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"A poor tradesman always blames his tools"

Posted by Masakim on January 28, 2003

In Reply to: "A poor tradesman always blames his tools" posted by Sean on January 28, 2003

: Greetings. I was looking for the origin of this saying. I was particularly interested in the approximate date of its appearance in the language.

: Thanks, Sean

Mauves ovriers ne trovera ja bon hostill. [A bad workman will never find a good tool.] (French proverb, late 13th C. )
A bungler cannot find (or fit himselfe with) good tooles. (R. Congrave, _French-English Dictionary_, 1611)
Never had ill workman good tooles. (G. Herbert, _Outlandish Proverbs_, 1640)
'Tis an ill workman that quarrels with his own tools. (D'Urfey, tr. _Don Quixote_, 1696)
They say an ill workman never had good tools. (J. Swift, _Polite Conversation_, 1738)
Good workmen never quarrel with their tools. (Byron, _Don Juan_, 1818)
It is proverbial that the bad workman never yet had a good tool. (S. Smiles, _Self-Help_, 1859)
General Bildering . says it is only a bad workman who quarrels with his tools and repudiates Kuropatkin's criticism of the rank and file. (_The Japan Times_, 1907)
I've read somewhere that a poor workman quarrels with his tools. (J.G. Cozens, _Ask Me Tomorrow_, 1940)
Damn! Dropped the screwdriver.. Bad workmen blame their tools. (A. Fox, _Threat Signal Red_, 1979)

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