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It’s a funny thing that happens when a tool is left forgotten in a tool box for fifty or so years before it’s pulled back out again. Suddenly adjustable wrenches like these are not called a nasty old tool, but a vintage tool. We find the change itself interesting.

When you look at these adjustables, what do you see? The lower one says Speednut and is recognizable as a wrench but there are subtle differences that let us know this is not something new — the adjustment for one, the handle for another. I’ve never seen one like it, but I know exactly what is is and more or less how to use it. They are reminders that we haven’t got everything quite figured out yet but always strive to do better.

The funny part is, if they’re not broken you can do almost everything with these older models that a modern wrench off the shelf can do today. Somehow I’ve always found that a strange curiosity since something like a plow would baffle me no end. It doesn’t make sense in my world — these wrenches do and will most likely do the same for my kids one day.

Thanks to reader Whiteforge for the great photo and the moment we paused to consider these interesting finds.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]

 

5 Responses to Antique Tools: Adjustable Wrenches

  1. David Bryan says:

    I believe those have gear teeth on the end of the handle that engage the teeth on the sliding jaw, like on Joseph Eiffel’s Mighty Plierench, tightening the wrench as you apply leverage to the handle.

  2. fred says:

    When we acquired the plumbing/pipe fabrication shop a lot of old wrenches came with it. Most were things like Coes monkey wrenches, double-ended crescent wrenches, old Stilson wrenches and the like. One of the more interesting sets were 3 sizes of Parmlee wrenches with interchangeable girths. I believe these are still made :

    http://www.parmeleewrench.com/

    and they find application in oilfields etc. They also seem to command high prices.

  3. Bill says:

    These look spark proof for the fuel or heating trades.

  4. william says:

    i use too play with one like the top picture when i was a kid and my dad told me it came to him from his dad back in the erly 50 now it has been passed on to me wow it does have teeth in the end of the handle wonder how much it is worth now

  5. bob koch says:

    i have a 6in speednut ratchet as shown in the picture question is what it worth about the year it was made . the one i have is near perfect condition for the age of the tool

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