October 10, 2008
Not all gadgets are created equal. Some are cool for a while, and then end up at the back of the drawer. Others stand the test of time. In 1976, my dad gave me a PROTO key ring screw driver. 20 years later, it is still on my key ring, and I use it daily. It is the best gadget I’ve ever had.
The simplicity of the PROTO is its brilliance. This is no cheap piece of metal. This is solid steel. Designed to do one thing, and do it well. Back when tools were built to last, PROTO was the king. The screwdriver key ring was, I think, a give-away as advertising. But I would gladly trade a whole box full of normal tools for my PROTO.
Over 20 years, this simple tool has been pushed to the limits. As a box cutter, it is second to none. I’ve opened thousands of boxes with it, without cutting myself or the goods inside. As a computer tech, the PROTO is the 1st tool I grab when I need to get inside a case quickly. Other uses for the PROTO include paint can opener, beer opener, lock pick, hole punch, ice scraper, staple remover, paper shredder unclogger, and oh yeah, screwdriver.
Unfortunately, they don’t make em like they used to. PROTO was bought at somepoint by Stanley tools. They still make good industrial tools, but the replacement for the screwdriver key ring is a cheap knock-off. Compared to the original, it is crap. If you are lucky, you can still find the old ones for sale on E-Bay. I stole the photo for this article from a current auction. Go get your own, and stay away from mine!
Editor’s Note: This article originally published on GadgetWorkshop.com.