Even if you are one of the biggest gear heads in the world, one of the last places you would expect to find some tools is your kitchen table. That is unless you are Jay Jonas, or one of the customers of his company Wrenchware.
Now before you start to think this is a story about some nut who decided to turn his tools into ill-designed versions of the common fork, spoon, or knife, Mr. Jonas is a graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in architecture. He is also a man with a vision of a product he believes will appeal to any person who enjoys working with their hands.
After graduating from college, and taking a job with an architect, he was shocked by what was considered to be the standard career path of the profession. Work for someone else for about ten years, before you could even consider going out on your own.
What did intrigue him was something that looked appealing to most men his age. The women, weather, cars, and beaches of California. He decided to make his way to the west coast with no idea how he was going to pay for the trip, or what he would do to support himself once he arrived.
Luckily for him, while he was going to school in Ohio he had taught himself the skill of sign painting, which he used to earn extra money while in college. He used those skills to fund his trip to California by stopping at every drag strip he could find along the way, where he lettered and pinstriped any car he could.
He also used those skills to barter for something that would become a big part of the rest of his life. While still in Ohio, Mr. Jonas, and two other sign painters, agreed to paint a large airplane hangar in exchange for pilot lessons. He would fly for the next 30 plus years of his life.
Shortly after arriving in California, he found himself married with three sons. He opened a sign business, which grew to 25 employees, and then decided to open an advertising agency. His love of the advertising industry was clear to all when he won a Cleo, the Academy Award for advertising.
His love for flying eventually led him to owning two airplanes. One was a 195 Cessna, while the other was a 450 Stearman, an open cockpit, two wing plane, which he built himself from scratch over the course of nine years.
It was while working on the plane the idea of Wrenchware was born. Needing a shorter wrench, he cut the end off of one. Upon finishing, he placed it down on top of a spoon on the table, and immediately loved the way it looked. He thought, what a great product for every gear head in the world, an eating utensil that looked like a tool.
In fact, he believed in the product so much he sold both of his planes to finance the start-up company. Today Wrenchware operates from the hangar that formerly housed his planes, and Mr. Jonas is looking to get his products in the homes of mechanics, and more, throughout the world.
As for the product line itself, the featured items are a spoon with a box wrench on one end, a fork with an open end wrench, and a knife with a pair of pliers, all of which come in an ABS tool box. He has also added cups, bowls, and glasses, which all have an automotive-related theme.
Jay Jonas has been successful in everything he has put his mind to. Whether it was finding a way across the country with little or no money, growing a thriving sign business, even building his own plane, with no prior experience.
The next step in that journey is seeing his Wrenchware products on the dinner table of every gear head in the world. Hand me wrench, I mean a spoon. Looks like it has already begun.