For hot rodders, it's almost a rite of passage. A sort of incremental but steady graduation. One by one, we pick them up. Just here and there. We don't think about it, we simply do it. Sometimes they're inherited, a memento from an admired loved one. Other times, we're leaving an estate sale with a fist full of tools, and trying to piece together a picture of the man that once owned them. Almost as though we're unknowingly trying to capture a small piece of that person, and maybe even a little bit of their wisdom.

@junquewerkz sent these in: A family friend passed away and the whole shooting match was purchased. He explains "Len was awfully proud of his tools, his name was all over them." 

Or if sentimentalism isn't your thing, maybe it's just a plain old inevitability: An unavoidable eventuality... Hell, maybe it isn't just a hot rodder phenomenon, maybe it's just an "as we get older" thing. I couldn't say for sure, I've never been anything but a car guy. 

Len (again) @junquewerkz

All my friends have the same disease, so there's no hope for me to verify it with the "Normies" of the world. All I know is this: There are a lot of names in my toolbox.

Some are just initials. Others are full names. Sometimes a first name only. Some are nicely done: The flowing cursive script of an obvious member of a much earlier generation. Others are crude: block letters, childlike and barely legible at all. Sometimes large and obvious. Other times, intentionally small and hidden away in some corner. Almost as if some kind of dare: "Go ahead, steal my tools. I will find them. I will find you. And when I do, I will point to my hidden proof. And then I will deal with you." 

This is just what I mean when I talk about flowing script and early generations. Also sent to me by @junquewerkz - another/separate acquisition. 

In any case, there are plenty of these names and obscure scenarios floating around in my toolbox right now. And if I know my audience like I think I do, I'm betting you are also harboring a multiplicity of aliased tools in yours as well. 


Serious question: Tradesmen, (who have a legitimate reason to do so) aside, what is it about etching your name into your tools that is impossible for some to resist? Is it an age thing? That is, does the hourglass reach a certain point where these guys just suddenly wake up one day and decide "Today I'm going to sit at my work bench and engrave name into every single tool I own." ?

Or maybe it's a generational phenomenon. To be fair, I don't know any "young" people doing this. Perhaps this is the act of those who lived through tougher times, and in turn valued their possessions more? This definitely makes sense to me, but I can't say for sure. 

Sonny strikes again. @caseydimmitt

Over the years, I've ended up with probably hundreds of tools that have names engraved in them. Some were friends, others I never even met, and even more were somewhere in between. Hell, in many cases I've bought a guy's collection of tools and in them were many names, because that guy had spent his life collecting names too. It's an odd thing, but it seems that we all do it, intentionally or not. 

Sent in by @wildschut64 - TOO COOL!

I can't help but wonder how many times some of them must have changed hands over the years. It seems to be a never-ending process: Someone dies, their wife has an estate sale. A frugal guy with a nose for names comes sniffing around and buys a pile of tools. He takes them home, cleans them up, looks them over and puts them away. Maybe they don't even notice the name. Maybe they do.

Submitted by @papakylerva

In any case, these guys hide them away in dark drawers of already overstuffed toolboxes, and I'm guessing most often, forget all about them. And there they sit. That is, until this particular hancock-hoarder himself passes away. And what happens then? The process starts all over again, with another estate sale, and a brand-new fool ambling along, like some wide-eyed, tool-seeking-zombie eager to collect their prize. And so, these aging gadgets get dragged out, piled up and evicted once again, sent on their way to yet another foster home to live a new, but likely very similar life in some forgotten limbo of a hapless collector. 

So, where does the cycle stop? I have no idea. I also can't tell you exactly how many names I have in my toolbox right now, but it's dozens and dozens. And it's a strange thing to think about, but I know for a fact that when I'm gone, the cycle will continue, and those neglected old, branded tools will keep on with their journey. In the end, we're really all just temporary keepers of these names. Each doing our part to perpetuate a cycle we didn't even realize we were a part of. 

That's a lot of Cox...sent in by @JKress71

My advice? Take them out once in a while and wipe them down. The five or so generations of thrifty tool collectors that came before you would be very appreciative!





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