| Dear Customer,
In developing new products it is always useful to analyze what
has gone before. In getting ready to produce a new line of planes
(see facing page), we analyzed a wide range of planes made in
the last 150 years. To analyze such a range, it is necessary to
have samples to study so that you can take advantage of the lessons
of the past by avoiding previous weaknesses. Considering the fact
that we have developed hundreds of tools, you can imagine how
many antique tools have been collected over the years. A tiny
sampling of such items is shown on our cover.
Given this explanation, you might justifiably wonder why there
are so many strange items shown in the photograph. The truth is
that there is a tendency to collect interesting items as well
as useful items. This is a weak explanation for the tiny, green,
triangular glass bottle with the cork in it; it is a very early
"3-in-1" oil sample bottle. Of course, once you get
intrigued by oil containers, it leads to buying the sterling silver
oilcan once sold by Tiffany's (center of bottom shelf). Similarly,
it is very hard to resist buying the beautiful little Keyes oiler
shown just above it, an oiler made for Meccano many decades ago.
It is a fully functional pump oilcan with the mechanism fitted
into a body that is only 1-1/2" long and less that 1'' high.
There are many other items in the photograph that are even less
explicable, such as the U.S. Standard sieve or the cast bird that
decorates a house number sign. Each has its own charm and interest;
they lack only utility.
The cabinet photographed is in my office. It shows only the top
of the cabinet and the first two shelves, but you can be sure
that the rest of the shelves and, in fact, the whole office, are
similarly littered. The only lesson that can be drawn from all
of this is that this is the sort of thing that can happen when
you are a compulsive collector and nobody has the authority to
tell you to clean your office.
Leonard G. Lee