This is a guide to wrenches I have identified for B.D. Buford & Co, the Rock Island Plow Co and some associated comnpanies. 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.
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.
Buford listed as 91 in the cultivator parts plate, actual wrench likely unmarked, multiple similar variants exist, likely used by other companies. possibly shown in 1878 illustration of Defiance cultivator.
Buford Listed as 61 in the Browne Sulky parts plate. Shows no markings but is visually identical to marked Browne Sulky marked variant and also appears to match an unmarked variant commonly attributed to Deere. Possible both a marked and unmarked version were used.
Adjustable wrench appears to be the “nut & thread” adjustment version of Byron C. Bradley’s patent #155,139
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.
????? theoretical unknown wrench for ELI plow. later parts list show S234 & S329, but 00PL shows only wrench listing despite listings for other plows with specific wrench which matches the use for other obsolete wrenches, no picture in parts plates. Eli was post reorganization so unlikely a Buford wrench was used making an as yet unidentified wrench the most logical fit.
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.
2331 shown only in 00PL for prince cultivator. Same as Empire wrench with different numbering, number appears on the single opening end. placing it here due to Prince cultivator not appearing until ~1900.
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.
Y285 range would appear circa 1912 so is placed here, however, this casting number does not appear in available parts lists. Only a handful of numbers in the Y211-Y299 range are used in available parts lists and RIPC did not normally skip casting numbers. The Y prefix was used for planters, and enough numbers are missing to account for at least one or two models, and by 1912 the Y prefix category was over 700 numbers. These missing numbers may have been for prototypes that failed to reach market or export models. Some export model parts info appears in parts lists, but I am not sure it is comprehensive.
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.
V4179 medium 12PL+ Steel pressed wrench, standard equipment after 1911 for most new implements and tractors
V4180 small 12PL+ Steel pressed wrench, standard equipment after 1911 for most new implements and tractors
V4181 large 12PL+ Steel pressed wrench, standard equipment after 1911 for most new implements and tractors
D239 Great Western manure spreader. C variant also exists, but has no other differences. An entirely different version also exists, but is attributed to Kingman Plow Co (see below)
Great Western bicycle wrench for separator
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.
w70 cream separator wrench (no picture) the same as above now numbered?
w71 cream separator wrench (no picture) the same as above now numbered?
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. based on RIPC labeled parts lists, I can confirm some wrenches as post RIPC, but for reference will include all of them. The A-120 is also an issue as three versions exist, and it has not been confirmed when each version was used.
Heider Tractor wrenches
Besides the V4179, V4180 and V4181 wrenches, the Heider C and D parts book lists four unpictured socket wrenches and two Waukesha specialty engine wrenches.
6018a push rod wrench for Waukesha M and P engines
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.