Don’t know what it is called now. When I was a boy, it was called a pick axe or mattock. Wikipedia knows all about them and can tell you of them.
My father, the minister, had such a tool for years. He used it to dig rocks out of the ground, chop through fairly big roots, and lots of other things. It was quite useful. It worked as it should. And it was made in the USA. My sister inherited it and probably still uses it.
In furtherance of one of my rare home improvement projects, I acquired a modern version of this classic tool. It has a yellow plastic handle, probably made out of three different kinds of industrial waste, rather than the traditional wooden handle that was usually made out of hickory or ash. The advertisements on the display rack in the store (which I will not name to avoid the possible problem of a lawsuit against me for libel—which I could win because truth is a defense—over which I do not care to be bothered), said this yellow handle is stronger than wood. May be. It hasn’t broken yet. And it will not get the chance to do so.
This modern rendering of the farmer’s mattock was used once by me.
The first (and only) time I used the artifact was to attempt to dig a hole in the ground to plant some ornamental grass. No big deal and the ground was soft from several days of rain. However, there were some old tree roots in the place where the hole wanted to be. This digging and cutting project was the kind of duty a mattock was made to perform. A mattock made in the United States, that is. The same kind of mattock my father had bought in the USA before I was born, and used successfully the rest of his life. But this wasn’t a new version of my father’s mattock. My new tool was made in China.
There is nothing inherently wrong with something being made in China, or anywhere else. China has produced quality goods for centuries. Old Yellow Handle was not one of them.
One day recently I spent about an hour in a huge hardware store trying to find something that was made in America. The only thing I could find that was not made in some part of Asia, India, or somewhere else that was not my homeland, was Gorilla Glue, made in Cincinnati, Ohio.
And some people actually wonder why Americans do not have jobs.
If you want good tools that work, you should go to used-stuff stores, yard sales, auctions, antique stores, and that sort of thing. Most of those old, well used, tools will still do what they were made to do.
Here below is a photo of my tool a few minutes into its first use.