Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Everest & Jennings wrench

This wrench is perfect for tightening router bits into my Stanley RoutAbout.  Turns out there's history hidden in this wrench.

Harry Jennings and Herbert Everest were both mechanical engineers.  In the 1930's, Everest had broken his back in a mining accident, and he interested his friend Harry in designing a new, portable folding metal wheel chair.

Compared to the heavy wood and wicker offerings on the marketplace, their model was built of tubular steel and weighed only 50 pounds.  It was also intended to collapse so it could be stored in an automobile.  They began to produce their invention, and in so doing became the first mass-manufacturer of wheel chairs. Unfortunately, the company eventually became so big and such a dominant force in this marketplace that it stifled further progress in chair design, and ultimately was slapped with an anti-trust suit by the U.S. Department of Justice, which charged the company with rigging wheelchair prices.  For more on this chapter of the company's history, see Everest & Jennings:  History of a Goliath's Fall from Grace.  Everest & Jennings was bought by Graham Field (GF Health Products of Atlanta, Georgia) in 1996.

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