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Coes Wrenches

Updated: May 3, 2023


By John S. Kebabian Excerpted from The Chronicle Vol. 32 no. 1, March 1979

The Coes firm was founded by Lor­ing and Aury G. Coes, brothers, of Worcester, Massachusetts. Their career began with their purchase of the wool­en-mill machinery firm of Kimball and Miller, in 1836. In 1838 a fire brought an end to that venture and the tem­porary departure of the brothers from Worcester. In the winter of 1840/41 they returned to Worcester, and in April of 1841 a patent for a wrench was issued to Loring Coes, and they began its manufacture. The business pros­pered. In 1845 they purchased a build­ing and began the mass production of wrenches, shears and knives. The part­nership was dissolved in 1869, Aury G. Coes retaining the wrench factory.

Loring Coes was not idle, however, for in 1871 he opened a bigger and better factory and entered into vigorous competition with his brother. A. G. died in 1875, and the business was re­united in 1888 under the presidency of Loring, with A. G.’s sons as Treasurer and Secretary. No fewer than 40,000 wrenches were being made annually in 1898, and at that rate, well over a million could have been made in the firm’s lifetime. Most have long since been junked, but thousands and thou­sands remain, some in tool collections, but perhaps even more still in use.

The broadside with this number of The Chronicle bears on its original the penciled date of March 28, 1862, and the information “6 mos. (credit) or 5% cash (discount).” The prime dealer’s discount is also penciled in, but in code.

It is curious to note that the broad­side designates No. 3 as a “cheap wrench” though its list price is just the same as Nos. 1 and 2.

The above information is from F. F. Rice’s The Worcester of 1898 ( 1899).


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