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Wilde Tool Company


Table of Contents

Introduction


Company History

The Wilde Tool Company is a maker of pliers and other tools, initially operating as the Wilde Drop Forge and Tool Company in Kansas City, Missouri. The company was purchased in 1927 by brothers Otto and Paul Froeschl, and continues today under management by later generations of the Froeschl family. In 1955 the company moved to its present location in Hiawatha, Kansas.

One of the company's best-known early products was the line of angle-nose gripping pliers based on patent #1,800,447, filed by Otto Froeschl in 1928. These pliers were sold under the trade name "Wilde Wrench" and became very popular.

Although Wilde is best known today for its pliers, during the 1930s and 1940s the company offered a full line of service tools, including wrenches, sockets and drive tools, chisels and punches, automotive specialty tools, and even auto body tools.

Wilde Tool operates today as the Wilde Tool Company, Inc., and further information can be found on the company's website at www.wildetool.com.


Selected Tools


Wilde Early 7 Inch Wrench Pliers

[Wilde Early 7 Inch Wrench Pliers]
Fig. 1. Wilde Early 7 Inch Wrench Pliers, with Insets for Handle Pattern and Detail, ca. 1928-1931.

Fig. 1 shows a pair of Wilde wrench pliers marked "Wilde Wrench 7" and "Pat. Pend.", with "KC MO" in the Wilde logo. The underside of each handle also has a forged-in marking "Alloy Steel", as shown in the lower inset.

The overall length is 7.2 inches. The finish was originally nickel plating, but has now worn to bare steel in most areas.

The patent pending notation refers to patent #1,800,447, filed by Otto Froeschl in 1928 and issued in 1931. Based on the filing date, these pliers were likely made in 1928-1931.

These early pliers use a slip-joint mechanism with two positions, but the later models were made with three positions.


Wilde 8 Inch Wrench Pliers

[Wilde 8 Inch Wrench Pliers]
Fig. 2. Wilde 8 Inch Wrench Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1930s to 1940s.

Fig. 2 shows a pair of Wilde 8 inch wrench pliers, stamped with the Wilde "KC MO" logo and "Wilde Wrench", and with a "Pat. No. 1800447" patent notice. The underside of each handle also has a forged-in marking "Alloy Steel", shown as a close-up in the lower inset.

The overall length is 8.3 inches. and the finish is cadmium plating.

The patent notice refers to patent #1,800,447, issued to Otto Froeschl in 1931.


Wilde 6 Inch Wrench Pliers

[Wilde 6 Inch Wrench Pliers]
Fig. 3. Wilde 6 Inch Wrench Pliers, with Inset for Handle Pattern.

Fig. 3 shows a later version of the Wilde wrench pliers, marked "Wilde Wrench 6" and "Pat. No. 1800477".

The overall length is 6.2 inches.


402 6 Inch Diagonal Cutters

[Wilde 402 6 Inch Diagonal Cutters]
Fig. 4. Wilde 402 6 Inch Diagonal Cutters, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 4 shows a pair of Wilde 402 6 inch diagonal cutters, stamped with the "Wilde KC MO" logo and "U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 6.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the finely detailed rope-banded gripping pattern on the handles.


Wilde No. 410 Battery Pliers

[Wilde No. 410 Battery Pliers]
Fig. 5. Wilde No. 410 Battery Pliers, with Inset for Handle Pattern.

Fig. 5 shows a pair of Wilde No. 410 battery pliers, stamped with the Wilde logo and "K.C. Mo." near the pivot.

The overall length is 7.7 inches.

The inset shows the distinctive rope-banded gripping pattern used by Wilde for most of their plier production.

A very similar pair of pliers made by Wilde for the Sears Craftsman brand can be seen as the Craftsman Battery Pliers with Rope-Banded Pattern.


Wilde 127 13/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench

In addition to pliers, Wilde also produced a full line of wrenches and socket tools. The next figure shows an example of their box-end wrenches.

[Wilde 127 13/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 6. Wilde 127 13/16x7/8 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 6 shows a Wilde 127 13/16x7/8 box-end wrench, marked with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "Wilde K.C. MO" and the model number stamped on the reverse. (The lower inset has been rotated for readability.)

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


Wilde 129 15/16x1 Box-End Wrench

[Wilde 129 15/16x1 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 7. Wilde 129 15/16x1 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 7 shows a Wilde 129 15/16x1 box-end wrench, marked with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "Wilde K.C. MO" and the model number stamped on the reverse. (The lower inset has been rotated for readability.)

