It’s a good thing I was pretty handy with tools, and could fabricate anything that was needed. On some rare occasions, I might have had to purchase something extra from a merchant who specialized in scientific apparatus. But most of the time, it was “Do It Yourself.”
Here in this future world of the 21st century, I have noticed that this “Do It Yourself” idea has grown into an entire industry. There are numbers of merchants all over this great big new country who cater to do-it-yourselfers of every kind, from serious inventors like myself to casual backyard putterers and weekend workshoppers.
There are big chains like Home Depot, Lowe’s, True Value, and others; and smaller hardware store chains in practically every colony (excuse me, every state!).
What is most amazing to me is the size of some of these establishments! I walked into a Home Depot the other day, in search of a simple box of nails, and was literally bowled over by the sheer number of choices. I suppose, since there are hundreds or thousands more people in this country than in my day, one needs to have larger stores to accommodate them all.
Now, as you all know of my deep interest in electricity, it should come as no surprise to you that one of the first things that greeted me in this Home Depot I visited was a lighting aisle containing just about every kind of magical electrical illumination one could ever imagine! Who ever knew that a simple experiment with a kite, a key, and a thunderstorm would produce such wonders as these!
It also occurs to me, however, that having electrical lamps like these would have spelled the end of my father’s trade – he was a candlemaker, as you know, and he made a living by selling people the candles they needed to light their homes. I would think that with these new electric lamps, no one would ever want to read by candlelight again.
It takes a village
There were many other wonders in this giant Home Depot establishment, as well – probably far too numerous to describe them all. One could probably build an entire village using the materials that could be purchased at this store. Ah, I can just dream of building my own “Franklin-towne,” with everything accounted for according to my grand design, right down to the smallest detail. I would just love to engage in a challenging project like this.
It reminds me of the times when my business colleagues and I, meeting in our little club called the “Junto,” came up with all sorts of ideas for civic improvement in Philadelphia, from a better design for streetlamps to a plan to keep our shops and homes cleaner by engaging a person as a sweeper to tidy up the sidewalks and streets (because of the eternal dust and mud in those days, before we had paved streets).
The high point of Ben’s Home Depot experience
But do you know what I found most fascinating of all, in this Home Depot? Naturally, it’s another offshoot from my interest in electricity – in the tools department, there is an incredibly wide assortment of devices that do everything possible, when it comes to building or repairing.
And my favorite is the electric screwer-inner…which also doubles as a screwer-outer. I cannot tell you how many times I wore myself to a frazzle while trying to fasten parts of my inventions together the old-fashioned way, by hand. This new labor-saving device may be a little noisier than my old screwdriver, but it definitely saves time, energy, sweat, and toil.
I also investigated the electric nail pounder-inner, thinking it could save me a few banged thumbs. But unfortunately, it was a little out of the price range of this poor tinkerer from the 1700s!
Your humble servant,