2-way? 9-way? Which way?

Melissa SandfortAgricultural Anthropology

Today, we have 2-way radios, 3-way light bulbs, 2-in-1 juicer/squeezer and 3-in-1 breakfast makers. They’re designed to make life easier, quicker and simpler. Now, out of the kitchen and into the shop…..if anyone has ever looked in my husband’s toolbox, you’d know that wrenches, nuts and bolts are anything but easy and simple. He has square-head, hex-head and 12-point wrenches. He says, “Go get me the 1/8 wrench, honey (emphasis on honey because he knows I have no idea which one he needs; and I know he’s going to get frustrated and have to go look for it himself anyway. So why did he ask me?).” I don’t think it’s simple.

However, in my Grandpa’s treasure chest, we came across this 9-way wrench. NINE-WAY! Made only for one shaped bolt, one shaped nut – with a square head. So instead of needing a whole tool chest full of wrenches, he carried one. Now that’s easy. And compact. And simple.

This leads me to believe that, though back in the 30s, work was more manual and probably physically harder, but some things were just “easier.” I sure can think of nine better ways to spend my time than to rummage through a toolbox for 15 minutes looking for a 1/8” hex-head wrench.

Until our next history lesson …