Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Need some historical feedback on wagon wrench


Recommended Posts

I finally soaked an old wagon wrench long enough to get a better look at it.  This was found when metal detecting around my property and might end up in the Ag museum if we're short of other examples (I have to check).  Wagon wrenches were once common as dirt and even sold by the dozen so it's not a big deal.

But....after cleaning, it appears the handle portion might be true wrought iron (slight fibrous texture to the surface).  I was hoping someone with more experience looking at old wrought could verify that.  Also, the weld from the handle to the jaws is rather...interesting.  Seems pretty sloppy.  It's quite corroded but I was curious if the signs implied power hammer or hand hammer.  Looks like a power job to me but someone might see something different.  The reason I ask that is to narrow down whether this one was a home-made jobber of one of the commercial wrenches.

The time frame doesn't really work in my mind.  My place wasn't built until about 1928 so I wouldn't have expected much wrought iron in the piles here.  Any historical guesses as to the last general date one would have seen wrought (if that's confirmed) used for something like this commercially?  I had thought it was getting rare to use 30-40 years prior to that 1928 date.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funny many of the tools that can be found at my place predate the building of the house by 100 or more years, (some 200 years). So it could be an old tool that made to move to the "new" place.

Also you seem to be having a dichotomy between hand forged and commercial/factory made when factories often employed large numbers of blacksmiths to forge items---by hand.

I think it's real wrought iron.  The sloppy weld is probably hand made and might be a repair---my 1897 Sears Roebuck catalog has a motto in it to the effect of "Every Farmer His Own Blacksmith"  which does not indicate that they would be *good* blacksmiths...

I've found a lot of wrought iron used in "cheap" repairs to farm items during the great depression as folks used whatever they could mine from their scrap piles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, TP.  I'll do some comparing on the handle with other examples to see if it's a replacement or shortened, implying a repair.  The most important issue to me was the opinion on wrought.  I (believe) I can generally spot it but didn't have an example to show others about what to look for in their junk piles.  Now I can get some of the really old guys to keep an eye out and save if they run across any.  So many wonderful things scrapped for a few pennies around here.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...