In the 1960's when I was in grade school, every boy was required to take "Shop Class" while the girls were in "Home Ec" learning some dark secrets which were never divulged to us. The Shop teacher was always a colorful character who tried his best to teach us at least the basic use of simple hand tools. For us, a part of this shared experience was "Primitive Pete", the cartoon character who always showed us the wrong way to use whatever tool we were learning about.

These days, Shop class has been replaced by Computer class or Quilting class or some other elective and most kids today never even learn the correct names of the tools much less how to use them safely. When they do find themselves faced with a situation where they are forced to take up hand tools, they are woefully unprepared, lacking even the ability to communicate their situation with someone who might otherwise be able to assist them.

Back in the 1940's, General Motors worked with the Disney folks to produce this little instruction booklet for new employees at GM. During the war it was given to GIs as part of their motor pool training, and later it was provided to every kid in every shop class. Back then we all spoke the same language out in the parking lot, under the hood, and in the garage. And we fixed things when they broke...

The ABC's of Hand Tools booklet

If you click on the title above, or copy and paste this link into a browser window:
It'll take you to a page where you can download an Adobe Acrobat PDF copy of the booklet. I hope you'll make your kid read it. You just might learn something from it yourself.

Primitive Pete also starred inThe ABC's of Hand Tools - the movie

CLICK HERE to read about the movie.

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