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Alloy Steel Tools


Alloy Steel Tappet Wrenches

By the nature of their application, tappet wrenches need to have small thin heads, and this places a great deal of stress on the tools. These wrenches require very strong steel, and so tappet wrenches were one of the first applications for alloy steels.


Early 11/16x11/16 Tappet Wrench

[Vlchek 11/16x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 44. Vlchek 11/16x11/16 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 44 shows an early Vlchek 11/16x11/16 tappet wrench, marked with "Forged by Vlchek" forged into the shank, with "Chrome Molybdenum" forged into the reverse. The reverse shank also has forged-in number "1" (not shown).

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is black paint.

This wrench is unusual in that both openings have the same size and the same offset angle.


1A1442 (Caterpillar) 9/16x9/16 Tappet Wrench

This next figure shows a Vlchek tappet wrench believed to have been produced for Caterpillar.

[Vlchek 1A1442 9/16x9/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 45. Vlchek 1A1442 9/16x9/16 Tappet Wrench.

Fig. 45 shows a Vlchek 1A1442 9/16x9/16 tappet wrench, stamped "Vlchek" on the shank. The shank also has a forged-in number "7" visible at the right.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is black paint.

The wrench appears to be made of alloy steel despite the lack of markings to that effect; the metal is not as hard as would be expected for carbon steel construction.

This wrench has two openings of the same size but with one offset at a 22.5 degree angle, an early style also used by Bonney and Blue Point tappet wrenches. Later Vlchek tappet wrenches used a different design, with two different opening sizes at 15 degree offset angles.

One of our readers has confirmed that this tappet wrench is marked with a Caterpillar part number, and so presumably was made for Caterpillar. We'll provide more information on the specific application when available.


90 7/16x1/2 Tappet Wrench, Parabolic Style

The next several figures show examples of Vlchek's 9x series of tappet wrenches, beginning with some earlier wrenches in the parabolic head style.

[Vlchek 90 7/16x1/2 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 46. Vlchek 90 7/16x1/2 Tappet Wrench.

Fig. 46 shows a Vlchek model 90 7/16x1/2 tappet wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Vlchek" on the face.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is a nickel plating with a rather rough surface.


92 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench, Parabolic Style

[Vlchek 92 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 47. Vlchek 92 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench.

Fig. 47 shows an earlier Vlchek model 92 1/2x9/16 tappet wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Vlchek" on the face.

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


93 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench, Parabolic Style

[Vlchek 93 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 48. Vlchek 93 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench.

Fig. 48 shows a Vlchek model 93 5/8x11/16 tappet wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Vlchek" on the face.

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


92 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench

The next figures show later versions of the Vlchek tappet wrenches.

[Vlchek 92 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 49. Vlchek 92 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench.

Fig. 49 shows a later Vlchek 92 tappet wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on the face with "Chrome Molybdenum" on the shank. The shank also has a forged-in code "7" visible at the left.

The overall length is 8.0 inches. The finish is chrome plating, with losses due to wear and rust.


93 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench

[Vlchek 93 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 50. Vlchek 93 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 50 shows a later Vlchek model 93 5/8x11/16 tappet wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Made in U.S.A." on the shank. The reverse shank has a forged-in code "13" visible at the left.

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


94 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of the Vlchek 94 tappet wrench.

[Vlchek 94 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 51. Vlchek 94 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrench.

Fig. 51 shows a Vlchek 94 3/4x7/8 tappet wrench, stamped "Vlchek" and "Made in U.S.A." on the face, with "Chrome Molybdenum" on the shank. The shank also has a forged-in code "3" visible at the left.

The overall length is 8.3 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

[Vlchek 94 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 52. Vlchek 94 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrench.

Fig. 52 shows another example of the Vlchek 94 3/4x7/8 tappet wrench, stamped "Vlchek" on the face, with "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Made in U.S.A." on the shank. The shank also has a forged-in code "4" visible at the left.

The finish is a more refined chrome plate with polished heads. The overall length is 8.1 inches.


89 3/8x7/16 Tappet Wrench

[Vlchek 89 3/8x7/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 53. Vlchek 89 3/8x7/16 Tappet Wrench.

Fig. 53 shows a later Vlchek model 89 3/8x7/16 tappet wrench, stamped "Alloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is a bright chrome plate.


90A 7/16x17/32 Tappet Wrench

[Vlchek 90A 7/16x17/32 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 54. Vlchek 90A 7/16x17/32 Tappet Wrench.

