Antique and Vintage Tool Boxes

An antique tool box (also spelled toolbox) or tool chest is the fitting home for a set of treasured tools. In the early 20th century, tool chests were produced by companies such as H. Gerstner & Sons and Union Tool Chest Company to hold punches, tap wrenches, and other machinist tools—Union also made boxes for Sears that were branded as Craftsman. These wooden chests, usually built of oak, opened from the top and had numerous shallow felt-lined drawers so that tools and dies could be safely stored and easily accessed.

Tool maker Stanley also made chests, some bearing its Sweet Hart brand. Many of its boxes were designed like steamer trunks, which were meant to be opened only after being turned on their sides. Custom-cut blocks and pivoting cleats held everything from hammers and saw to planes and chisels in place so they wouldn’t rattle around and get damaged.

Stanley also made vertically standing tool chests with a pair of doors instead of a single lid, as well as ones with roll-top fronts, like the covers on a roll-top desk. Less fancy were its tool “totes,” which more closely resembled the small, single-handled tool boxes that most of us have in our garages.

Other types of toolboxes include cast-iron ones attached to tractors and farm machinery—the lids of these all-weather toolboxes were often stamped with words like McCormick, Harvester, John Deere, or Case. And red, wheeled, Snap-on toolboxes are such beloved fixtures in car-repair shops that some people who can’t have the real thing make do with a miniature toy bank version.

Finally, some toolboxes are as renowned today for their Tetris-like engineering as the tools they held. The H.O. Studley Tool Chest is one such box. Studley worked for a piano company in the early 1900s, so he custom built his chest from materials used to make instruments, including rosewood, mother of pearl, and, of course, ivory. Over the course of three decades, Studley packed some 300 pieces into his 39-inch-high by 18-inch-wide by 9-inch-deep box. It was not very practical, though—reportedly, it took three strong men to lift it.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Alloy Artifacts

Alloy Artifacts

A tool collectors’ dream, this site is a deep repository of photos and info on 20th century hand tools and the co… [read review or visit site]

Drainspotting

Drainspotting

Josh and Cam Larios have created this site enabling people to upload and 'tag' photos of historic or artistic manho… [read review or visit site]

A Millers Falls Home Page

A Millers Falls Home Page

Randy Roeder has carved out a niche for himself with his fine website devoted to the history of the Millers Falls C… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Vintage Oak Wood 7 Drawer Union Tool Chest Machinist Tool BoxVintage Antique Oak Machinists 7 Drawer Tool Box ChestVintage Kennedy 5 Drawer Machinist Metal Tool Box Parts Bin Cabinet W/labelTriumph Pre Unit Motorcycle Rigid Tool Box Clips T100 Tiger Tr5 T100 5t 6t NosVintage Craftsman Union 7 Drawer Machinist Wood Tool Box Rare Blue Label T222Vintage Antique Machinist Tool Box Chest 8 Drawer LargeKennedy Kits No. 5d Machinist (5) Drawer Tool Box Parts Cabinet ChestVintage Antique Wooden Machinist Tool Box Toolbox Chest DrawersStarrett S162z Pin Vise 4pc Set 0-0.187 162 A B C D Machinist Tool Box FindRare Aafa Old Green Wood Nail Tool Box Carrier Tote Garden Carpenter FarmhouseAntique Farm Tool Box- -original Orange ColorStarrett S162z Pin Vise 3pc Set 162 A B C Machinist Tool Box FindSnap On Ball Peen Hammer Mechanics Tool Box Estate Find Machinist Body Wood Hand4-5" Starrett 823 Inside Micrometer Machinist Tool Box Find Mill Metal LatheGreenfield Tap & Die Gtd 337 Extended Tapping Wrench Machinist Tool Box FindVintage "duplex" John E Coe 1930's Steel Toolbox - Cantilever Open 2-tray - ExcKennedy Machinist Tool Box 7 Drawer Model 520Vintage Ihc Machinery Tool BoxPrimitive Vintage - Style License Plate Metal Tool Box Caddy Garden Planter Vintage Old Rustic Wooden Carpenter Tool Box Primitive Carrying Tote GardenVintage Snap-on Socket Wrenches Tool Box One WrenchKennedy Kits 1017 Tool BoxVintage Wooden Tool Box Handle Latches Dovetail Joints 6 Sections InsideVintage Plews Pump Oiler Oil Can W/tool Box Or Bench Mount Holder,2"diam. X 4"hVintage Small Metal ToolboxChinese Calligraphy Brush Pen Ink Inkstone Tool Box SetVintage Snap On Tools 9-1/2" X 5-1/2"x2" Metal Tool Box Kra40 Craftsman Rolling Tool Box CombinationVintage Kennedy Tool Box Lock Unit And KeyVintage Wooden Primitive Tool Box / Carry Tote / Old Farm ToolFordson Tractor Toolbox- 11" -good Lid -rusted BottomVintage Golden Rod Red & Silver Oiler Oil Can W/tool Box/bench Mount HolderVintage Primative Tool Box Tray Trug Home Depot Gift Card Holders 5 Lot - Great Detail Paint Bucket, Level, Tool BoxChinese Calligraphy Brush Pen Ink Inkstone Tool Box SetChinese Calligraphy Brush Pen Ink Inkstone Tool Box SetsVintage Wooden Dovetailed Artist's Case, Artist Tool Box With CompartmentsVintage Small Metal Toolbox Blue Toolbox Vintage Toolbox 5.5"x8"x6"Vintage Craftsman Tools Empty Metal 1/4" Drive Ratchet Socket Set Tool Box9" John Deere Metal Tractor Tool Box And A Sample Of Material -van Brunt3 Wenger Toolbox Sak's, Fair, Blades Extremely Difficult To Open In One OnlyHardigg Military Storage Container Case Tool Box 19x15x14 Hunting Surplus ArmySnap-on Blue Tooth Tool BoxVintage Husky Hand Tools Empty Metal Ratchet Socket Set Tool Box