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Then & Now: Tools

Then & Now: Tools

Wish Book

From hammers and saws to drills and screwdrivers, where would any homeowner be without a quality set of tools? Whether you're a professional woodworker or just trying to keep your house standing, being well prepared means having a wide range of tools at your disposal. We've made lots of improvements since cavemen began improvising with whatever was lying around, and we've even come a long way from the mid-20th century. Here are some classic tools featured in past Wish Books.


Old-Fashioned Power Tools

If you're old enough to remember the days before widespread use of power tools, you know the daunting task of assembling something like a 10-drawer dresser with nothing more than a Phillips-head screwdriver and a lot of elbow grease. For those a bit younger, that seems terrifying without the help of battery-operated or corded screwdriver. Well, fortunately Sears has always been at the forefront of tools. As seen in the 1948 Christmas Book, there was a solid selection of corded electric drills or rotary tools to tackle any job quickly.

Did they have batteries, Bluetooth or other bells and whistles? Heck no! You needed an outlet to get these bad boys going. However, these electric tools still saved plenty of time and energy, allowing more free time to head over to the drive-in or mom & pop's soda shop.


Corded electric drills in the 1948 Sears Christmas Book
Hand tool set in the 1948 Sears Christmas Book
Mechanic tool set in the 1977 Sears Wish Book
Mechanic tool set in the 1989 Sears Wish Book

Game. Tool Set. Match.

Whether you were seasoned craftsman or looking to build a workshop from scratch, tool sets of yesteryear had everything from screwdrivers and sockets to wrenches and pliers. Remember grandpa's old tool box? Well, there's a good chance grandma gave him an entire set for Christmas after browsing through an old Wish Book. She probably also used it as a not-so-subtle reminder to fix that screen door that wouldn't shut properly.



Craftsman 10" Single Bevel Compact Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Craftsman 450- piece Mechanic's Tool Set

Being able to instantly cut wood or apply hundreds of pounds of torque into fasteners makes complicated household tasks easy. Even though power tools were available all the way back in the 1940s in only the corded variety, the sleek designs, powerful motors and cordless convenience of today's selection blow the drills of yore right off the workbench.

Some of the latest hand tools have small yet significant differences than their predecessors. For instance, many wrenches and hammers feature ergonomic handles with easy-grip technology. Not to mention, sets have grown over the years. If you're a pro or budding mechanic looking to stock an entire workshop, there are mechanic sets featuring anywhere from 300 to 500 pieces that include everything from sockets to hex keys.

However, most hand tools still strike a familiar resemblance to yesteryear. And that's a good thing! Because if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Well, unless you have the right tools, of course...


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