Vise & Wrench Inventor - John R. Long

On this page will present the history, as best can be determined, of prolific inventor John R. Long of Akron, OH.  (John Reeves Long) Given the commonality of his name, we are having difficulty finding records of his life.  We believe John Reeves Long was born in Columbus City, MD on 2/25/1867 to James T. Long and Margaret Putt.  However, we find a John R. Long in the 1930 census, whose listed occupation is Inventor, living in Los Angeles, CA.  This record shows his birthplace as Indiana in 1868.  A couple interesting notes about this census record: first, it says he never attended school; second, it also indicates he married Kittie when he was 45 and she was just 18.  It lists two children in 1930, George (15) and Bettie (12).  In the 1938 Los Angeles city directory John is listed as a Pattern Maker.

Mr. Long founded / co-founded multiple companies throughout his career, many of which are documented here, and we're sure many yet to be discovered.

Mr. Long's first patent was for weather stripping in 1891.  In 1895, he invented a Truck, very similar to moving dolly / hand truck today, with an arm to capture/hold the object being moved.

In 1901 he really got to work focusing more on the tool industry.  Mr. Long invented a Brick Pressing Machine, a Trap Gun, and 4 vises.

An article appearing in a 9/11/1901 newspaper notes that a company is to be formed to manufacture the Brick Pressing Machine.  The article states that the patent has been acquired by Messrs. Humphry & Humphry of Akron.  The company is to be organized by Mr. Byron M. Allison.

In 1902 he continued on his run of vise inventions by patenting 2 bench vises and one pipe vise.

1903 brought a whirlwind of vises with patents for 3 Vises, 3 Pipe Vises, and a Bench Vise.

He appears to have taken a break in 1904 and 1905, where newspaper articles indicate he was busy marketing his previous vise inventions, predominately in the Warren, PA area.  However, articles explaining the marketing of the vises, and the seeking of a manufacturing location in Decatur, IL, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

An article in a 1/5/1905 newspaper in Peoria, IL is seeking mechanics, noting that the Peoria Steel & Tool Company has purchased the automatic vise and tool business from J. R. Long of Akron, OH and desire to manufacture the vises in large quantities.

In 1906, Mr. Long patents his first of many wrenches.  Patent #818,180 - Wrench.  This wrench design appears to be the impetus for the Akron Wrench Company, and later the J. R. Long Wrench Company.  DATAMP reports this wrench was produced by the J. R. Long Wrench Company.

On 7/25/1906, the "intent" to establish what will "likely be called" the Akron Wrench Company, to manufacture the J. R. Long patent wrench, is announced.  The J. R. Long Wrench Company was announced on 9/15/1906 as having been formed "a few days ago" with J. R. Long - Pres., George C. Himmelman - VP, V. P. Wise - SEC., Miles Hoff - TREAS., W. R. Talbot - Council.

Interestingly, "Industry Notes" in the 8/25/1906 edition of Hardware notes both the intent to form the Akron Wrench Company, and the formation of the J. R. Long Wrench Company.  ​This article notes the incorporators as J. R. Long, Walter R. Talbot, William A. Byrider, Oliver A. Sorrick, and William W. Webb.

John Reeves Long was also awarded Canadian Patent #97,349 - Wrench in 1906.

He was again idle in 1907 but produced his second wrench patent in 1908 with Patent #890,146 - Wrench.  DATAMP reports this wrench was manufactured by J. R. Long Wrench Co., Standard Wrench & Tool Co., and Rogers, Printz and Company.

1909 was again dormant but Mr. Long comes back strong in 1910 with 2 patents for Bench Vises and a Wrench Patent #955,974 - Wrench - Assigned to William Rogers, James P. Rogers, and A. A. Printz.  This appears to be an improvement on his 1908 wrench patent and is again reported by DATAMP to have been produced by Standard Wrench & Tool Co. and Rogers, Printz & Co.

In an 8/23/1909 newspaper article, Mr. Walter J. Irvin claims royalties against Mr. Long.  Mr. Irvin claims he gained interest in the patent through an agreement between Long and Gibson and Alling.  The petition states that Messrs. Gibson & Alling assigned their interest to Mr. Irvin through Mr. William M. Graham.

In 1911 he again embellished his previous two wrench patents with Patent #1,007,298 - Wrench.  This patent is not listed in DATAMP but adds a "roller wheel" to the wedge adjustment.

In 1912 Mr. Long took a break from wrenches and vises inventing a Pipe Cutter, a Pipe Reamer, a Pipe Reaming Machine, and Concrete Step Forms (Forms Assigned 1/2 to A. Roren of NYC).

On 6/25/1912, John R. Long married Ms. Kitty Fisher.  The announcement notes that they will visit many factories in the east where his inventions are manufactured and likely make their home in Rhode Island.

Here is an article on Mr. Long's pipe reaming machine from the 9/28/1912 edition of Domestic Engineering.

1914 brought 2 additional patents for Vises, both assigned to W. A. Byrider of Byrider & Brothers, Akron, OH.

On 1/13/1914, the death of James Trumbo Long, John's father is announced.

In 1915, he patented yet another Bench Vise, and another patent for a Means for Reaming & Threading Pipes.

In 1916, he patented 2 more vises, and another wrench Patent #1,193,163 - Wrench (Pipe Style)

1917 brought 2 more vises, and another Patent #1,211,461 for a Shellac Jar (Assigned 1/4 to J. C. Gibson of Akron).

​In 1918 he patented 1 vise and 1 wrench Patent #1,265,925 - Wrench (Pipe Style)

​1919 resulted in 2 more vise patents, and another Patent #1,318,161 - Shellac Jar - Assigned to C. A. Thornton of Cuyahoga Falls.

Mr. Long took a break in 1920, but in 1921 he patented another Vise

For his first extended break from inventing, Mr. Long didn't invent anything from 1922 through 1924 but resumed in 1925 with another Vise patent.

A notice appears in a 9/26/1924 newspaper stating that the case of Kittie Long vs. John R. Long has been dismissed.

On 10/25/1924 the formation of the Key-Bar Wrench Company is announced.  J. R. Long formed this company in October of 1924 with L. S. Ballard, E. D. Eddy, R. W. Clark and Matthew Eskovitz.

In 1926 he patented another wrench, Patent #1,583,078 - Wrench - Assigned to Angelus Specialty Company, LA, CA.

In 1928 he was granted Canadian Patent #277,127 - Wrench - This patent was applied for from Los Angeles, CA on 8/12/1926.

In 1933, Mr. Long show up in California.  We can tell this is the same inventor due to the style of vises and wrenches shown in the patents.  In 1933 he invented another vise, a pipe wrench Patent #1,932,113 - Pipe Wrench, and a Revoluble Stall for Automobiles.

A 5/13/1933 article in a Pennsylvania newspaper notes that John R. Long is in Warren, PA attempting to start the manufacture of a new vise.

1934 produced another wrench Patent #1,968,783 - Wrench - Assigned to Elie A. Farron, LA

In 1935, Mr. Long patented his final invention, a Universal Fire Hose Coupling.



Wife (1912) - Kitty Fisher

  • ​Son - George Royal Long (7 months old 8/21/1915)