The English Key

Posted on November 15th, 2010 by Theresa

How is an English key different to a Spanish key, a Portuguese key, an American key or to any-other-nationality sort of key? Well, it ain’t a key at all, as anyone living in Spain with even the lightest smattering of DIY savvy will surely know.

Your English key, your llave inglesa, is in fact an adjustable spanner, shifting spanner, crescent wrench, monkey-wrench, murder weapon waiting to happen, call it what you will, one-size-fits-all essential bit of tool kit.llave_inglesa It was, of course, invented by an Englishman (circa 1842), which is why the Spanish, French, Italians and Germans all call it the English key.  In Denmark, however, it is known as the Swedish  key and in some parts of South America as the French key.

Exactly which Englishman invented the magic tool is not certain. Some sources say it was engineer Richard Clyburn, others the fabulously-named inventor of the lawnmower, Edwin Bread Pudding. Oops, sorry, Beard Budding.

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2 Responses to “The English Key”

  1. Oksana Says:

    In the same way, what the whole world refers to as the “Russian” salad, (a kind of a potato salad with cooked carrots, green peas, pickles, mayonnaise, etc.), in Russia is called the “Olivier” salad, after the French cook who supposedly invented it.

    Or “Viennese coffee” (in Russia) – the one with abundant amount of cream, turns into “Russischer Kaffee” in Vienna (sometimes, however, also laced with vodka).

  2. Theresa Says:

    Yep, there’s a whole bunch of these (watch out for more in the blog) including of course the now rather archaic ‘French letter’ for condom, which the French called ‘capote Anglaise’ (English overcoat)

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