Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Lost for words?

Still putting stuff together for the two training days I'm delivering this month, and am most erked as I can't find a very important tool that helps to open up an audience.

The tool is pretty naff - a brass 'tool kit in a hammer' that I picked up in a 'five n dime' in Nantucket some years back (back before 9/11 when you could safely take such things on a flight back to the UK from the US!). It was made in the Far East and cost very little.

The story behind the hammer was nice - though probably apocryphal.

Essentially, the Nantucket whalers were supposed to have used such tools about a hundred years ago. The brass hammer wouldn't have rusted in the cold wet weather, and provided a cosy and space-efficient soluton to storing a mini tool kit - tweezers, screw driver, punch etc.

The hammer had one flat end and one pointed, and I've previously handed it round at the start of sessions and asked people what it's used for.

It normally doesn't take long for participants to work out that the bottom unscrews and that there are tools inside. They're sometimes a little stumped by what the pointy bit is for though......

The story is that sailors would have open barrels on deck to collect rain water during the storms of the south Atlantic. All too often these would freeze over in the night and it was one poor sailor's duty to work his way around the boat with his little brass hammer.........breaking the ice!

I suspect my poor modern imitation is long lost - and I can't find any others anywhere.

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