A complete History of Hand Tools

You might have seen different lists of the most revolutionary inventions of history, which changed the life of human beings to a considerable extent such as history of hand tools. But in my opinion, what triggered all these changes was the invention of hand tools. The earliest known tool has been dated to 3.3 million years ago in the middle of the Pliocene Epoch in Kenya, which was implemented to shape raw materials into the desired form.

Since the Homo sapiens needed to defend themselves against wild animals moreover hunt them to satisfy their hunger, they sharpened and gave cutting edges to the stones and used them as primitive knives for a wide variety of purposes. As men evolved so, did their implements. The demands of a settled way of life led to the transformation of the tools to higher degrees.

Over time, the primary tools have been redesigned and perfected to reserve the people in every household. Nowadays, although the rate of the changes has fallen, the hand tools are still changing and, their evolution has never come to a stop. The only difference is in the form of this change. Modern hand tools tend more toward improving than transforming. Therefore, you won’t see any newer hand tools and only ones with higher quality.

From the tools, used to skin animals and prepare food, to today’s most precise and practical hand tools, tools have made giant strides in human culture and civilization throughout history. Hand tools are defined as any of the implements used formerly only by craftspersons and nowadays by quite everyone in manual operations, such as chopping, chiseling, sawing, filing, or forging, and in different industries, such as gardening, carpentry, metalworking, etc.

Complementary tools, often needed as auxiliaries to shaping tools, include such implements as the hammer for nailing and the vise for holding. A craftsperson may also use instruments that facilitate accurate measurements: the ruler, divider, square, and others. In this article, we throw a glance the history of hand tools that is the most popular categories of hand tools.

History of gardening hand tools

A trace in the history of hand tools gardening shows that, unlike the common misconception about their age, they’re not a modern-day innovation and, their history coincides with the Neolithic, the final division of the Stone Age, and the use of wild and domestic crops. The food demand after the settlement of human beings made them bring their creativity into farming and start harvesting hay and grain.

Speaking of the first garden tool, it is good to mention the microlith, which consists only of a sharp stone on a wooden or bone handle, as the mother of every tool. It was meant to meet all the primitive human requirements and, one of them was digging, clipping, and cutting plants. Being more specific on the gardening tools, we can point to rakes as one of the oldest gardening tools. The first generation of rakes has been dated to 1100 B.C in China, used both in harvesting and clearing the fields, this is while the modern generation of them are equipped with telescopic handles and give easy access even to the hardest to reach job sites.

Since Chinese people use the farming harvest to keep life going, china has made a lasting impact on the gardening tools’ industry. The invention and development of seed drills and wheelbarrows were also in China at the time of the Han Dynasty. We take a quick look at the origins of some other gardening tools below, except for the mentioned Chinese ones. The invention of the first cast iron shovel is credited to the patriot American captain, John Ames, in the late 18th century.

The roman arts show the existence of the first pruning knife, which can cut through herbs, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The first anvil pruner, nevertheless, was patented and produced by Walther Schröder in Kiel, Germany, in the early 20th century. Today you can look for numerous hand tools in tool shops in different versions, sizes, colors, brands, etc. The paragraph you read was only a short story of the garden hand tools.

History of woodworking hand tools

Throughout history of hand tools, timbers and lumbers have been shaped into different forms, whether as primitive life basics or as modern decorative objects. As trees have always been around,the history of hand tools woodworking is a bit vast than the gardening tools.

Before the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, when common metal nails were invented, even nails were out of wood, let alone other stuff. It shows how deeply our ancestors’ daily life was merged with wood and wooden products.   Hammers, saws, mallets, calibers, planers, squares, and even nails were the steadily transforming woodworking tools, which helped the ancient Egyptians, Jewish, Roman, Greek, and all other early civilizations to survive then improve and form the current modern societies. As the oldest tool, we previously mentioned the first known hammer, which has been dated 3.3 million years ago in Kenya, which may be used for breaking animal skulls, bones, shells, and even making jewelry.

After that, hammers took quick enhancement progress and were perfected first by changing in form, size, and application. First, the material of the hammerhead has been made of melted bronze bound with similar bindings to stones. In the next step, hammers started to evolve their shapes by turning into round faces, square faces, cutting edges, and reliefs. And step by step, we get to steel made modern hammers. Aside from hammers, mallets come always into use, especially in woodworking. They work exactly like a hammer to fit wood screw vices into place.

The other most popular woodworking hand tools are saws, which have been around but haven’t stand out until the middle of the 17th century. Saws took a gigantic leap in 1650 and improved with the invention of the steel hand saw, to a great extent. The story that can be told within the scope of a few lines required thousand perhaps millions, of years for its slow evolution and completion.

History of spanner hand tools

A wrench, also called a spanner, is a type of hand tool, which is pulled at the right angle to turn various types of nuts and bolts. The history of hand tools modern spanners was found in the 15th century. When each blacksmith used his own unique form of a spanner in size and shape to clamp pipes, connect different pieces of an armor suit, and wind up crossbow strings as they could tighten the strings tauter than any human being.

Afterward, in the 18th century and after the industrial revolution, the standard-sized factory-made cast-iron spanners replaced the confusing market of blacksmith wrenches. Although wrenches were used in different industries, they weren’t patented before the 19th century.

Astonishingly, a lot of spanners’ inventions were patented in the 19th century. Solymon Merrick patented the first wrench in 1835. Another patent was granted to Daniel C. Stillson, a steamboat fireman, in 1870 for the invention of a spanner. The two other patents were because of two self-made wrenches. The first one was for Charles Moncky, who innovated the first monkey wrench around 1858 and, the last one to Robert Owen, Jr. for the invention of the ratchet wrench a year before the start of the 2nd world war.

History of plier hand tools

The history of hand tools that provide the operators with the lever principle goes back to the Stone Age and Homo Sapiens. They used two crossed bones to grip the fire. It shows they noticed how easy they could grip the heavy stuff utilizing the lever principle. This may be the first pliers on the earth.

There is also another surviving old picture of the ancient plier from Hephaestus, the Greek Technology, Fire, Blacksmiths God, who made all the weapons of the Gods in Olympus. Pliers are the tools, which are equipped with two handles and an axis and work based on the lever principle. One of the earliest modern types of pliers was made by the Lineman’s Pliers, which came about in 1857. The Danish immigrants, who founded VISE-GRIP pliers in 1924, reached another milestone in the history of pliers. Pliers are still on track and evolve.

The history of hand tools is as old as the history of mankind. Another point is that, part of this history is not accessible and has been deleted. If you also want to know more details about history of measuring and precision hand tools and, history of screwdriver hand tools, you can click on them and read through.

The hand tools have affected crafts, warfare, construction, arts, and continue to improve our modern era. But the most challenging topic that the customers are facing is selecting the best hand tool brands to buy from, especially when you’re not a craftsperson or a tool enthusiast.

Some of the tool brands, which never let the customers down, are Stanley Black & Decker, which is one of the oldest and has been working since 1843. Craftsman, Dewalt, Snap-on, Channellock, Knipex, and Klein are some of the other most appreciated brands that everyone should see their stores at least once.

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