304’2021 (2021-10-31) – Sunday

Today, I learned about:

In my earlier post of 246’2017 (2017-09-03), I talked among other things about how driving on the lefthand side of the road in Brazil is called “English hand”. But there are more things in Brazil connected with the English. Much of this is no doubt related to the fact that it was the English that participated heavily in developing the Brazilian infrastructure a little bit more than 100 years ago. Examples of this are the railways and the electric distribution system, and still today the electric company in Rio de Janeiro is called Light, and when the Brazilians refer to the electric bill, they call it “conta de luz”, i.e. the light bill.

Another interesting fact has to do with a very clever and useful tool to be adjusted easily to fit various sizes of heads of screws, bolts and nuts, in English normally refered to as an adjustable spanner, adjustable wrench or a monkey wrench. But not in Brazil, here it is called “chave inglesa”, i.e. the English wrench. I believe that also this might be a heritage from the English engineers installing the bespoke infrastructure and that probably impressed the people so much that they thought it was an English invention, although other reasons might also possible for that.

But, how wrong they are. This tool should justifiably be called “chave sueca”, the Swedish wrench. The reason for that is the following:

Although the adjustable wrench had been invented before, it was not very practical. For that reason, in 1892 the Swedish engineer Johan Petter Johansson, who was born only 15 km from where I would grow up during the 20th century, perfected the design and got a patent on the modern adjustable wrench.

More information can be found in references 1 and 2 below. As you can see there, Johan Petter’s invention started to be distributed all over the world by the Swedish company B A Hjorth & Co, abbreviated Bahco. And still today, when Dutchmen and Dutchwomen refer to the tool they call it “Bahco verstelbare moersleutel”. Here is a photo of my precious tool:

This “skiftnyckel” has been with me ever since I received it in a marketing kit from Ericsson, when I started to work there in 1979. This 11 cm long tool from Bahco, made in vanadium steel, is very practical and I still use it from time to time.

And here is a tribute to the amazing colors of Spring, in total blossom in the Southern hemisphere right now.

Photo taken on 294’2021 (2021-10-21).

That’s what I learned in school today!


1: Adjustable spanner

2: Johan Petter Johansson

*: What did you learn in school today ?