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Vogt Toolworks

Vogt Toolworks. Does that sound familiar to you? Have you heard that name before? I hadn’t either until this afternoon. Talking to Don Schroder, the Artistic director at Popular Woodworking, about possibly signing up for the Woodworking in America event this fall to offer my fledgling shooting board and a few other items to the tool buying public, he said “Tico, your company name, TicoVogt.com, provides you with no identity.” Existential coup number one. “Plus, nobody will know how to pronounce your name.” Is this new information? I recalled a diving competition I was in where I missed my dive because of the botched attempt by the announcer to identify the next contestant.”Tick Vogggtee.” Nice.

Just for the record: Tico sounds like chico. The name Vogt, pronounced “auf deutch” sounds like a blend of “oat” and “ought,” preceded by an “f.” In English it has a hard sound, as in what you, presumably, do to elect the president. It translates as “provost” or “marshal,” and family lore has a “landsvogt, ” tax collector type of dude, requiring Wilhelm Tell to shoot the apple off of his son’s head. If you owe me money, you better pay up, or else.

Ron Brese has been encouraging me to pursue the Super Chute and other ideas and has suggested that the WIA extravaganza could be a “coming out party” to the woodworking community.
That is a phrase I’ve never used before in connection with my own, personal being, and it feels extremely awkward. I didn’t say that, okay?

The funny thing is, the connection with tool making in my family is gigantic. My Vogt grandparents and other relatives moved from Germany to Louisville, Kentucky during the reign of Bismark and immediately put their industrious talents and spirits to good use. My grandfather, Adam, and his brother, Henry, established Vogt Brothers Manufacturing, Vogt Freezers, and the Henry Vogt Machine company. They were pioneers in refrigeration technology and the quality of their products was renowned. I know Ben Cohen of “Ben and Jerry’s” fame, and he told me that the first freezer he bought starting out was a Vogt Freezer made in the 1930s and it worked perfectly.

My father Clarence W. Vogt (1891- 1973), age 63 when I was born, was one of America’s prolific inventors. As a  Captain of Artillery in WW I he invented the delay detonation device for torpedo warheads. After the war he began a career as an inventor:
“Continuous Process Freezer:  Around 1926, the first commercially successful continuous process freezer for ice cream was invented by Clarence Vogt.”~ inventors.about.com. Think: batch ice cream products with uniform air content and the self contained refrigeration in  Good Humor trucks.

In the 30’s he was on the forefront of combining a new product, aluminum foil, with ice cream, utilizing it’s thermal and packaging capabilities. Think: Eskimo Pie.

His output of 220 US  patents began in 1925 and lasted until 1971 .

He was well nigh retired when I came into this world but he was always at work creating things. His workshop was filled with odd pieces of prototypes, shelves of drawings, sealed aging yellow bags to test how long the liquid contents would stay confined and not leak. He invented scotch tape dispensers, had boxes of wooden blocks the shape of margarine sticks for which he created the wrapping technology.

His genius was way past my understanding. As a kid I liked to play with the compressor air hose because it was like a gun, the pine blocks for my toy army men, etc.

One thing I recall was a saying of his: “any damn fool can break something… but it takes a someone to make something.” He always appreciated things that worked well and valued the skill of the patternmakers, draftsmen, and metalworkers whom he hired to build prototypes for him.

I remember seeing pictures of his inventions inside buildings the size of warehouses and wondering “how can it all work?”

It will be with true humility and no little sense of sheepishness that I contemplate standing behind the name Vogt Toolworks, given this weight of family history.

Don, you rascal!

With Dad in 1961

6 comments to Vogt Toolworks

  • Shawn R

    Great story and say run with the name. Keep the legacy alive! Will be sure to stop by if you make it to WIA.

  • Vogt Toolworks. I like it. Maybe I can’t pronounce it, but I can remember it, read it, and type it. Best wishes.

    Luke

  • tico

    Shawn,

    I have signed on the dotted line and will see you there.

    Luke,

    I guess I was a little obscure about how to pronounce the name: vote. No “i”, as in voit.

    Thanks.

  • Alan Van Reed

    Tico,

    Carry On with the tradition lad …….. you come from great tool stock …… I guess that is ok?

  • tico

    Hi Alan,

    Not sure about what you mean is okay, that I come from that stock, or that you made the comment to that effect. Either way, it’s okay!

  • Jane Harrod

    Hey Tico, Way to go man. Sometimes the genetics are so strong that you do what your family has done well. I come from farmers because we love to grow things and do it well.
    Can’t wait to see how this unfolds!!

  • Tanya Smith

    Hi Tico,

    I was very interested in your blog on your father, Clarence Vogt. I am related to his first wife, Ruth Elizabeth Duncan. I would love to know more about him.

    Cheers,

    Tanya Smith

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