices as well, at least when compared with similar tools in the Plomb line. For example, in 1933 the model 8181 Wilpen wrench had a mechanic's net price of just $0.44, compared to $0.95 for the same-sized Plomb 1126 (old AD89) box wrench.

Finally, the Wilpen wrenches came with a bright cadmium finish, a departure from the polished steel finish favored by Plomb at the time. These differences in the name, design, price, and finish strongly suggest that the wrenches might have been made for Plomb by a contractor, but (until now) no credible connection has been made to their origin or maker.

One last factor adds to the air of mystery, which is that Wilpen-marked wrenches are somewhat hard to find, making them more difficult to study. Fortunately though we have been able to acquire several examples of the Wilpen wrenches, and will present them in the figures below.


Wilpen 8182 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrenches

We'll begin with two examples of the Wilpen 8182 model.

[Wilpen 8182 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 101. Wilpen 8182 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, 1933.

Fig. 101 shows a Wilpen 8182 5/8x11/16 offset box-end wrench, stamped "U.S.A." and "Chrome Molybdenum" with a "3C" date code for 1933.

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

[Wilpen 8182 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 102. Wilpen 8182 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Profile View, 1936.

Fig. 102 shows a somewhat later Wilpen 8182 offset box wrench, stamped "U.S.A." and "Chrome Molyb." with a "6B" date code for 1936.

The overall length is 10.1 inches.

The upper inset shows a profile view of the wrench and helps to illustrate some significant differences in construction from the Plomb box wrenches.

After a careful study of the construction details of these wrenches, and comparison with other period examples, we can now offer a plausible explanation for the origin and maker of the Wilpen wrenches. In order to establish some supporting evidence, we need to look at the activities of a Plomb competitor, although not one of the companies generally regarded as direct competition.

In the early 1930s Western Auto Supply, a retailer of automobile accessories and tools, had begun offering high-quality alloy steel mechanic's tools at very low prices, even by the standards of the depressed economy. Included among these tools were a group of offset box-end wrenches, offered in six models in a range of sizes, and with the same sizes as those for the six Wilpen wrench models.

By 1936 the Western Auto top-of-the-line tools had been given the ChromeXQuality brand name, and the catalog described them as chrome-molybdenum or chrome-vanadium steel tools with a lifetime guarantee. The table below shows a comparison of the models and prices for the Plomb Wilpen wrenches (from catalog 15-A of 1936) with the ChromeXQuality box-end wrenches (from a 1937 catalog).

Model Description Wilpen Price ChromeXQuality Price
8180 3/8 x 7/16 0.48 0.42
8181 1/2 x 9/16 0.52 0.46
8182 5/8 x 11/16 0.55 0.48
8183 3/4 x 25/32 0.58 0.54
8184 13/16 x 7/8 0.64 0.62
8185 15/16 x 1 0.68 0.69

As the prices in the table show, the Plomb Wilpen wrenches were offered at prices comparable to the Western Auto wrenches, even slightly lower in one case, and in any event much lower than for similar-sized Plomb box wrenches.

Of course, a comparison of sizes and prices wouldn't mean anything unless the tools themselves were very similar, and for that we turn to the next figure.

Fig. 103 below shows a comparison of the Wilpen 8182 with the corresponding 5/8x11/16 ChromeXQuality wrench. As the photograph shows, the wrenches are nearly identical in dimension and design. Note particularly the details of the forging where the offset shank joins the box end; the shank joins the box near the middle, and widens into a flange reaching part way around the box.


[Comparison of Wilpen and ChromeXQuality Wrenches]
Fig. 103. Comparison of Wilpen (Bottom) and ChromeXQuality (Top) Wrenches.

The ChromeXQuality comparison wrench here was produced by Duro/Indestro, and is shown in detail in our ChromeXQuality 5/8x11/16 Wrench figure. Note however that other ChromeXQuality tools were produced by Vlchek and Herbrand, and with a sample of just one Wilpen wrench, we can't rule out the possibility that Plomb might have used other suppliers as well.

