It was 1903. It featured all the latest plumbing technology. It was a “Model House”, and it has piqued Master Plumbers heritage curator Peter Jensen’s interest.
Popping out nails didn’t have to be hard work, as Maltby, Henley and Co discovered when they developed a tool for the job. Master Plumbers Heritage Collection curator Peter Jensen delves into the history of the nail remover.
Maltby, Henley and Co principal business was producing handguns and pocket pistols. However, back in the late 1800s, this USA-company developed a nail-removing tool.
Patenting it in about 1878. The heritage collection now boasts one of these tools among its collection. Donated in 2018 by Don, the son of a plumber who
immigrated from South Africa to Australia in the 1980s to make a new life. Don says it was the best thing for the family with so many new opportunities.
While you might think the nail remover an unusual tool for a plumber’s kit, Don’s dad must have had a use for it, maybe pulling out noggins and lifting decking and floorboards. But like most of us we like a good tool kit and really like to have the right tool for the particular job. I gave this vintage tool a try and it did the job very well.
The vintage tool, when extended is 600mm long and 450mm when retracted. The operation was simple:
• Position the claw/pincher to the nail head.
• Thrust the slide forward to get the claw/pincher past the nail head.
• Push the handle sideways (to lever) to grip head.
• With a good grip, lever the nail out, pulling back the slide to assist.
Similar tools on the market today are made by Crescent, (RRP $45) are still made and used today.
Another odd tool in Don’s dad’s kit was a set of wire-fence strainers, which is certainly very curious