Who is this guy? A guy who loves to work with his hands. A guy who loves tools. A guy who can never have enough of them. As far back as I can remember, I was helping my Dad with stuff around the house. Originally from Philly, I got my hands on tools of all sorts. Bending nails, cutting my hands, trying to earn my tool cu-dos as it were.
A master mechanic, my Dad took pride in teaching me all the skills he knew and I’ll always be thankful for that. He encouraged me to “experiment”, just what a curious young boy wants to hear. He was quick to add, “just don’t get hurt”. I miss working next to him.
We shared countless projects including tree forts, soap box cars, boy scout projects, model planes & ships, auto repair, engine rebuilding, you name it. He didn’t take very good care of himself though and had some unfortunate work place accidents. He never let it show though. I lost him in 1971, one year before my trade school graduation. I know he would have been proud.
Out of school I worked the usual jobs, fixing this, building that. I got a real break though and landed a spot at the Franklin Institute Science Museum & Planetarium. For someone that loved to work with his hands, this was a dream job! I had the opportunity to handle rare and priceless historical artifacts and design and build exhibits and displays to showcase them. Wood, metal, plastic, electronics, sign painting and lettering, I did it all! From displaying Buckminster Fuller’s Di-maxim car, to hanging the Wright Brother’s glider on display, to converting a Boeing 707 to a walk-thru exhibit, I used all the skills at one job. I worked this gig for three years through the bi-centennial. I didn’t want to leave but the pay sucked! It was one of the most fufilling jobs I ever had.
Switching gears a bit, I started working for an entertainment company during the “Disco” fad. Their specialty was lighting and sound systems. They scooped me up at the museum doing some contract work there and I designed and built their trade show booth and promo materials I also designed and installed various high-end lighting and sound systems in clubs and discos.
Fast forwarding a few years, I pulled up steaks and moved to the west coast seeking life, love and laughter. What did I know, I was young and single with disposable income. I started working in the Graphic Arts/Publishing industry and stretched my creative wings a bit. I did a stint installing car stereos and alarms for a while.
A few more jobs under my belt and I hired on at Makita Power Tools, a Japanese power tool manufacturer. Another dream job for the tool fanatic. In charge of the in-house advertising, media and print departments, I had plenty of hands-on time with the latest industrial strength tools. These guys actually marketed the first successful line of cordless power tools. Since then I’ve remained in graphic arts management but have filled my shop with as many tools as it will hold. I use this “Oasis” to escape the stress of the corporate world and to love my tools.
If you’ve read this far, thanks for putting up with the “trip” down memory lane. At least you know I’ve been twisting wrenches enough to know my way around the tool bench.
Happy tinkering, The Toolman