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Gotta Love a Tool: Countdown 10 Important Tool Wonders

by A. Montalbano on 08/10/14

A craftsman is as good as his/her tools...ask the Romans!

Some of the most important tools known to human development have existed for over 1000 years.  Great empires would not have their places in history without the invention of  the simplest tools we take for granted today.   Experts vary in what constitutes important tools in history.  However, they all probably agree society is driven by advanced technology. Our list of the most important 10 must-haves in a toolbox are essential because of their place in history:

10.   June is national safety month and would you believe safety eye wear has been around since the late 1880s?  Not until the 1900s were employers pressed to implement safety programs.  Workmans Comp Laws and the National Safety Council were developed to focus on industrial accidents and the high number of deaths. In 1913 after the 2 year study on goggles or safety eye wear, the eye injury accidents fell by 75%.

9.  Pliers or vice grips secure objects together which is why they tie for the #9 spot.  The bronze tong replaced wooden ones to handle hot coals and other objects around 3000 B.C.  The locking pliers was invented in the late 1800s by a blacksmith and was later named the vice grip, an important tool for the building industry.

8.  In the late 1890s, the flashlight replaced torches, candles and lanterns. Once termed as the hand torch it only produced a brief flash of light.  However, this electric lamp was odorless and without flame.
By the 1920s, a number of flashlights were produced for different purpose.  Although a relatively recent invention, this innovation has a place in the trade industry and every household. 

7.  The wrench was patented in the early 1800s.  The monkey wrench, crescent wrench, pipe wrench, socket wrench all have different uses but they all accomplish the task for the right job. 

6.  Gloves were used as a necessity as far back as the Middle Ages and became a symbol of dignity and honor.  In a knight's circle, the hand-over of a glove meant the knight became a vassal for a person.  But gloves were also used for hand protection as importance to the livelihood of an occupation. Gloves are an important safety gear when utilizing machinery or as a rule for working on any project. 

5.  The ruler is recorded as an essential measuring instrument since the use of strips by the Roman engineers.  However, not until the 1860s did this instrument improve the technique widely used by the tailor.  The carpenter slowly adapted this measuring device later improving the instrument further as the tape measure.

4.  The hammer is hands down an important object developed as far back as two million B.C.  Stones were used to strike wood or bone to break apart or to shape materials.  At the dawn of the Bronze Age, 3,000 B.C., metal took the place of stone for the head.  During the Roman Age, a hammer head included the striking surface on one side and a claw at the other end.  It is unlikely that the hammer will disappear as it continues to evolve for new uses.  Today, the trades profession may include an air-driven nail gun in his tool bag to drive nails with one quick burst into wood and to operate with less noise pollution.

3.  The #3 slot belongs to the screw driver.  The screw driver has come a long way since the manual days and is no stickler for the common rule.  Technology has innovated this wonder as a power-driven enhancement that can handle any job or "screw-up" in minutes.  First documented in the Middle Ages, the screw driver was not useful until later after screws became essential for machinery.  Today, a craftmans' toolbox includes a set of screwdriver bits of many shapes and sizes and only require one simple handle.

2.  The level was selected as second in greatest innovations for our all-time list.  Developed by Roman Empire engineers this instrument was widely used for the construction of great structures still standing after 1500 years.  The instrument was by no means fitted for any size toolbox.  Instead, its full size required space large enough for water to be poured. The level is by far one of the most important instruments used today for planning, surveying, and construction.
 
1.  The knife has many functions which is why we agree with Forbes as the #1 ever in history.  It has been used for survival and has been reconstructed in various forms. One of the most important knives in American history was the Bowie Knife.  Claimed by brother of James Bowie, Rezin Bowie, it was designed to protect him and appeared much like a butcher knife.  It gained popularity after the Sandbar Fight in 1827 (tshaonline.org/Bowie Knife).  A specialized knife used by professionals in the trade industry needs must be durable, tough, and razor sharp.  The utility knife is a specialized tool fitted for any sized hand and perfect for an trade.  These knives can fold away easily, and are compact to include any combination of cutting tasks.

Other Important Innovations by the Romans.

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