"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov

Ya ever seen my house?

Ya ever seen my house?
Neither have I Ted! You douchebag.
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Friday, November 06, 2009

(Formerly) "Made in Nebraska"


Workers sorry Vise-Grip plant moving to China
They're "sorry"? Try furious.
Vise-grips, made in DeWitt Nebraska for 80 years, the company employing 300 people - out of a population of 572 - at the end.

In my possession, vise-grips lead short and interesting lives.
They're virtually the only HOSH ("holdin' onto somethin' hot" My new acronym) tools I ever use.
I admit; I have never owned, nor to I foresee owning, tongs.
The book I started learning from said that VG's work fine for beginners - if the chunk isn't too big.
SAnd so they do, a few hundred knives later, it's still vise-grips all the way for this kid.
Anyway, 300 folks out of work in the mid-west and a similar number newly employed in China is statistically insignificant.
The story's just a nice compact, single-serving illustration of the sort of gentle care that corporate America extends to their fellow citizens. People they expect to keep buying their products.
That's all the socio-economic whining I'm going to do.
It's not even a situation like Crescent where the tools are still made in America - but manage to suck all the same. Actually, not 'all the same' - Crescent wrenches would almost certainly be of higher quality if they were made in China.
No, this is about showin' off my junk.

Some after-market mods above.
Upper set is one of the "alligator jaw" models - made in DeWitt.
Stealing the idea from the Poor Boy Blacksmith guy, I welded a little piece of angle iron to one of the jaws so it can grip round things.
Below, one of the Irwin, Chinese ones. There doesn't seem to be any lessening of quality. All the trade-mark stamping is slightly shallower other than that, the folks in The Middle Kingdom are doing a good job.
The ugly scar across the nose of these is the result of one of the common occupational injuries these guys regularly undergo. The upper jaw comes apart from the heat.
This one is unusual as it happened to one of the one-piece jaws.
Below, from the way-back machine; two off-brands.

To the left - Sears Craftsman, from back when they still made high-quality tools.
You wouldn't think to look at them but I bought those more than 30 years ago and they lived in the ashes under my forge for most of a year after a spring broke inside and I spaced out on them.
Notice, no welding on the upper jaw. These have been completely trouble-free (except for breaking springs - it's broken now).
What I've always loved about them is that the release lever is backward from brand-name VG's. It makes it a little easier to accidently release it but overall I like it better.
Speaking of release levers (Patent drawing to the left - 1950), the dinosaur to the right of the Sears has none.
It's completely unmarked as to manufacturer and is galvanized rather than plated.
It's identical to another pair that I inherited years ago and sent down the line. Those were Wards Powercraft.
Another seemingly indestructible entity.
Some vise-grip related links:
Irwin Tool History
Petersen bought Irwin, Irwin was absorbed by Rubbermaid and so on.
Done in by a maker of plastic garbage cans.
75th Aniversary
And some factory pics from the twenties.



In closing, it would seem to me that everyone needs to pay attention to their MM levels.
"A Whole Tool Kit - In One Tool!"
And, best of all, 'twill make a fella "happy, handy and 'hep' at his fixin".
Could ya die?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some historical perspective---

When the USA was a colony back at the begining of the industrial revolution the furniture makers
in London were sobbin on ol King
George's shoulder about losing all their work to the upstarts in the
colonys. So Ol George decreed that anyone found guilty of exporting furniture making tools or technology to the colonys would
be subject to being hanged, drawn and quartered. Kinda harsh but hey
he's the king and some poor blokes got said punishment.



But it was only a matter of a decade or two and the colonys went from exporting
raw materials to producing everthing from furniture to sailing ships. It's called industrial evolution ie technology
moving from a higher developed area to a lower developed area...can't stop it..I believe that we are advanced enough that most all manufacturing could be done by robots--think about that
for a minute...1 billion unemployed chinamen...

side note
China is about to start a steel war by dumping their excess capacity on the world market. The US made aprox 50M tons this year and exported 7m tons. China made something like 10 times that amount with little world demand Stay tuned..

Germany out exports China in terms of monetary value..corporate interests are to create value for the owners...period..unless you buy the obama social BS union workers paradise crap...10% and climbing

Bob Brock said...

