To set up a shop in 1935 . . .

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Blog entry by OttoH posted 06-26-2010 05:16 PM 3667 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was digging through a box of woodworking magazines and books that I had stashed away for the past ten years and came across a copy of Harry J Hobbs 1935 booklet “Working With Tools.” This is a 90 page guide to building things with hand tools.

To buy all of the hand tools on the list of tools he suggests for a small shop and additional tools it would have cost you $33.75. Since the average yearly wage at that time was $1,600 a year, to set up a complete shop of hand tools it would cost 2.11% of the average yearly wage.

Page 17 Working With Tools

Page 18 Working With Tools

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

10 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2999 days

#1 posted 06-26-2010 05:25 PM

I like reading those old woodworking books and magazines

-- Custom furniture

View sawblade1's profile


754 posts in 2449 days

#2 posted 06-26-2010 05:26 PM

Cool like to see old stuff life this I have a copy of the 1933-1935 Deltagram showing the wood working tools then and how much they cost Would you believe a tablesaw, lathe and Scrollsaw not only ran off the same motor but the same carriage, plus changing the belts must have been a chore too! :)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path

View NormG's profile


5424 posts in 2426 days

#3 posted 06-26-2010 06:34 PM

What a wonderful piece of woodworking history to have. Thanks for sharing

-- Norman

View woodprof's profile


44 posts in 2612 days

#4 posted 06-26-2010 06:44 PM

Thanks for posting this, Otto. I’m sure there are lots of us on LJs who love to see the history (even recent) of woodworking.

All things are relative. That 2.11 %, if we assume today’s average yearly wage to be $35,000 (just guessing at that) would translate to spending $738.50 for the same tools today! I wonder if you could actually buy all those tools, of reasonable quality, for that amount today?

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4607 posts in 2458 days

#5 posted 06-26-2010 06:54 PM

With the advent of things like Freecycle (on the net) and re-cycling centres springing up you could probably still get them for under $36 if you could wait for a bit (hopefully not 75 years though).

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2408 days

#6 posted 06-26-2010 07:34 PM

May I use these images? I would like to make a blog post trying to actually buy all of these items today. I’m very curious! :)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View OttoH's profile


891 posts in 2432 days

#7 posted 06-26-2010 07:47 PM

I believe that would be okay Lis, it was copyrighted in 1935 by the author, when I did a search for his books on the internet I found a couple of web sites that have the entire book out there. I was not able to find where anyone updated the copyright since the original printing 75 years ago.

I would definitely like to see how you do in finding these items.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View Dark_Lightning's profile


2620 posts in 2531 days

#8 posted 06-26-2010 08:02 PM

If it has been scanned into Google books, it is presumptively in the public domain until informed otherwise. However, is there any reason you can’t just make a list that is very similar, but not exact? Also, as long as you quote the source and aren’t making money on it, you should be OK.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View clieb91's profile


3491 posts in 3357 days

#9 posted 06-26-2010 09:00 PM

Otto, Thanks for posting I have started a small collection of Deltagrams myself and love to see this type of information.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 2990 days

#10 posted 07-01-2010 06:26 AM

Atom Jack, no – being scanned into Google Books is not a presumption of being in the public domain. That’s why Google is currently being sued for violating copyright.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

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