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Appendix A: WF (Wright Field) Series Tools

Plomb produced the WF series of tools for a major government contract during the period from 1942 to 1945. These were basic utilitarian tools and were typically finished with a cadmium plating, or else left as unfinished steel.

The (known) WF model numbers range up to WF-137, but with some gaps in the numeric sequence. It's not known whether the gaps represent unassigned numbers, or simply that the tools have not yet been discovered. However, new WF tools are still being found, so it's entirely possible that someday all of the gaps will be filled.


WF-7 9/32-Drive Flex-Head Handle

[Plomb WF-7 Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 264. Plomb WF-7 Flex-Head Handle.

Fig. 264 shows a Plomb WF-7 flex-head breaker bar, marked with the PLVMB logo and a "D" code.

The overall length is 5.9 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The handle is equipped with a cross-bar hole with a detent ball.

This tool shows an unusual Down/Up pattern in the arrowheads on either side of the PLVMB logo, a recently noted marking oddity.


WF-8 9/32-Drive Ratchet

[Plomb 9/32-Drive WF-8 Ratchet]
Fig. 265. Plomb 9/32-Drive WF-8 Ratchet, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 265 shows a Plomb 9/32-drive WF-8 ratchet, with the PLVMB logo in raised letters and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

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

This ratchet displays an unusual Down/Up pattern in the arrowheads on either side of the PLVMB logo, a recently noted marking oddity.


WF-8 "S" 1/4-Drive Ratchet

The previous figure showed the WF-8 ratchet in its standard 9/32-drive configuration, but the ratchet was also produced in a less common 1/4-drive version.

[Plomb WF-8S Ratchet]
Fig. 266. Plomb WF-8 "S" 1/4-Drive Ratchet.

Fig. 266 shows a Plomb WF-8 "S" ratchet in an unusual 1/4-drive size, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 5.0 inches.

The WF-8 ratchet was normally made only in 9/32-drive, and all of its corresponding WF-series sockets are 9/32-drive. However, a small number of the WF-8 ratchets were made in 1/4-drive, and were stamped with an "S" to indicate the special production.

[Plomb WF-8S 1/4-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 267. Plomb WF-8 "S" 1/4-Drive Ratchet, Reverse Side.

Fig. 267 shows the reverse side of the ratchet.

WF-9 9/32-Drive Sliding Tee Handle

[Plomb WF-9 Sliding Tee Handle]
Fig. 268. Plomb WF-9 9/32-Drive Sliding Tee Handle.

Fig. 268 shows a Plomb WF-9 9/32-drive sliding Tee handle, marked with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 4.1 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

This tool displays an unusual Down/Up pattern in the arrowheads on either side of the PLVMB logo, a recently noted marking oddity.

WF-20 3/8-Drive Flex-Head Handle

[Plomb WF-20 Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 269. Plomb WF-20 3/8-Drive Flex-Head Handle, with Inset for End.

Fig. 269 shows a Plomb WF-20 3/8-drive flex-head breaker bar, marked with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 8.1 inches. The finish is cadmium plate.

The knurled handle has a broached opening for 3/8-drive, allowing the tool to be used as an extension if needed.

WF-22 3/8-Drive T-Slider Breaker Bar

[Plomb WF-22 T-Slider Breaker Bar]
Fig. 270. Plomb WF-22 3/8-Drive T-Slider Breaker Bar.

Fig. 270 shows another WF-series drive tool, a Plomb WF-22 3/8-drive T-slider breaker bar, marked with the PLVMB logo and a small "A" code. The overall length is 7.3 inches.

The finish is cadmium plate. This tool shows an unusual Down/Up pattern in the arrowheads on either side of the PLVMB logo, a recently noted marking oddity.

WF-34 1/2-Drive Extension

[Plomb WF-34 1/2-Drive Extension]
Fig. 271. Plomb WF-34 1/2-Drive Extension.

Fig. 271 shows a Plomb WF-34 1/2-drive extension, marked with the PLVMB logo. The overall length is 6.2 inches.

