[Ads-l] Monkey wrench was Re: "Monkey this up"

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Fri Aug 31 07:51:13 EDT 2018

All this discussion of /monkey wrench/ as possibly connected to /monkey 
[something] up /jogged my memory that Worcester, MA, lays claim not only 
to the invention of the smiley face, but also the monkey wrench:

"The monkey wrench was invented by Loring Coes of the Coes Knife Company 
in 1840."

I realize that we deal with lexical terms and not necessarily the 
object, but have any monkey wrench researchers run across this claim 
before and dealt with it?

---Amy West

(And the claim to the smiley face is also problematic, I understand . . . )

On 8/31/18 00:00, ADS-L automatic digest system wrote:
> ate:    Thu, 30 Aug 2018 20:13:29 +0000
> From:    Peter Reitan<pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Re: "Monkey this up"
> "monkey wrench in the works" . . . Yes, that's what I meant to type.
> It'd funnier if I weren't writing about someone else perhaps mangling an idiom.
> My mind works faster than my typing fingers.
> And as for the origin of "monkey wrench," I wrote a piece on it last year<https://esnpc.blogspot.com/2015/10/charles-monk-monkey-wrenches-and-monkey.html>.  Interestingly, there was, in fact, a "tool maker" named Charles Monkay (not Monk as the old-wives' tales generally say) who lived in Brooklyn, consistent with a commonly repeated origin story.  However, Charles Monkay made bricklaying tools - not wrenches - and in any case, the term "monkey wrench" pre-dates his birth, so he is an unlikely candidate.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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