Good old quality craftsmanship. Sometimes you just don't realize that you are relying on the skills of a woodworker / carpenter / maker from decades ago. When you used an old stepladder happily for years it doesn't come to mind that at some day even the product of decent carpentry will break down. The good thing about older tools and furniture (called vintage nowadays), is that it is absolutely rewarding to repair them. (unlike the plastic mass produced stuff) This is an example of just a simple old wooden stepladder.
It turned out a good solution. The rod goes 2 cm deeper in to the holes on both sides which makes it a sturdy connection After a coat of paint this repair won't have changed much to the looks, and this little stepladder will be a safe device for many years to come, for instance to put the Christmas decorations up!