Flushed grollings: the amusingly befuddling world of spare parts

Photo by Markus Spiske on

Comedians Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie gifted the world a plethora of amusing terms for fictional spare parts and tools in their hardware store sketch. Frotting pencils, parping couplets, cock-grip shafting sleeves and bevelled spill-trunions, to name but a few of their handyman essentials, have worked their way into the vernacular in our house!

Although the words used in the sketch sound extreme, they are not so ridiculous, it seems. Just the other day, my tumble dryer was squeaking and the technician who came to repair it reeled off a list of required part names.

I can only now remember the term ‘jockey wheel’ being uttered. I tried to look like I knew what he was talking about, although inside, I was losing it!

Ultimately, this made me curious as to how many more amusing, real spare part names I could find.

I failed to identify a comprehensive list of funny names so I had to search through several websites to find some which related to cars and other machines. I also came across a list of tools with questionable names.

So here it is, my list of 20 amusingly named, and equally befuddling, spare parts and tools:

Photo by Shane Aldendorff on
  • Actuator rod
  • Bastard file
  • Cat’s paw
  • Crank pin
  • Crimping wheel
  • Gripper plug
  • Idler gear stud
  • Jacking screw
  • Lap lubricator bracket
  • Lenker rod
  • Lug bolt/nut
  • Macaroni tool
  • Mortar hawk
  • Muffler
  • Pinion shaft
  • Plugging chisel
  • Scrub plane
  • Spindle knob
  • Spud wrench
  • Worm wheel

So tell me honestly, for how many of these did you know their precise purpose? How many made you smirk? Did I miss any?


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