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21 Mar

The History of Plumber Wrenches and Their Uses

reliable-plumbing-services-in-Washington-DCToday, plumbers have a variety of useful tools in their toolboxes that help them to perform all types of repairs and installations. Interestingly, many of the tools a plumber uses today are versions of tools used by plumbers for decades. Take a look at the history behind a few of the most helpful tools in a plumber’s toolbox.

The Pipe Wrench


pipe-wrenchThe pipe wrench, also known as a plumber’s wrench, dates back to 1869. Daniel C. Stillson invented the pipe wrench as a tool plumbers could use to attach two pipes together or separate them. This heavy duty wrench has an adjustable hook and jaw so a plumber can close it around pipes of different types. Until the pipe wrench came on the scene, plumbers used a pair of tongs to grip two sections of pipe in order to separate them or put them together. This was an awkward process that was difficult for one person to accomplish. Stillson introduced his invention to a man named James Walworth who owned a piping company. Walworth liked the invention and bought it from Stillson. This creative inventor received royalties for the rest of his life. Today, pipe wrenches can be found in different sizes. The wrench can be as short as ten inches, as long as 48 inches and many sizes in-between. The variety of sizes allows plumbers to find a pipe wrench that suits the task. This wrench is often used in the process of putting in the pipes for a new toilet.

The Adjustable Wrench


adjustable-wrenchAn adjustable wrench is a light weight tool that can remove or tighten a nut. A plumber uses his or her thumb to close or open the jaws of this wrench. The small design of this wrench allows a plumber to tighten or loosen nuts in small spaces. For instance, this tool would be ideal for tightening a nut behind a toilet or installing a new faucet on a bathroom sink. Many individuals are credited with inventing the adjustable wrench or a version of it. In 1891, an inventor named Johan Petter Johansson received a patent for the version of the adjustable wrench that’s used by many plumbers today.

The Spud Wrench


spud-wrenchThe spud wrench dates back to the 16th century. It’s been used for many purposes including tightening bolts on the steel structures of buildings. But, in the early 20th century, a man named Thomas Maddock created his version of the wrench called the Maddock spud wrench. The design of most toilets at this time included pipes called spuds. This adjustable wrench with its long thin handle was designed to fit the nut on a spud pipe. This allowed plumbers to remove the pipe to perform repairs. It proves helpful in the installation of a new toilet.

These wrenches along with others continue to occupy space in a plumber’s toolbox due to their usefulness and durability. Washington DC Plumbers who strive to perform quality repairs need the right tools at their disposal.

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To all our friends and customers regarding COVID-19

We will get through this together To say we are living in “unprecedented” challenging times would be an understatement. We hope this finds you and your family safe and healthy. We would like to list a few pieces of information and websites that we think will be helpful for you during this time.

  • To get the most current information on the COVID-19 virus, please check the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) website at: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/factsheets.html
  • icon showing hand under faucet with large water droplets falling on hand Please wash your hands frequently. Washing with soap and water for twenty seconds is the preferred method, however when water is not available, please use an alcohol based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • icon of person covering mouth while coughing and a border separating from displeased person close by Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from another person.
  • For those of you with children that are looking for something fun to do, there are virtual field trips you can take with your kids that are fun and educational. Here is a link: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner

Plumbers are considered essential workers during this time and we will continue to work as our number one priority is to “protect the health of the nation.” Stay well, stay safe and we will get through this together.

Your Friends at Plumbers 911

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