Torkster Story

“Necessity is the Mother of Invention” is a familiar proverb that was first coined more than 500 years ago. No one is sure who the original author was, but it certainly describes the Torkster Story to a tee. Anyone who has spent any serious time fixing old, rusty cars has run into at least one occasion where he has really had to struggle to remove a rusted bolt, especially a larger one used on chassis parts, like the drive axle, upper/lower control arms, leaf spring shackles and U-bolts, MacPherson struts, steering gear and tie rods, engine cradle, etc. Al Gunther, the inventor of the Torkster, had just such an experience during the summer of 2017. Al was changing both struts and an axle assembly on his daughter’s 2004 Pontiac Sunfire. One strut and the axle change went without a hitch, but the second strut was a real bear. One of the bolts to the spindle came out fine, but the second bolt wouldn’t budge. Al didn’t have access to a torch, but he did use penetrating oil, and tried to heat it using propane. He even bought an impact wrench, but nothing worked. “Big Al” is actually not a very big guy, but even his 200 lb. son tried and struck out. Eventually, after struggling for more than 4 hours, he had to admit defeat, reassemble the car and take it to a shop that charged $100 labor to replace the strut, using a torch to loosen it. (It still took the shop more than 20 minutes to remove the stuck bolt)

After thinking about this experience, Al realized that he had two breaker bars, in the hands of two people, but the problem was that he could only use one tool on the socket at a time. Why not have an adapter that would allow two or more tools to turn the socket at the same time, doubling or even tripling the torque that could be applied? That was the inspiration for the Torkster.

Surprisingly, after doing a patent search, no one has ever tried to patent this idea. The square drive socket wrench was patented more than 100 years ago and is used across the world, but no one has ever patented a way to attach more than one wrench to a socket! Incredible! As a result, Al applied for a provisional patent in July, 2017.