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Antique Tool Talk

ALLIGATOR ALLEY

Well, folks, here we are open for business and ready for another exciting day at Bolt’s Antique Tool Museum, so come on in.

Sure glad to have you, and you want to start your tour of the museum by checking out the new display of alligator wrench that Jerry just finished.  So let’s step back here to Area D and look them over.

On one of our “junkin” trips, we traveled a road called Alligator Alley.  Not sure where – seems like it was in South Florida, but could have been in Georgia, the Carolinas, Mississippi, Alabama or the Southeast area of Texas or Louisiana coast.  Not that it makes any difference, but will run this past our volunteers and perhaps they will call this display “Alligator Wrench alley”

Before we get too serious about looking these over, I want to tell you a couple of our experiences with alligators in our travels.

Someplace Southwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, we rode our BMW motorcycle to a wildlife refuge.  When we stopped at the Ranger Station, no one was around but we noticed some board walks going out into the swamp, so we started to walk out.  Soon we read a sign that said: “Caution:  On your return you may have an alligator on this board walk sunning themselves and it may be challenging to get them to move.  Now, knowing how bad Laila wanted to see this area, I offered to stay behind and watch out for alligators.  She took my suggestion wrong and I could tell right away she wasn’t too enthused about the idea.

Another time on a different trip, we were pulling into a campground close to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas when we noticed a prominently placed sign that said “Beware of poisonous snakes and alligators.  Can’t really say we found that comforting.

Well, enough of the alligator stories.  Let’s look Jerry’s displays over.  Please notice he now has them on seven different boards, separated by category.
Just in case you forgot, alligator wrenches started being hand made around 1855 and was patented in 1871.  It was the first prominent wrench to come on the scene following the Monkey wrench.

Here in Area D on the No. 18 series boards we have about 100 different types, styles and brands.  They’re all unique in their own way, but take a special look at Board 18-B, you will notice these all have three sizes of thread cleaning dies in the body of the tool.

These were used primarily for removing and replacing the square nuts on wagon end gate rods and the dies for cleaning and repairing the thread.

Board 18-E displays adjustable alligator wrenches and Board 18-F about 20 homemade and oddballs.

One board 18-D item No. 9 is the last one to be manufactured.  It has alligator jaws on one end and crescent on the other.

This was part of the tool kit for the Volvo car, made up to the 1950’s.  Hope you agree it’s a neat, world-class display.

Now let’s ease over to Area B and eyeball the alligator wrenches there.  These are on Board 41 and are all marked with a Rail line on them.  You will notice we have about a dozen of these.

You might notice also, that we have over 150 Railroad wrench, representing 58 different Rail lines.

So you make yourself right at home and look over the other 10,000 tools on display.  If you want to take a break, sit a spell in Area F and watch a video or two.  We are going to be here until 3:45 p.m. so take your time.

When visiting with your friends be sure and tell them about us and that we are at 1650 Broderick st. in historic downtown Oroville. Ph: 530-538-2528 , open 7 days a week from Mom thru Sat. 10:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. – Sun – 11:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and be sure to tell them to allow a little extra time on their visit so we can sit and talk tools. –Antique Tools, that is.

By Bud Bolt

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