This post is a copy of an article by Doug McIver appearing in The Tool Chest No. 22, December 1992, p27. 

In conversation with another member recently it became apparent that we were not really clear as to what we included under the name "hand tool". Clearly, as the Hand Tool Preservation Association we should know. I would therefore like to offer the following definition and invite other members to comment:

"A hand tool is any device which increases the user's capacity to do work without drawing energy from any external force."

By this definition we would include any device which is driven by human power alone, whatever part of the body is used to deliver the power to the tool. Thus, we would include any tool powered by the feet such as a spade or a pedal lathe. Is this what we mean?

Would we also include lathes of the "great wheel" type for which two operators are required, one turning the great wheel which powers the lathe whilst the skilled operator does the actual turning?

Would we also include a machine which was driven by one or more operators walking or climbing inside a wheel which powered a driveshaft? (Not that we see these often!)

Treadle lathe