See, Andy, Joe.
I get random nut-fudges too.
Okay, don't lecture me on history and technology. You're in way over your head.
Virtually none of the skilled craftsmen in England (7 years apprenticeship) came to the colonies.
There was no money to be made there. You understand "money", right?
The colonies were never, ever any sort of competition for the Brits until the mid 19th century and then only because American ingenuity showed up out of nowhere so we could innovate ourselves into a place in the market.
You're wrong period (I usually use one of these ".")
As regards the rest, you've really got to develop those old thinking skills.
We sold/gave all our steel-making capability to China years ago.
China doesn't need a "steel war" with us.
We're consumers.
How very American.
Finally:
"...unless you buy the obama social BS union workers paradise crap...10% and climbing"
Wnat?
Are you high?
What does the upper-case "A" in the circle stand for?
Or the black cat?
Idiots

Anonymous said...

Are you sayin that the King didn't issue a proclamation in regards to protection of the furniture industry during early days of the colonys? Say about the time that mostly raw materials were being exported to the crown?
Cuz thats what I'm claiming that happened.

The skilled british workers didn't need to go to the colonys.
They weren't needed. The real $lick part was the trade triangle of cod, rum and $laves. No money to be made in the colonys--really now.

The USA was built on technology imported from the british, now everytime some ancient
factory leaves the shores for
cheap labor the press/public decries the loss of jobs-and then makes some sort of political statement about the evils of the
free market. I can't think of anything unions produce thats better quality or costs less then anything made by non-union labor..name one if you can.

U blame corporate america, I blame the unions...MADE IN CHINA is code for killed by a union. The list is almost endless.

I don't pretend to understand much, so explain this to me since
I'm in over my head.--->
go slo
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125749028529733333.html

china *will* do something with
their excess steel--not even BO
can stop them. 8B in T's = power.

I understand "money" enough to see how this country is being run into ruin by the
powers in washington. The Democrat controlled congress gave the financial sector a few hundred billion bucks to save us all from the great depression and they used it to buy equitys. No? Now it's bonus season--getting yours?


It's Friday AKA bank failure day-
only 4 closed this week 120 so far this year with what--600 to go. Hows that economic stimulis working?

I like your posts on knives, warfare, shop stuff ect...

Bob Brock said...

Thanks for the last bit.
Now, when all this Randian horseshit comes true and the perfect utopian, free-market society comes into existence, what will you be doing - for a living?
If you've got a job now, it's only waiting for someone in Malaysia to do it.
Cheaper and perhaps better.
Your bosses see you as a debit, an expense.
Now, maybe you're one of the "owning class" in which case, spend some time in the world.
The world where an "ancient factory" employing more than half of a town, the entire population - not just adults, can be shut down so the shareholders can clear a profit.
If you don't see a problem with that, you're dead.
You just haven't fallen over yet.
The system that you're so down with will kill you. It has to.
That's its job.
Re the King's proclamation; I'm sure you have some rock-solid little argument all set.
Sorry, it's bullshit. 18th century, American furniture is rare because American makers were rare.
Their quality was far less as well, something about that apprenticeship thing.
No colonial joiner could hope to compete with the London furniture makers.
Look at the history of the actual furniture and not the ramblings that some neo-con "History of Business" instructor trotted out.
In closing, Mr. Anonymous, you're a cut above most of my dissenting opinions.
My compliments.
And, if you comment regularly, please come up with a name.
Make one up.
It's hard to keep all the anonomi straight.

Andy said...

Oy veh!
I'll watch this play out from the safety of the land rover Dan. I'll give you an S2 dump by email though, You're gonna LOVE the situation over here this time around. I'm gonna make a, wait can't say it, (you know the unit)t-shirt that says"unit" OIF 9-10- "KBR, Without Them We'd Still be Infantry; or Back Home."
Remember the Apocalypse Now quote about being a delivery boy?
"Charlie doesn't get much USO is also apropos..." Like i said i'll drop you a line
A couple posts back Assrot took me all wrong...sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

You're a cranky basterd, but that's why I like you, there was a naive fool that tried to get a small group together to buy that beautiful plant in DeWitt. Cost him big as all the banks wanted higher standards than ever before, and the non-refundable deposits went non-refundable. More wonderful families there working for multiple decades. Not just proud, GREAT workers! Just poor timing. I guess the stimulus was too hard to understand at the lending level, especially when you're buying 120 million dollars worth of "stuff" for 2 mil. No collateral. Don't know if you happened to have ever seen that plant, but it was one of the most beautiful pieces of American manufacturing history of the 20th century and it broke my heart to see it gutted.

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