The finish is plain steel. The drive end has a small "hole-tite" hole, but no cross-bar hole.

This tool shows an unusual Down/Up pattern in the arrowheads on either side of the PLVMB logo, a recently noted marking oddity.

WF-37 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle

[Plomb WF-37 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 272. Plomb WF-37 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle.

Fig. 272 shows a Plomb WF-37 1/2-drive flex-head breaker bar marked with the PLVMB logo. The handle is knurled, and the overall length is 12.6 inches.

This tool shows an unusual Down/Up pattern in the arrowheads on either side of the PLVMB logo, a recently noted marking oddity.

WF-38 1/2-Drive Ratchet

We've noted several times that the WF series were utilitarian tools with simple and inexpensive finishes, so this next example is unusual for its crisp forged logos and chrome finish.

[Plomb WF-38 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 273. Plomb WF-38 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 273 shows a Plomb WF-38 1/2-drive ratchet, marked with the PLVMB logo in bold raised letters, with "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 10.0 inches. The ratchet is finished in satin chrome plating, which is uncommon for the WF series tools.

More unusual is the nicely designed raised-letter PLVMB logo, with the height increasing as the handle becomes wider. The reverse side follows this motif as well, with the "Made in U.S.A." raised letters increasing in height, and the WF-38 model embedded in a larger font. This design would have required extra work to create the forging die, an unexpected luxury for a tool made under a wartime contract.


WF-50 1/2-Drive 7/8 Socket

[Plomb WF-50 7/8 Socket]
Fig. 274. Plomb WF-50 1/2-Drive 7/8 Socket, with Inset for Broaching.

Fig. 274 shows a 1/2-drive Plomb WF-50 7/8 socket, marked with the PLVMB logo. The finish is cadmium plate.

The inset shows the socket broaching, which was done using the hot-broach method generally used by Plomb from 1943 on.


WF-55 1/2-Drive 1-3/16 Socket

Some of the Plomb WF series sockets have a different shape than the typical Plomb sockets, with a turned-down base instead of the typical straight cylindrical form.

[Plomb WF-55 1-3/16 Socket]
Fig. 275. Plomb WF-55 1/2-Drive 1-3/16 Socket, with Inset for Broaching.

Fig. 275 shows this form in a Plomb WF-55 1/2-drive 1-3/16 socket, marked with a "C" code to the right of the PLVMB logo. The finish is cadmium plating.

Other examples of sockets with this type of reduced base are known to have been made by P&C, one of the companies acquired by Plomb in the early 1940s. This suggests that the WF series sockets of this style were produced by the P&C factory.

The inset shows the construction for the socket, the early cold-broached style with a recess below the broaching. This construction would be a bit unusual for Plomb, as most of the WF sockets are found to be hot-broached, and the Plomb cold-broach method left a shelf of cut material. This lends further credence to the role of P&C as the maker of this socket.


WF-56 1/2-Drive 1-1/4 Socket

[Plomb WF-56 1-1/4 Socket]
Fig. 276. Plomb WF-56 1/2-Drive 1-1/4 Socket, with Inset for Broaching.

Fig. 276 shows a 1/2-drive Plomb WF-56 1-1/4 socket, stamped with the PLVMB logo and a "C" code.

The finish is cadmium plating.

The inset shows the early cold-broached construction of the socket, with a recess below the broached area.


WF-62 3/4-Drive 1-3/8 Socket

[Plomb WF-62 1-3/8 Socket]
Fig. 277. Plomb WF-62 3/4-Drive 1-3/8 Socket, with Inset for Broaching.

Fig. 277 shows another example of the reduced base form, this time in a Plomb WF-62 3/4-drive 1-3/8 socket, marked with a "C" code to the right of the PLVMB logo.

The finish is polished steel with a thin cadmium plating, mostly worn off now.

The inset shows the construction for the socket, which again is the early cold-broached style with a recess below the broaching.