Wilpen 8183 Offset Box-End Wrench

The next three figures show a series of Wilpen wrenches, acquired together and all showing date codes for 1935. These wrenches were part of a large collection of Plomb tools that had apparently seen very little use over 70+ years.

The wrenches are very similar in design and construction to the previous example, but have a few surprises to be discussed below.

[Wilpen 8183 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 104. Wilpen 8183 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Profile View, 1935.

The first of the 1935 series is shown in Fig. 104, a Wilpen model 8183 3/4x25/32 offset box-end wrench, marked "U.S.A." and "Chrome Molybdenum" with a "5A" date code for 1935. The overall length is 11.5 inches.

The finish of this wrench is chrome plating with polished ends, an unexpected feature for wrenches advertised as having a cadmium finish. We'll discuss this further after examining the other two examples.

This 8183 model closely resembles the ChromeXQuality 3/4x25/32 Wrench, but the 1935 date code indicates somewhat earlier production than the ChromeXQuality example.


Wilpen 8184 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Wilpen 8184 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 105. Wilpen 8184 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Profile View, 1935.

Fig. 105 shows a Wilpen 8184 13/16x7/8 offset box wrench, marked "U.S.A." and "Chrome Molybdenum" with a "5B" date code for 1935.

The overall length is 12.8 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

Wilpen 8185 Offset Box-End Wrenches

The next figures show several examples of the Wilpen 8185, the largest of the Wilpen wrenches.

[Wilpen 8185 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 106. Wilpen 8185 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Profile View, 1935.

The earliest example is shown in Fig. 106, a Wilpen 8185 15/16x1 offset box-end wrench, marked "U.S.A." and "Chrome Molybdenum" with a "5B" date code for 1935. The overall length is 14.5 inches.

The shank of this wrench shows the expected dull gray cadmium finish, but the box ends reveal a surprising detail: the soft cadmium has worn away to expose a polished chrome finish underneath! The photograph doesn't capture this very well, but the left hand box in the inset shows the cadmium (on the right) giving way to polished chrome on the left.

This 8185 model closely resembles the ChromeXQuality 15/16x1 Wrench, but the 1935 date code indicates somewhat earlier production than the ChromeXQuality example.

[Wilpen 8185 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 107. Wilpen 8185 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Profile View, 1936.

Fig. 107 at the left shows a slightly later Wilpen 8185 wrench, marked "U.S.A." and "Chrome Molyb." with an "6D" date code for 1936.

The overall length is 14.5 inches. The finish is plain steel on the shank, with some traces of chrome plating on the polished box ends.

The wrench shows only minor differences from the previous example, with an abbreviated marking for molybdenum.

[Wilpen 8185 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 108. Wilpen 8185 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Profile View, 1938.

Fig. 108 shows another later Wilpen 8185 wrench, marked "U.S.A." and "Chrome Molyb." with an "8A" date code for 1938.

The overall length is 14.5 inches. The finish is plain steel with polished box ends, but no trace of the likely original cadmium plating.

This wrench again shows only minor differences from the previous examples, with the markings placed on the opposite side of the shank and an abbreviation for molybdenum.

To generalize from the examples here, the abbreviated marking for molybdenum was apparently used in 1936 and later.


The Transition from Wilpen to Plomb

Plomb Tool offered Wilpen-marked wrenches for some years, but later dropped the Wilpen name and began marking the wrenches with the standard PLVMB logo. The next two figures explore the timing of this change with date-coded examples from 1940, suggesting mid-1940 as the crossover date.


Wilpen 8180 Offset Box-End Wrench with 1940 Date Code

[Wilpen 8180 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 109. Wilpen 8180 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Profile View, 1940.

Our first 1940 example is shown in Fig. 109, a Wilpen 8180 3/8x7/16 offset box wrench marked "Made in U.S.A." and "Chrome Molyb.", with a "0A" date code for 1940.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel with possible traces of cadmium plating.

The construction of this wrench closely resembles the earlier Wilpen models, with the convex offset bends, but we don't have an exact match for comparison to either the early Wilpen or ChromeXQuality models.

The markings have changed slightly from the earlier examples, with "Made in U.S.A." instead of just the "U.S.A." mark.

