This is a guide to wrenches I have identified for B.D. Buford & Co, the Rock Island Plow Co and some associated companies. This is my list that I have identified through: the 1878 B.D. Buford & Co catalog, the Rock Island Plow Co 1900 parts list (abbreviated 00PL), 1909 supplement (09PL), 1912 parts list (abbreviated 12PL), Repair catalog No 40 circa 1916 (undated but listings should put it mid teens, possibly as early as 1914) (40PL). 1920 repair catalog 60 (60PL) and repair catalog no 71 1925 (25PL) and its 1930 supplement (30PL) as well as Sanders Disc Plow repair lists both pre and post RIPC buyout as well as advertising and catalogs. I am aware I am missing at least the 1909 parts catalog and I am sure I am missing at least a couple from 1880’s and 1890’s which could fill in some gaps.
I have lumped this into generations to get a better feeling for the progression of wrench styles. These generations are my own research and may be taken for what they are worth. I place variants within the original archtypes generation except where parts list information exists to separate. A handful of wrenches are attributed to RIPC that either cannot be confirmed or are incorrect listings due to the casting numbers being misread, I will address those at the end of the list.
Any wrench pictured solely by catalog picture, I would be very interested in obtaining. Some, like the disc plow series, may not be marked so confirmation of the wrenches has so far proven difficult. I am also interested in upgrading those in poor condition with better examples in many cases.
Gen 1 1870’s
These wrenches all appear in the 1878 BD Buford & Co catalog with parts plates and were likely replaced in the early 1880’s with the named wrenches.
Gen 2 1880’s
These wrenches are named wrenches and would have appeared post 1878 but prior to the 1885 reorganization into the Rock Island Plow Company and do not exist in any parts list I have available. None are active wrenches as of 00PL.
Gen 3 late 1880’s -1890’s
These wrenches were the mostly the first wrenches used under the Rock Island Plow Co name. These wrenches all lack numbering. At this time, I have no parts list for this era so rely on the reorganization form B.D. Buford to Rock Island plow and advertising to separate Gen 2 and Gen 3.
Gen 4 late 1890’s -early 1900’s
This list is primarily generated from the 1900 (00PL) parts list cross referencing with advertising. By this time, wrenches were being numbered to make referencing easier. The disc plow wrenches are something of an oddity as RIPC was a significant seller of disc plows in Texas and the western market. By that standard, there should be a number of these wrenches available but so far I have not been able to identify any. This likely means they are unmarked and may differ slightly from the drawings.
Gen 5 early 1900’s- early 1910’s
This list is primarily added from the 1912 parts list (12PL) for uses predating 1912. Starting in 1911 the pressed steel wrenches were standard issue for most new implements needing only standard size wrenches, rendering many of these obsolete.
Gen 6 1911 -1927
Although they do not appear in parts lists until 40PL; I am lumping the addition of the Great Western line of manure spreaders, litter carriers, cream separators and gas engines into this generation as RIPC purchased them in 1911. This group also includes the addition of the Chambers, Baring & Quinlan Company, of Decatur, IL in 1912. The purchase of CB&Q added rakes and tedders to the lineup, while Rock Island sold off the remaining C,B &Q product lines to IHC.
Gen 6.5 ~1916?
General Repair Catalog No.40 is a bit of a dilemma as it has no date, it treats the CB&Q rakes and tedders as standard products, but separates out the Great Western line into its own section with new products. There is no specific mention of tractor implement parts and no easy means to date it. The treatment of the GW line suggests it to be fairly early, but the introduction of the cast R1122, R1123 and R1124 wrenches makes little sense unless a steel shortage from the war effort was driving an alternative to the steel wrenches. 40PL also contains a couple of European market export plows. The 40 also makes no particular sense as it would make it 1925 from 1885 if it was years from the Rock Island Plow incorporation. 1855 would only make it 1895 which is far to early while a date from around 1878 or just prior would make sense. To complicate things, the repair catalog 60 has a 1920 date, but is no more than a few years later and the repair catalog 71 is from around 1925. My personal feeling at this point is that it dates to around 1916. 40PL in a lot of ways represents the end of the cast iron wrench era as most of the wrenches appearing after this were the more modern designs and style.
Sanders Disc Plow Wrenches
RIPC sold their own disc plows until the 20’s when they began selling Newall Sanders Disc Plows. In 1927 RIPC purchased Newall Sanders and continued to sell them under the Sanders name. At the time of the buyout, RIPC listed in the 1927 Sanders Disk Plow parts list:Later RIPC parts lists only listed V4179 and V50021. I will eventually update this with the full line of Sanders Disk Plow wrenchs so gave it its own section.
|| V50021 steel pressed wrench for late RIPC built Sanders Disk Plows. Large wrench, likely mistaken for railroad.
Heider Tractor wrenches
Besides the V4179, V4180 and V4181 wrenches above, the Heider C and D parts book lists four unpictured socket wrenches and two Waukesha specialty engine wrenches.
Rock Island Tractor wrenches
The following is the actual listing from the parts book for Rock Island tractors 1927+ (the model G used the 2718 above also). No pictures are given. I have not yet identified the difference between the TF536 and A versions. At this time, I have never seen an original set of Rock Island tools so do not have information on the individual tools aside from ones pictured below. The flat wrenches today are still useful for working on Rock Island tractors due to their thin nature. The fan nut and the magneto adjustment especially. Besides the listed tools, such items as the Splitdorf magneto tools may have been used.
the use of the TF536A, Rock Island flat wrench on a Rock Island tractor and 2718 Waukesha wrench on a Waukesha headless engine.