Jack Johnson, the world’s first African American and heavyweight champion – invented the wrench on April 18th, 1922. But it was Solymon Merrick who patented the first wrench around 1835. Later on, Charles Moncky invented the Monkey wrench in 1858. Then, Robert Owen Jr from Shawnee (Ohio) received a ratchet wrench on Sep 9th, 2020.
What is a wrench?
A wrench or spanner is a tool, which is generally operated by hands and is made for tightening and loosening of nuts and bolts – or specifically rotary fasteners. The working mechanism of the wrench is very simple.
The wrench works like a lever and has notched at the edge for gripping. It grasps nut or bold in such a way that nut can be easily turned by a pull on the wrench. The wrench is pulled at a right angle to the axes of the lever and the nut.
Who Invented the Wrench?
The very first wrench was invented in the early nineteenth century by Solymon Merrick. After that, different types of wrenches have been manufactured till the late twentieth century. Depending on their shape and size, each wrench encompasses a different style and function.
Here is a brief description of the invention of different wrenches:
1. Solymon Merrick Wrench:
In 1835, Solymon Merrick from Springfield invented a screw bases wrench coach wrench design. We cannot describe Solymon’s whole biography here. However, we know that he patented his first wrench on May 7, 1842.
The first wrench was an S shaped tool with a straight angle and was made with wrought iron. People really liked his idea, because there was no need to use much power to turn screws and nuts. Solymon wrench also knows as adjustable wrenches are still available and are used with different sizes of rotary fasteners.
2. Monkey Wrench:
Many people copied Solymon’s wrench idea and tried to invent more tools by following the same concept. In 1858, Charles Moncky patented his first wrench – known as monkey wrench.
Monkey wrench was named using some random misunderstandings of Charles Monck’s name. Monkey wrench is a wrench with smooth jaws commonly used by plumbers today for turning threading pipes.
Monkeywrench invention got very popular, and for the next 85 years, different kinds of Monkey wrenches were been invented by different companies. That wrench was advertised and been sold in the UK for many years.
3. Pipe wrench:
Pipe wrench was invented by Daniel C Stillson, a stream boat fighter on Sep 9, 1870. Stillson was patented for Stillson pipe wrench – used for screwing pipes together.
Stillson worked in an industry, where they burned and heated pipes for different purposes. His owner asked him to make a prototype, by which they can turn and break the pipe easily.
At that time, Stillson manufactured a pipe wrench, which twisted the pipe easily. His work was really appreciated by the industry and he was awarded $75,000 for that invention during his lifetime.
4. Ratchet wrench:
Robert Owen (formerly of Shawnee) invented the Ratchet wrench in the late nineteenth century. He received his wrench patent on Sep 9, 1913. The idea for the ratchet wrench was taken by the invention of John Varnish, an engineer of GSFC (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Centre).
Ratchet wrench is a kind of combination wrench having ratcheting pawls inside. They are great for such vehicle’s stuff where a ratchet and socket doesn’t fit in their places. Pawls inside the ratchet wrench help it to turn in one direction and to nut in another direction.
5. Allen wrench:
William E Allen from Allen’s industry invented Allen wrenches in 1911. Allen wrench is a small hex key type hexagonal wrench, used for driving bolts that have hexagonal sockets.
L shaped Allen wrenches are the most common ones and are easily available everywhere. Allen wrenches are L-shaped wrenches, which are available in a variety of sizes. The Smallest Allen wrench is about 1.25mm, while the largest one is around 190mm.
Other wrench types and their uses
Nowadays, wrenches are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. Generally, all types of wrenches are used for loosening or tightening of bolts and screws. However, here are some of the most common types of wrenches:
Socket wrench – open from both edges, and used to tighten nuts and screws. It has a jointed-flexible model that helps you to work at different angles.
Torque wrench – a long straight wrench that is specially designed for providing a specific amount of torque to items. The amount of provided torque can be varying from the wrench to wrench, depending on its size and shape.
They are mostly used in automobile industries for tightening wheel lug nuts. A torque wrench can also be used for bicycles or for any farming apparatus where a specific amount of torque is needed.
Open-end wrench – a long U-shaped wrench that is open from both edges. One open end is slightly smaller than the other. They are most likely to round the edges of screws and are specifically designed for hard to reach nuts.
Stubby wrench – small sized wrench that is available in some standard sizes. It is used for tightening and loosening of nuts in tight places.
Strap wrench – made up of rubber fabric and metal band. They are used for tightening and loosening items that don’t have any flexible space. They are best for round items that are too greasy for a normal wrench to grip.
Basin wrench –long T shaped wrench, which is used for tightening and loosening of nuts under the basin, toilets, and lavatories.
Spanner wrench – a C-shaped wrench with a curved end. They are a specialized class of tools having pins of them, which allows them to be used for many items – from spanner head nuts to retainer holes.
Crowfoot wrench – has no handle, and can be used along with a ratchet wrench. It is also used for tightening and loosening of nuts in tight places. It is available in standard as well as metric sizes.
Spoke wrench – a round-shape wrench, which is specially designed for gripping the spokes on wire wheels. Because of its round shape, it can be easily rotated in circle without any trouble.
Oil-filter wrench – made up of one metal and one chain strap, and is mostly used in the automobile industry. They come in four specific sizes and styles and usually have to be matched with the model of the vehicle.
Hammer wrench – a short thick wrench with an open end. It is used for tightening large fittings and fasteners. Hammer wrenches are very helpful for releasing stuck and rusted screws. Plumbers mostly use it for electrical works.
Garbage disposal – combination of two little wrenches forms a single wrench known as garbage disposal wrench. That can be used for releasing garbage disposal. Most of them come with a large type of Allen wrench.
Wrench sets – A wrench set is a small bag, containing a wide range of wrenches of different sizes and styles. These sets are like handy bags, and also consist of many other tools like pliers and ratchet sets. Each wrench set contains around 400 tools.
What are the safety tips for using a wrench?
Wrenches are widely used by plumbers for construction and many other purposes. Wrenches are not that difficult to use, however one must keep these general safety tips in mind while using a wrench:
- Always use the correct wrench for any specific work. Like pipe wrenches for pipes, basis wrenches for toilets.
- Don’t use any rusted or damaged wrench. It can damage your work, and can also harm your hand.
- Always use correct adjustment for jaw-wrenches.
- Always wear a face shield, safety glasses, and gloves while using a wrench.
- Maintain your body balance while using a wrench. Don’t push too hard, that way you might lose your balance.
- While using adjustable wrenches, make sure their jaws don’t open.
- Keep tools clean and dry to avoid rusting of tools.
- Keep your tool/wrench set in a well-maintained condition.
- The first wrench was invented in 1835, by Solymon Merrick from Springfield. Later on, people copied his idea and many wrenches were invented till the late twentieth century.
- Wrenches are everyday tools generally used for tightening and loosening of nuts. Nowadays wrenches are available in different sizes and shapes, each of them designed for a specific purpose.
- They are easy to carry and safe to use. However, always maintain safety tips for preventing any kind of damage or injury.