Plomb 8183 Offset Box-End Wrench with 1940 Date Code

Our next example for 1940 is a broken wrench, something we ordinarily wouldn't consider for display. However, this tool is still serviceable for at least the task at hand, which is to illustrate markings and construction styles of the time.

[Plomb 8183 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 110. Plomb 8183 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Profile View, 1940.

Fig. 110 shows a Plomb 8183 3/4x25/32 offset box-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." and "Chrome Molyb." with the PLVMB logo, and with a "0C" date code for 1940.

The overall length is 11.7 inches.

The finish of the wrench is chrome plating with polished ends, although much of the finish has been lost due to rust and wear. (The original polished chrome is best viewed on the left hand box of the inset.)

There are several details to note in this transitional example. The construction closely resembles the earlier Wilpen models, with the doubly convex offset bends. However, the wrench shank is somewhat longer than the earlier example, 11.7 vs. 11.5 inches, and the shank cross-section is significantly smaller, 0.49x0.35 vs. 0.58x0.39 inches. In addition, the box offset has been reduced slightly, from 1.0 to 0.9 inches.

The changes in the dimensions show that Plomb was already redesigning the wrenches for lighter service, even before the change in construction styles. A later figure for the Plomb 8182 Wrench has a further comparison of dimensions leading to the same conclusion.

These two examples from 1940 provide reasonable evidence that the transition from Wilpen to Plomb occurred in mid 1940.


Later Plomb 818x Production

After examining the early Wilpen models above, we now turn to later Plomb-marked examples of the 818x series. As will be seen in the next several figures, these wrenches show a number of differences from the earlier models.

The examples below are all marked for the USA Period, and as the 818x series wrenches were not offered in the pebbled style, the manufacturing dates would fall in the range 1939-1948. However, tools with a plain or cadmium finish would likely have been made in 1945 or before.

In addition, the above figures have shown that the older construction style continued through 1940, so the examples with later construction likely date from 1941 or later.

8180 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 8180 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 111. Plomb 8180 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1941-1945.

Fig. 111 shows a Plomb model 8180 3/8x7/16 offset box-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo. The overall length is 7.9 inches.

The construction of this later Plomb-marked 818x wrench is noticeably different than the earlier Wilpen model. Note that the offset shank is concave on the outer surface where it joins the box end, where the Wilpen example was convex on both sides. Also, the offset shank joins the box at the top, the style favored by Plomb in its other box-end (and combination) wrenches.

8181 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 8181 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 112. Plomb 8181 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, 1941-1948.

Fig. 112 shows a Plomb model 8181 1/2x9/16 offset box-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo. The overall length is 9.1 inches.

As with the previous figure, the offset shank is concave on the outer surface where it joins the box end, and joins the box at the top surface. In addition, the proportions of this wrench appear lighter in relation to its length than the Wilpen model; we'll have more to say about this in the next figure.

8182 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 8181 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 113. Plomb 8182 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1941-1945.

Fig. 113 shows a Plomb model 8182 5/8x11/16 offset box-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo. The overall length is 10.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Since this wrench is the same model as an earlier Wilpen 8182 example, it will be interesting to examine some of the changes from the earlier model. The differences in the design of the box ends has been noted above, so we'll concentrate on the dimensional changes.

The current wrench is somewhat longer than the Wilpen model, 10.5 compared to 10.1 inches, and the measured offset is much smaller, 0.63 inches box to elbow compared to 1.0 for the Wilpen. The shank of the current wrench is also significantly smaller, measuring 0.28 thick by 0.45 wide compared to the Wilpen's 0.32 by 0.49 size.

These dimensional changes suggest that the later 818x wrenches were redesigned for lighter-duty service, and that the offset was reduced to better match the smaller shanks.

8183 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 8183 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 114. Plomb 8183 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1941-1945.

Fig. 114 shows a Plomb model 8183 3/4x25/32 offset wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo and a "BD" code. The overall length is 11.8 inches.

The finish is plain steel with extensive pitting from rust.

A profile view of the wrench appears in the inset at the top, to illustrate the design and construction details. More comments will be made about these details in the next figure.


