Not all tools are built to last beyond a few uses, let alone across generations. In some cases, a tool you buy today will break today, and then you’re left stuck in the middle of a job with less money in your account. Because of the precarious nature of the tool market, it is vitally important to keep an open discussion with fellow wrenchers about the tools they rely on, the tools that have failed them, and the tools they wouldn’t even try. The more we share, the more we know, and the better all of our tool sets will be.
Last week, we asked our readers to show us the oldest tools they have, whether they were items purchased or tools handed down from old friends or family members. Part of us simply wanted any excuse to talk tools with everybody, but the exercise holds value, as well. Not only can we see the cool pieces of history everybody keeps in their garages, we also get to learn which tool brands can stand on their claims of quality.
An old saw.
The responses returned offer a great selection of different types of tools and brands, some of which your parents or grandparents would be familiar with. Check out the tools, which include a saw from the 1800s and an old wooden Peugeot hand drill, below, and feel free to show us more old tools in the comments!
A Saw from 1870
@themrfreeze: “Oldest tool I have is this handsaw, which dates from around 1870. If you look really close, the original owner’s name is etched into the blade, just below the area of the spine where the manufacturer’s stamp is.”
An old wrench.
Ford Wrench from Model A Tool Set
@Chris M: “Man, I don’t even know where to begin. Two of the oldest tools in my set are my great grandfathers Bed Rock 606 plane, about 100 years old, and my wife’s great grandfather‘s Ford wrench, which we believe is from a model A tool kit. As far as power tools, my top two favorites are my great grandfathers pre-war worm drive Skilsaw, and a porter cable guild router that converts into a planer. The planer cost $96 new, which was a fortune in 1950.”
An old ratchet.
@idiotking: “I have a bunch of old tools from my Dad but my favorite is a Plomb ratchet I found in the bottom of one of his toolboxes. It was broken, but a $14 repair kit from Proto had it working good as new.”
An old hammer.
Plumb Ball Peen Hammer
@Slow Joe Crow: “My father’s old Plumb ball peen hammer from the 60s and the Hazet spark plug wrench from my parent’s 1966 Mercedes. I also have various hand tools dating back to 1980, an AEG 1/2″ hammer drill from 1987 and a Craftsman industrial 1/2″ electric impact wrench from 1989.”
Some old wrenches and screwdrivers.
Grandfather’s Screwdrivers and Wrenches
@Morgan_ATX: “small selection of tools passed down from my grandfather…. he was repairman by trade and was born over 100 years ago… so a couple of these could be quite old. I still have my very first tool set, a 100-piece craftsman set from the late ’80s. Only have ever had to replace a few of the stockets (cracked 14mm, rounded off 1/4″). I would post the picture but /Drive only allows attaching 1 pic and not multiple”
Peugeot Manual and Electric Drills
@Dassault: “French Peugeot electric drill, gift from my father, some 40 + years ago. Big difference? Rough electric circuits, no electronics and perhaps the best, full metal gears, not like the plastic one found in many modern drill … Also a manual drill, hand driven, from my great grand father ? Some 70 years old I think.”
An old wrench.
@John Hughes: “Manual: it’s a tossup between an old AT&SF Railroad wrench (looks like a cross between a pipe wrench and hammer) for separating rail cars that was from my grandma and a set of Craftsman wrenches my dad from early 50s when he managed a Sears Auto store. I don’t use either much but they have memories.”
- @SDBeetle: “Here is my partial list: An Evansville Tool Works hammer which is pre WWII, a Schrader-Universal tire gauge which looks like a .50cal shell… it has patent date of 3-28-16, and of course the ubiquitous Craftsman socket set from the late 50s…such good quality metal!!! Also a 1950s KD ignition tool which is designed to straighten the arms on a set of points so the point surfaces match….use this on my VV.”
- @Jimal: “Most of the handtools in my toolbox are from 1988-1990, when I went to technical school then worked at a Ford dealership for about five minutes. In terms of power tools, I have my father’s father’s Craftsman table saw from the 1940s, but the power tool winner is my mother’s mother’s Singer sewing machine, circa 1928. I don’t use it often, but when I need to stitch something, it works just fine.”
- @Kevin Leuschen: “I have my great uncle’s torque wrench, and my friends grandfather’s railing hammer. Both probably 70-80 years old.”
- @Kristof Goovaerts: “Either some wood chisels or some metal files passed down from my late grandfather through my dad, which according to legend were lifted from the shopfloor of our capital’s municipal tramservice during his stint as a union representative. Good tools I’ve got to say. Powertools? Plane sander from some defunct West German company handed down from my dad, works splendid, it just takes ages to get up to speed.”
- @Martin Coleman: “Are 2 ways to look at this. Tools I bought and tools inherited. I bought a set of Craftsman Professional screwdrivers 50 years ago. Solid hex stock. Replaced the no.1&2 Phillip’s under the lifetime warranty. New ones are hollow without a good place for a wrench, but the rest of the set is perfect. The new Matco drivers are better. Also hanging on my bench are a really old Pexto snips that I reconditioned and use them all the time.”
- @twistedthumb: “Craftsman 7″ (not 7 – 1/4″ not 7 – 1/2″) circular saw in its original metallic carrying box. I used to have a set of nice Craftsman mechanics tools of the same vintage (my fathers gear) but a damn thief stole them a couple of decades ago along with my Mikuni sidedrafts and some other stuff. Not too long after, I found out he paid the ultimate price for his general misdeeds. Too late for me though.”
- @Morris the Cat: “I’ve got a drill press that belonged to my grandfather when my dad was a kid. So… 1950s? My dad still has the Radial Arm Saw that was purchased at the same time and that thing has cut a LOT of lumber in the last 70-odd years.”
- @nightlord40k: “Well, if guns are tools…..1917 Ishapore SMLE .410 musket. As far as hand tools, I have an antique roofing hammer designed for the old-style square nails. It actually has a nail holder/ setter built into the claw. You start the nail with that end, then flip it over and hammer it in, theoretically preventing a lot of smashed thumbs, lol.”
- @Felipe Augusto Ferreira Fagundes: Manual: a hammer and chisel set from my great grandfather, the hammer i don’t trust too much, but i use the chisel all the time. Electric: Bosch GSR1000, i bought it to do some light house repairs some 6 years ago, its lasting way more than expected.
- @GermanCarsOnly: “I started buying Snap-On tools in high school, 1967.”
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