Bonney Company Timeline

This timeline focuses on significant events in Bonney corporate history, along with significant events involving C. S. Bonney. We have tried to include new product launches, name changes, corporate moves, patents & trademarks and other significant events. To view the details of a timeline item, simply click it.

  • 11/30/76

    C. S. Bonney & Son is Founded by C. S. Bonney **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    It is believed that the company was founded in late 1876 or early 1877 although no exact date has yet been uncovered.  While Charles had 2 sons (Albert and Henry), based on newspaper articles from the 1900's we believe the "& Son" refers to Henry George (H. G.) Bonney.

  • 01/01/78

    C. S. Bonney & Son Relocates **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    C. S. Bonney & Son relocated at Frankford street, Philadelphia, PA (Exact company relocation date in 1878 is unknown at this time)

  • 01/01/80

    C. S. Bonney & Son Relocates **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    C. S. Bonney & Son relocated at 638 Arch street, Philadelphia, PA (Exact company relocation date in 1880 is unknown at this time)

  • 07/02/81

    C. S. Bonney & Son Becomes Bonney Vise & Tool Co. (Limited) **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    On 7/2/1881 C.S. Bonney & Son was renamed to Bonney Vise & Tool Co.

  • 10/31/81

    Bonney Vise & Tool Company Becomes The Bonney Vise & Tool Co. (Limited) **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    On 11/19/1881 Bonney Vise & Tool Company business name was reregistered as The Bonney Vise & Tool Co. (Limited).  Note the mention of Mssrs. Newkirk and Ritchie, who in a few short years would take over Bonney.

  • 01/01/82

    Bonney Vise & Tool Co. Relocates **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Bonney Vise & Tool Co. relocated at 3015 Chestnut street, Philadelphia, PA where it would stay until its relocation to Allentown, PA in 1909 (Exact company relocation date in 1882 is unknown at this time)

  • 04/30/82

    Bonney Vise & Tool Co. Churns out Vises **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    This article from the May 20, 1882 edition of "Mechanics," illustrates the huge popularity of Bonney Vises noting production at 6,000 per month and significant overseas distribution.  In this same edition, another announcement appears announcing the publication of a new Bonney Catalog.

  • 07/28/85

    C. S. Bonney sells his interest Bonney Vise & Tool Co. (Limited) to local Philadelphia Businessman John B. Newkirk **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Bonney Tools are now sold under the Philadelphia hardware company Newkirk, Ritchie & Bells. Bonney Vise and Tool Co. (the business) was re-registered with the state of PA under Newkirk, Ritchie & Bells on 7/28/1885

  • 06/01/88

    Newkirk, Ritchie and Bells (Limited) succeeded by Newkirk, Ritchie and Bills **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Bonney Tools are now manufactured & sold under the Philadelphia hardware company Newkirk, Ritchie & Bills. The exact date in 1888 is unknown. Newkirk, Ritchie & Bills business address is listed in 1888 as 3015 Chestnut (Philadelphia Bonney Factory)

  • 01/01/90

    Bonney Vise & Tool Works & A. O. Bills - A Re-organization **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    In 1890, A. O. Bills reorganized the company and became the sole proprietor of Bonney Vise & Tool Works, apparently with great success. This note also shows 60 payroll employees by 1898.

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    01/01/90

    Bonney Vise & Tool Co. (Limited) Renamed to Bonney Vise & Tool Works **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Sometime between 1885 and 1890, this name change took place. We found a registry entry for Bonney Vise & Tool Works in the Seeger & Guernsey's Cyclopedia of Manfuacturers - 1890 edition. We are leaning towards the opinion that the rename was part of A. O. Bills' reorganization of the company. Bonney Vise & Tool Works was not officially registered as a trademark until March 17, 1908. USPTO Registration Link

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    05/31/91

    Joseph G. Baker Vise Patent - Assigned 1/2 to A. O. Bills **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    This patent (453,459) was granted in June of 1891 to Joseph G. Baker and 1/2 assigned to A. O. Bills.  Readers should recognize Mr. Baker as the patenter of the Bonney "Masterpiece" wrench.

  • 07/05/94

    1894 - Armstead Bills still in Control & Making Deals **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    By 1894, A. O. Bills (Armstead) is still listed as proprietor of Bonney Vise & Tool Works. This snippet mentions an agreement with J. H. Graham and Co. (New York) to be the "direct representatives & sole selling agents" for Bonney products. J. H. Graham and Co. appears to be a hardware distributor and will take and fulfill all orders for Bonney products.

  • 02/01/96

    Bonney Announces "The only all steel vise ever put on the market" **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    This advertisement appears in Hardware Dealers' Magazine, Volume 5 - January 1896 announcing the availability of Bonney all steel vises. Note that Armstead Bills is still listed as Proprietor.

