OT Language (was Re: lost Desktop)

Anne Wilson cannewilson at googlemail.com
Fri Jul 15 16:39:57 BST 2011

On Friday 15 Jul 2011 14:56:32 gene heskett wrote:
> On Friday, July 15, 2011 09:43:31 AM Anne Wilson did opine:
> > On Friday 15 Jul 2011 00:37:58 Alex Schuster wrote:
> > > dict.leo.org suggests [screw] wrench or spanner. Or 'monkey wrench'
> > > for 'englischer Schraubenschl´┐Żssel'. Ah, 'der Engl´┐Żnder'! An
> > > adjustable wrench. Oh, and there even is 'crescent wrench' for 'Swiss
> > > spanner'.
> > 
> > I love these essays into language comparisons :-)  Although all English
> > recognise the word "wrench", "spanner" is the more commonly used here.
> > OTOH, "monkey wrench" I associate with heavy-duty contexts, such as
> > motor- engineering.  Then there's that thing that I know of as an
> > "adjustable spanner" - apparently the English spanner to you LOL
> > 
> > Anne
> Chuckle.  That adjustable spanner, is a "Crescent Wrench" here in the US,
> because the Crescent people owned the long since expired patent, and it has
> been the generic term for such a tool for at least 70 years that I know of.
> Similarly, the "monkey wrench" we use here, represents a wrench/spanner
> that was also adjustable by a similar means, but the forces against the
> adjuster were essentially direct, where the 'Crescent' version used jaw
> motion wedging friction to aid the adjuster in holding position much
> better.  The end result is that I can buy generic crescent wrenches almost
> anyplace, but a genuine monkey wrench will likely be sold at an estate
> auction as its likely both in excess of 100 years old, and worth 25x what
> it cost new just as an antique.  They are also commonly called knuckle
> busters on this side of the pond, because they were very good at it.
We have two types of adjustable spanner (not sure if both types are still 
available) - one that is adjusted by thumbing a wheel, and the other has 
separate jars, which are adjusted by putting in a pin, rather like a belt 
buckle.  I've never known what that one was called.  I think they are not made 
any more, but David, my husband, still likes that one for some jobs.  Is that 
similar to your crescent wrench, or something different?

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