This eyecatcher is a large, open ended, cast steel wrench from the Erie Railroad. It would be perfect mounted over a chimney mantel piece, or on a train room wall! It's in superb condition and carries the "W in a diamond / U.S.A." logo of the J. H. Williams Company, a leader in American tool making and the first company to utilize the drop forge production technique.
Midway down the shaft is stamped ERIE R.R. Each end is stamped with the size: the larger is 1-1/16 (inch), the smaller is 7/8 (inch). On the side opposite the larger mark is stamped the Williams Company trademark logo.
CONDITION is fabulous - as solid and sound as the first day an Erie Railroad worker picked it up to use it. There are absolutely no cracks, splits or any kind of metal damage. It has a terrific patina and color that has deepened to a gunmetal gray. There are some light, allover surface marks from use, but these hurt absolutely nothing and add a lot of character.
IMPORTANT - some of our pictures have a brownish cast - it is NOT rusty !!
This is one of the best types of collectibles - go ahead and use it ! Short of outright abuse, you cannot hurt it. This piece can be cared for the same as cast iron, with 0000 steel wool and high quality household lubricating oil. All it needs now is a great spot where an appreciative collector can enjoy it !
BACKGROUND: In 1882, James Harvey Williams and Matthew Diamond founded Williams & Diamond in Flushing, New York, one of the USA's first businesses to mass produce drop-forged hand tools. They relocated to Brooklyn in 1884, and took the name J.H. Williams & Co in 1887, then fully incorporated in 1895. Williams was incredibly shrewd as a businessman and also as an employer, sincerely caring about his employees as friends and highly valuing their respect. In that regard, he endeavored to offer the best possible wages along with comfortable working conditions -- a creative example was establishing the first shower baths available to factory workers. After Mr. Williams' sudden, totally unexpected passing in 1904, his sons took over. A second factory was opened in Buffalo, New York in 1914 (now the site of General Motors' Tonawanda Engine plant). The company succeeded and grew over the ensuing years, remaining in the family. It was acquired by Snap-on Tools in 1993.
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