Our ancestors started using rocks to smash things millions of years ago. Eventually, they strapped them to sticks, bones, and antlers to take advantage of leverage, paving the way for our modern tool manufacturing industry.
The bronze and iron ages denote two epochs in human history that revolved around mining and manipulating basic minerals. Long before big box stores appeared on every other corner, you visited the village blacksmith for all your tool needs, including hammers.
WEAPONS OF WAR, AND SPORT
A tool for bashing things was quickly recognized as a handy tool of war: for bashing heads in. When they weren’t busy using hammers to crush each other’s skulls, ancient Celts created a game to see who could toss theirs the farthest. Now an Olympic sport, the current world record for pitching a four- foot-long, 16-pound hammer is nearly 285 feet.
The industrial revolution took power beyond humans and horses. Scotsman James Nasmyth is credited with inventing the factory-sized steam hammer in the 1830s. Jackhammers and other industrial-strength equipment soon fol-lowed, putting some labourers out of work. But, frankly, it was backbreaking work they didn’t really want anyway…
ORIGINS OF THE NAIL GUN
As the story goes, a group of vets were hanging out at the Legion in Winsted, Minn., in the 1950s, brainstorming ideas to generate more beer money. By combining their experience working with machine guns and carpentry the rest, as they say, is history. Some thirty years later, Paslode cut the cord with the introduction of the first gas-powered nailer.
THE $435 HAMMER
In the 1980s, news started circulating that the U.S. government was spending $435 per garden-variety hammer. It turns out that it was actually some creative accounting by defense contractors. By trying to make the cost of missiles seem lower, they jacked up the price of low-budget items like hand tools.
STILL A HANDY TOOL
Scouting the aisles of your local hardware store today, $400 hand tools might not seem so ludicrous. But the high-end hammers on the shelves include precious metals like titanium, composite materials, vibration-dampening technology, and ergonomic designs that prolong the life of the tool, and the user’s arm.