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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Large "S" Wrench
Catalog #: 2002.0075.12, Accession #: 2002.0075
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
Used in steam locomotive repair work.
Physical Description
27.25" L x 6.5" W
Date Made:
Dates Used:
1900 - Today
Type wrench used everywhere
Gift of National Park Service

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.

An "S" wrench was so-called because of its shape. That shape facilitated getting the wrench onto bolt heads and nuts in difficult-to-reach places on the locomotive.

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