Curator Snippets: Cool Tools

The Fenton History Center is presenting a tool exhibition at the Kennedy Library. As many Jamestown historians know, the crescent wrench was invented here. The “c” wrench, as it is popularly called, was brought to Jamestown by Swedish immigrant, Gunnard Oberg, who sold the adjustable head wrench model prototype tool to Karl Peterson for $500. Peterson and J.P. Danielson founded the J.P. Danielson Company on the corner of Foote Avenue and Harrison Street in 1902, but their partnership ended in 1907. Peterson established the Crescent Tool Company that same year. J.P. Danielson started his own company on Allen Street in 1908, which was sold to Plomb Tool Company in 1947. The Crescent Tool Company was sold to Crescent Niagara Corporation, Buffalo, New York, in 1960. Karl Peterson, the President of the Crescent Tool Company, was born in Sweden in 1866 and immigrated to Jamestown in 1886. He served as President of the Crescent Tool Company until his death on June 30, 1933.

The following are currently on display: an 8 inch adjustable, gold plated Crescent wrench – Crestaloy 43, Crescent Tool Co. AC 18; an 8 inch adjustable, chrome plated Crescent wrench – Crestaloy 44, Crescent Tool Co. AC 18; slip joint pliers with “Golden anniversary, Crescent Tool Co. 1907-1957” engraved. All three were donated by Jerry Gordon of Frewsburg, New York, the former Chief Financial Officer of Crescent Tool, from 1966 to 1970.

Another tool on exhibit is the Giant Red Devil No. 101 nail puller/slide hammer made by Smith-Hemenway Co. of Jamestown, New York, believed to made in the 1900s. It was donated by Mary Putnam from her family collection in Warren, Pennsylvania.

A Crescent Tool display panel for adjustable wrenches is also showing. This was donated by Zachary Smith of Russell, Pennsylvania.

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