View Full Version : Immortality

Moses Yoder
11-03-2014, 6:16 PM
I have various tools from extended family. At one point I had decided to mark them with initials of the previous owner. I have come to the conclusion that nobody will care. Since the next generation will not have known the person it came from, it will have no meaning for them. I have come to the conclusion that everything I have built will mean nothing in less than 200 years.

We did inventory Thursday and Friday last week and due to the way it works, after I am done with my department I have nothing to do. I learned this last year and took my Kindle this year. I was reading "The Einstein Theory of Relativity" by H.A. Lorentz when the CFO walked by and asked what I was reading. Einstein happens to be one of his heroes and we have had several discussions now on him and his work, including the cosmological constant. I find it interesting that people like Leonardo DaVinci and such are remembered for thousands of years, and I will be forgotten 50 years after I die.

I have come to several conclusions in my life thus far. One, I am not going to mark the tools. Two, the best I can do is to do the best I can where I am at. Three, people are more important than things.

Mike Henderson
11-03-2014, 7:30 PM
You might be surprised. Families value things handed down. And many people do genealogical research on their ancestors. Today, with all the records that exist about us, our descendants will have a much easier time learning some things about us. If I had a tool that had passed down from by grandfather (for example) to my father, to me, I would find it very nice if each had marked the tool with their initials or name. And if I had something that they built with it, it would be even nicer.

I'd make sure that I passed that tool along to someone in the family who would care about it, care for it, and pass it along in turn.

While it's not a tool, I had a piece of furniture that came from my grandfather to my father and mother, who used it daily. I restored it and after having it for many years, passed it to one of my nieces - along with the story. I think it will be cared for and passed along in the family.


Roger Rettenmeier
11-03-2014, 7:39 PM
When my Dad found out I was making a change from sawdust to shavings, he passed several old tools on to me. One of them is a pre 1928 Disston D 8 rip saw, his Grandfathers. This saw was well used, and I might put one last sharp on it and hang it up.

Bill Orbine
11-03-2014, 8:19 PM
Because you're between two generations, it's your responsibility to communicate if you want the tools of the past generations to have interest in the future generations.

Mel Fulks
11-03-2014, 8:28 PM
I agree, Mike. Whenever I buy used books that have a signature or book plate I google the name and have found some
interesting people. And who doesn't value the things used by ancestors?

David Weaver
11-03-2014, 9:13 PM
It's different for everyone, I guess. In our family, we don't really have any regard for stuff people did for hobbies, or many things like furniture. Those (furniture) are kept if they are convenient, but when there's not enough room to keep them, they are just given away or sold cheaply to someone else.

But we have some regard to things that relatives used to make a living, or things about them that made them really them (my grandmother made income making teddy bears of the steiff style). I value those things a lot, but the fact that she gardened doesn't amount to much to me even though I raise a garden. It's hard to explain - if I could have the axe my grandfather used to split wood (cutting wood was how he made a living in his later years), I'd love to have it, but it's long gone. No mere mortal would use it - he was a tough man and he tired of breaking handles splitting wood so he welded an axe head to a solid piece of steel bar stock for a handle.

Moses, I don't mark tools, either. Nobody is going to know who I am by my tools. I'll mark the ones I make if I can come up with a mark, but that's it. Nobody will have a clue who the maker is on those, either. If I were to mark the tools someone else made, people would just look at them and say "man, I wish the people who had those tools wouldn't have marked them".

William Adams
11-03-2014, 10:12 PM
Ars Longa, Vita Brevis.

If you make beautiful things which are worth being handed down, they will be --- be sure to sign them. Even better, keep a note/logbook documenting your work.

Make a beautiful tool chest for all of your tools to show how much you value them and that value will be perceived after you're gone --- http://www.studleytoolchestexhibit.com/


(who is fortunate to have his grandfather's lawnmower, and a book which belonged to his great-great-grandfather)

Rick Potter
11-04-2014, 2:42 AM
My Uncle, whom I hardly knew, flew Spitfires for the Canadian Royal Air Corps in the Battle of Britain, then the US Army Air Corps over the hump from India to China, then after the war flew transports for Chaing Kai Chek, and the Nationalist Chinese till they left for Formosa (Taiwan), then was recalled to train pilots for Korea, and finally for the Berlin Air Lift. I cannot find the records, but a relative of his says he was an ace.

I have his diary, and recently discovered his dog tags after my Aunt died. They will be in the family for a long time.

Rick Potter

Ralph Boumenot
11-04-2014, 6:10 AM
I think you are wrong on that Moses. I have several old tools with the previous owners initials on them. Every so often when I use the tool I think about that person. Would he have used it the same way I am right now? I may not know him but he hasn't been forgotten.

Jerry Thompson
11-04-2014, 6:50 AM
Tools do mean things to relatives. I have my Father's D8 rip saw and my Grandfather's cast iron level. My Grandfather used the level to plumb the doors and windows for his sod house in Harding County South Dakota. He used to tell that all he and his two brothers had to eat was, "Prairie Chickens and bakin' powder biscuits.
I also have a razor collection from my father. There are several razors in the collection one of which has 1832 scratched on the handle. One of the razors fell off of the medicine cabinet when my father opened the door and stuck into the top of my head. I just thought something had hit me. I ran out into the kitchen with the razor sticking out of my skull. My mother let out a scream I can hear to this day.
There is a lot of history locked into tools and what not, it just needs to be passed on with the keepsake.

Dave Anderson NH
11-04-2014, 12:34 PM
Family tools mean a lot to me Moses. I am fortunate enough to have 2 chests full. Some tools date back to the 1840s when James Anderson Sr., a Scots-Irish shipwright worked in Cambridge Mass. His son James Jr, and James Jr's son Robert added to the tools as they worked as a shipwright and housewright respectively. I am the 7th generation to be custodian of these tools and they mean the world to me. The plane pictured below rests in a place of honor on its own special display shelf on the wall of my shop. It is a point of pride and honor for me to make sure I use it at least once or twice a year.299492

Kevin Bourque
11-04-2014, 4:35 PM
I bought a #4 Stanley Bailey plane from Ebay a few years back. It was in mint condition with the original box. It didn't look like it was ever used at all. There was however one minor issue. The previous owner had his name engraved into the side. For this reason nobody else bid on it and I picked it up for $9. His name was KEVIN :D