OwnerApex Tool Group
CountryHartford, Connecticut, USA
Previous ownersAllen Manufacturing Company
Danaher Corporation
Tagline"We are the Original!"

Allen is a brand of hand tools, most widely recognized for its wrenches, known generically as "Allen wrenches". As a brand, it is owned by Apex Tool Group.[1][2]


Allen created the Allen key in 1913 and created the Allen Manufacturing Company Inc advertisement for the Allen Safety Set Screw, a brand of set screw, in the Automobile Trade Directory, January 1913. Originally named Allen Manufacturing Company, the business produced hexagonal set screws and wrenches to fasten them. The terms "Allen wrench" (American English) and "Allen key" (British English)[3] are derived from the Allen brand name and refer to the generic product category "hex keys".

W.G. Allen[4] filed the first related patent in 1909 for its recessed hex-driven safety screws,[5] a safety improvement over fasteners which protruded from machinery. While other hex keys were patented before and after this date, the name would persist. Allen left the company shortly after.

An advertisement for Allen safety screws would appear in the 1910 Annual Convention of International Association of Factory Inspectors.[6]

In 1922, Allen Manufacturing Company produced sets of tools under the company name "Bay State", suggesting that they may have privately acquired another hardware manufacturer, namely the Bay State Pump Company.[7]

Apex Tool Group owns the current trademark and has since renewed it.[8]

End of production

In January 2017, Apex Tool Group announced they would end the manufacturing of Allen and Armstrong hand tools in their Sumter, South Carolina manufacturing plant. With this, Apex Communications Director Kelly Rhoads confirmed the line would cease production on March 31. This ended production of the Allen brand in hex keys, L-key, and T-handle styles.[9]

In 2018, Apex began manufacturing official hex keys under their company brand Crescent, referred to as Crescent Apex. The previous Allen website routes to them. They are sold in thirteen piece sets as well as three piece holding tools and no longer use the term "allen wrench" in official branding or marketing.[10]

As of 2021, the Apex Tool Group website's Allen page has been purged of all content except for the rebranded Allen logo, the Armstrong logo erroneously referred to as the brand image, and the brand site URL, now a redirect to Crescent.[11] No public announcement has been made for the end of productions under the Allen name.[citation needed]



  1. ^ "Allen Brand". Apex Tool Group.
  2. ^ "Allen Trademark". Serial Number 85451338. USPTO. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Allen key definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  4. ^ "About Us : The history of the Allen Manufacturing Company and the rise of the world famous "Allen Wrench"". Archived from the original on 2017-03-26. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  5. ^ "Allen Manufacturing Company". Alloy Artifacts. Archived from the original on 2011-12-30.
  6. ^ Inspectors, International Association of Factory (1911). Annual Convention of the International Association of Factory Inspectors. The Association.
  7. ^ "Various Hand Tool Makers [Page 1]". Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  8. ^ "ALLEN Trademark of APEX BRANDS, INC. - Registration Number 2340246 - Serial Number 75563653 :: Justia Trademarks". Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  9. ^ Hilley, Jim (January 12, 2017). "Tool company laying off 170 at Midlands plant". The State. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  10. ^ "Hex Keys". Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  11. ^ "Allen". Retrieved 2021-09-22.