Fig. 54 shows a later Vlchek 90A 7/16x17/32 tappet wrench, stamped "Alloy" and "U.S.A." on the shank. The shank also has a forged-in code "2" on the reverse side (not shown).

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


Open-End Wrenches

Vlchek Tool offered a wide selection of alloy steel open-end wrenches, in both industry-standard sizes and in their own W series sizes.

Based on a review of the catalogs, Vlchek offered open-end wrenches in two basic designs, an earlier style from the 1920s with larger "parabolic" heads, and a later style with smaller heads and narrower shanks, first produced in the early 1930s as Vlchek's W-series wrenches. These two design groups in turn were produced with a number of variations.

For example, the parabolic-head wrenches were actually produced in two model number series, one with the plain industry model number (e.g. "33C"), and the other with a 1000 prefix to the industry number (e.g. "1033C"). In both cases the wrenches were stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" or "Alloy Steel" on the face.

As another example, the design for the W-series wrenches was also used for a line of alloy-steel wrenches marked with "pure" industry-standard numbers, sometimes stamped "Chrome-Molybdenum" and sometimes with "Alloy Steel".

In the following figures we'll try to sort out these variations and show examples of the various types.


Early "Parabolic" Open-End Wrenches


1723 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench, Parabolic Style

[Vlchek 1723 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 55. Vlchek 1723 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 55 shows a Vlchek 1723 3/8x7/16 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" on one face with the model number on the other end. The shank is marked with "Drop Forged" forged into the front, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the reverse. (The inset shows the reverse marking in its natural orientation.)

The overall length is 4.1 inches. The finish is nickel plating, but with extensive losses due to rust and wear.


1023 13/32x1/2 Open-End Wrench, Parabolic Style

[Vlchek 1023 Parabolic 13/32x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 56. Vlchek 1023 "Parabolic" 13/32x1/2 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 56 shows a Vlchek 1023 13/32x1/2 open-end wrench, a somewhat unusual size, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" on the face.

The overall length is 4.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating with polished faces.


2023 13/32x1/2 Open-End Wrench, Parabolic Style

The next figure shows a less common example of a Parabolic Style wrench with a 2000 offset to the ISN model number.

[Vlchek 2023 13/32x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 57. Vlchek 2023 13/32x1/2 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 57 shows a Vlchek 2023 13/32x1/2 open-end wrench, stamped with "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Vlchek" on the face.

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


1725 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench, Parabolic Style

[Vlchek 1725 Parabolic 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 58. Vlchek 1725 "Parabolic" 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 58 shows a Vlchek 1725 7/16x1/2 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" on one face with the model number on the other end.

The overall length is 5.1 inches. The original finish was nickel plating, but most has been lost due to rust and wear.


1725B 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, Parabolic Style

[Vlchek 1725B Parabolic 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 59. Vlchek 1725B "Parabolic" 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 59 shows a Vlchek 1725B 1/2x9/16 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" on one face with the model number on the other end. The shank has forged-in markings "Made in U.S.A." on one side, with "Drop Forged" on the reverse.

The overall length is 5.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


1025 1/2x19/32 Open-End Wrench, Parabolic Style

[Vlchek 1025 Parabolic 1/2x19/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 60. Vlchek 1025 "Parabolic" 1/2x19/32 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 60 shows a Vlchek 1025 1/2x19/32 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" on one face with the model number on the other end.

The overall length is 5.2 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


1727 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench, Parabolic Style

[Vlchek 1727 Parabolic 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 61A. Vlchek 1727 "Parabolic" 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 61A shows a Vlchek 1727 9/16x5/8 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Vlchek" on one face, with the model number on the other face.

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


1027 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench, Parabolic Style

[Vlchek 1027 Parabolic 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 61B. Vlchek 1027 "Parabolic" 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 61B shows a Vlchek 1027 19/32x11/16 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Vlchek" on one face, with the model number on the other face.

The overall length is 6.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating with polished faces.


1729 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench, Parabolic Style

[Vlchek 1729 Parabolic 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 62. Vlchek 1729 "Parabolic" 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 62 shows a Vlchek 1729 5/8x3/4 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" on the face.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


31 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench, Parabolic Style

[Vlchek 31 Parabolic 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 63. Vlchek 31 "Parabolic" 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 63 shows a Vlchek 31 25/32x7/8 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" on one face with the industry-standard model number on the other end.

