Cordless Tools

THEN: Ten years ago, most voltage options were around 12 volts, with 14.4-volt tools just emerging. There were fewer choices, fewer features, smaller tools, less power, and limited applications. But the race was on.

NOW: It's hard to find a tool category that doesn't have a cordless alternative. Lines now include tools like circ saws, rotary hammers, and concrete fastening systems, and models can run as high as 24 and 36 volts for heavy-duty jobs. Keyless chucks and ergonomic handles are the norm, while new tool body materials increase jobsite durability. Battery technology is advancing for faster charging and longer runtimes.

Mobile Phones

THEN: Mobile phones were still pretty rare and expensive, and reliable coverage was even rarer. Many "car phones" required an antenna on the roof.

NOW: Can you imagine running your fast-paced business or crew without one? Coverage is widespread, low-priced, and much more reliable. Nextel's familiar chirp brings instant access nationwide–and now announces delivery of text messages and construction documents.


THEN: If you took pictures at all they were probably beauty shots of finished project—taken with a 35mm camera and film that you had to wait to see if you got the shot.

NOW: Easy-to-use digital cameras track every stage of construction. Contractors keep customers up to date while documenting work to meet new insurance requirements.


THEN: Boxy, basic, and bouncy best describe the 1994 model trucks we were all driving back then. By and large, a truck was a truck.

NOW: Somehow a comfortable, quiet ride in a roomy, stylish truck captured the market—even tough guys buy sleek new models. Fuel-efficient hybrid models are coming soon.