Mechanical Finger Tool From Skylab (USA), 1973–1974
This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from National Air & Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.
NASA’s space-tools inventory numbers more than 5,000 items, from the everyday to the custom- designed and -made. Certain primary instruments will be required for assembly and installation tasks, but astronaut crews must be prepared to deal with anything from a stuck bolt to a wiring problem, balky toilet, or torn solar panel. Used as a reach tool that enables the user to pick up something beyond arm’s length or in too narrow a space for a hand to fit, this mechanical finger tool comes from a kit assembled for Skylab, the US space station occupied in 1973–74. The inexpensive, low-tech tool can be bought in auto-supply and hardware stores. Made of chrome-plated carbon steel and aluminum, it has a flexible shaft and a plunger handle. Pushing the plunger extends the prongs at the other end to close around an object, which can then be pulled or lifted from its inaccessible position.
It is credited
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Transferred from NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center, A19761760074.
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Its dimensions are
H x W: 44.5 × 3.5 cm (17 1/2 × 1 3/8 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.