The overall length is 8.0 inches. The finish appears to be nickel plating, now worn through in some areas.


1731B 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench, Parabolic Style

[Vlchek 1731B Parabolic 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 64. Vlchek 1731B "Parabolic" 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 64 shows a Vlchek 1731B 13/16x7/8 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" on the face.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating with polished faces.


33C/1033C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrenches, Parabolic Style

The next two figures show examples of similar 15/16x1 open-end wrenches.

[Vlchek 33C Parabolic 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 65. Vlchek 33C "Parabolic" 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 65 at the left shows a Vlchek 33C 15/16x1 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" on the face.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

[Vlchek 1033C Parabolic 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 66. Vlchek 1033C "Parabolic" 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 66 shows a Vlchek 1033C 15/16x1 open-end wrench, stamped with "Chrome Molybdenum" on the face.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, although badly worn in some areas.


W-Series Open-End Wrenches

In the early 1930s Vlchek introduced a W-series line of double-ended wrenches as an alternative to its industry-standard open-end wrenches. The 1934 catalog referred to these as "The New Vlchek Double End Wrench", so we can probably assume that they were first offered around 1934. The catalog further described the wrenches as having narrow streamlined jaws, and noted a "Cadalyte" finish with buffed heads.

The 1934 catalog lists the W-series wrenches in a modest selection of ten sizes, ranging from the model W1012 (5/16x3/8) up to model W3236 (1x1-1/8). As can be inferred from the examples, the model number of each wrench encodes the opening sizes in 32nds, a numbering convention that offers more convenience and extensibility than the older industry-standard numbers.

The initial collection of W-series wrenches included no duplications of opening sizes, so that a small number of tools could cover most of the commonly-used sizes. However, later additions to the series expanded both the range and number of size combinations.

The next several figures show examples of the Vlchek W-series wrenches.


W0608 3/16x1/4 Open-End Wrench

[Vlchek W0608 3/16x1/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 67. Vlchek W0608 3/16x1/4 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 67 shows the smallest model of the W-series wrenches, a tiny Vlchek W0608 3/16x1/4 open-end wrench with "Alloy" and "Made in U.S.A." stamped on the shank.

The overall length is 3.4 inches. The original finish appears to have been cadmium plating with polished but unplated faces, but most of the plating has been lost. A faint forged-in number "10" can be seen on the left.


W0810 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrench

[Vlchek W0810 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 68. Vlchek W0810 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 68 shows another small example, a Vlchek W0810 1/4x5/16 open-end wrench. The shank is stamped "Alloy" and "Made in U.S.A.", with a forged-in number "1" visible at the left.

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


W1012 5/16x3/8 Open-End Wrench

[Vlchek W1012 5/16x3/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 69. Vlchek W1012 5/16x3/8 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 69 shows a Vlchek W1012 5/16x3/8 open-end wrench, stamped "Alloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the shank. The shank also has a forged-in number "34" visible at the left.

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


W1416 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench

[Vlchek W1416 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 70. Vlchek W1416 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 70 shows a Vlchek W1416 7/16x1/2 open-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on one face, with a forged-in number "13" visible on the shank at the left.

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


W1820 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of the Vlchek W1820 wrench.

[Vlchek W1820 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 71. Vlchek W1820 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 71 at the left shows a Vlchek W1820 9/16x5/8 open-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on one face with "Alloy" on the other face.

The overall length is 6.4 inches. The wrench is unfinished steel with polished ends, and has a forged-in number "42".

[Vlchek W1820 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 72. Vlchek W1820 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 72 at the left shows another Vlchek W1820 wrench, stamped "Alloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 6.4 inches, and the finished is plain steel with polished faces. The forged-in number is "77".


W2225 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Vlchek W2225 model.

[Vlchek W2225 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 73. Vlchek W2225 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 73 shows an earlier Vlchek W2225 11/16x25/32 open-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." and "Alloy" on the faces. The shank has a forged-in number "18" visible at the left.

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

[Vlchek W2225 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 74. Vlchek W2225 11/16x25/32 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 74 shows a later Vlchek W2225 11/16x25/32 open-end wrench, stamped "Alloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 7.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces. The forged-in number is "72".


