This effective tool can be traced back to the early 19th century, with a rough timeline that follows like this:
1835 – Solymon Merrick patented the first wrench
1858 – The monkey wrench was invented by Charles Moncky (and that piece of trivia, why is it called a monkey wrench will win you some bar bets for free beer)
1870 – The Stillson wrench was patented by a steamboat fireman by the name of Daniel Stillson
1875 – Thomas R Ellin invents the Footprint Wrench
1888 – The ‘Swedish Pattern’ two handle pipe wrench patented by Johan Petter Johansson
And then in the 1920s along comes the Ridge Tool Company who took the Stillson Wrench and reimagined it with one ultimate aim; make it simpler. The result of the redesign was a wrench with fewer moving parts, making it more durable and stronger as a result. And since then, the design has pretty much stayed the same.