Wrench and Tool Knives

guppiecrkI’ve already admitted to you earlier this week I am a gadget nut. I like unusual inventions. Today, if you want a knife gadget you get something like the Guppie by CRKT.

The newest ones are cool, but to most knife collectors our preference is even odder than that.

homeimprovI have never considered myself a tool/wrench knife collector (probably like most folks who own knives, but don’t consider themselves collectors either), but let’s just say a have a few. The other odd fact is I’m not a tool guy at all, but even still I like old wrench and plier knives.

The other day, I ran across Multi-tool.org and their section on vintage wrenches & knife tools. I was reminded I had a couple.

These are the  wrench knife combo made by the same knife company- the Cattaraugus Cutlery Company, Little Valley, NY. In fact, Tint Champlin, the son of founder, actually invented and patented their first knife wrench.

Knife Tool Patent granted to Tint Champlin in 1918.

Knife Wrench Combo Patent granted to Tint Champlin in 1918.

Cattaraugus Combo Knife and Wrench pre-1918

Cattaraugus Combo Knife and Wrench pre-1918

Now here’s the real deal. Pretty primitive looking isn’t it? The knife was only made for a couple of years and is extremely rare.

On the wrench part of the knife it has “PATENT APPLIED FOR.” The patent drawing shows a date of March 8, 1917, so who knows if it was before that or not. It was patented March 5, 1818.

1- W Cattaraugus Wrench Knife- 1920s

Cattaraugus 1- W Wrench Knife- about 1920

Cattaraugus began selling the 1- W combo knife tool next and around 1920.

Cattaraugus 3-W Wrench Knife

Cattaraugus 3-W Wrench Knife- early 1920s

Around the same time came the 3- W (don’t know what happened to the 2-W?).

Cattaraugus Cutlery Co. catalog from 1922 actually shows this model as the earlier 3- W.

The other 3- W pictured in Levine’s 4th Edition is from the 1930s. The differences are the form/shape of the cap lifter. The more recent one is very pointed.

1922 Cattaraugus catalog showing the 1-W and early 3-W model

1922 Cattaraugus catalog showing the 1-W and early 3-W model


The earlier model 3-W

Here’s a 3- W that went off on eBay yesterday. It sold for $482.

Obviously, these knives were our modern-day tool’s predecessors. Thought you would enjoy.

I’m doing a little digging on the old plier knives too, but that is for another day.

Source: Dewey Ferguson’s Cattaraugus Cutlery Co. catalog reprint.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey Scott,

    Great post!

    There are a couple more variations of the Catt wrench knife. One is the crescent wrench style but with a slanted bolster. The other is crescent wrench knife with an odd shaped blade that is a punch of sorts, but it’s flat and the point is not very sharp.

    I’ve heard this called a “Linotype” knife as it
    was supposedly used by men to push and adjust hot Linotype as it was made ready for press.

    For some time now, I’ve dreamed of making a photo that includes all the different variations of the Cattaraugus wrench knives,…

    One of these days I know it’s going to all come together, even if it means doing some Photoshop to combine knives from several photos.


  2. Hi
    I have a cattaraugus cutlery combo knife & wrench pre 1918 I’m thinking about selling. I was going to put it on e-bay or is there a better way?

    • Hey Tom
      Thanks for asking. To reach the largest potential buyer audience, the answer is yes. I think eBay is the best way.

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