An amazing new invention …

April 26th, 2009

from 1916 !


I’ve used it a few times and it works but you have to be carefull about seating it or it’ll slip.


Made in Chicago (like so many tools) and patented May 2, 1916.

Quick fix.

April 21st, 2009

A lovely flea market Sunday morning.


Plenty of ratchets to choose from.  I grabbed a long handle, 3/8″ drive by Snap-On.

There was another by Mac, but the drive plug had shattered so only a small jagged chunk of it was left. I wonder how that happened.

Anyway, the Snap-On seemed okay. It’s only issue was a missing shift lever. I could pull over a Snap-On truck and buy one, order one from Snap On, or make one.

I made one.

First I got a length of mild steel rod and pounded it into a square (the hole the original lever fit in was square shaped).

Next I bent it to an “L”, pounded it more till the end was wider (to make it a bit more comfy for my thumb) and filed it smooth.

I cut it to rough length and filed and pounded some more. As I got farther from steel rod salvaged from old filing cabinet and closer to ratchet lever, pounding with a big hammer turned into tapping with a small one.

For a makeshift anvil I used a block of hardened steel I found in a machine shop dumpster.


The original lever was held in with a screw. The hole for the screw was too close in diameter to the hole for the lever itself for me to drill by hand. I know if I tried I’d end up coming partway out the side of the lever instead of just the bottom so I made the base of my lever a bit bigger and just tapped it in with a hammer. It will hold up under use but its not so tight that I wont be able to get it out with a pair of pliers.

Here’s the ratchet and some of the files I used. Grandpas hacksaw is in the background too.



Somebody was an auto worker.

March 31st, 2009

This weekend I found a nice old depression era textbook.

It’s from The Henry Ford Trade School and is loaded with “Greatest Generation” tool know how and nostalgia.

“Henry Ford Trade School was founded in 1916 to train mechanics and make it possible for a young boy to partially support himself while attending school. It is incorporated under Michigan law as a non-profit institution. The school occupies three acres of floor space and has class and shop equipment for 1700 students. ”

Below are some scans.

In the list of tool companies (2nd image), at least 4 were located in tiny Rhode Island.

This is indisputable proof that at one time Rhode Island was important and Rhode Islanders should be proud of the industrial history of their state.

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