WF-79 5/16x3/8 Box-End Wrenches

[Plomb WF-79 5/16x3/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 278. Plomb WF-79 5/16x3/8 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 278 shows a Plomb WF-79 5/16x3/8 box-end wrench, stamped "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.

This chrome finish on this example is unusual for the WF-series tools, and may indicate that the wrench was made relatively early.

[Plomb WF-79 5/16x3/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 279. Plomb WF-79 5/16x3/8 Box-End Wrench.

Fig. 279 shows a Plomb WF-79 5/16x3/8 box-end wrench, marked with the PLVMB logo and a "Q" code.

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

This wrench shows an unusual Down/Up pattern in the arrowheads on either side of the PLVMB logo, a recently noted marking oddity.


WF-80 3/8x7/16 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb WF-80 3/8x7/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 280. Plomb WF-80 3/8x7/16 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 280 shows a Plomb WF-80 3/8x7/16 box-end wrench, stamped with the PLVMB logo and a small "G" code.

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

This wrench shows an unusual Down/Up pattern in the arrowheads on either side of the PLVMB logo, a recently noted marking oddity.


WF-81 1/2x9/16 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb WF-81 1/2x9/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 281. Plomb WF-81 1/2x9/16 Box-End Wrench.

Fig. 281 shows a Plomb WF-81 1/2x9/16 box-end wrench, marked with the PLVMB logo.

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

This wrench shows an unusual Down/Up pattern in the arrowheads on either side of the PLVMB logo, a recently noted marking oddity.


WF-82 5/8x11/16 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb WF-82 5/8x11/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 282. Plomb WF-82 5/8x11/16 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 282 shows a Plomb WF-82 5/8x11/16 box-end wrench, stamped with the PLVMB logo and a small "G" code.

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

This wrench is marked with a Down/Up pattern in the arrowheads on either side of the PLVMB logo, a recently noted marking oddity.


WF-83 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of the WF-83 wrench, including an example with an uncommon dual model number.

[Plomb WF-83 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 283. Plomb WF-83 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench with Dual 1139 Marking, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 283 shows a standard Plomb WF-83 3/4x7/8 box-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

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

[Plomb WF-83 (1139) 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 284. Plomb WF-83 (1139) 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench with Dual Marking, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 284 shows a similar Plomb WF-83 box wrench, but with a second marking as a model 1139. The shank is stamped with the PLVMB logo and a small "Q" code.

The overall length is 11.4 inches.

Both the 1139 and WF-83 models have the same nominal sizes and are virtually identical in production anyway, but are usually marked as one or the other, not both.

In addition to the dual marking, this wrench shows the odd Down/Up pattern in the arrowheads flanking the PLVMB logo.


WF-84 13/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb WF-84 13/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 285. Plomb WF-84 13/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 285 shows a Plomb WF-84 13/16x7/8 box-end wrench, stamped with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 12.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


WF-85 15/16x1 Box-End Wrench

[Plomb WF-85 15/16x1 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 286. Plomb WF-85 15/16x1 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 286 shows a Plomb WF-85 15/16x1 box-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with the PLVMB logo.

The overall length is 14.0 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


WF-94 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench

[Plomb WF-94 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 287. Plomb WF-94 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 287 shows a Plomb WF-94 11/16x25/32 open-end wrench, marked with the PLVMB logo.

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

The WF-94 model was the WF equivalent of the Plomb 3037 Open-End Wrench.


WF-98 1/4 Open-End Ignition Wrench

The next several figures show ignition wrenches, small open-end wrenches with one opening at a sharp angle to work around obstructions.

[Plomb WF-98 1/4 Open-End Ignition Wrench]
Fig. 288. Plomb WF-98 1/4 Open-End Ignition Wrench.

Fig. 288 at the left shows a Plomb WF-98 1/4 open-end ignition wrench, marked with the PLVMB logo and a "R" code.

The overall length is 3.1 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The meaning of the "R" code is not known, but may indicate a particular factory or contract maker.


WF-99 5/16 Open-End Ignition Wrench

[Plomb WF-99 5/16 Open-End Ignition Wrench]
Fig. 289. Plomb WF-99 5/16 Open-End Ignition Wrench.

