1957 Handyman’s Book

Submitted by Douglas Wood December 7th, 2010
Certifikitsch Winner

I bought this at a garage sale because I loved the late 1950’s graphics, not out of any familiarity or affection for this type of book which never graced the bookshelves in my childhood suburban home, being Jewish and all. If something broke, my dad called someone to fix it. The mechanical gene that my dad lacked bypassed me as well. In the first day of shop class in junior high, I was struck in the head by the back end of a claw hammer, being hopelessly in the wrong place at the wrong time, watching, while other boys confidently used the tools.

The kind of “father-son bonding in the workshop” pictured below looks so foreign to me, it might just as well have occurred in a parallel universe.

16 Responses to “1957 Handyman’s Book”

  1. Allee Willis

    Thankfully I have this or I’d be pressing the jealous button so hard now my finger would be numb. I got it both because the graphics and photos were beautiful and also because I’m always interested in little handyman projects that ultimately, like any good Jew, I call someone else to fix or build. But I’m totally intrigued with handyman projects. I’m probably the only person in the world who absolutely adores having construction done around my house because the ingenuity and materials involved intrique me.

    This book was published in the years when people really spiffed up their modern homes. I’m sure the color palette of this book inspired much of the activity too.

    I so love that the guy is using a hand drill. And the way the hair is painted on his arms in the cover photo kills me. Hairy neck not so crazy about.

  2. k2dtw

    Great post… I love the cover…is she swooning?? I haven’t seen swooning in such a long time, I forgot what it looks like…smile

  3. Mark Milligan

    So sorry about the hammer claw hit, geez that sounds painful!

    My parents were so surprised that I did well in shop that they bought me a drafting board, pencils, straight edges, the whole schmear for Christmas when I was in junior high.

    Being the oppositional type, I immediately feigned disinterest in everything.

    • Mark Milligan

      And I love this thing! I think I had one once that I probably bought at a rummage sale somewhere. Time to pick up another, thanks for posting it!

        • Mark Milligan

          huh? oh whatever.

          Seriously, thanks, that would be great. I know I owned one of those once, but I have no idea what happened to it. I have a history of bingeing and purging, so sometimes things go away and later I wish they hadn’t.

          My ancestors were carpenters, and when I was a kid there were ancient hand tools for woodworking in one of our “out buildings,” and I would examine them, fighting the cobwebs, with much interest. When my parents divorced, and then I moved away to go to school, they all got lost. But one thing I’ll always remember is that hand drill, like the one in the picture. And the handcuffs.

  4. denny

    Doug, this is incredible and I am also a huge fan of the 50’s graphics.

    I love the lady with the peg-leg pants and paint roller.

  5. namowal

    My dad had this book- and maybe still has it!
    I may need to wrestle it away from the spiders and sliverfish in his garage.