Antique Car Jack: History, Identification and Value Guide

Did you recently pick up an antique car jack and you’re interested in determining it’s worth? Well, you’ll have to look into an array of factors to ascertain whether your antique car jack is valuable.

Undeniably, a car jack is one of the most essential equipment your car will need since it will meet its needs. Without a Car jack, you’ll never be able to lift your vehicle off the ground to change a tire. Furthermore, they can convert any space into a repair shop, allowing you to maintain your car or repair a mechanical car problem.

Car jacks have been around for a while and there are different types of Car Jacks you can look into as well. Most collectors who are also Vehicle enthusiasts enjoy collecting antique car pieces or tools such as Car Jacks.

We’ll shortly cover all you need to know about the history of car jacks and how to identify a car jack, thereby determining its worth. Without further delay, let’s dive in!

History Of Car Jacks

A car jack is typically tripod shaped and can easily support the weight of a vehicle. They are placed under the vehicle axle to lift cars so the maintenance process can run smoothly.

The most initial patent of a car jack was filed in 1838 by William Joseph Curtis who was a british inventor.

The next patent to be filed was for a portable hydraulic press in 1951 by Richard Dudgeon. This invention was recognized as more powerful than the screw car jacks that were primarily used at the time.

These two inventors made significant steps in developing functioning Car Jacks in the 19th century which later pioneered the entry of more designs in the vast Vehicle manufacture market that has been growing upto today.

Types of Car Jacks

As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of Car jacks, before determining the Jack’s value, you have to be able to know the type of Car Jack you’re dealing with. These are:

Floor Jacks

Antique Floor Jack Rare 4x14
Antique Floor Jack Rare 4×14 (Source: Liveauctioneers)

These types of Car Jacks have been widely used for centuries. It’s the most common type of Jack. They are easy to use and flexible enough to position them in a spot that needs to be lifted.

Floor jacks have a low to the ground unit consisting of four wheels and a long handle that one can use to pump the hydraulic lift of the Car Jack, allowing the Car to be lifted.

The jack saddle is the part of the Floor jack that attaches itself to the Vehicle. Furthermore, the low profile of the base makes the process entirely hassle-free and safe.

Scissor Jacks

antique scissor jack
antique scissor jack (Source: Ebay)

This Car Jack was widely used for centuries. What’s more? It’s still famously used upto today! You can find this equipment in the trunk of most cars. Scissor Jacks use screw mechanisms to lift Cars.

Most collectors prefer this type of Car Jack since it’s portable. The Jack is placed underneath the spot one wants to raise. Eventually, the jack’s screw is used to raise or lower the Vehicle. One uses the handle to maneuver the screw mechanisms.

Hi-lift Jacks

VTG Antique Hi-Lift Jack Industrial Design farm jack, jack-all, railroad jack
VTG Antique Hi-Lift Jack Industrial Design farm jack, jack-all, railroad jack (Source: Craigslist)

This Jack was primarily used to lift off vehicles while on the road. Hi-lift Jacks were used when the terrain was too tough to use other types of Jacks. These types of Jacks have a high capacity of up to 7000 pounds and can easily lift Cars upto 5 feet.

One of the main downsides of these Jacks is their bulkiness; they are 3 to 5 feet long and weigh up to 30 pounds.

How To Identify Antique Car Jacks

To identify Car Jacks, you have to take a few matters into consideration. These are:

The Manufacturer’s Markings

Begin by looking for any logos or names on the antique car jack. The type of logo indicated on the Car Jack is essential since it will determine the year when the Jack was manufactured.

Some companies such as Barret have their full names indicated on their Jacks. Once you see the logo or name indicated on the Car Jack, you can research more about the company on google or youtube.

Antique Barrett No. 1 The Duff Mfg Co. Railroad Ratchet Lever Jack
Antique Barrett No. 1 The Duff Mfg Co. Railroad Ratchet Lever Jack (Source: Etsy)

Currently, we have an advantage compared to our forefathers and the internet may answer all your Car Jack questions when it comes to identifying your distinct equipment.

Date Codes

Date codes were introduced to various Car Jack models such as the Mustang in 1967. Therefore, if a Car Jack doesn’t have a date code, it means that it is older than 1967 and thereby could be an antique!

Date Codes were introduced in 1966 and implemented on Car Jacks in 1967 to enhance auto safety. The older the Car jack, the more valuable it is, especially if it’s in good shape.

Also, since the Car Jacks that were produced centuries ago are scarce in the market compared to vintage and modern jacks, this also increases their value.

Check the Seals

Check whether the Seals or O-rings are worn out. Most of the time, if these two components can’t function well it means they can no longer hold pressure. If that’s the case of your Jack then perhaps it’s actually an antique car jack.

Regardless of the issue at hand—don’t fret. If you’re having trouble with your Seals and O-rings, you can simply replace them.

The Value Of An Antique Car Jack

As a collector, you probably are interested in knowing the worth of your Car jack. Well, it depends on a few things. If the manufacturer of your Car Jack is one of the most popular vehicle manufacturers such as Tom Ford or Mustang then it’s definitely highly sought after and placed above other brands.

Also, if your Car Jack is extremely rare in the market but was made by a well-known company in the 18th to 19th century then it’s valuable and you can resell it for hundreds of dollars.

Lastly, the value of an antique car jack highly depends on its current state. If it’s still in good shape, you can resell it at your local Car repair shop for a good chunk of money. Typically, antique car jacks’ prices range from $10 to $200.

Where Can You Purchase Antique Car Jacks?

If you are interested in investing in antique car jacks due to their workmanship, you can find them at:

  • eBay
  • Etsy
  • Garage Sales
  • Online stores


Antique Car Jacks have been in use ever since Cars were invented. They are a crucial piece in the puzzle when it comes to maintaining and repairing Vehicles. Regardless, you need to keep in mind as you collect Car Jacks:

  • Even if the manufacturer of the Car Jack was well-known but the quality of the equipment has depreciated over time, it’s not worth purchasing. Or, if you are planning on reselling it, you won’t earn a good amount of money.
  • You can research more about the brands that made antique car jacks to gain more knowledge about them before investing in a Car Jack.

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