Fig. 289 at the left shows a Plomb WF-99 5/16 open-end ignition wrench, marked with the PLVMB logo and a "R" code.

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

The meaning of the "R" code is not known, but may indicate a particular factory or contract maker.


WF-100 11/32 Open-End Ignition Wrench

[Plomb WF-100 11/32 Open-End Ignition Wrench]
Fig. 290. Plomb WF-100 11/32 Open-End Ignition Wrench.

Fig. 290 at the left shows a Plomb WF-100 11/32 open-end ignition wrench, marked with the PLVMB logo and a "R" code.

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

The meaning of the "R" code is not known, but may indicate a particular factory or contract maker.


WF-102 7/16 Open-End Ignition Wrench

[Plomb WF-102 7/16 Open-End Ignition Wrench]
Fig. 291. Plomb WF-102 7/16 Open-End Ignition Wrench.

In Fig. 291 we see a Plomb WF-102 7/16 open-end ignition wrench, marked with the PLVMB logo and a "Q" code.

The overall length is 4.5 inches.

The meaning of the "Q" code is not known, but may indicate a particular factory or contract maker.


WF-103 1/2 Open-End Ignition Wrench

[Plomb WF-103 1/2 Open-End Ignition Wrench]
Fig. 292. Plomb WF-103 1/2 Open-End Ignition Wrench.

Fig. 292 shows the very similar Plomb WF-103 1/2 open-end ignition wrench, marked with the PLVMB logo and a "Q" code.

The overall length is 4.5 inches.


WF-115 1-5/8 Flare-Nut Wrench

Although most of the WF series were very basic tools for general maintenance and repair, a few were designed for more specialized applications, as the following example illustrates.

[Plomb WF-115 1-5/8 Waterpump Wrench]
Fig. 293. Plomb WF-115 1-5/8 Water Pump Wrench.

Fig. 293 shows a Plomb WF-115 1-5/8 flare-nut wrench, sometimes called a line wrench or "water pump" wrench. The wrench is stamped "Made in U.S.A." with a "0" code to the right.

The overall length is 8.0 inches. The finish appears to be polished chrome, which is unusual for the utilitarian WF tools.

Plomb is not known to have made this style of wrench either before or after the war, so this model may have been produced under contract. The WF series included a number of line wrenches in other sizes, ranging from the 1-1/16 WF-107 model to the 1-3/4 WF-116, with one gap at WF-109 for an undiscovered model.

The "water pump" wrench style was originated by Blue Point in 1927, when they licensed a patent (Gillett, #RE17,417) for the design. Some examples are available in our article on early Snap-On tools, such as the Blue Point 932 Waterpump Wrench.

J.H. Williams & Co. also produced wrenches of this type, which they referred to as "Water Pump Superrenches". Their equivalent to the WF-115 was a model 8952, and a similar example is the Williams 8938 Water Pump Wrench.


WF-12x 3/8-Drive Deep Sockets

[Plomb WF-12x 3/8-Drive Deep Sockets]
Fig. 294. Plomb 3/8-Drive Deep Sockets, with Insets for Detail, from Left: WF-123 (9/16), WF-125 (11/16).

Fig. 294 shows two of the WF-series 3/8-drive 12-point deep sockets, a WF-123 9/16 socket on the left, and a WF-125 11/16 socket on the right.

The sockets are marked with the PLVMB logo, and the finish is a thin cadmium plating.


WF-137 1/2-Drive Deep 1-1/8 Socket

[Plomb WF-137 1/2-Drive Deep 1-1/8 Socket]
Fig. 295. Plomb 1/2-Drive Deep 1-1/8 Socket, with Insets for Broaching and Marking Detail, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 295 shows a 1/2-drive Plomb WF-137 1-1/8 deep socket, stamped with model and PLVMB logo.

The overall height is 3.3 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The WF-137 model number is currently the last (highest numbered) of the known WF-series tools.


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