  • 12/31/96

    Bonney Produces the Browning Double Gripping Pipe Wrench **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    On January 11, 1897, Joseph Browning filed for a patent on his "Browning Double Gripping Pipe Wrench."  Patent number 594,775 was awarded on November 30, 1897.  The below advertisement from The Metal Worker magazine in December of 1898 announces the wrenches entry into the market.

  • 09/01/98

    Bonney Vise & Tool Works & A. O. Bills **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    This advertisement from 1898 shows the sole proprietor and manufacturer still to be A. O. Bills. Also interesting to note that the text refers to the company as Bonney Vise & Tool Co. while the display in the picture is Bonney Vise & Tool Wks.

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    12/31/99

    A.O. Bills Still Leads Bonney **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    The 1900 edition of Boyd's Co-partnership and Residence Business Directory of Philadelphia City still lists Mr. Armstead O. Bills as "proprietor" for Bonney Vise and Tool Works.

  • 04/01/00

    Bonney Flirting with Disaster **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    The April 10, 1900 Edition of Hardware, Volume 21 indicates there was a fire in the Bonney plant in Philadelphia. It appears to have been extinguished before any serious damage occurred.

  • 12/31/00

    Bonney Vise & Tool Works Acquires Thomas J. Andreas Glass Cutter Factory **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    This announcement from Iron Age Volume 68, 1901 announces Bonney taking over production of glass cutters from the Thomas J. Adreas company.

  • 10/31/02

    The "Masterpiece" Patent is Filed **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Thought to be a variation / improvement on an older patent, on November 30, 1902, Joseph G. Baker filed a patent for Bonney's famous "The Masterpiece" wrench. A combination pipe wrench and pipe cutter, this tool is arguably the single largest item responsible for exponential growth for Bonney up to this point, and possibly ever. By 1906, Bonney could not keep up with orders. The patent was awarded on August 9, 1904 but it is thought that Bonney began producing the tool in 1903.  Also notable is the fact that Charles S. Bonney also obtained this patent for a very similar wrench, even though there is absolutely no evidence that he had anything to do with Bonney Tools during this timeframe.

  • 12/31/05

    Charles Bonney Reemerges **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Charles Sherpard Bonney basically disappears after patenting his pipe vise in 1887, until his patent of the Pipe Wrench/Cutter around 1903.  In his family history he is listed, among other things, as a "Commercial Traveller."  This announcement appears in the January 25, 1906 edition of the Iron Trade Review.  It announces the formation of the Bonney Vehslage Tool Company at 135 Coit St. in Irvington, NJ by Charles S Bonney, Ernest C. Vehslage and Arthur L. Fullman.  The Company still exists today.  This event is also announced in the 1/10/1906 edition of the N Y Times.

  • 01/01/06

    Bonney Forges Ahead! **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    The 1906 Edition of The Iron Age, Volume 77 indicates orders for Bonney products are so voluminous that they were outsourcing production to a "New York State" company. The New York State Company has yet to be identified.

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    07/31/07

    The Durham Family Takes Over **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Although no evidence has yet been discovered to confirm this, we believe some sort of buyout occurred of A. O. Bills by the Durham family. Armstead Bills essentially disappears by 1901 and the only record we have found between that time and 1907 is a report of Mrs. A.O. Bills hurting her side while boarding a train in Bordentown, NJ in April of 1901.  In August / September of 1907, Joseph E. Durham (Sr.) became the Bonney President, and his sons Fred and Joseph Jr. became VPs on September 1, 1907.

  • 12/31/08

    Bonney Moves to Allentown **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Based on this article from the Iron Age, November 19, 1908, Bonney officially moved to Allentown, PA in January of 1909.  A notice in the November 11, 1908 Allentown Leader newspaper announces the move, and indicates it will take place in the coming winter.  This announcement also appears in the December, 1908 Edition of Steam Magazine.  All indications are that the move to Allentown facilitated their entry into the mechanics tools market.

  • 06/30/15

    Bonney Trademarks "Dreadnought" for Use On Wrenches **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    First use date was claimed as June 1, 1915.

  • 08/01/15

    Allentown Agrees with Bonney **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Look at the Pipes (wrenches) on those guys! Bet they've got a lot of vices (vises -- those are large!)

  • 01/01/16

    Bonney Announces it's First Wrench Display Boards **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    This advertisement appears in Horseless Age: The Automobile Trade Magazine, Volume 37- 1916 announcing the availability of the Bonney Wrench Display.

  • 01/01/16

    Bonney Begins Expansion in Allentown **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    The Bonney Plant in Allentown prepares for a move to a new modernized facility.

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    03/31/17

    Charles Bonney Passes **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Charles Sherpard Bonney's obituary appears in the Boston Post, indicating he died on April 10, 1917 at the age of 90 in Irvington, NJ.  His obituary notes he was a holder of more than 60 patents, but we have only been able to find a handful.

