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WORK The Work Magazine Reprint Project

Issue No. 50 - Published March 1, 1890


Work Magazine LogoIssue No. 50 - Published March 1, 1890 4

Issue No. 50 - Published March 1, 1890 5

My father is not a watchmaker. This is no failing on his part, of course, but it remains a pertinent fact. What my father happens to be, among other things, is a tool fiend. He takes after me in this regard. Consequently, I have been exposed to tools all my life.

Now to some of us, the word "fiend" in "tool fiend" can be used interchangeably with "hoarder" so it should come as no surprise that my father owned quite a few more tools than he could use with any degree of regularity. He was like the crazy cat lady of contemporary myth. How did she get so many cats? Well after about five or six anyone who wanted to get rid of a cat sent it her way. Thus explains my father's in-home orphanage for wayward tools.

This was great for me. At a very young age I learned how to be an abject terror in my father's workshop. His solution was to build me a little bench of my own; boy-sized vise, eggbeater drill, diminutive saws, you get the idea. This only made things worse. I got into everything that wasn't mine and probably ruined quite a few things.

I also questioned my dad ceaselessly about the super mystery tools. Somewhere along the way he'd acquired a number of things that, frustratingly, neither of us could figure out. To this day they stand out in my memory.
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Pop kept one of these on a high shelf in a little leather-covered box. Naturally the box was all beat up on the outside. Lifting the lid revealed an exquisite work in brass and steel nestled in some immaculate, close-fitting purple velvet. Finding it as a child was the very essence of discovering magical treasure. For years though it sat in its box doing absolutely nothing because neither of us had the foggiest idea what it was for. It might as well have been something that fell off the supply truck on its way to Fermilab. Enter Work No. 50.
Issue No. 50 - Published March 1, 1890 7Put another way: It helps you to determine the correct spacing for gear axles and then functions like dividers so you can scribe the layout on your watch plate. Seeing this in use will really drive the point home, so to speak.

It turns out the advent of a new information age and about two decades worth of patience is nothing without the right search terms. The really funny thing is that I happen to be doing some light clock work right now in my personal shop. I could actually use a depthing tool these days ("depthening" appears to be either antiquated or British or both).

I wrote Dad yesterday about my findings. I have no doubt he'll remember the mystery box. I just hope he can find it after all these years. It would appear that I'm still in the business of raiding my dad's shop. — TIM

Issue No. 50 - Published March 1, 1890 8

Disclaimer: Articles in Work: The Illustrated Weekly Journal for Mechanics describe materials and methods that would not be considered safe or advisable today. We are not responsible for the content of these magazines, and cannot take any responsibility for anyone attempting projects or procedures described therein.

The first issue of Work was published on March 23rd, 1889. The goal of this project is to release digital copies of the individual issues starting on the same date in 2012, effectively republishing the materials 123 years to the day from their original release.

The original printing was on thin, inexpensive paper. There are many cases of uneven inking and bleed-through from the page behind. Our copies of Work come from bound library volumes of these issues and are subject to unfavorable trimming, missing covers, etc. To minimize harm to these fragile volumes, we've undertaken the task of scanning the books ourselves. We do considerable post processing of the scans to make them clear but please bear with us if a margin is clipped too close, or a few words are unreadable. We would like to thank James Vasile and Karl Fogel for their help in supplying us with a book scanner and generally enabling this project to get off the ground.

You are welcome to download, print, and pretty much do what you want with the scan for your own personal purposes. Feel free to post a link or a copy on your blog or website. All we ask is a link back to the original project and this blog. We are not answering requests for commercial downloads or reprinting at this time.

• Click to Download Vol.1 - No. 50 •

Issue No. 50 - Published March 1, 1890 9 Issue No. 50 - Published March 1, 1890 10 Issue No. 50 - Published March 1, 1890 11

Join the conversation
03/02/2013 Michael
A good sharp tool in the hands of a craftsman who knows how to use it is a creator of beautiful works of art. The tool itself is an instrument that speaks to the craftsman in ways no other person can, giving him the ability that no other means can. Therefore, many craftsmen have resorted to making their own tools out of a
necessity to complete a job faster, smoother, sharper, quicker, or of the highest quality that will last for many years to come. Tools and their proper use are a legacy to be shared and passed on to many generations to come. You, my son, are doing that, and I couldn't be more proud of you. Love Dad
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