Chapter 4: 1921 - 1930 4:4:-- Hand tools vs power tools

Back to chapter 4

Notice in the section 4.3 that Popular Homecraft reports on the rapidly expanding use of power tools in the 77,000 home workshops reputed to exist in America as the 1920s decade closes. 

(Where this figure, 77,000, comes from is a mystery. It is an example, unfortunately,  of just another undocumented claim, a claim that I hope in the future that I can document with  a more solid source than simply "recent figures indicate".) 

Charles G. Wheeler's Woodworking: A Handbook for Beginners in Home and School, Treating Tools and Operations New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1924, dedicates pages 272-339,  to electrically-driven "common woodworking  tools and their uses". (In addition, check out Wheeler's chapter, "Treating of Tools and Operations".)

Wheeler's manual, so far, is the only one published in the 1920s with any space dedicated to both the new scaled down electric-driven woodworking machines and the industrial-level woodworking machines, but his emphasis is on the industrial-level tools. Wheeler is not explicit about his purpose, but I speculate that he had two things in mind:

(1) introduce power woodworking machines to his primary audience, students, high school level woodworking course, and

(2) introduce the new bench-top power tools to a broader audience.

Below is a jpg image from Wheeler's manual.

In other words, slyly, Wheeler has the future of his young readers in mind. He and other instructors in Industrial Arts are busily promoting the homeworkshop movement in Industrial Arts. (This is a topic that I have only covered sketchily; soon, I hope, I can give it the attention that this movement deserves. In the meantime, check these pages out:

Appendix 30: Notes on the Home Workshop Movement and Importance of projects in the education of boys