Tool Boxes

It was in the 1960s and I was working on a government job in Montana.  There were many separate trades working on the same job at the same time.  All of us had our own tool box to carry the tools we needed for the job.

The Carpenters had their saws, levels, squares – all of different sizes and configurations – and hammers of all sorts.  The Plumbers would have drills, threaders, vices, pipe wrenches, welding apparatus, etc.  The Electricians would have drills, hammers, screwdrivers, levels, etc.  And of course the sizes and shapes of the tools determined the size of your tool box.  The tool boxes sometimes became quite large.

One day a few of the men took all the tools out of one of the guys’ tool box and screwed it to the floor, then put all the tools back in.  When the apprentice, a strapping young man, came to get the tool box, he ripped the handle off.

On this job we had to carry our tools up a short ladder, through a trapdoor, and into a small room.  One day we were all – Carpenters, Plumbers, Sheet metal Workers, and I – taking lunch in this small room with our tool boxes when the Johnson Controls man showed up.

The Johnson Controls man took care of the temperature and air controls.  For his controls work he needed a small tubing bender, a tubing cutter/reamer, a couple of screwdrivers and a few small wrenches.

We were all sitting around with all our large work equipment and large tool boxes, when the Johnson Controls guy came in carrying a small tool box about 8 inches cubed.  We all burst out laughing at the sight of that little tool box.

He looked at us and said; “I have always heard it said, the smarter the man the smaller the tool box.”

Now days, everyone has battery operated power tools which eliminate a need for so many tools; but I don’t think we will ever catch up to the Johnson Controls man.