Before we talk about the Mark V I feel compelled to tell you a bit about how I got to this point.

The Shopsmith Mark V.

These words have stirred a child-like excitement in me ever since Mr. Stone (a family friend) stopped by our home in Beavercreek Ohio to visit my parents while on a trip to Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. Mr. Stone had just paid a visit to a factory in Dayton where he made a large purchase of a power tool. Now, my dad is the son of a Cabinetmaker and because his mother died when he was three, he and his two brothers were raised in the shop while my Grandfather worked. So here's Mr. Stone and my dad sitting on the couch looking at a brochure for this neat tool, and I vividly remember standing behind the couch staring over their shoulders in amazement at this wonderful new tool. This was around 1977, which would have made me 13-14 years old, and at that time I had no idea that the Shopsmith Mark V had been in production since 1954! (A conflicting date of 1953 is given on the official Shopsmith Inc site, but I've not been able to confirm this dating with any official documentation or witness. Go figure.)

I convinced my dad that we needed to get a catalog, so he returned the postcard that Mr. Stone left with us, and for years we continued to get the occasional catalog and better yet the awesome woodworking magazine "Hands-On!".

Fast forward to 1987 and though I had visited the showroom at the Shopsmith factory in Vandalia Ohio (North Dayton) several times this time I was actually there just to kill time while I waited for a near-by job interview. It was on this visit that I met Ron Hittle. Ron was a playful and intelligent man who instantly won me over with his silly puns and jokes. When you met Ron it was like meeting a long-lost brother for the first time. He was totally engaged in our conversation as we talked about woodworking, tools, Jim and Tammy Baker (they were falling from grace at that very moment) and Shopsmith. I was having a great time when I suddenly realized that I was now a half-hour overdue for my job interview! Ron noticed that I was looking at my watch and getting stressed so he asked me what was wrong. I told him that I was late for a job interview and he said "Are you looking for a job?" I thought that was a silly question following my previous statement but I said yes. At that Ron smiled and said he had an opening and would love to continue our conversation in his office. About an hour later, with my face aching from laughter, I was an employee of Shopsmith Inc!

Lots of other things happened after that, but in total I was an employee for 10 years, as an in-store salesman, a store manager (twice) and as an Academy Instructor. Oh yeah, in 1987 I finally became the proud owner of a Shopsmith Mark V Model 510!

1 comment:

  1. That is a truly great story. A piece of Americana. I enjoyed reading it as much as you probably enjoyed writing it, and you write extrememy well. You must know more about Shopsmiths than just about anyone. Take care.

    ReplyDelete

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