Filthie's Mobile Fortress Of Solitude

Filthie's Mobile Fortress Of Solitude
Where Great Intelligence Goes To Be Insulted

Thursday, 26 September 2019


My Dad has one just like it. Although, Pop's is still
in mint condition and ready to go back to work - even
50 years after he bought it.
Pop is the kind of man that wipes down the lawn mower after using it.

That looks exactly like Pop's. He was a Snap-On guy and he worked on everything from jet engines on down. Like my wife and I, when he and Mom were just starting out, money was tight and Pop paid for his tools in blood. Mom would burst into tears in the early days if Pop lost a tool and had to replace it because money was so tight. Of course I don't remember any of it, by the time I came along Dad's apprenticeship was behind him, and he was a respected journeyman and the economy had started to boom. By the time I was in junior high school he was wearing a suit, running the municipal vehicle and equipment services and only got his hands dirty at home when he tore cars and motorcycles apart for us kids. We used Pop's tools then for ourselves and poor Dad went nuts when we mixed them up or lost them ourselves.

What grabs me about this pic - is that one of my former customers up in Fort Mac was the MAC Tools dealer for the area. Ol' R was the top salesman of MAC Tools worldwide during the second oil boom and all the projects were going crazy. One day I dropped in and he was going nuts - his sales guys were all tied up, more customers were coming in the door... and it was obvious my sales call was blown. I was going to leave when R saw me and asked if I could help the kid out back unload a truck that just pulled in. Sure, no prob! (It was one of the best things I ever did - in gratitude R later introduced me to any number of big wheels on the projects in supply chain management - and I started making big sales too).

We must have unloaded about 12 tool boxes that were close to three times bigger than the one in the pic. When I thought about it - it made sense. Back when Pop bought his tools most mechanics couldn't afford their own impact or pneumatic tools - those were very expensive back then and usually they were purchased as shop equipment. Later, R told me that there were even bigger ones available. Mechanics nowadays have all kinds of cheap, disposable power tools of their own that Pop never would have access too in his day.

Dad DID have some cool stuff though. He had a complete miniature ratchet and socket set- made by Snap On - and it must have cost a fortune in it's day. What was it? 1/8" drive? I think I remember him saying it cost over $300.00 - back in the 1960's when you could hire a good mechanic for six or seven bucks an hour. He must have used it on the jets because I never saw him used them on the machines around the farm.


  1. Great post. Loved reading this.

  2. Hell; I couldn't even afford to LOOK at a Snap-On tool when I was a kid. Neither could my dad! Thank GOD for the Snap-On Tool girls! The calendar we COULD afford!

    Times have changed... So have yard sales! I picked up a 5-drawer Snap-On roll-around in "holy-crap-like-new!" condition for $150.00 US! Those things go for $1200.00 US... USED! I was walking on air! Of course, it's contents are, by and large, "poor man's Snap-On..." Craftsman... 'Remember when those things WEREN'T made in China? A couple of weeks back, my 59-year-old hands were twirling wrenches on my tractor with my Craftsman 3/8" ratchet. It suddenly dawned on me that I had bought that ratchet when I was SIXTEEN! ...Quality never goes out of style...

    Oh; and Dad's tools... He wouldn't let us use his good tools, but that didn't stop him from blaming us meddling kids for losing them!

  3. I had Snap-On and Mac, along with a whole bunch that were this 'n that brand. It all worked out.

  4. Pop NEVER scrimped on tools or building materials. He always bought the best he could afford and he always took pride in his work.

    Having said that - there is nothing wrong with Craftsman tools, and Gray, Proto and all the other guys made good stuff too. The problem now is when those brands whore themselves out to China and the production gets offshored. Then anything can happen. The ol' nickel is true about tools in spades: ya get what ya pay for...

    1. Indeed. I was once told that quality is a lot like oats. If you want good, clean oats you have to pay a fair price. If you don't mind oats that have already been through the horse, well, they're a bit cheaper...

      In my toolbox is a large Channellock wirecutter. I'd say it was as good as the day I bought it, but I'd be lying... I didn't buy it... I found it in the middle of the road... while I was doing my paper route... when I was twelve years old... That would have been... lessee... carry the five... 1973... And yeah, it is as serviceable as it was in 1973...