— Beauties of the Common Tool

“Among low-priced, factory produced goods, none is so appealing to the senses as the ordinary hand tool. Hence, a hardware store is a kind of offbeat museum show for the man who responds to good, clear ‘undesigned’ forms.”

 

“Who would sully the lines of the tin-cutting shears with a single added bend or whorl? Or clothe in any way the fine naked impression of heft and bite in the crescent wrench. To be sure, some design-happy manufacturers have tampered with certain tool classics; the beautiful plumb bob, which used to come naively and solemnly shaped like a child’s top, now looks suspiciously like a toy space ship, and is no longer brassy. But not so much can be done to spoil a crate opener, that nobly ferocious statement in black steel. In fact, almost all the basic small tools stand, aesthetically speaking, for elegance, candor, and purity”

Beauties of the Common Tool, a portfolio by photographer Walker Evans for Fortune Magazine, July 1955.

 

Via: Iain Claridge

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