W2426 3/4x13/16 Open-End Wrench

[Vlchek W2426 3/4x13/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 75. Vlchek W2426 3/4x13/16 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 75 at the left shows a Vlchek W2426 3/4x13/16 open-end wrench, marked "Made in U.S.A." and "Alloy". The overall length is 9.2 inches.

The finish is plain steel with polished ends, and the forged-in number is "10".


W2526 25/32x13/16 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Vlchek W2526 model.

[Vlchek W2526 25/32x13/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 76. Vlchek W2526 25/32x13/16 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 76 shows an earlier Vlchek W2526 25/32x13/16 open-end wrench, stamped "Vlchek" and "Made in U.S.A." on one face, with "Alloy" and the model number on the other. The shank has a forged-in number "9" visible at the left.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of cadmium plating.

[Vlchek W2526 25/32x13/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 77. Vlchek W2526 25/32x13/16 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 77 shows a later Vlchek W2526 25/32x13/16 open-end wrench, stamped "Vlchek" and "Made in U.S.A." on one face, with "Alloy" and the model number on the other. The shank has a forged-in number "11" visible at the left.

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


W2830 7/8x15/16 Open-End Wrench

[Vlchek W2830 7/8x15/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 78. Vlchek W2830 7/8x15/16 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 78 shows a Vlchek W2830 7/8x15/16 open-end wrench, stamped "Vlchek" and "Made in U.S.A." on one face, with "Alloy" and the model number on the other. The shank has a forged-in number "18" visible at the left.

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of cadmium plating.

W3440 1-1/16x1-1/4 Open-End Wrench

[Vlchek W3440 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 79. Vlchek W3440 1-1/16x1-1/4 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 79 shows a Vlchek W3440 1-1/16x1-1/4 open-end wrench, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on one face, with "Alloy" and the model number on the other face. The shank has a forged-in code "2" visible at the left.

The overall length is 11.9 inches. and the finish is a cadmium plating.

Special-Order U.S.N. 1-3/16x1-5/16 Open-End Wrench

We'll close this section with a special-order wrench in the style of the W-series, but not marked with a Vlchek model number.

[Vlchek USN 1-3/16x1-5/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 80. Vlchek U.S.N. 1-3/16x1-5/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 80 shows a Vlchek 1-3/16x1-5/16 open-end wrench, stamped "Alloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the shank, with the Vlchek name stamped on one face (see inset) and "U.S.N." on the other face. A forged-in number "11" can be seen on the shank at the left.

The overall length is 11.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The unusual size and markings suggest that this was likely a military special-order tool.


Alloy-Steel Industry-Standard Wrenches

After the introduction of Vlchek's W-series line of double-ended wrenches, Vlchek used the same design (and probably the same forging dies) to produce a line of wrenches marked with pure industry-standard numbers, but made with (and marked as) alloy steel. These wrenches were apparently produced in large quantities, as they are among the most commonly found of the Vlchek tools.

However, these wrenches were not listed in the Vlchek catalogs, strongly suggesting that the production was intended for military or industrial contracts, such as vehicle tool kits.

723 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrenches

We'll begin with two examples of the well-known 723 wrench, a size found in many tool kits.

[Vlchek 723 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 81. Vlchek 723 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 81 shows a Vlchek 723 3/8x7/16 open-end wrench, marked "Chro-Mol Vlchek" on the face.

The overall length is 4.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel. The forged-in number "14" can be seen on the shank at the left.

[Vlchek 723 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 82. Vlchek 723 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 82 shows another example of the Vlchek 723 wrench, stamped "Alloy Steel Vlchek" on the face. The shank has a forged-in number "1" visible at the left.

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


28-S 5/8x25/32 Open-End Wrenches

The next figures show several generations of the Vlchek 28-S model.

[Vlchek 28-S 5/6x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 83. Vlchek 28-S 5/8x25/32 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 83 shows an earlier Vlchek 28-S 5/8x25/32 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Vlchek" on the face.

The overall length is 7.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

[Vlchek 28-S 5/6x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 84. Vlchek 28-S 5/8x25/32 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 84 shows a somewhat later Vlchek 28-S 5/8x25/32 open-end wrench, stamped "Alloy Steel" and "Vlchek" on the face.

The overall length is 7.7 inches, and the finish is gray paint.

The shank has a forged-in number "45" visible at the left.

[Vlchek 28-S 5/6x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 85. Vlchek 28-S 5/8x25/32 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 85 shows a later Vlchek 28-S 5/8x25/32 open-end wrench, stamped "Alloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the shank. The shank has a forged-in number "73" visible at the left.