The overall length is 15.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Wilde 195 3/4 Combination Wrench

[Wilde 195 3/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 8. Wilde 195 3/4 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 8 shows a Wilde 195 3/4 combination wrench, marked with "Wilde K.C. Mo." and the fractional sizes forged into the shank, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.6 inches. The finish appears to be nickel plating, with extensive losses due to wear.


Wilde 1720 9/32x11/32 Ignition Wrench

[Wilde 1720 9/32x11/32 Ignition Wrench]
Fig. 9. Wilde 1720 9/32x11/32 Ignition Wrench.

Fig. 9 at the left shows a Wilde 1720 9/32x11/32 ignition wrench, marked with the company name, model, and fractional sizes.

The overall length is 3.5 inches, and the finish is black oxide.


Contract Production


Production for Craftsman

Wilde production for Craftsman was generally marked with a "P" in a circle as a manufacturer's code, and this code can be used to identify items made by Wilde when the typical rope-banded gripping pattern is not in use. The next several figures show examples of Craftsman pliers with the rope banding pattern on the handles, all presumed to be contract production by Wilde.


Craftsman 11 Inch Waterpump Pliers

[Craftsman 11 Inch Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 10. Craftsman 11 Inch Waterpump Pliers, with Inset for Handle Pattern, ca. 1960-1969.

Fig. 10 shows a recent pair of Craftsman 11 inch waterpump pliers with a rope-banded gripping pattern, suggesting that these were likely made by Wilde.

The overall length is 10.8 inches.

The pliers are marked with the Craftsman double-line logo, but no model number is marked. Model numbers were generally marked on Craftsman tools after the late 1960s to early 70s, so these pliers were probably made in the 1960s.

The handles of these pliers have a forged-in "P" code on the inside, identified as the manufacturer's code for Wilde.


Craftsman 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Waterpump Pliers

[Craftsman 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 11. Craftsman 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Waterpump Pliers, with Insets for Handle and "P" Code, ca. 1960-1969.

Fig. 11 shows a pair of Craftsman 10 inch tongue-and-groove waterpump pliers with a rope-banded gripping pattern, marked with the Craftsman double-line logo, but without a model number.

The overall length is 10.0 inches.

The left inset shows the forged-in "P" code on the inside of the handles, the Craftsman manufacturer's code for Wilde.

The tongue-and-groove design dates back to the classic 1934 patent #1,950,362 by the Champion DeArment (now Channellock) company.


Craftsman 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers

[Craftsman 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 12. Craftsman 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 12 shows a pair of Craftsman slip-joint combination pliers with the rope banding pattern, stamped with the double-line logo and a small "P" code near the pivot, and with "Alloy Steel" forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 6.7 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The lower inset shows the forged-in "P" code on the inside of the handles, presumed to be the manufacturer's code for Wilde.


Craftsman Snap-Ring Pliers

[Craftsman Snap-Ring Pliers]
Fig. 13. Craftsman Snap-Ring Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 13 at the left shows a pair of Craftsman snap-ring specialty pliers with rope-banded handles, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo and "USA", and with a small "P" in a circle code.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The lower inset shows the forged-in "P" code on the inside of the handles, presumed to be the manufacturer's code for Wilde.


Production for Sexauer

Wilde Tool produced pliers for the "Sexauer" brand, which is believed to refer to the JA Sexauer Manufacturing Company, a maker of plumbing supplies and repair parts. The JA Sexauer Manufacturing Company was established in 1921 in New York City, and remained in operation at least into the 1970s.

The logo "Make Tight Stax" appears to have been registered as a trademark in both the United States and Canada. (A 1924 reference to the registration with the Canadian Patent Office was found.)


Sexauer 8 Inch Angle-Nose (Wrench) Pliers

[Sexauer 8 Inch Wrench Pliers]
Fig. 14. Sexauer 8 Inch Wrench Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1930s to 1940s.

Fig. 14 shows a pair of Sexauer 8 inch wrench pliers, stamped with "Sexauer" and a "Make Tight Stax" logo, with "USA&CAN" below. The handles are also marked with "Alloy Steel" forged into the undersides.

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

These pliers are very similar to the Wilde 8 Inch Wrench Pliers shown in a previous figure.


References and Resources

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


Catalog Coverage

We have several catalogs for Wilde Tool, as summarized in the table below.

Catalog Year Format Notes
No. 41 1941 Full Full line of sockets and drive tools. Full line of wrenches.
No. 58 1958 Full No sockets or drive tools. Wrench selection limited to ignition wrenches.
No. 61 1961 Full  

Patent and Trademark Information

Patent information was obtained from the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO) web site at uspto.gov. Patent documents were obtained from sites offering free downloads, notably freepatentsonline.com.


Feedback

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