Another Side Of Cochran Family History

Another Side Of Cochran Family History

So I gotta lot of beef from family members over my story last week about Frank Cochran and figured I had better do some equal time. So, let me introduce you to James Cochran. James is essentially my great, great uncle once removed (whatever that means). He was born in Georgia, grew up in Kentucky, and found success in life in Chicago when he invented and patented the pipe wrench as well as a number of other tools.

I don’t know a lot about James, but I do know he was fascinated with fasteners or, more specifically, how to fasten them. Starting in the early 1890’s, James patented over 20 different kinds of wrenches. His first success was the Cochran Speed Nut and his last was the good ole pipe wrench that he and his partner, William Sheffler, marketed under the name of Cochran Mfg. & Forging Company.

James and William manufactured tools together for more than two decades, but eventually sold the outfit to the Great Lakes Forge Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1921. And while this isn’t entirely on topic, I figured you guys would enjoy a gallery of just some of their patents:

Pretty rad, right? Through, I talked to Maureen Cochran who is James’ great grand daughter. I was confused about the number of different names that Cochran used for his patents and was told that he patented tools under his wife’s name as well as all of his kid’s names hoping that those patents would lead to their eventual retirement. No word if that ever panned out or not.

But just to keep this relatively on topic, the first ad I could find for the Speed Nut was actually in a Ford technical manual. I’m guessing that James figured his most obvious market was the early adopter of the Ford Model-T. One wrench was all they needed – The Cochran Speed Nut.

Editor’s Note: I have a huge collection of Cochran Speed Nut and Pipe Wrenches. However, I don’t have a set of Cochran Open ended wrenches and would pretty much sell my soul to have one. So, if you gotta a set or even just one wrench – hit me up!

Editor’s Note #2: I apologize for all the family vanity as of late. This post will be the last.



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