The overall length is 7.7 inches. The finish is a dark oxide coating, and the faces have been left unpolished, suggesting that this may have been made for a tool kit.


731A 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of the 731A wrench, with differences in the finish and markings.

[Vlchek 731A 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 86. Vlchek 731A 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 86 shows a Vlchek 731A 3/4x7/8 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" on one face with the industry-standard number 731A on the other face. The shank has a forged-in number "3" visible at the left.

The overall length is 9.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating with polished faces.

[Vlchek 731A 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 87. Vlchek 731A 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 87 shows another example of the Vlchek 731A 3/4x7/8 open-end wrench, marked "Alloy Steel" on the face. The shank has a forged-in number "31" visible at the left.

The overall length is 9.2 inches. This wrench has a dark finish without polished end faces, suggesting that this may have been a military toolkit wrench. (The 731A size was used for some such applications.)


Ignition Wrenches

Although less commonly found, Vlchek also produced miniature open-end wrenches for ignition service or other applications.

WJ1416 7/32x1/4 Ignition Open-End Wrench

[Vlchek WJ1416 7/32x1/4 Ignition Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 88. Vlchek WH1416 7/32x1/4 Ignition Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 88 shows a Vlchek WJ1416 7/32x1/4 ignition open-end wrench, marked with just the Vlchek name, model, and fractional sizes.

The overall length is 3.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


Box-End Wrenches

Our earliest catalog reference for Vlchek box-end wrenches is the 1934 catalog A-2, which offered 12-point box wrenches in a short offset WB series and long offset WBL series, plus a few specialty models. The earlier catalog No. 13 from around 1929 or 1930 doesn't list any box wrenches, so we can be reasonably sure that production of these models began in the early 1930s. Vlchek's WB and WBL series of wrenches were made with round shanks, instead of the flat shanks familiar in later production.

The 1938 catalog shows box-end wrenches in three series, the WBC short 10-degree models, the WB short offset models, and the WBA long 45-degree (deep) offset models. The WBA and WBC series are shown with raised panels at this time.

By 1952 (actually probably well before) the more familiar long offset WBH series box wrenches had been introduced. These were first produced with raised panels but then later changed to a flat shank. Chrome alloy steel was standard for all of these wrenches, but later (by 1952) there were economy-grade wrenches offered as well.

WBL2425 3/4x25/32 Round-Shank Offset Box-End Wrench

The Vlchek WBL series wrenches are relatively uncommon, but we've recently acquired a couple of examples for your viewing pleasure.

[Vlchek WBL2425 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 89. Vlchek WBL2425 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Detail, ca. 1931-1937.

Fig. 89 shows a Vlchek WBL2425 3/4x25/32 offset box-end wrench, marked "Chrome Molybdenum" on the reverse.

The overall length is 11.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished ends. (The original finish may have been cadmium plating, but no trace remains.)

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench, illustrating the round shank and rugged construction.

Another detail to note is that the Vlchek design provides both an offset and an angle to the box end. Other manufacturers typically produced either angled box ends with no offsets, or offset box ends with the plane of the box parallel to the shank.

WBL2628 13/16x7/8 Round-Shank Offset Box-End Wrench

[Vlchek WBL2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 90. Vlchek WBL2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Detail, ca. 1931-1937.

Fig. 90 shows another example of the WBL series, a Vlchek WBL2628 13/16x7/8 offset box-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" on the reverse.

The overall length is 12.6 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating with polished ends.


WB18 9/16x9/16 Single-Offset Box Wrench

The next two figures show examples of Vlchek single-offset box wrenches.

[Vlchek WB18 9/16x9/16 Single-Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 91A. Vlchek WB18 9/16x9/16 Single-Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 91A shows a Vlchek WB18 9/16x9/16 single-offset box wrench, stamped with "Vlchek" and the model number on the shank, with "Chrome Molybdenum" on the reverse.

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


1B3036 3/4x3/4 Single-Offset Box Wrench

[Vlchek 1B3036 3/4x3/4 Single-Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 91B. Vlchek 1B3036 3/4x3/4 Single-Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 91B shows a Vlchek 1B3036 3/4x3/4 single-offset box wrench, stamped with "Vlchek" and "Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 12.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The model number on this wrench suggests that it might have been contract production for Caterpiller, which often assigned models beginning with a number and letter.


