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2005/92/5 Bench clamp and box, 'Supa-Power', type SPC, metal / cardboard / paper, made by Wolf Electric Tools Limited, London, England, 1959-1963. Click to enlarge.

'Supa-Power' bench clamp and packaging

Made
As a Royal Warrant firm, Wolfs Pty Ltd were recognised as producers, service providers, and global suppliers of high quality trade tools to the Royal Household (the Grantor being Her Majesty The Queen), the construction industry, and to the domestic trade-tool market during the 1950s and 1960s. The initial granting of Royal Warrants (earlier, Royal Charter) for providing trade goods, services, and tools went to trade guilds, and was established in the twelfth century by Henry 11.

This …

Summary

Object No.

2005/92/5

Object Statement

Bench clamp and box, 'Supa-Power', type SPC, metal / cardboard / paper, made by Wolf Electric Tools Limited, London, England, 1959-1963

Physical Description

The bench clamp set consists of the square cardboard packaging box, with black and yellow labels on the top and sides reading, 'Wolf SUPA-POWER / TYPE SPL / BENCH CLAMP / FOR USE WITH THE SAFETYMASTER / OR QUARTERMASTER POWER UNIT / HOME POWER EQUIPMENT'. The packaging contains a metal bench clamp, with a cream coloured frame, four red adjustable brackets and a large grey metal clip, held in place by a wing nut.

Dimensions

Height

160 mm

Width

170 mm

Depth

195 mm

Production

Notes

Marketing.

Wolf tools were marketed extensively throughout Britain and the around the globe, especially during the 1950s and 1960s.

This collection is of considerable interest when the provenance of its ownership and marketing is taken into consideration.

The products were won by Frank Partridge VC on the popular Channel 7, Sydney, quiz program BP Pick-A-Box in 1962.

Shortly after Wolf Electric Tools Limited was established in Australia, they quickly realised the marketing potential for the products by engaging Bob and Dolly Dyer, the popular husband and wife hosts of the Pick-A-Box television show.

Apart from Pick-A-Box, Bob and Dolly were often associated with, and seen on, their luxury boat, Tennessee 11, where they entertained and big-game fished off the Queensland coast. A series of Wolf 'Safety Master' coloured brochures, which were produced for the rapidly expanding do-it-yourself Australian home-industry market of the 1960s, examples the Dyers at their promotional best, where they are portrayed as extolling the safety virtues of Wolf electric tools (see copy elsewhere in this object file). A catchy set of phrases were used for Wolf's 'Safety Master' marketing campaign, viz, "Bob Knows: Double Installation Makes Wolf Safety Master As Safe As An Electric Razor" led the way with Bob demonstrating a range of tools and their applications, all of which were captioned with Bob's 'own' pithy remarks, such as "Oh Boy! What I can do with this Wolf Drill Stand", "I call him 'Handy Sandy' he's a great mate", and Dolly was featured as using a Wolf drill with a polishing attachment, but only after the virtues of Safety Master were pronounced and with Bob's approval. "Bob's only just let me into the picture because he knows that only the Wolf Safety Master is safe enough for me to handle", and "Whatever would I do without my Wolf polisher", Dolly says.

History

Notes

These Wolf tools and brochures were won by Frank Partridge VC in 1962 when he was a contestant on Sydney's Channel 7's BP Pick-A-Box. According to Lachlann Partridge (the donor and Frank's only son), Frank never used the tools, and they were stored firstly at his parents' family home at Upper Newee Creek, near Macksville, New South Wales. The Wolf tools were eventually moved to and stored in the garage of the Turramurra home (established about 1963) where Frank and his wife, Barbara Mavis Vyvienne Jennifer Wylie Dunlop lived, before being donated to the Museum in August, 2004. Barbara was a highly trained nursing sister, who at that stage lived and worked at Turramurra. Barbara and Frank were married at St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Sydney, on 23 February 1963. The wedding received extensive newspaper and women's journal coverage. After their marriage, Barbara remained in Turramurra, while Frank returned to the farm to build a new home. He visited her on weekends. On 23 March, 1964, Partridge was killed in a motor vehicle accident near Bellingen. He was buried with full military honours in Macksville cemetery. His wife and then three month old son, Lachlann (the donor), survived him. Barbara died recently.

