My grandfather, Benjamin Bly (1890-1984), was a master tinkerer. He was always fixing and innovating in the little workshop in his basement. No shower in his 1915 Kansas City hour? No problem! A coffee can punched with holes and a hose section attached to the basement plumbing made the house into a 1-1/2 bath residence. His favorite kind of items to repair, though, were watches and clocks. The one pictured on the right is from the Illinois Watch Company and was in his collection.
Grandpa Ben once built a clock for his sister, and at age 101, it is still one of her most treasured possessions. His sister also repaired and rebuilt clocks as a hobby for many years. I have to consider if this talent for making things work might be a genetic trait and how it might manifest itself today–does fixing your eyeglasses count? How about fixing a computer problem? If so, I might have a few family members who would be considered modern-day tinkerers after all.