No, this is not what your lady or your friends call you when you are especially dick-ish! these are the things you use to get things done. For instance:
On August 17th, 1835, the very first wrench was patented by Solyman Merrick of Massachusetts.
Canadian Theodore Witte was pretty good at home repair, but he sure got tired of trying to smooth out the putty around windows using a putty knife. One day in 1894, he was at the bakery and happened to be watching the baker using a cake decorators gun to apply the icing. Witte then went home and designed the "puttying tool" which allowed the caulk to be applied in a smooth even line. Unfortunately, the putty industry did not pay attention and Witte never made much money from his.....caulking gun.
The word "smith" comes from the Saxon word which means "to smite". In the old days, a smith was anyone who worked with a hammer, whether he was hammering wood, metal, or stone. Thus, there were blacksmiths, clocksmiths, coppersmiths, goldsmiths, gunsmiths, locksmiths, and so on. And since all of these smiths needed a hammer, there were also.....hammersmiths.
In the 1930's a businessman from Portland Oregon noted that sometimes screws and screwdrivers just didn't work like they should. While they were fine for home repair and general carpentry, there were problems when it came to assembly lines. In the 1930's auto manufacturers were using millions of screws per minute with power screwdrivers. Not only was it difficult to fit the screwdriver into the slot of the screw, but the centrifigal force tended to make the tip of the driver slide out of the slot in the screw. And once the screw was set, the power driver would often continue to spin, stripping the slot out of the screw.
This businessman invented a screw with a cross-shaped slot that could be driven using more torque and would hold better than regular screws. He also invented the new style screwdriver to go along with the new screw, which engaged the screw more easily and did not slip out. The new screw was first used in building the 1936 Cadillac and proved to be so effective that within two years, all of the other car manufacturers were using it. In 1936, Henry received the patent for his inventions, but they proved to be so successful that he lost the patent in 1944.
Henry died in 1958 at the age of 68. But he lived long enough to see his screw-and his last name-become an industry standard.....the Phillips head screw.
In 1910, two small businessmen set up a small machine shop in Baltimore. In 1917 they invented a portable hand-held drill, which then led to them becoming one of the most successful tool companies in the country......Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker. Balck and Decker.
Before 1964, there were socket sets but the old-fashioned socket wrench that went with the set had to be turned endlessly. Enter Pete Roberts, an 18 year old kid who loved to tinker in his dads garage. His father repaired lawnmowers and sometimes Pete would help him. One day, Pete decided that repairing mowers would be a lot easier if only the socket wrench had a button which would release the socket from the grip of the wrench. He made one up himself and it worked-the socket wrench was born.
Pete worked at the local Sears store and he took his invention to show his boss, who showed HIS boss, who showed it to company executives at the Chicago headquarters. A year went by and one day a lawyer shows up. He said that Sears was prepared to offer Pete 2 cents for every wrench they could sell, with a cap set at 10,000.00. The sears rep said it would take years to meet that cap, but less than one year later, Pete received a check for the entire 10,000.00. Suspecting that he had "been taken", Pete contacted a lawyer.
Pete won a million bucks and the judge even gave him his patent back!
When Commander Alan Bean walked on the Moon, he tried to fix a TV camera which was not working by.....hitting it with a hammer! He failed, but the idea of whacking things with a hammer to get them to work was born!
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