Homage to another loyal domestic companion (see Vale Miss Breville), and this time we’re in the tools section of the container workshop, to recognise the contribution of a productive member of the handyman crew out here in the bush.
Known as Robert, my BOSCH orbital sander (model PEX 300 AE) has carked it. Named after the founder of that historic German brand, he had twenty years or so (records of his joining date are lost) of trouble-free sanding. No job was too fiddly or annoying for Robert, even when I sometimes forgot to put a new disc on him!
Recently he was working on an ambitious project: to prepare the old shipping container (his home) for a visual make-over. With rooftop leaking holes repaired, Robert and I laboriously sanded down all the corrugated surfaces on the top, one side and the two doors of the container. Several days of sanding without missing a beat.
Then, on the second long side, Robert got wobbly and shaky. I dismantled the disc backing plate and re-attached it, but to no avail. He had lost his force, turning feebly, unable to accept any pressure. And sadly that was it, useful life over. Unrepairable of course, so Robert goes in the e-waste box, awaiting the final solution. Hmm.
Despite his German heritage, our Robert was made in Hungary, where his traditional, journeyman (Wanderjahre) apprenticeship had taken him. Before the autocratic Orban regime, with its dodgy dealings with German auto-makers, but I digress!
The original Robert Bosch started business in 1866 in Stuttgart. His eponymous company had a history of innovative engineering, progressive work practices, a social conscience combatting anti-semitism between the world wars. But then during WW2 it produced materiel for the German war effort using forced labour.
Herr Bosch died in 1942 at 80 years old. Using the known equivalent tool-to-human years ratio of four, that means our Bosch died at the same age. Vale Robert, hoping you meet your maker, the other Robert, in the afterlife.
(Secret Life of Toasters may also be of interest in this occasional series on the life of objects)