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  Combination-Tool of Samuel J. Johnston by James E. Price 1 of 3  

"Be it known that I, Samuel J. Johnston, a citizen of the United States, residing at Leesburg, in the county of Loudoun and State of Virginia, have invented a new and useful Combination-Tool, of which the following is a specification."

 

It was the dream of many 19th-Century inventors to design tools that could perform several functions.

On December 4, 1894 Samuel Johnson of Leesburg, Virginia was issued a patent for a transformer brace that could be turned into a wrench and other tools. It was manufactured by The P. Lowentraut Company founded in Newark, New Jersey in 1869.

It is difficult to find a complete tool but over the years I sought out the various parts and was able to have one as complete as possible. The hard part to find is the detachable ratcheting chuck that holds tapered tang bits and included a screwdriver bit with a glasscutter and glass breaking notch in it.

Does it all work? Yes, the tool performs well in each of its functions.

This may be the only complete Samuel Johnson patented combination tool.

I spent over 40 years finding the parts one at a time. In this photo it is configured as a ratcheting brace. The individual tool holder is shown in the center of the photo.

The jaws of the wrench head have tapered sockets to hold bits.

This photo shows the ratcheting tool holder mounted
in the jaws of the wrench head.

The top sweep and pad can be easily removed to transform
this tool into a L-shaped wrench.

Then the handle can be released and swung around to create
a more conventional wrench.

This is a detail photo of the ratcheting tool holder. The knurled collar can
be turned to right and left ratcheting positions or left in a locked position.


 
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