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Ever seen a genuine Studebaker hammer?

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  • Ever seen a genuine Studebaker hammer?

    I picked up this hammer not too long ago. My claim to fame is I know probably more than I should about the internal workings of the South Bend plants, especially Chippewa, but this tool stumps me. It's a tack hammer, and is very old, but on the back it's engraved "Studebaker Corp. Eng. records dept." The engraving does appear to be old as well. I've looked at many photos, and the only places that I've seen tack hammer being used on the production line are when bodies got their headliners in building #84. Perhaps somebody here knows something more about this thing? It's actually one of two that I have. The other hammer is more like a mallet and the only reason I know it came from Studebaker is because it's also ancient and I picked it up out of the courtyard at SASCO back when I was working in that building.

    Chris Dresbach

  • #2
    The engraving on the back in the bottom photo is very faint, heck I can barely see it in person; but it is there. You can just barely see it in the photo.
    Chris Dresbach

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    • #3
      IMO, this hammer predates automobiles when one considers how upholstery was attached to wagon seats.

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      • #4
        Pretty neat item...
        But it might not pre-date automobiles, as wooden substructure and wooden seat frames ran well into the 1930's, or even later.

        Being an assembly line tool, I wonder if the department (Studebaker tool room) engraved it, or if they had the hammer manufacturer engrave it.
        I kind of doubt/wonder if Studebaker actually made a simple thing like a hammer, but rather purchased them.
        But... You never know.....
        Jeff
        PS: That would be a real neat item, were it mounted in a frame with a tool room check tag and a neat little explanatory plate.
        HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

        Jeff


        Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



        Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

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        • #5
          How cool. I love old tools and this one is really nice. Congrats on your find Chris.
          Joe Roberts
          '61 R1 Champ
          '65 Cruiser
          Eastern North Carolina Chapter

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          • #6
            Nit pick alert.
            That is an upholstery hammer, not really a tack hammer. It's a better hammer, a little longer handle and head, with superior balance. They are a bit more difficult to buy these days.
            Tack hammers are the commonly available item in hardware stores.

            Most upholstery hammers you run across will be older vintage but new ones can be ordered from the manufacturer after some searching.
            Last edited by Lark Parker; 12-01-2013, 05:24 AM.
            sigpic
            Lark Parker --Just an innocent possum strolling down life's highway.

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            • #7
              Learn something new every day.

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              • #8
                Great find Chris! Well worth displaying!
                Keep looking for Studebaker goodies laying
                about. Who knows maybe you'll
                find some of those missing green dashboard
                covers for my 57 Packard!
                sigpic1957 Packard Clipper Country Sedan

                "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"
                Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle
                "I have a great memory for forgetting things" Number 1 son, Lee Chan

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                • #9
                  Chris, have you checked to see if either end is magnetic?

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                  • #10
                    Is it still practiced where upholsterers put a bunch of tacks in their mouth to use in concert with the tack hammer? I remember my dad doing that back when he still did the odd chair or couch. He learned upholstery at a small shop for such before he went to work for DuPont, making car paint. Seemed like a dangerous trick to me!
                    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

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                    • #11
                      That's what the ex studebaker employees said during the building 84 tour that worked on headliners, that the tacks were kept in their mouths and never touched their hands, just spit onto the magnetic hammers. Bad job for someone with hiccups.

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                      • #12
                        I guess I should have specified, Studebaker didn't MAKE this hammer, it was made by Heller. You can barely see that inscription if you look at the head in the top photo. Studebaker did however engrave their name on it. I checked to see if one end is magnetic and to my surprise it actually is, but it's faint. It could barely pick up a small washer.
                        Chris Dresbach

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                        • #13
                          As a small example I think I may know of a use for that hammer; my '50 2R5's windlace. The windlace that's on it is tacked in place at the edges along both doors on a set of narrow cardboard strips. As to the practice of putting the tacks in your mouth, well when you have a hammer in one hand, and stringing up the upholstery in the other, you find that your mouth becomes a great tool for holding these small things that have to be fastened in rapid succession!
                          1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
                          1963 Studebaker Daytona Hardtop with no engine or transmission
                          1950 Studebaker 2R5 w/170 six cylinder and 3spd OD
                          1955 Studebaker Commander Hardtop w/289 and 3spd OD and Megasquirt port fuel injection(among other things)

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                          • #14
                            I think even into the 1950's, and certainly in my 1948 M5, the windlace was put in with tacks through cardboard-like "tack strip". This was a fairly dense material, about 1/8" thick. The tacks went through the windlace, through the tack strip, and hit the metal strip behind. The metal strip was a separate layer from the outside skin of the truck cab, so you didn't get dimples on the outside. The sharp ends of the tacks curled when they hit the metal strip, turning back into the tack strip. That held the windlace tightly in position and prevented the tacks from pulling out. In my M5 cab, the tack strip was attached to the metal strip with spiral nails. Maybe that's why there is a big end and a small end for that tack hammer. For those of us without the skill of the old-time upholsterers and less-pressed for time, a short sheet metal screw is easier to put in the right place with a cordless or pneumatic drill and will hold as well. I like the pneumatic drills better for this work because they stop instantly when you let the trigger up. My cordless drill keeps going too long.

                            Now let's get down to brass tacks...
                            Gary Ash
                            Dartmouth, Mass.

                            '32 Indy car replica (in progress)
                            ’41 Commander Land Cruiser
                            '48 M5
                            '65 Wagonaire Commander
                            '63 Wagonaire Standard
                            web site at http://www.studegarage.com

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by garyash View Post
                              I think even into the 1950's, ...
                              1953 for certain, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were unchanged until at least the GT Hawks.
                              "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                              Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                              Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                              sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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