Dating greenfield tap and die sets
Conventional set screws for machine tool accessories used a square head that projected well above the tooling, leading to the possibility of a worker's clothing being snagged by the screw head, resulting in a gruesome accident. The patent describes a method of cold-forming a screw head around a hexagonal die.
Allen's safety screws were based on patent #960,244, filed by W. The advertisement at the left was published in the 1910 The company's earliest products were socket sets based on a "friction ratchet" design covered by patent #1,000,878, filed in 1910 by Fred R. The patent describes the design of a gearless ratchet, using a friction cam to alternately grip and release the drive wheel.
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Interestingly, Billings also produced versions of the friction ratchet marked with its B-Triangle logo and offered them in early Billings pressed-steel socket sets, with the ratchets still referred to as "Allen" ratchets. The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel with a black oxide coating.
By 1915 the company was offering a new ratchet design with a swiveling drive gear as the "Allen Universal Wrench". The patent marked on the pliers describes a finger-actuated release mechanism, visible as the small lever on the bottom of the lower handle.