Humans have been using handheld, rudimentary stone implements for some 2.5 million years, but it wasn’t until around 11,000 years ago that humans began to develop their tool production skills. Instead of simple, cone shaped chipped stones, tools became highly polished axe shaped implements, ideal for a hunter-gatherer life style. This was the beginning of the Stone Age, the period in human history that marks the advent of tool production. The name comes from the fact that most of the period’s cutting tools are made from stone.
In 1862, John Basely invented the first stepladder by putting a hinge at the top of two ladders so that they could be folded and easily stored. Born in Pennsylvania, Basely was a master carpenter and inventor, receiving the first US patent issued for a safety stepladder. Ladders had of course been used for millennia prior to his invention, but the changes Basely made to the design were hugely important, including the addition of hinges and using flat steps instead of rungs for safety. As you can imagine, he went on to become a very wealthy man.
This article will not make you wealthy, but it will give you a lift in life and an insight into the mechanics of making a stepladder.
I have at least 4 different stepladders ranging in height from 1-2m. Often when reaching heights for a project, a few extra centimetres make all the difference in reaching those hard to reach areas.
Atlas Obscura offers a look at a stranger collection of books. These books are housed at Padua University and are made entirely from wood:
Several years ago a friend of mine approached me saying that he wanted my help to make a shaker rocking chair. After looking through several reference books, it was clear that in order to get the shape needed for the back legs and the splats we were going to have to bend the wood, a technique I wasn’t terribly familiar with.
Logging and Sawmill Operations in California – 1940s Forest Documentary – A glimpse into the Redwood timber process.
It’s amazing what you can find in your local English carboot sale.