A wrench is a tool - the English
call it a spanner - that is usually operated by hand, and is made for tightening
or loosening bolts, nuts or anything that needs to turn. Solymon Merrick
patented the first wrench in 1835.
The physics of a wrench are that
the tool works as lever. There are notches at the mouth for gripping. The
wrench is pulled at a right angle to the axes of the lever-action and the
bolt or nut. Some wrenches have mouths that can be tightened to better
fit various objects that need turning.
Charles Moncky invented the monkey
wrench around 1858.
Robert Owen, Jr (1881 - 1956) invented
the ratchet wrench. Owen received a patent on September 9, 1913. U. S.
Patent number 1,072,980.
On September 13, 1870, a patent
was granted to Daniel C. Stillson, a steamboat fireman, for a "wrench".
Stillson invented the pipe wrench - sometimes called the Stillson pipe wrench.
Stillson, suggested to the heating and piping firm Walworth manufacture
a design for a wrench that could be used for screwing pipes together. Previously,
serrated blacksmith tongs had been used for that purpose. The owner, James
Walworth told Stillson to make a prototype and “either twist off the pipe
or break the wrench.” Stillson's prototype twisted the pipe successfully.
His design was then patented and Walworth manufactured the wrench. Stillson
was paid about $80,000 in royalties during his lifetime.
The world's first African American
heavyweight champion patented a wrench (U.S.patent#1,413,121) on April
the 18th, 1922.
The idea for a "ratchetless" wrench
came about because of an invention by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
(GSFC) engineer John Vranish.
Return to The
History of Hardware Tools
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