The original "Wonder Tool" is seen in the background.
The replica, made by the author, is seen in the foreground.
Still going strong, this simple machine has meant so much
to four generations of woodworkers. My dad started it all
by purchasing a $14 Mead 1"x42" wonder tool.
In the early 1940s, the Mead Specialties Co. of Chicago,
Illinois, made one of the first small belt sanders. Advertised
as "The Wonder Tool", it profiled, smoothed, polished,
ground, sanded, carved and cleaneda large order for a small
machine. Since it's a safe piece of equipment, dad entrusted
me to use it with no supervision at the age of seven. Without
the gift of this tool, I might never have become a woodworker.
It opened a whole new world of creativity for me, giving me
an open gateway for my designs, styles and ideas.
My dad was a super designer and an exhibit expert who built
displays inside his 182' three-masted schooner with the help
of this fine tool. I eventually ended up with his worn-out
machine, which I rebuilt and gave to my son, another marine
woodworker. I replicated one in wood to keep my shop going.
After I made some improvements, it worked so well that I made
a few more and gave them to other woodworkers.