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]

Vintage Machinery

Vintage Machinery

This collective website, which started as an online discussion forum, also includes a large database of manufacture… [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]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Solid Oak Chest Engineers Tool Box Chest 7 Drawers Collectors Circa 1930Antique Original Oak Machinist Tool Box 4 Drawer Wooden Chest Not Gerstner NrAntique Tiger Oak Collectors Box , Tool Box Kennedy Mc-28 Machinist Tool Box Chest Riser For 526 52611 3611 Boxes 1950's Kennedy Kits Machinists Tool Box 7 Drawer Locking Cabinet & Key No. 520Proto Tool Box Small Metal Vintage Tool Box Hex Head Tools Included, Box 4997Vintage 5 Drawer Metal Tool Box Cabinet ChestLarge Group Vintage Cabinet Door Tool Box Locks & Keys*corbin*eagle*yaleTool Box Lot - Huge Lot Of Assorted Tools, Vintage Hardware & StuffVintage Kennedy 7 Drawer Machinist Chest Tool Box 1930s-40s Flat Top 520 CaseAntique Buddy L Tool Box Disston Boys Little Saw Steel Toy Truck Maker 1920 RarePrimitive Old Wood Farm Barn Tool Box / Carrier Make Do Shelf Old Green PaintV Block Drill Mill Vise For Holding Round Stock Machinist Tool Box Milling VeeVintage Craftsman Toolbox - Tool Box - Model 6512 All MetalVintage Kennedy Machinist Tool Box #526-9312 - 8 Sliding Drawers-very Clean 80'sVintage Kennedy Model 620-9300 Metal Machinist Tool Box With 3 Drawers No KeysOld Vintage Snap-on Tool Box For Ratchet Socket Set (case Toolbax Chest)Sanrio Hello Kitty Cute Kawaii Foldable Toolbox Baby Kids Indoor Stationery ToyVintage 1970's, Motorcraft (ford) Gas Station, Parts Cabinet, Tool Box Old Tool Sioux High Speed Valve Seat Grinder In Tool Box + Alot Of Parts VintageVintage Snap On Tools Chrome Tool Box Chest Emblem Name Plate Badge Logo 1957-69Vintage - John Deere Toolbox - Tool Box - With Tractor Mounting SlotVintage S-k Wayne Toolbox 45170 Ratchet Set, Sae Std & Deep Sockets, Swivel AdptOld Cast Iron Sign Maker Plate Vintage Farm Tractor Albion Tool Box Lid AntiqueVtg S-k Tools Empty Metal Tool Box 6-1/4" X 2" X 1" Rare Tiny Size! Vintage Kennedy Tool Box Red Metal Kk-19-446920 Very Good ConditionVtg S-k Tools Empty Metal Tool Box 8-3/4" X 3-1/2" X 1-1/2"Antique Wood Carpenter's Tool Box~vintage Garden Caddy~primitive Divided ToteCraftsman / Sears Tools With Plastic Tool BoxLot Of Chisels And Punches Tool Box Clean Out!Curv-o-mark Standard Contour Marker-stock No 1- Vintage Tool-box-booklet- As Is~ Early Snap-on Toolbox W/ Unusual Brass Tag ~ Vintage Socket Wrench Tool Kit ~Vintage Craftsman Green Metal Tool Box W/ Tray 19 X 7.5 X 7International Harvester "ih" Tractor Tool BoxSk 3/8 Ratchet Metal Sk Socket Box Only Air Nozzel & More Tool Box Clean Out!Vtg Kennedy Kits Tool Box / Tackle Box 2 Trays With Key Vinage Tackle BoxAntique Vintage Buddy L Red & Black Tool Chest Tool Box Fits Stanley PlanesAntique Vintage Gray Wood Tool Box Handmade Great For Gardening Or RepurposingLot Of 10 Chisels And Punches Tool Box Clean Out! 28*Used. Lot Of 10 Chisels And Punches Tool Box Clean Out! 29*Hot Buck Folding Camping Outdoors Hunting Fishing Pocket Knife Sharp Tool+box