8184 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 8184 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 115. Plomb 8184 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1941-1945.

Fig. 115 shows a Plomb 8184 13/16x7/8 offset box wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo. The overall length is 13.1 inches.

8185 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 8185 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 116. Plomb 8185 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1941-1945.

In Fig. 116 we see the largest wrench of the 818x series, a Plomb model 8185 15/16x1 offset wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 14.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The inset shows a side view of the wrench to illustrate the design and construction details. Note that the offset shank joins the box end at the top of the box, the style traditionally used by Plomb for its box wrenches.

As has been noted above, these later wrenches have a smaller offset relative to the box size than the earlier Wilpen models. The offset for this wrench, measured from the bottom of the box to the bottom of the shank at the elbow, was just 7/8 inches, less than the 15/16 box size.

For comparison, the Wilpen 8182 has an offset of 1 inch for a 5/8 box size, and the ChromeXQuality 15/16x1 Wrench corresponding to this model has an offset of 1-1/8 inch.


Other Offset Box-End Wrenches

In addition to the long offset box wrenches described above, Plomb also produced an 816x series of short offset box wrenches. The design of these short offset wrenches was basically similar to the later 818x series shown above, especially with the curved concave surface of the offset shank.

The 816x models were not listed in catalog 18-A of 1940, so apparently these wrenches were not produced until sometime after 1940. The 816x wrenches were not offered in pebbled versions, so the wrench styles remained the same for 1941-1948.


8161 Short Offset Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 8161 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 117. Plomb 8161 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1941-1945.

Fig. 117 shows a Plomb model 8161 1/2x9/16 short offset box-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo. The overall length is 5.7 inches.

The finish is plain steel.


8162 Short Offset Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 8162 5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 118. Plomb 8162 5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1941-1948.

Fig. 118 shows a Plomb model 8162 5/8x11/16 short offset box-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo. The overall length is 6.3 inches.

The finish is chrome plate with polished ends.


8163 Short Offset Box-End Wrench

[Plomb 8163 3/4x13/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 119. Plomb 8163 3/4x13/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, 1941-1948.

Fig. 119 shows a Plomb model 8163 3/4x13/16 short offset box-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo and a small "BB" code.

The overall length is 6.8 inches.

The finish of this wrench is a fairly thick chrome plate.


7258 "Kinner" Offset Box Wrench

[Plomb 7258 Kinner 7/8x1 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 120. Plomb 7258 "Kinner" 7/8x1 Offset Box Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 120 shows a Plomb "Kinner" 7258 7/8x1 offset box wrench, stamped "Kinner" with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 13.4 inches, and the finish is cadmium steel.

The "Kinner" marking on this wrench likely indicates production for the Kinner Aircraft corporation, a maker of airplane engines (and airplanes) based in Glendale, California.


2620 Offset Single-Box Wrench

[Plomb 2620 1-1/4 Offset Single-Box Wrench]
Fig. 121. Plomb 2620 1-1/4 Offset Single-Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 121 shows a Plomb model 2620 1-1/4 offset single-box wrench with a "spud" handle for aligning holes. The shank is stamped "3/4 U.S.S." and "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo, with "Pat. Pend." and "Chrome Moly Alloy" stamped on the reverse.

The overall length is 16.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent corresponding to the pending status has not yet been found.


Combination Wrenches

Combination wrenches occupy a special place in Plomb history, as Plomb is generally credited with being the first to produce the modern combination wrench. These models were offered as early as 1933 and were even called "Combination" wrenches; as other companies adopted the design, the wrenches sometimes received odd names such as "TuType", "Multi-Type", or "Half & Half".

Plomb combination wrenches were assigned model numbers in a 12xx series, where "xx" is the size in 32nds. In 1933 the new wrenches were available in just five sizes, models 1214 (7/16), 1216 (1/2), 1218 (9/16), 1220 (5/8), and 1224 (3/4). But by 1940 the size selection had expanded greatly, from 5/16 up to 1-7/16 (model 1246) by sixteenths.


