Coes Wrenches

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Woodworking with Jason Stamper


The Old Monkey Wrench

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With that in mind and taking into account Coes' patent, I suppose my best guess on dating of this wrench is anywhere from 1910 -1924.

On the other side it is marked simply “Girard Special.”

I saw some other wrenches by Girard online that were marked “Girard Standard,” so I am not sure what makes this one “special.”

There is one other set of markings on the wrench, and they are what actually pushed me to buy it. Its previous owner stamped “L.V.R.R” on the side. This marking is for the long defunct Lehigh Valley Railroad! Being a lover of both old tools and trains, this wrench was too good to pass up!

Like many monkey wrenches this one adjusts the jaw opening with a screw above the handle. This one works very smoothly, and makes fine adjustments easy.

Also, it seems that this one has been used as a small hammer from time to time. On the back of the jaws there are a lot of dings and dents. Did a Lehigh Valley engineer once use this wrench to tap on the drive rods of his locomotive during his inspection? Or course we can never know for sure, but it’s fun to think about.

Lastly, unlike many of these types of antique monkey wrenches this one has an all-metal handle instead of wood. The metal handle has a fish scale texture in it as well. I wonder if this could be the “special” part about this wrench.

If it was purposely made for railroads, perhaps they did not want wood handled tools for their workers. All pure speculation, but it sounds like a plausible idea to me.

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