World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Monkey wrench

Article Id: WHEBN0000473916
Reproduction Date:

Title: Monkey wrench  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Wrench, Adjustable spanner, Coes Wrench Company, Loring Coes, Monkey wrench (disambiguation)
Collection: Wrenches
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Monkey wrench

Hand-forged adjustable wrench

The monkey wrench (US) or gas grips (UK) is an adjustable wrench, a later American development of eighteenth-century English coach wrenches. It was popular in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but is now used only for heavier tasks, having been mostly replaced by the lighter and sleeker shifting adjustable spanner. The term monkey wrench is also used colloquially to refer to the pipe wrench, owing to their broadly similar shapes.

These are also known as a Ford wrench owing to this type of wrench being included in the tool kit supplied with every Ford Model A. They are still used by aircraft technicians, chiefly when large but low torque fasteners are involved.

Contents

  • Etymology and history 1
  • Charles Moncky story 2
  • See also 3
  • References and notes 4

Etymology and history

Monkey wrench (left) compared to Stillson or pipe wrench (right)

The World English Dictionary gives a nautical definition for monkey, as a modifier "denoting a small light structure or piece of equipment contrived to suit an immediate purpose: a monkey foresail ; a monkey bridge."[1]

Adjustable coach wrenches for the odd-sized nuts of wagon wheels were manufactured in England and exported to North America in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. They were set either by sliding a wedge, or later by twisting the handle, which turned a screw, narrowing or widening the jaws. In 1840, Worcester, Massachusetts knife manufacturer Loring Coes invented a screw-based coach wrench design in which the jaw width was set with a spinning ring fixed under the sliding lower jaw, above the handle. This was patented in 1841 and the tools were advertised and sold in the United States as monkey wrenches, a term which was already in use for the English handle-set coach wrenches.[2] For the next eighty-seven years a very wide and popular range of monkey wrenches was manufactured by Coes family partnerships, licensees and companies, which filed further wrench patents throughout the nineteenth century. Some Coes wrenches could be bought with wooden knife handles, harking back to the company's early knife making business. In 1909 the Coes Wrench Company advertised a six-foot-long "key" wrench, shaped like a monkey wrench, for use on railroads.[3][4] The Coes wrench designs were acquired by longtime toolmaker Bemis & Call of Springfield, Massachusetts in 1928. After 1939 its successor companies manufactured monkey wrenches from Coes designs until the mid-1960s, yielding a production run of over 120 years.[2][5][6]

Monkey wrenches are still manufactured and are used for some heavy tasks, but they have otherwise been mostly replaced by the shifting adjustable wrench, which is much lighter and has a smaller head, allowing it to fit more easily into tight spaces.

Charles Moncky story

The following story can be found in sundry publications from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries:

That handy tool, the "monkey-wrench", is not so named because it is a handy thing to monkey with, or for any kindred reason. "Monkey" is not its name at all, but "Moncky." Charles Moncky, the inventor of it, sold his patent for $2000, and invested the money in a house in Williamsburg, Kings County, where he now lives.[7][8]

However, this was refuted by historical and patent research in the late nineteenth century.[2]

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ dictionary.reference.com, "monkey," Houghton Mifflin, 1997: World English Dictionary entry, 5th def.
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ ww.clarku.edu, Coes Wrench Co.
  4. ^ Alloy Artifacts, "Coes Wrench Company," 2005-2011
  5. ^ Alloy Artifacts, "Bemis & Call", 2005-2011
  6. ^ Bemis & Call was acquired by a larger tool company in 1939. By the 2000s their old mill building on Main Street in the South End housed a commercial center known as "The Monkey Wrench."
  7. ^
  8. ^
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.