Life Cycle of the Can Wrench

Jonard Tools Can Wrenches
Jonard Tools Can Wrenches

The origin of this unique tool traces back to the early 1950s. With the telecom industry ramping up, and new installations exploding on the scene, the requirement to protect connections from foul play, from the elements and from curios animals or insects, connections were terminated in service boxes. These boxes were in turn protected by a uniquely designed lock. Well, if you have a lock, you need a key. But not just any key, one that was secure from tampering and at the same time convenient for the technician who would service the installation.

That lead to the advent of the can socket, which locked the box yet was easily unlocked with a can socket wrench. Designed by the world renowned Bell Labs, the can socket wrench was born. It was spring loaded, hex shaped and when collapsed revealed a screwdriver tip inside. It was designated by Bell Labs with the part number 216B (the Jonard M-216B was first manufactured in 1961).

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M-216B Can Socket

Years later the original M-216B design was made obsolete when he binding post no longer required a screwdriver tip.

In keeping up with the times, our first iteration of this new design was the M-216C/HX (first manufactured in 1984). The wrench was thin handled (5/8″ diameter) with hex ends. It was further improved when Bellsouth reached out to us to solve a problem with can sockets being damaged from overzealous techs putting too much torque on the wrenches. It seems that if you use an adjustable wrench on the hex ends the predictable result followed…destruction of the lock.

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M-216C/RX Can Wrench, Standard Round

The M-216C/RX was born (1992). A thin handled tool (5/8″) without a hex end to prevent the attachment of any tools that could increase torque beyond one’s innate hand strength.

M-216EX M-216CREX

In 1998 Verizon came to Jonard Tools with a new request, design an ergonomic can wrench without a hex socket. The M-216C/REX was born and it is still in use today.

Time marches on, and as with everything in life there are always improvements to be made. The 5/8″ diameter wrench was the precursor to a more ergonomic version – a 1″ diameter wrench designated M-216C/EX (first manufactured for AT&T in 2001), a more robust design to facilitate greater torque. This design helped with old or frozen locks and eased the strain on wrists and hands.

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M-216CKIT Can Wrench Security Key Kit

In 2003 AT&T added a new requirement to their can wrenches – a wire stripper. That lead to the development of the M-216CS22 Can Wrench with a built in wire stripper supporting two slots, one for 22 AWG wire and the other for the outside jacket of a four wire “quad.”

Several years later the Jonard Tools R&D team developed a security key insert (SK-51632) that fit in the 3/8″ side of a can wrench, which allowed the tech to keep the 7/16″ side continuously available. AT&T had come to us with this requirement and the finished tools was delivered in 2005. This insert is used for either a 5/16″ or 5/32″ hex security screw for SLC cabinets and for most network interface boxes.

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SSK-876 Star Key Can Wrench Kit

In 2014 we delivered a special can wrench kit to Comcast. The SSK-876 is a three component kit including a blue handled can wrench with two 7/16″ hex sockets at either end plus two slam lock star keys with LS, LB, LG & LC star patterns. Each key has two patterns (one at either end) providing access by reversing the key in the can wrench.

Always looking to improve and innovate, Jonard Tools is at the forefront of design for the broadband industry.

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