WBM1820 9/16x5/8 Half-Moon Box Wrench

In addition to the early WB and WBL series, Vlchek also offered a single model in the half-moon style, as shown in our next figure.

[Vlchek WBM1820 9/16x5/8 Halfmoon Box Wrench]
Fig. 92A. Vlchek WBM1820 9/16x5/8 Halfmoon Box Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1931-1937.

Fig. 92A shows a Vlchek WBM1820 9/16x5/8 halfmoon box wrench, stamped "Chrome Molybdenum" on the reverse.

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

This wrench has a round shank as with the other early box-end wrench models. This model was listed in the 1934 catalog A-2, the only example of the half-moon style.


WZ3400 7/16x9/16 Double-Square Box Wrench

This next figure shows a specialty wrench for adjusting brakes on Ford Models A and AA vehicles.

[Vlchek WZ3400 7/16x1/2 Double-Square Box Wrench]
Fig. 92B. Vlchek WZ3400 7/16x1/2 Double-Square Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1930s.

Fig. 92B shows a Vlchek WZ3400 7/16x1/2 double-square box wrench for Ford brake applications, stamped with "Chrome Molybdenum" on the reverse.

The overall length is 11.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel, possibly with cadmium plating.

This wrench has a round shank as with the other early box-end wrench models.


WBA2425 3/4x25/32 Deep Offset Box-End Wrench

[Vlchek WBA2425 3/4x25/32 Deep Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 93. Vlchek WBA2425 3/4x25/32 Deep Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 93 shows a Vlchek WBA2425 3/4x25/32 deep offset box-end wrench with raised panels on the shank, stamped with the model and fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse. The reverse shank also has a forged-in code "5" visible at the left.

The overall length is 11.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench, to illustrate the deeply offset design.

The raised panels indicate that this is an earlier example of the WBA series.


WBA3032 15/16x1 Inch Deep Offset Box-End Wrench

[Vlchek WBA3032 15/16x1 Long Deep Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 94. Vlchek WBA3032 15/16x1 Long Deep Offset Box-End Wrench, ca. 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 94 shows a Vlchek WBA3032 15/16x1 deep offset box-end wrench with a panelled shank, stamped "Alloy U.S.A." on the raised panel.

The overall length is 14.5 inches.

The raised panels indicate that this is an earlier example of the WBA series.


WBC1012 5/16x3/8 Short Offset Box-End Wrench

[Vlchek WBC1012 5/16x3/8 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 95. Vlchek WBC1012 5/16x3/8 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. Early to Mid 1940s.

Fig. 95 shows a Vlchek WBC1012 5/16x3/8 short offset box-end wrench with raised panels, stamped "Vlchek" with the model and fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse panel. The shank is also marked with an asterisk on the front and a forged-in number "15" on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The shank of this wrench has raised panels, indicating an earlier example of production of this model.


WBC1214 3/8x7/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the WBC1214 box wrench.

[Vlchek WBC1214 3/8x7/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 96. Vlchek WBC1214 3/8x7/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. Early to Mid 1940s.

Fig. 96 shows a Vlchek WBC1214 3/8x7/16 short offset box-end wrench marked "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.6 inches, and the finish appears to be cadmium plating.

The shank of this wrench has raised panels, indicating an earlier example of production of this model.

The wrench has a forged-in number "16" and a very clear asterisk mark on the opposite side.

[Vlchek WBC1214 3/8x7/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 97. Vlchek WBC1214 3/8x7/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 97 shows another Vlchek WBC1214 3/8x7/16 short offset box-end wrench, but this time with a flat shank. The shank is stamped "Vlchek" with the model and fractional sizes, with "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse. The reverse shank also has a forged-in number "24" visible at the left.

The overall length is 4.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished box ends.

WBC1618 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrenches

The next figures illustrate several generations of the WBC1618 box wrench.

[Vlchek WBC1618 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 98. Vlchek WBC1618 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 98 shows an earlier Vlchek WBC1618 1/2x9/16 short offset box wrench in the panelled style, stamped with the Vlchek name, model number, and sizes on one panel, with "Chrome Moly" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse. The reverse shank also has a forged-in number "3" visible at the left.

The overall length is 5.7 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

[Vlchek WBC1618 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 99. Vlchek WBC1618 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. Early to Mid 1940s.

Fig. 99 shows another panelled example of the Vlchek WBC1618 short offset box wrench, stamped with the Vlchek name, model number, and sizes on the front panel, with "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse. The reverse shank also has a forged-in number "18" visible at the left.

