Photo credits: PBS/YouTube
On April 18, 1922, Jack Johnson, the first Black heavyweight boxing champion, innovated a wrench (US patent #1,413,121).
However, his wrench patent was not the first. The initial wrench was patented in 1835 by Solymon Merrick of Springfield, Massachusetts. Around 1858, a Baltimore mechanic named Charles Moncky devised the “monkey wrench.”
Moncky’s wrench is a deliberate misspelling of his own name. Robert Owen Jr. of Shawnee, Ohio, was granted a patent for the “Double Acting Wrench” (ratchet wrench) on September 9, 1913, one of the most significant improvements in wrench technology.
On September 13, 1870, steamboat firemen Daniel C. Stillson won a patent for an innovation that became known as the Stillson pipe wrench. Nevertheless, the creator, Jack Johnson, is a fascinating historical footnote.
His boxing feats and wins against societal constructs are responsible for propelling his fame and notoriety.