Early 1218 9/16 Combination Wrench

We'll begin this section with two early combination wrenches, both date coded to 1933, which is just about as early as any combination wrench can get.

[Plomb 1218 9/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 122. Plomb 1218 9/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1933.

Fig. 122 shows a Plomb 1218 9/16 combination wrench, stamped with the PLOMB (round-O) logo and "LA", and with a "3D" date code for 1933.

The overall length is 5.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with some pitting due to rust.

A later example of this model can be seen as the Plomb 1218 Combination Wrench.


Early 1220 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Plomb 1220 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 123. Plomb 1220 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1933.

Fig. 123 shows an early Plomb 1220 5/8 combination wrench, stamped with the PLOMB (round-O) logo and "LA", and with a "3D" date code.

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

A later example of this model can be seen as the Plomb 1220 Combination Wrench.


1210 Combination Wrenches

The next figures show three generations of the Plomb 1210 combination wrench.

[Plomb 1210 5/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 124. Plomb 1210 5/16 Combination Wrench, 1940.

Fig. 124 at the left shows an earlier Plomb model 1210 5/16 combination wrench, marked PLVMB with a "0D" date code for 1940.

The overall length is 3.5 inches, and the finish is polished steel.


[Plomb 1210 5/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 125. Plomb 1210 5/16 Combination Wrench, 1942-1945.

Fig. 125 shows a later Plomb 1210 combination wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 3.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel. The surface has been left with a fairly rough finish, suggesting a wartime production date.


[Plomb 1210 5/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 126. Plomb 1210 5/16 Combination Wrench, 1948.

Fig. 126 shows a Proto-period Plomb 1210 combination wrench with pebbled size fields, marked "Proto" and "Mfd. USA" with "Plomb Tool Co." as the company name.

The overall length is 3.7 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


1212 Combination Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Plomb 1212 combination wrench.

[Plomb 1212 3/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 127. Plomb 1212 3/8 Combination Wrench, 1939.

Fig. 127 at the left shows an earlier Plomb 1212 3/8 combination wrench, marked "L.A." with the PLVMB logo and a "9A" date code for 1939.

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


[Plomb 1212 3/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 128. Plomb 1212 3/8 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, 1945-1948.

Fig. 128 shows a Plomb 1212 3/8 combination wrench in the pebbled style, marked "Mfd. U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


1214 7/16 Combination Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of the Plomb 1214 wrench.

[Plomb 1214 7/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 129. Plomb 1214 7/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 129 shows a Plomb 1214 7/16 combination wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

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

The cadmium finish suggests production during the 1942-1945 war years.


[Plomb 1214 7/16 Combination Wrenches]
Fig. 130. Plomb 1214 7/16 Combination Wrenches, Bottom 1939-1945, Top 1948.

Fig. 130 shows two generations of the Plomb model 1214 7/16 combination wrench, covering the time span from 1939 to 1948, but without the pebbled model.

The wrench at the bottom is marked "Made in U.S.A." and dates from 1939-1945. The overall length is 5.4 inches.

The top wrench is a Proto "Plomb Tool" model from 1948, with the pebbled size fields, and is marked "MFD USA". Its overall length is 5.2 inches, slightly shorter than the earlier model.

Note that the markings of the two wrenches are on the opposite sides of the shank; it's not clear whether this was an intentional design change.


1216 1/2 Combination Wrench

[Plomb 1216 1/2 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 131. Plomb 1216 1/2 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, 1945-1948.

Fig. 131 shows a Plomb model 1216 1/2 combination wrench, marked "MFD. U.S.A." and with a pebbled background.

The overall length is 6.2 inches.


1218 9/16 Combination Wrench

[Plomb 1218 9/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 132. Plomb 1218 9/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, 1937.

Fig. 132 shows a Plomb model 1218 9/16 combination wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" with the PLVMB logo and a "7C" date code for 1937.

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


Plomb 1220 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Plomb 1220 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 133. Plomb 1220 5/8 Combination Wrench, 1934.

Fig. 133 shows an early Plomb 1220 5/8 combination wrench, stamped with the PLVMB logo and "LA", and with a "4A" date code for 1934.

