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Inspired by a cool find by Toolmonger reader whiteforge, I dug up a photo of this unusual curved wrench, courtesy of Ron Geeson of Made in Birmingham. The wrench was made for the English Fordson tractor, or “automobile plow,” that Henry Ford & Sons Company developed in 1917 — in the 1920s manufacture moved exclusively to Ireland and England. The Fordson was the first mass-produced tractor that small farmers and ordinary people could afford, and was in production until 1991 when the company sold its tractor division to Fiat.

This particular wrench has a unique snail logo in relief on the handle. It was tough to track down, but evidently it comes from Snail Brand tools, a division of Smith Francis in Birmingham, England, who’ve been in business since 1934. While these vintage spanners are primarily in circulation overseas, a recent eBay auction (now closed) shows you can still get them for around £18, or about $30.

Even though antique farming equipment may not be your forte, have any of you Toolmongers got any unusual, rare, or antique tools you’d like to share? Tell us about them in comments, and feel free to post photos in the Toolmonger Flickr pool!

Smith Francis Tools
The History of Ford Farm Tractors
The Fordson House — Online Orders for Antique Tractor Parts
Vintage Tractors [website]
Antique Farming [Hobby Site]


5 Responses to Antique Tools: Fordson Tractor Wrench

  1. PutnamEco says:

    Looks like a copy of a Westscott wrench. BEMIS & CALL also manufactured a similar wrench, both which I believe predate the Fordson wrench, which I believe was originally manufactured by the Keystone Manufacturing Company for Fordson.

    Alloy Artifacts has some info.


  2. russ says:

    Ah, the Fordson (a.k.a. Hoyt Clagwell on Green Acres). Now it makes sense.

  3. fuddmain says:

    I have a 12-inch Bemis & Call wrench like this that was my grandfather’s. He worked for the Railway Express Agency and, I believe, used it on the job.

    It has 48A on the handle.

    It’s a hefty wrench. Well suited to home protection:-)

  4. Wrenchmensch says:

    I have a number Snail Brand wrenches in my collection including ones for Fordson’s UK tractor line (which you’ve shown), Jaguar cars, and just plain Snail Brand wrenches. The info I have for Snail Brand indicates it was a trademark of Thomas Smith & Sons of Saltley Limited, Saltley Mill, Birmingham 8, England.

  5. Paul Richards says:

    I love old tools and there history. I have about 2500 of them. I still have 44 gallon drums of them to sort for display. I hold open days from time to time.

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