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Toolbox

Toolbox

Guys love their tools. They are the pride of their garages-and they are rich in history. Lumberjacks became legends by wielding their axes. Vikings wore hammers around their necks to ward off danger. Tools built the railroads that opened the West, the carriers that won the war in the Pacific, and the rockets that took us to the moon.

Now in a new series, explore the rich history of tools, from their Paleolithic roots to their key role in shaping history. Delve into their evolution, anatomy and physics; and visit factories of today to see tools in action, building everything from seventeenth century farmhouses to twenty-first century skyscrapers.

Tools of Different Functions
The Most Popular Hand Tool - The Hammer
The Invention of the Electric Drill
How the Blowtorch Came About
The Drill
Egyptians made great progress, designing the first mechanical hand drill. In the ensuing millenniums, breakthroughs came with invention of the auger, gear drill and finally, the power drill in 1895.
The Handsaw
The handsaw is a cutting tool that's been in use since the beginning of civilization. With a design dating back to copper cutting tools, the handsaw has put inappearances all throughout history.
The Wrench
The wrench has come a long way as a specialized tool, such as the ones used to tighten wagon wheels, to its current status as mandatory member in every plumber, mechanic, and home owner's tool box.
The Sander
From the ancient Egyptians to the first portable belt sander, follow the story of the sander. And visit a sandpaper factory, where glue has been replaced by phenolic resin.
The Screwdriver
Look at how the screwdriver evolved from a rare and specialized tool used in making armor and muskets to a modern tool with hundreds of variations.
The Hammer
The hammer dates back to prehistoric times, when our ancestors used hammer stones for digging holes and shelling nuts. With the invention of nails around 500 BC, the hammer took on its modern application.
The Chainsaw
Invented for the logging industry, the chainsaw began life as a half-ton behemoth in 1905, was refined to a portable 2-man tool in 1929, and finally became a single-user powerhouse in the 1950s.
The Axe
Follow the story of the axe, tracing its journey as both deadly weapon and lifesaving tool. Plus, we look at specialized axes through the years, from a 17th-century parade axe to a pickhead axe.
The Blowtorch
Explore the rich history of tools, from their Paleolithic roots to their key role in shaping history. Delve into their evolution, anatomy and physics; and visit factories of today to see tools in action.
The Plane
The plane has been paramount in creating man's greatest woodworking achievements. Visit Lie-Nielsen Toolworks in Warren, Maine, where some of today's best planes are made, and examine the A95 mill planer.
The Shovel
During the Stone Age, man used shovels made from the shoulder blades of bison to dig mine shafts and ancient Romans used some of the first iron shovels to dig the Aqua Appia--a 10-mile aqueduct.
The Ruler
Trace the history of the ruler, from the strings to today's handy tape measures. Visit the Stanley works to see how modern tape measures are made and find out why they are always yellow.
The Mechanic's Tools
The key to winning a NASCAR race is a lightning-fast pit stop. And for that, hi-tech mechanic tools are crucial: the hydraulic jack, impact wrench, and a good set of socket wrenches.