Saturday, June 18, 2011

Classic British... Tools?

An ABINGDON girder wrench
The annual trek to Magnolia Springs to attend the St. John's Catholic Church lawn party is one that I've come to enjoy. In addition to the fine food, music and antique agricultural equipment on display, there is a fascinating display of antique tools brought by one of the parishioners. While it is only a small part of his collection, the variety of tools on display is truly astounding.

I noticed that he had a number of intriguing wrenches on display bearing names such as "ABINGDON" and "Joseph Lucas". Yep, it turns out that it is the same Abingdon and Joseph Lucas that you've heard of before.

The Abingdon on the wrench is the name of a handtool manufacturer located in Abingdon - the same Abingdon famous for building MGs for 50 years. Abingdon Engineering made a wide range of equipment including motorcycles, chains and gearboxes. At the turn of the twentieth century, the firm concentrated on hand tools exclusively. 

A Joseph Lucas girder wrench
Most British car enthusiasts know the products of Abingdon Engineering by their trade name, King Dick, from the screw jacks and other hand tools found in the tool kits of classic British cars.   

The Lucas hand tool line on the other hand, is not that well known outside the UK. The firm known to us for their automotive electrical equipment and instruments (through the Smiths brand) was a maker of small metal goods in the nineteenth century. One of their main lines was small handtools such as the Joseph Lucas girder wrench in the photo I shot at Magnolia Springs.

If you haven't been to the St. John's lawn party with the club, I suggest that you add it to your calendar next year. The tools on display make it worth the trip alone.

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