Cindy's Gold Plated WrenchBruce's Bahco Collections

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Background to Collecting

In August of 1997, Cindy, our sons and I traveled to Minneapolis, MN to attend an Erickson family reunion . Also attending the reunion was Hans Söder, chairman and founder of the J.P. Johansson society and museum in Enköping, Sweden. Here I learned the story of J.P. Johansson and his many accomplishments.

Already greatly interested in our families’ history, I had just completed organizing and updating the Torfin branch of their family the previous year in preparation for their family reunion. Now I became interested in learning more about the Erickson family history. I gathered as much genealogical information as I could find, and added it to our computerized family tree information. Finally, at the urging of Hans, I became a member of the JP Johansson Sällskapet. In the society's newsletter I found more interesting family history and information to add to our family tree.

 One day I realized that I could not remember ever seeing any Bahco tools. I had heard about buying on eBay, and thought I would look for some Bahco tools on their site. It wasn’t long until I found my first wrench, a Bahco Volvo model 31 wrench, adjustable on one end and with an alligator jaw on the other. The wrench was dirty and appeared to have some rust- so I assumed it must be old. I sent the information I had to Hans by e-mail, asking if this was a wrench worth purchasing. As I had no account to purchase on eBay, I asked my son to watch this auction and bid on the wrench for me. There was so little time left on the auction that we couldn’t wait for a reply from Hans, so we went ahead and bid on the wrench. We were fortunate and won the bid, for 23 US dollars. I had become a Bahco collector and an eBay addict!

 Unfortunately, this seller wasn’t very friendly. We transferred the funds to his account, and then he refused to send the wrench, saying we didn’t have a verified account. It didn’t matter that he had received our money. This man is no longer an eBay seller. After winning the bid, I received a message from Hans saying that the wrench wasn’t old or rare, and suggested that I not buy it. Fortunately there wasn’t a great deal of money involved.

 I then set up my own eBay account and watched for more wrenches. I found one that appeared to be similar to older wrenches pictured at the museum. I watched the bidding and as the end time approached, entered my bid. I was soon outbid, so I raised my bid, only to be outbid again. The bidding rose quickly, but I was determined to get this wrench and submitted a bid just as the bidding closed, so my competitor didn’t have time to raise his bid. The wrench was mine, and on October 31, 2004 I began my collection of wrenches. Though not as old as I thought, I was pleased with my purchase. This was a large, heavy wrench, a 24-inch model 86, and came from Pennsylvania

My next purchase was a group of three wrenches, a Bahco/Volvo model 31 like the one I purchased but did not receive, a 10inch Bahco model 82, and one wrench with no manufacturer shown. These wrenches came from the Netherlands . I exchanged some interesting e-mail messages with the seller, learning about his country, his family, and his hobby of buying and selling vintage Harley Davidson motorcycles and parts. I mentioned the reason for my interest in Bahco wrenches in one of my messages, and he asked if there was any special wrench I was seeking. I sent a photo of one of the early pipe wrenches in the museum, to which he replied, “I think I have one of those.”

A few days passed and I received a message with photos of a 16inch Bahco model 142 pipe wrench. This was followed by a photo of a 20 inch model 143 pipe wrench, and shortly thereafter, word of another model 143. Because of the weight of these wrenches, shipping was quite expensive, so he sold them to me at a very reasonable price.

I have continued adding wrenches to my collection, as well as a collection of  Triplex Sugar Tongs. I have purchased items from Hawaii , Minnesota , Louisiana , Florida , Washington , Connecticut , Great Britain , Manitoba Canada, Austria and several from Australia . All have been very friendly and a pleasure to deal with, except that first seller. I have told many of them the story of JP, and several have looked for additional items that might be of interest to me. My most recent purchases were a limited-edition Bahco 120th Anniversary wrench with the help of Towe at the J.P. Johansson Museum, and a 22-inch model 56 that was made from 1910-1913. This wrench came from Australia .

 Triplex sugar tongs are quite common on eBay auctions. As I have 6 already, I don’t bid on any additional tongs. I have told the story of JP “saving his marriage” by inventing these tongs. He used 6-8 lumps of sugar in his coffee, and after working in his shop, his oily fingers would make a mess in the sugar bowl. This was the incentive for his sugar tong invention. Some have sellers have then posted this story with the tongs they are selling, and have credited the story to the tongs selling at a higher price.

 An invention of J.P.’s that I have found difficult to find is a Triplex Lill-Pendlar lamp. I have searched eBay for one of these, with no success. I found a restored lamp that had been previously sold on another web site for a large sum of money, and only recently found  a pair of restored lamps that were also selling for far more than I could afford to spend. I have also contacted antique dealers in Sweden by e-mail, but have had no success in finding a reasonably priced lamp.

I have also purchased a Primus camp stove, also made by Bahco. This one came from Austria. Though it is not an invention of J.P. Johansson, they were produced by Bahco for a number of years. .