Wrench Collecting Gives Bountiful Harvest

Tool collector turns to wrench collecting with great results

| March 2000

Joe Greiwe collects gas engines, brass anvil paperweights, molding planes, carpenter's tools, spark plugs and vintage advertising materials. But it's the lowly wrench that's put the grip on the Batesville, Ind., man. 

"I was a tool collector," he said, "but the wrench collection has overtaken that. They're just so unique in their operating mechanism."

Joe's collection – somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 wrenches – reflects the hobby's unlimited scope.

"The reason wrench collecting is so interesting is that between 1830 and 1905, there were 3,300 patents issued on adjustable wrenches alone," he said. "The field is so big; it's just a never-ending search."

Adding interest to the search is the fact that many of the patented wrenches were manufactured in exceedingly small numbers.

Joe, who worked nearly 40 years as a carpenter and superintendent, knows a little bit about hand tools. "I have a few that nobody's ever seen before," he said.