The overall length is 5.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

[Vlchek WBC1618 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 100. Vlchek WBC1618 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 100 shows a later Vlchek WBC1618 1/2x9/16 short offset box wrench with a flat shank, stamped with the model and fractional sizes on the front, with "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse. The reverse shank also has a forged-in number "33" visible at the left.

The overall length is 5.7 inches.


WBC2022 5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench

The next two figures show examples of the WBC2022 box wrench.

[Vlchek WBC2022 5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 101. Vlchek WBC2022 5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 101 shows an early Vlchek WBC2022 5/8x11/16 short offset box wrench in the panelled style, stamped with the Vlchek name, model number, and fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Chrome Moly" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

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

This example is somewhat unusual in that it does not have a forged-in number, although the front shank does have the forged-in "asterisk" mark.

[Vlchek WBC2022 5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 102. Vlchek WBC2022 5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 102 shows a later Vlchek WBC2022 5/8x11/16 short offset box wrench, stamped with the Vlchek name, model number, and fractional sizes on the front, with "Alloy" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse. The reverse shank also has a forged-in number "10" visible at the left.

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


WBH Series Offset Box-End Wrenches

The WBH series of long offset box wrenches are one of Vlchek's better known tools, and these wrenches must have been very popular, if the number still available is any indication. We'll show a number of the WBH models in the figures below, and where possible will show multiple generations of a particular model.


WBH1214 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Vlchek WBH1214 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 103. Vlchek WBH1214 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 103 shows a Vlchek WBH1214 3/8x7/16 box-end wrench in the flat-shank style, stamped "Alloy" and "U.S.A." on the shank.

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

The reverse has a forged-in number "12" (not shown).


WBH1416 7/16x1/2 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Vlchek WBH1416 7/16x1/2 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 104. Vlchek WBH1416 7/16x1/2 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 104 shows a Vlchek WBH1416 7/16x1/2 box-end wrench in the flat-shank style, marked "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse. The overall length is 8.9 inches.

The finish is plain steel, and the forged-in number is "2".


WBH2022 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Vlchek WBH2022 5/8x11/16 Long Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 105. Vlchek WBH2022 5/8x11/16 Long Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 105 shows a Vlchek WBH2022 5/8x11/16 offset box-end wrench, an example of the earlier WBH series with a raised panel on the shank.

The reverse is marked "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A.", and the overall length is 10.0 inches.

The box ends of the wrench have been polished but the wrench appears to have been left unplated.

WBH2024 5/8x3/4 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Vlchek WBH2024 5/8x3/4 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 106. Vlchek WBH2024 5/8x3/4 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

An example of the WBH series in a less common size combination is shown a Fig. 106, a Vlchek WBH2024 5/8x3/4 offset box-end wrench, marked "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 11.2 inches.

The finish is plain steel with polished ends, and the forged-in number is "1".

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench to illustrate the distinctive offset design. Vlchek offset wrenches used a gradual bend, giving the tools the combined characteristics of angled and offset box wrenches.

WBH2428 3/4x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Vlchek WBH2428 3/4x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 107. Vlchek WBH2428 3/4x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse.

In Fig. 107 we have another example of the WBH flat-shank design, a Vlchek WBH2428 3/4x7/8 offset box-end wrench. The wrench is marked "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse, and the overall length is 12.3 inches.

This wrench has a plain steel finish with polished ends, and the forged-in number is "16".

WBH2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrenches

[Vlchek WBH2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 108. Vlchek WBH2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 108 shows another early WBH series model, a Vlchek WBH2628 13/16x7/8 box wrench with raised panels, marked "Chrome Molybdenum" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 13.4 inches, and the finish is a heavy chrome plate with a yellowish tint.

The forged-in number on the reverse appears to be a 1; if the numbers are indeed die generations, this would imply that this wrench was among the first of the series.

[Vlchek WBH2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 109. Vlchek WBH2628 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 109 at the left shows a later WBH2628 wrench, marked "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 13.4 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating. The forged-in number on the reverse is "12".

WBH3032 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the WBH3032 model.

[Vlchek WBH3032 15/16x1 Inch Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 110. Vlchek WBH3032 15/16x1 Inch Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Detail.

Fig. 110 shows the earlier Vlchek WBH3032 15/16x1 offset box wrench with raised panels, marked "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse. The forged-in number is a "6".

