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]

Old Woodworking Machines

Old Woodworking Machines

This collective website, which started as an online discussion forum, now also includes a large database of manufac… [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 19thc Dovetailed Walnut Rifle Case Tool Box Chest NrVintage Snap-on 3 Drawer Center Tool BoxUnusual Vintage Leather Bag Tool Box Metal Liner Military Issue? Circa 1940sVintage Solid Sterling Silver Christening Set Spoon Food Pusher Tool Box JanetVintage Craftsman Metal Ratchet Socket Set Tool Box Empty 15" Long Made In UsaSnap-on Toolbox (rick Mears) Collectable Edition Vintage 1950's Snap-on Kr-53 3 Drawer ToolboxSnap-on Tools Lot # 29 Red Tool Box 6" X 8" X1" Royal Blue Snap-on Tool BoxGerstner Machinist Tool Box Tool ChestOld Vintage Primitive Antique Handmade Machinist Chest Wooden Drawer Tool Box Tool Box, Kennedy Style 520 (7) Drawer Upper Machinist Tool Chest, Made In Usa Vintage Kennedy Tool Box Riser 2 Draw Chest Storage Machinist Bench Shop Garage Vintage H. Gerstner & Son's Machinist Tool & Die Maker Wood Tool Box 11 DrawersWwii Era Us Military Metal Tool Box Vehicle Jeep Truck W/ Tray Vehicle Od Snap-on Black Mini Tool Box (micro Top Chest)Primitive Wood Tool Box Crackle Country Farmhouse DecorVintage Makita Power Saw Sheet Metal Tool Box Woodworking MetalworkingVtg Antique Dentist Medical Machinist Artist Tool Box Chest National Cabinet UsaVintage Kennedy Fold Out Tool Box - Style 1017 - Vgc2 Sticker Decals 4" Roush Peel Off Nhra Racing Nascar Toolbox Ford Mustang CobraVintage Threadwell Tap Die Tool Box Shop Storage CabinetRare Vintage 42 Drawer Mahogany Cabinet Cupboard Chest Shoemakers ToolboxAntique Machinist Tool Box Wooden Handles Say S. J. Co.see DescriptionVintage Small Wood Primitive Looking Tool Box Chest With Divided TraySnap On Tool Box Vintage Old Vintage Wood Carpenter's Tool Box / Garden CaddyVintage Craftsman Metal Socket Tool BoxVintage Kennedy Kits Cs16 Cs-16 Steel Single Cantilever Tackle Box Tool BoxVintage 22" Kennedy Kits Steel #1022 - 718295 Tackle Box / Tool Box. Used Cond.Craftsman Machinist Tool BoxVintage Small Britool Tool Box Empty 12 1/2 X 3" Old ToolSnap-on Tools-buy It Don't Borrow It- Sticker For Toolbox Or CaveMac Tools "smokin' Wolf" Cool Sticker For Toolbox Or CaveChinese Calligraphy Brush Pen Ink Inkstone Tool Box SetAntique Carpenter Wood Tool Box With Insert, Metal Corners And LatchMac Tools Tool BoxVintage Union Steel Red Steel Machinists Chest Tool Box 7 Drawer CollectibleAntique Wood Tool BoxVintage Metal Tool Box Union Tool Chest Has Key Lock Works 1960's Good ConditionSnap-on Tools- Best Tools Best Techs Sticker For Toolbox Or Cave(053022) 1x3" Vinyl Decal Biker Helmet Welder Toolbox Helmet Political Sticker Snap-on Limited Edition" Mustang" 30th Anniversary Minature Tool BoxAntique John Deere Tool Box From Slayton Minn. Dealer Eagle Sticker Decal Tool Box Helmet Biker Car MotorcycleMac Tools "the Legendary" Wolfpack Rat Rod Sticker For Toolbox Or CaveMac Tools "chop Shop" Great To Work With Sticker For Toolbox Or CaveMac Tools "speed Grease Glory" Cool Small Sticker For Toolbox Or CaveMac Tools "ride Free" Sticker For Toolbox Or CaveHelmet Sticker Biker Welder Toolbox Helmet Political 1x3" Vinyl Decal #0630348Jc 2.5" Vinyl Motorcycle Biker Welder Toolbox Helmet Military Decal Sticker12th Man Lime Green Decal Sticker Vinyl Laptop Toolbox Truck High School