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Tools that walked away

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  • Tools that walked away

    The story about the scissors clamps that disappeared for several years ( see Shop Made Tools thread) reminded me of an incident back in 1976.
    An elderly man who lived next to me passed away, and his barn full of tools, materials, and junk was auctioned off on his front lawn. The man had been a pipe fitter at a local industrial plant in his earlier days. One of his former co-workers from the plant was walking up and down the rows of tools and machine parts, and suddenly exclaimed " Well son of a", there's that pipe die that disappeared from our shop around 1946 ! And there's those pipe wrenches that disappeared in the 1950s ! He went up and down the aisles, pointing out all of the machine parts and tools that had " walked away" years and even decades earlier from the plant shop. Oddly, many of the items were parts of large machines that had little use without the entire machine.
    Apparently the old fellow had been a bit " light fingered" , perhaps to the extent of being compulsive about it.

  • #2
    Hey Tiff! I once commented I wanted to be sure and make it to your garage sale. You said you weren't going to have one! You never mentioned why
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

    It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.


    • #3
      Reminds me of a story I heard once.

      This older guy was working in a foundry, and every night when his shift was over, the security guys would stop him at the main gate, and search the wheelbarrow full of sand he was pushing.

      This went on for nearly twenty years. The security guards were sure he was stealing from the plant, but every time they searched the wheelbarrow, all they found was plain old sand.

      Finally, the old guy retired, and as he was leaving the foundry for the last time, the guard stopped him, and said,"Look, we know for the past twenty years you've been stealing something from the plant, but we could never find it. Please, tell me what it was."

      The old guy smiled wryly, and said,"Wheelbarrows."
      No good deed goes unpunished.


      • #4
        walking stuff

        A guy at the end of a night shift was walking past the gate house at the mill near here. He was staggering, pale, and breathing funny. The gate house guards were also the first aid attendants. Surprise, surprise, the guy didn't want any help. He passed out and fell to the ground 20 feet towards his truck. He had a roll of electrical wire wrapped around his belly like a girdle and as tight! It was somthing like No. 2 copper cable. Anyway, after a written reprimand, intervention by his union, and a suspension for a couple of days, he was back but did face a serious amount of flack from his fellow union people. Wayne.


        • #5
          New guy hired in and we hit it off. Nice fellow, smart, funny etc. After a month or two he invited me out for supper with his family. Nice folks etc.

          Eventually we wound up in his shop, a shed attached to an old barn. We looked through his stuff and talked shop, swapping yarns about charecters and past exploits. Then the guy got the giggles, the kind you just can't hold in like when a kid perpetrates a perfect deed of mischief and has to tell a buddy.

          He opened a big mlitary box and there inside were two chuck centers, the very same chuck centers my apprentice class made a few years before. These were big honkers with #6 Morse taper shanks and 16" 4 jaw chucks on them. I was astounded. Then I was outraged. I can see stealing a few bolts or a roll of electrical tape but large, special built tooling? Tooling you could never use in a million years? Tooling you could never peddle except to a shop needing very large chuck centers?

          I didn't say anything. Far a I was concerned that fellow was beyond the pale. I took the chucks and duckwalked them out to my truck and hauled them home. My dad smuggled them back in the shipyard where he had one of his people strap them to a pallet and route them back to the machine shop.

          I never ratted the fellow out but I was tempted. I did give him the cold shoulder. Maybe a few guys picked up my attitude because he quit a few weeks later. Good riddance.

          Don't get me wrong theft is theft but walkng out with a company washer forgotten in your pocket is not in the same league as outright theft of company materials or equipment. It's one thing to bring in a fishing reel or steal a surplus ball bearing you need at home. I could undertand that but it's still teft; I confess I''ve been guilty of that many a time. It's another to steal for profit; even scrap. That's a first time out the gate offense as far as I'm concerned.

          At the very bottom of the heap is the gloating opportunistic thief who steals because he gets a perverse thrill from it. Scum of the earth. People like this are equivalent to peeping Toms and bicycle seat sniffers.
          Last edited by Forrest Addy; 05-15-2010, 04:57 AM.


          • #6
            I have to admit to having an old family friend who worked in the tool crib of a local very large company here. It was a good run for him. He made a small fortune selling homemade sandwich's to the fellows at lunch time. When he died I was invited to the estate sale. The entire basement save for the laundry area was shelved and all shelves full of everything they handled in the tool crib and many things in duplicate and triplicate. He had a heart of gold and I was shocked to see all this stuff. I would have never of guessed it from him. My dad always said a $5.00 bill would be safer on the driveway then a $2.00 tool.
            - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
            Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

            It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.


            • #7
              I make it a point to never borrow anything from work. Not a pen, not a sheet of paper, nothing. It's bad karma.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Forrest Addy
                ...People like this are equivalent to peeping Toms and bicycle seat sniffers.
                Well now wait a minute... Whose bicycle seat are we talking about here?


                • #9
                  I used to be a member of a retired engineers club and was told the story of an elderly chap who worked at the college where it was held, who had died.His wife got some nice comments about her husband and many club members attended his funeral .Several weeks passed and his wife asked someone in the college if they wanted his tools, when the turned up to collect them they found loads of chucks tools machines etc that belonged to the college and had disappeared over many years.They simply said thanks and never mentioned it to her at all . Alistair
                  Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


                  • #10
                    At work, we had a 5 gallon bucket that was used to throw all used carbide into. Everyone pitched their dull inserts, worn endmills, etc. into it.
                    It was almost full, and probably weighed in excess of 200 Lbs.
                    I couldn't budge it.
                    Well one day it was down to only about 2 inches at the bottom.
                    Our boss threw a fit!
                    Someone helped themselves to the carbide scrap.
                    We never found out who the 'recycler' was, but I'm sure they had a nice payday.
                    Last edited by KiddZimaHater; 05-15-2010, 11:49 PM.


                    • #11
                      Just a thought

                      I wonder if this is more prevalent amount those of us who are veterans? My reasoning is that most (all?) of us participated in "midnight requisitioning" on occasion.

                      One incident I remember in particular was when I was on the Master of Arms Force and we searched a mans locker finding a 50 cal armor piercing round. When I delivered it to the armory the look on the face of the gunners mate was priceless.