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


Proto 1220 "Plomb Tool" Transitional 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Proto 1220 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 134. Proto "Plomb Tool" 1220 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1948.

Fig. 134 shows a Proto "Plomb Tool" 1220 5/8 combination wrench with pebbled size fields, stamped "Plomb Tool Co." and "MFD USA" on the shank.

The overall length is 7.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating, with some losses due to rust.


1222 11/16 Combination Wrench

[Plomb 1222 11/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 135. Plomb 1222 11/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Edge, 1939-1945.

Fig. 135 shows a Plomb model 1222 11/16 combination wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." and with an overall length of 6.2 inches.

The finish is a heavy chrome plating, but surprisingly neither the faces nor sides of the shank have been ground and polished. The inset shows a side view with the tooling marks left after trimming; normally this would have been ground to a smooth radius.


1224 3/4 Combination Wrenches

[Plomb 1224 3/4 Combination Wrenches]
Fig. 136. Plomb 1224 3/4 Combination Wrenches, with Insets for Reverse and Date Code, 1942, 1945-1948.

In Fig. 136 we offer a comparison of two generations of the Plomb model 1224 3/4 combination wrenches. The bottom wrench is marked "Made in U.S.A." with a date code of "2A", indicating production in 1942. The pebble-style wrench at the top is marked "Mfd. U.S.A." on the reverse, and would have been produced some time in 1945-1948. The overall lengths for bottom and top are 9.3 and 9.2 inches, respectively.

The finish for the bottom wrench is chrome plating, wearing thin in a few places. The top wrench has a plain finish with no apparent chrome, which is somewhat unusual for a pebble-style wrench.

The lower inset shows the detail for the very small "2A" date code.


1226 13/16 Combination Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Plomb 1226 wrench.

[Plomb 1226 13/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 137. Plomb 1226 13/16 Combination Wrench, 1942-1945.

Fig. 137 shows a Plomb model 1226 13/16 combination wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo and a "DC" code. The overall length is 10.2 inches.

The finish is plain steel, and the faces appear to have rough forged finish, rather than having been ground and polished. This suggests a manufacturing date during the 1942-1945 wartime years.


[Plomb 1226 13/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 138. Plomb 1226 13/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 138 at the left shows a Plomb 1226 13/16 combination wrench in the pebbled style, marked with the PLVMB logo on the front with "Mfd. U.S.A." on the reverse.

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


1232 1 Inch Combination Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the model 1232 wrench.

[Plomb 1232 1 Inch Combination Wrench]
Fig. 139. Plomb 1232 1 Inch Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 139 shows a Plomb 1232 1 inch combination wrench in the pebbled style, marked with the PLVMB logo and fractional size forged into a pebbled panel, with "MFD. U.S.A." and the model number forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 13.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

[Proto (Plomb Tool) 1232 1 Inch Combination Wrench]
Fig. 140. Proto "Plomb Tool" 1232 1 Inch Combination Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1948.

Fig. 140 shows a Proto "Plomb Tool" 1232 1 inch combination wrench with pebbled size fields, stamped "Plomb Tool Co." (with inverted triangles) and "MFD USA" on the shank.

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


1234 1-1/16 Combination Wrench

This next figure shows a fine example of one of the larger pebble-style wrenches.

[Plomb 1234 1-1/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 141. Plomb 1234 1-1/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 141 shows a Plomb 1234 1-1/16 combination wrench in the pebbled style, marked with the PLVMB name forged into one side, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 14.5 inches.

The finish is a heavy chrome plating with polished end faces, as was standard for the pebble-style pieces. Note that the top of the wrench has been ground flat on the front side, perhaps to highlight the PLVMB logo.


1246 1-7/16 Combination Wrench

Our final selection for the combination wrenches shows an example of the largest model in the pebbled style.

[Plomb 1246 1-7/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 142. Plomb 1246 1-7/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. 1945-1948.

Fig. 142 shows a Plomb 1246 1-7/16 combination wrench in the pebbled style, marked with the PLVMB name and fractional sizes forged into the front, with "MFD. U.S.A." and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 19.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating, with some losses due to rust.


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