Baubles, Bangles and Brugolas

Allen wrenches 004

My friends, I’m going to let you in on an amazing investment opportunity at the conceptual stage. Years from now , after someone steals it from me  and you see nothing but this product bobbling down the street, you can turn to the person you’re with and say, ‘I know where that all started’.

It started when my wife, who was cleaning up some clutter this weekend, handed me an Allen wrench.

‘Here. Can you get rid of this?’

It was an Allen wrench (or Allen key) like any other Allen wrench, a small, hexagonal metal bar with a signature right-angle bend. I have no idea where it came from but it was clearly in the way so I took it out to the garage where all the other Allen wrenches live…dozens and dozens of Allen wrenches.

The problem is that you can’t get rid of an Allen wrench. It’s a tool. It’s not something you simple chuck out with the trash. It will certainly not compost. And since just about everything that requires assembly with an Allen wrench already comes with an Allen wrench, they continue to pile up. Once you have a full set of these hex keys (which takes about a week) you don’t need any more…but the duplicates and triplicates just keep on coming.

Who was this man Allen…and how did he come to litter our lives?  In fact, there may never have been a real Allen but there was an Allen Manufacturing Company in Conneticut which cranked out an awful lot of wrenches in the 1940’s. In fact there were independent concerns in many other countries making the same style tool.

In the spirit of the ‘silk purse from a sow’s ear‘ , I started thinking about alternative applications for the Allen wrench.

I once met a woman who was crafting bracelets out of bicycle chain. Strange as this may sound it actually made for very attractive jewellery.

So why not the Allen wrench? I can picture Allen wrench necklaces, bracelets and rings. What kind of signal does it send to a man when confronted by woman in Allen wrench earrings?  ‘Oooh’, he might think. ‘Attractive and utilitarian!’

The Allen wrench is known by many other names all over the world. In Norway it’s the Unbrako key. In Italy it’s a Brugola.  But if you’re sexing up a toolbox why not succumb to the French who call the ubiquitous object  ‘clef Allen’ . If you take the name Allen and give it a Gallic twist,  you’re already working on the ad campaign.

best to publish clef Alain

So that’s my idea. Simple, sensuous, and six-sided. I’ll give you the phone number later. Operators are standing by.


2 Responses to “Baubles, Bangles and Brugolas”

  1. Dave – sooooo glad you are back. You are hereby encouraged to continue dropping your wit here and there around Vancouver.
    On another note, when I first dated my wife, after lunch she opened her purse (she was buying !) and pulled out a ring of Allen wrenches. Well hold me back from wanting to propose immediately. Turns out her job was checking installations of shelving fixtures in a chain of women’s clothing stores and she -always- need said wrench set. Happily married now and we share her allen wrenches with my monkey wrench.
    Stay funny,

  2. I have every size Allen key but the one I need….another trip to the hardware store

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