Frank John Partridge VC (1924-1964), soldier, farmer and quiz-champion was born at Grafton, New South Wales, the third of five children. His father was an Australian born farmer and his mother emigrated to Australia from England. Frank left school at 13 and worked on his parent's farm near Macksville, dairying and growing bananas.

Partridge served in the Volunteer Defence Corps and was called up for full-time duty in the Australian Military Forces (AMF) on 26 March, 1943. He was posted to the 8th Battalion, a Militia unit which operated at Lae, New Guinea, in May 1944 and then to Emirau Island in September.

Frank Partridge was one of twenty Australian World War 2 veterans to be awarded the Victoria Cross (VC). From June 1945, the 8th Battalion operated in northern Bouganville, containing Japanese forces on the Bonis Peninsula. On 24 July, Partridge was a member of a patrol that was ordered to destroy an enemy base near Ratsua. The Australians encountered stiff resistance by the Japanese, with the loss of their Bren gunner. Partridge suffered severe wounds in the battle, but he managed to retrieve the weapon and after passing it to another soldier, he rushed a Japanese bunker where he destroyed the machine gunner with a grenade. He rushed another bunker, however the loss of blood from his wounds forced him to abandon his cause. Of the Australians who won the VC in World War 2 he was the youngest and the last, and the only militia-man. He was discharged from the AMF on 17 October, 1946.

After the War, Patridge returned to the family farm at Upper Newee Creek, where he devoted himself to self education, reading the Encyclopedia Britannica by kerosene lamp in the evening. He developed an outstanding retentive memory, which was to serve him well on the Pick-A-Box quiz show between 1962 and 1963. Partridge, and the future Federal Labor MP for the Victorian seat of Lalor Barry Jones, and George Black, and Ken Ecceston were the outstanding contestants, winning all forty boxes during the long period that the show was televised.

(The curator acknowledges the assistance provided by Lachlann Partridge, Frank's only surviving son for some of the biographical material. Barry Jones' entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography (Vol. 15, 572-573) was used as the principal source of biographical information on Frank Partridge).


Bob and Dolly Dyer's Bp Pick-A-Box.

The first long-running (1951-1971) Australian quiz show to appear on television was BP Pick-A-Box, which had premiered on radio in 1948. The programme's debut on Sydney's Channel 7 in 1951 was an instant success, and remained so until 1971, when the series concluded. The international petroleum firm British Petroleum (BP) were the principal, long-term corporate sponsors of the program, with the programme's title exemplifying the relationship between the series and industry. Wolf tools, it seems, did not sponsor the show, however, Wolfs employed Bob and Dolly Dyer to feature in their advertising campaigns to sell its trade tools.

The format for the series appealed greatly to viewers and along with four notable contests (Barry Jones, Frank Partridge, George Black, and Ken Ecceston), ensured its long-term success. Contestants had to answer questions and then choose between a cash prize or the unknown contents of a box containing anything from old shoes to a Morris Minor car. Indeed, the programme's catch phrase was Bob Dyer's question to contestants, 'The money or the Box?'

Bob (Robert) Neal Dyer, OBE (1909-1984), entertainer, quizmaster, and big-game fisherman, was born Robert Dies on 22 May, in Nashville, Tennesse. He first toured Australia in 1937, and was then billed the 'Last of the Hillbillies' and permanently settled here shortly afterwards. Dyer moved to Australian radio in the 1940s and married Dolly, an Australian who was to join him as co-host in 'The Bob Dyer Show' (1944), 'Can You Take It?' (1946), and 'BP Pick-A-Box'.

After the show finished in 1971, the Dyers' led a reclusive life in Queensland. He died on 9 January, 1984. Dolly Dyer died on 25 December, 2004.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Lachlann Partridge, 2004

Acquisition Date

19 March 2005

Cite this Object

Harvard

'Supa-Power' bench clamp and packaging 2022, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 8 August 2022, <https://ma.as/347160>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/347160 |title='Supa-Power' bench clamp and packaging |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=8 August 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}