  • 12/25/18

    Bonney Announces the "Ford Owner's Wrench Kit" **Comments: 0 **Comments:

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  • 12/31/18

    Fred S. Durham - "Handsomest Man" **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    .This picture is from the June 25, 1919 edition of Motor World. Fred S. Durham, Vice President and Treasurer of Bonney, poses for "Who is the Handsomest Man" at the Hot Springs Automotive Equipment Association?

  • 03/02/21

    The Bonney Forge & Tool Works, Inc. - A new Name **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    The May, 1921 issue of the Hardware Review announces the name change from Bonney Vise & Tool Works, Inc. to Bonney Forge & Tool Works, Inc. Searching PA business entities yields the exact date of 3/2/1921.

  • 06/01/24

    Bonney Announces Chrome Vanadium Wrenches **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    This Popular Science advertisement appears to be the first announcement of Bonney's famous "CV" tools.

  • 02/01/26

    Bonny Announces CV Tappet Wrenches **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    In February of 1926, Bonney announced the availability of the Chrome Vanadium (CV) Tappet DOE wrenches.

  • 05/01/27

    Bonny Announces CV Right Angle Wrenches **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    In May of 1927, Bonney announced the availability of the Right Angle Chrome Vanadium (CV) DOE wrenches.

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    08/31/28

    Bonny Announces CV Heavy Duty Socket Sets **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    In September of 1928, Bonney announced the availability of the Heavy Duty (CV) 3/4" drive socket set.

  • 01/01/29

    Bonney Announces CV Ignition Set **Comments: 0 **Comments:
  • 11/30/29

    Bonney Announces New Products **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    In December of 1929, Bonney announced the availability of several new Chrome Vanadium (CV) DBE wrench sets, as well as double-hex 12 pt. CV sockets.

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    05/31/31

    Bonney Announces CV DBE Long Series **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    A 1931 article in Motor announces the new Chrome Vanadium (CV) DBE Long Series Wrenches.

  • 01/31/32

    Bonney Trademarks the Zenel Name **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    We have in our posession an advertisement for the introduction of the Zenel line dated January of 1932.  According to the "Official Gazette of the US Patent Office, 1933 Edition," Bonney officially registered the Zenel Trademark on October 3, 1933 (Registration #306876) and renewed the Trademark on October 3, 1953. 

  • 05/31/33

    Bonney Forge & Tool Works Establishes Gray Bonney **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    The Iron Age Publication, Volume 131, 1933 announces that Bonney Forge established the Gray-Bonney Tool Company, Ltd., in cooperation with Gray Forgings & Stampings Ltd.  The exact date in 1933 is not known.  The Tool Archives has a 1961 catalog representing the fact that this was an enduring relationship of at least 27 years.

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    12/31/33

    Bonney Introduces it's TUHEX Economy Line **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    The 1934 Bonney Catalog first lists the TUHEX branded Combination and Double Box End Wrenches.  By the 1941 edition of the Bonney catalog, the TUHEX wrenches are no longer listed.

  • 07/31/39

    Bonney Trademarks the Bonaloy Name **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Trademark registration number 0370527 for Bonaloy was registered on 8/29/1939.  This trademark is serial number 60370527 but does not come up under either number in the TESS database.  However, I was able to locate the trademark application paperwork from Bonney.  The application lists March 6, 1939 as the first use date.

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    05/31/40

    Bonney Announces a New Line of Adjustable Wrenches **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Adjustables are available in 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12" lengths.

  • 06/12/45

    Bonney Trademarks "Bonney Tools" **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    According to the USPTO, Bonney applied for the Bonney Tools trademark on 11/2/1944 and it was awarded under registration number 0414465 on June 12, 1945

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    02/28/53

    Bonney Forge & Tool Works Purchased by Miller Manufacturing of Detroit **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    In March of 1953, Miller Manufacturing of Detroit acquired all outstanding capitol stock of Bonney Forge & Tool Works.

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    12/31/55

    Miller Manufacturing moves Bonney Hand Tool Production to Alliance, OH **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Miller Manufacturing began construction on the new plant in Alliance, OH in March of 1955, which was slated to be complete in October that same year.  By 1956, when listing Bonney under hand tool manufacturers, publications list the address as Alliance, OH.

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    02/29/64

    Kelsey-Hayes Purchases Miller Tools & Bonney Forge **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    Kelsey-Hayes Purchases Miller Tools and Bonney on March 31, 1964.  Shortly thereafter, all tool manufacturing operations are moved to Orangeburg, SC.  It should be highlighted that ONLY the tool divisions of Miller and Bonney were purchased (Alliance, OH).  Other forging operations by Bonney in Allentown (pipe fittings and commercial forgings) continued under Miller Manufacturing.

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    08/31/67

    Bonney Forge Purchased by Utica Tool Co. / Triangle Corp. **Comments: 0 **Comments:

    The acquisition date appears to be 9/27/1967.  It appears that Utica was then immediately purchased by The Triangle Corp. but still operated as Utica Tools.

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