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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
3-head wrench used in locomotive and/or railroad-car work at Spencer Shops
Currently on display
Not a part of the official Smithsonian Collection
3-head wrench, used at Spencer Shops, Southern Railway. Loan from North Carolina Transportation Museum.
Physical Description
19 L x 6 5/8 W x 1/2 D inches (L 48.5 cm x W 16.8 cm x D 1.0 cm)
Date Made:
about 1930
North Carolina
Type wrench used anywhere in U.S.
Lent by North Carolina Transportation Museum ....

Part of a small array of hand tools displayed in "America On The Move" - such tools were used in the inspection and repair of steam locomotives. Light repairs on steam locomotives were usually done in roundhouses at the many small locomotive terminals throughout a railroad's system; heavy repairs were done in a large, centralized repair shop serving the whole system (often referred to as the "Back Shop"). Most of these tools date from the early- to the mid-20th century, roughly 1900-1955.

The name of this unusual wrench comes from its obvious shape. The single wrench accommodated three sizes of bolt heads or nuts. It was useful only in locations on a locomotive or railroad car where there was plenty of clearance around a bolt or nut.
Related People, Places, and Events
Place of Use
Spencer Shops, Spencer, N.C.

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