I've been thinking a lot about the way of hand tools lately. It's great that you can simply mark a line, and cut to it. But sometimes, for some things, it's nice to have something to speed it along.
I've been a production woodworker for nearly 20 years, focusing mostly in cabinets. I've often wondered how pieces were produced in a typical shop 150 years ago. I'm sure they had production demands back then also. And I think they were smarter than they get credit for. Surely they came up with some innovative ways to reduce the work required for a given joint, or a given product. For instance, it's fine to cut M & T joints to a knife line when there are 5 or 10 to do. What about 20 or 30? If you were making anything in a mission style, it may get tedious quickly.
Two examples I've recently become aware of are Paul Sellers dovetail setup, and Richard Maguire's Bridle joints. Does anyone know of any other instances where a typical worker might have made things easier on themselves than we would notice at first glance?