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Monkey Wrench

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My wife asked me where the term "Monkey Wrench" came from and I don't have a clue.  I think it's a derogatory term for a bad mechanic and their tools. Anyone have an answer?

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That handy tool, the "monkey-wrench", is not so named because it is a handy thing to monkey with, or for any kindred reason. "Monkey" is not its name at all, Charles Moncky, the inventor of it, sold his patent for $5000, and invested the money in a house in Williamsburg, Kings County, where he now lives.

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2 minutes ago, Tinindian said:

That handy tool, the "monkey-wrench", is not so named because it is a handy thing to monkey with, or for any kindred reason. "Monkey" is not its name at all, Charles Moncky, the inventor of it, sold his patent for $5000, and invested the money in a house in Williamsburg, Kings County, where he now lives.

 

I think the Charles Moncky reference might be a hoax.

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Still living in the house.  he is famous for his invention and for being over200 years old.  His patents were purchased by Ebeneezer Screwdriver. Much later R&B singer Piercy Sledge boughtE.  Screwdriver Inc. With the fortune that he accumulated from the sales of his eponymous hammer

3 hours ago, Tinindian said:

That handy tool, the "monkey-wrench", is not so named because it is a handy thing to monkey with, or for any kindred reason. "Monkey" is not its name at all, Charles Moncky, the inventor of it, sold his patent for $5000, and invested the money in a house in Williamsburg, Kings County, where he now lives.

 

Edited by CarlLaFong (see edit history)
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Since the term dates at least to the 1840s, anything later is doubtful.

 

That said a true monkey wrench is not a crescent wrench but rather one with a swiveling jaw that allows one handed operation and a worm gear for adjustability.

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Sometimes the old legends are more fun that the truth....

 

Do you guys know how Ball and Ball Carburetors got their name? It's because when you turn the fuel bowl upside down two tiny ball bearings fall out and go bouncing across the shop floor.

 

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1 hour ago, Bloo said:

Sometimes the old legends are more fun that the truth....

 

Wasn't that basically the plot of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance?

 

" When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. "

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A monkey wrench comes with every trunk monkey.

 

People have asked how it feels to be a legend before.

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I inherited several "monkey wrenches" from my Dad. They were quite useful working on farm equipment when I was a youngster, as we couldn't afford the spanners and sockets in the larger sizes. I have at least a couple of different designs of monkey wrenches. Just Googled the term, and found some folks call a pipe wrench a monkey wrench. However, all of the monkey wrenches I grew up with have smooth jaws. 

 

Unfortunately, they aren't very useful in working on most carburetors (too large), although the hammer section of the monkey wrench can be a stress reliever when working with Marvels ;)

 

Since this thread is referencing "legends", please don't start on the Pogue or Fish "carburetors".

 

Jon.

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52 minutes ago, joe_padavano said:

 

Wasn't that basically the plot of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance?

 

" When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. "

 

Ah, another John Wayne fan!

 

Jon.

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A slender monkey wrench (I like the Ford script ones) is the perfect tool for adjusting the fan belt eccentric on Pierce 80/81, 8-cyl and 12-cyl engines.

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I've always heard that they are called that because they are so simple a monkey could use them. Somebody did post a chimp using one on Facebook, wish I had thought to save it.

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5 hours ago, padgett said:

That said a true monkey wrench is not a crescent wrench but rather one with a swiveling jaw that allows one handed operation and a worm gear for adjustability.

 

Yes! A straight smooth pair of parallel jaws.

 

The Stillson Wrench is similar, but has the advantage of

1. serrated jaws

2. swivel jaw action that helps grip the pipe/fastener/finger/etc.😁

Monkey Wrench.jpg

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Up in these parts, we call this type a "Ford Wrench". I suspect this is the type Grimy referred to.

fordwrench.jpg

 

A Monkey Wrench would be more like this:

 

maxresdefault.jpg

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Bloo, yep, the Ford wrench is an essential tool to me 🙂

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This is my combination Monkey-Pipe Wrench. An excellent self defense weapon.

 

2002179215_DSCN4524(Medium).thumb.JPG.e4fff6bacc829b5d7afd168002493d21.JPG

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I'm just glad he invented it who ever he is.... those blasted chrome-reverse muffler bearings are impossible to remove without a monkey wrench.

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One other feature of the monkey wrench is the hammer pad designed into it on the back side of the jaws. The bottom picture of bloo’s post shows that.

 I use a Ford wrench daily in my job as a millwright and often have guys want to borrow it, they are useful for holding hydraulic cylinder rods and clevises in tight spots where the angled head of a combination wrench or crescent wrench just won’t fit.

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