Why an Allen key is called an Allen key

Why an Allen key is called an Allen key

This is where Allen keys get their name from

Have you ever wondered why that L-shaped tool you use to tighten screws is called an Allen key? It may seem like a simple question, but the answer is quite fascinating. In this blog post, we will explore the origins of the Allen key and why it has become such an essential tool in our everyday lives.

Who is Allen?

The Allen key, also known as a hex key or hex wrench, is named after its inventor, William G. Allen. Born in 1881, Allen was an American engineer and the founder of the Allen Manufacturing Company. He was a brilliant mind who held numerous patents for various inventions, but it was his creation of the Allen key that would leave a lasting impact.

The Birth of the Allen Key

In the early 20th century, Allen recognized the need for a tool that could efficiently tighten screws with hexagonal sockets. He designed a simple yet effective L-shaped key with a hexagonal tip (also known as hex keys) that perfectly fit into these sockets. This innovative design allowed for greater torque and precision when tightening or loosening screws.

The Rise to Popularity

Allen's invention quickly gained popularity in the manufacturing industry due to its efficiency and versatility. It became the go-to tool for assembling bicycles, motorcycles, and other machinery. The Allen key's success was further solidified when it was adopted by the aerospace industry, where precision and reliability are of utmost importance.

Allen Keys have Become a Global Standard

Over time, the Allen key became a global standard for fastening systems. Its popularity led to the development of various sizes and types to accommodate different screw sizes and applications. Today, you can find Allen keys in various forms, including individual Allen keys (sometimes mistakenly referred to Alan keys), multi-key sets, and even foldable pocket-sized versions.

The Legacy of Allen (and his keys)

William G. Allen's invention revolutionised the way we tighten hex screws and assemble objects. His innovative design paved the way for countless advancements in engineering and manufacturing. The Allen key's simplicity and effectiveness have made it an indispensable tool in both professional and DIY settings.

Conclusion of the Allen key

So, the next time you reach for that L-shaped tool in your Allen key set to tighten a screw, remember the man behind its name. William G. Allen's invention, the Allen key, has become an iconic tool that continues to make our lives easier. Its legacy serves as a reminder of the power of innovation and the impact a simple tool can have on the world.

Explore our range of Allen key sets today

Explore our range of Allen keys and find the perfect tool for your next project.

With an extensive selection, you'll find one to fit your needs, no matter how unique the job!