The overall length is 15.0 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating with polished ends.

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench, illustrating the mix of angled and offset styles characteristic of the WBH series.

[Vlchek WBH2428 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 111. Vlchek WBH3032 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 111 at the left shows another Vlchek WBH3032 15/16x1 offset box-end wrench, this time with the flat-shank design. The wrench is marked "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse, and the forged-in number is "12".

The overall length is 14.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel finish with polished ends.

WBH4648 1-7/16x1-1/2 Offset Box-End Wrench

In case you were thinking that Vlchek only made small to medium-sized wrenches, the next figure shows a much larger example of the WBH series.

[Vlchek WBH4648 1-7/16x1-1/2 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 112. Vlchek WBH4648 1-7/16x1-1/2 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 112 shows a Vlchek WBH4648 1-7/16x1-1/2 offset box wrench with raised panels, stamped "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 19.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished ends and panels. The forged-in number is "2".

The raised panels mark this as another earlier WBH model. This wrench is actually the largest of the WBH models, at least according to the 1952 catalog.


Combination Wrenches

Vlchek began offering combination wrenches sometime after 1938, as this style is not listed in the 1938 catalog A4. (Combination wrenches were definitely available by 1952.) The wrenches were assigned model numbers with a WBE prefix followed by the size in 32nds, e.g. WBE24 for a 3/4 size.

At first, combination wrenches were offered only in alloy steel, but somewhat later an economy brand "Motiv" was available in a less expensive steel. (See the later section on Motiv and Economy Tools.) Early models had a raised panel in the center, but later the design changed to a flat shank and then to a narrower bar-type handle.


WBE18 9/16 Combination Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Vlchek WBE18 wrench.

[Vlchek WBE18 9/16 Panel Combination Wrench]
Fig. 113. Vlchek WBE18 9/16 Panel Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. Early to Mid 1940s.

Fig. 113 shows a Vlchek WBE18 9/16 combination wrench with a panelled shank, marked "Made in U.S.A." and "Alloy Steel" on the reverse. No forged-in number was noted.

The overall length is 7.5 inches. The wrench shows traces of gray paint, probably from the original finish.

The panelled shank indicates that this is a relatively early combination wrench, probably dating to the late 1930s or early 1940s.

[Vlchek WBE18 9/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 114. Vlchek WBE18 9/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 114 shows a later Vlchek WBE18 9/16 combination wrench with a flat shank. The reverse is marked "Made in U.S.A." and "Chrome Alloy", and the overall length is 7.5 inches.

This wrench has a forged-in number "7", though it's somewhat faint in the photograph.

WBE20 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Vlchek WBE20 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 115. Vlchek WBE20 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Inset Showing Profile.

Fig. 115 below shows a Vlchek WBE20 5/8 combination wrench, marked "U.S.A." and "Alloy" with no markings on the reverse. The overall length is 9.7 inches.

The inset shows an edge profile view of the wrench, providing a good example of Vlchek production characteristics. Note especially the relatively thin box end and the sharp grinding radii at both ends.

The wrench has a narrower (and thicker) shank than the example in Fig. 114; this bar-type handle indicates somewhat later production. The forged-in number is "9".


WBE24 3/4 Combination Wrenches

The next figures show two generations of the Vlchek WBE24 wrench.

[Vlchek WBE24 3/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 116. Vlchek WBE24 3/4 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Early to Mid 1940s.

Fig. 116 shows an earlier Vlchek WBE24 3/4 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped "Vlchek" with the model and fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Alloy Steel" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse panel. The shank has a forged-in number "3" visible at the left.

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

[Vlchek WBE24 3/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 117. Vlchek WBE24 3/4 Combination Wrench.

Fig. 117 shows a later Vlchek WBE24 3/4 combination wrench, marked "U.S.A." and "Alloy" with no markings on the reverse. The forged-in number is "13".

The overall length is 9.7 inches.


Other Tools


[PFH309] Utility and Pump Pliers

[Vlchek PFH309 Heavy-Duty Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 118. Vlchek [PFH309] Heavy-Duty Waterpump Pliers.

Fig. 118 shows a pair of Vlchek [PFH309] waterpump pliers, stamped "Vlchek Made in U.S.A." on one handle with "Alloy Steel" on the other. Although not marked on this example, the PFH309 model number was identified by the 1952 catalog, where this model is listed as the "Heavy Duty Utility and Pump Pliers".

The overall length is 9.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


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