Annals of phallicity, annals of design

A little while back, my household had need of a drill to use in repairing a damaged storage closet door, so from the tool closet came (as the company styles it) the Fiskars Manual Rotary Craft Hand Drill, a very pleasing tool that is light in weight, cheap, up to small jobs around the house, nicely fitted to the hands, and beautiful to look at — really a wonderful example of design — and also, of course, being a drill, really phallic. A model in white:


Compare the Fiskars to two alternatives: a classic hand drill and a power drill:

(#2) Standard hand drill

(#3) Power drill, armed with drill bit

Back in the first winter Jacques and I spent here at Ramona St. (1986-87), we needed to stock our tool closet with devices and supplies for household maintenance. Jacques was enthusiastic about getting a serious vroom-vroom power drill, like the one we had in our Columbus OH house (much like #3). But the Ohio house was hugely bigger than the Ramona St. condo, and the California tool closet was tiny, so I argued for something better suited to our modest needs (something like #2). Off to the local hardware store, where we discovered a yellow version of #1 — the drill comes in a variety of colors, including black and light green — and fell in love with it.

(Oh yes, it comes with four standard drill bits: 1/8, 3/16, 5/32 and 3/32 inch.)

I know: guys and their tools. But we just liked looking at it, it was small, it handled so well, and it cost, like $10 or so (now up to around $15, I see). J was worried that it would be inadequate for our purposes, but the hardware guys were so sure of its excellence that they said, just take it home and use it for a couple of weeks, and if it’s not good enough you can bring it back and we’ll refund your money.

That was 30 years ago.

Clean lines, ergonomic design. Much like the tool that made Fiskars famous, their ergonomic scissors:


Briefly on the company, from Wikipedia:

The Fiskars Corporation is a consumer goods company founded in 1649 in Fiskars Village, a locality now in the town of Raseborg, Finland, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of Helsinki. Fiskars’ global headquarters are located in the Arabianranta district of Helsinki, Finland.

Fiskars is best known for its orange-handled scissors, created in 1967.

The hand drill as symbolic genitals. Any drill is phallic, at the very least because it has a shaft and a visibly separate head, with a hole at the tip of the head: penile shaft, glans penis, and external urethral opening (known in street speech as a piss slit).

Power drills have pistol grips, which are roughy analogous to testicles. The Fiskars drill has an analogous grip, but the base is rounded, so that it looks even more like a ballsac — certainly more organic and less mechanical than other styles of drills.

I’m willing to entertain the idea that one of the aesthetic attractions of the Fiskars drill is its pleasant, unthreatening phallicity.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: