Did Monkeys Invent the Monkey Wrench?: Hardware Stores and Hardware Stories

Vince Staten, Author Simon & Schuster $20.5 (234p) ISBN 978-0-684-80132-2
""The hardware store is to the average man what the dress or hat shop is to a woman,"" we are told here, but even men who are not average, and women too, will enjoy this compendium. Staten (Can You Trust a Tomato in January?) grew up working in his father's hardware emporium in Tennessee, but here he focuses on the shop of Ronnie Matthews in Winfield, West Virginia, after pointing out that a hardware store is not a do-it-yourself discount outlet or a home improvement center, but rather a place where customers can socialize or buy a single nail if they want. There is etymology in these pages (the monkey wrench was not invented by Charles Moncke or laborer ""Monkey"" White or monkeys), there is history (the ancient Egyptians invented locks) and there are dozens of amusing anecdotes. The reader will learn such interesting minutiae as the fact that 90% of Americans call duct tape ""duck tape."" There are also some clever sketches, and it all adds up to fun. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1996
Release date: 06/01/1996
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