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    

**machinist Special Nice Assorted Lg Lot Of Miscellaneous Tools From Tool Box**Vtg Antique Dentist Medical Machinist Artist Tool Box Chest National Cabinet UsaVintage Kennedy Tool Box Riser 2 Draw Chest Storage Machinist Bench Shop Garage Snap On Tool Mini Pit Wagon Tool BoxAntique H. Gerstner & Sons Machinist Tool Box 9 Drawer Interior Orig. Vintage Snap On Intermediate Tool Box Chest Cabinet- RareGerstner Machinist Tool Box Tool ChestVintage H. Gerstner & Son's Machinist Tool & Die Maker Wood Tool Box 11 DrawersHandmade Leatherwork Wooden Tool Box Leathercraft Leather Tooling Chest Of ToolsVintage Snap On Toolbox Kra-53 Mid Century 3 Drawer W/ CoverVintage Kennedy Style #520 Tool Box 7 Draws Chest Storage Machinist Shop Garage Vintage Craftsman Tool Box Chest 1967 W/ Keys 26''Vintage Vise-grip Toolbox 5wr By Peterson Mfg Co 7 Tools In 1 Schrade KnifePair Of P.m. Gundlach Grain Drill End Horse Drawn Cast Iron Seat Tool Box BenchGerstner Tool Box, Tool Chest, Machinist, Small SizeKennedy K20 Professional Mechanics Machinist Toolbox With TrayOld Vintage Wood Carpenter's Tool Box / Garden CaddyRare Vintage 42 Drawer Mahogany Cabinet Cupboard Chest Shoemakers ToolboxSnap On Mini Tool Box Snap-on Tool Box Mini MiniatureVintage Small Wood Primitive Looking Tool Box Chest With Divided TrayAntique Machinist Carpenter Wooden Tool Box Old Wood Chest W Worn Paint LargeVintage Small Britool Tool Box Empty 12 1/2 X 3" Old ToolVintage Metal Tool Box 1943 GreenSnap On Tool Box Classic 9615 Piece John Deere 3/4" Drive Socket & Tool Box Ty3336 Made Usa ExcellentVintage Snap-on Tools ¼” Drive Master Set Tool Box €Older Original John Deere Metal Tool Box AdvertisingCollectible Snap-on Intimidator Tool Box Scale Model - 12.25" X 7.75" X 4.75" -Us Wwii M5 Tool BoxSnap On Toolbox Dale Earnhardt Jr. #8 Old Primitive Antique Coffin Casket Shaped Steel & Iron Toolbox Hand Made AafaAntique Machinist Tool Box Wooden Handles Say S. J. Co.see DescriptionVintage Snap-on Socket Wrenches Tool Box Case (no Tools)Vintage Duplex Machinist Tool Box By Proto 1250John Deere 70 Series Combine Decorative Toolbox! Look! MintSnap On Tools Metal Miniature Intimidator Series Tool BoxVintage Craftsman 1/4 Or 3/8 Drive Socket Set Metal Tool Box Good ConditionVintage Metal Black And Decker Tool BoxUs Military Tool Box Medical Box?Snap-on Tools-vintage Retro Logo Decal Sticker For Toolbox Or CaveAntique Carpenter Wood Tool Box With Insert, Metal Corners And LatchBig 8 Drawer Machinists Tool Box Craftsman Kennedy Made Inspection MechanicsCool! Vintage Thermos Brand Metal Cooler Ice Chest Ratrod Toolbox Storage Worn!Yale # U 74 A Suitcase Briefcase Trunk Tool Box Luggage Key/free ShippingExcelsior Luggage, Suitcase, Briefcase, Toolbox & Steamer Trunk Key # 2620Vintage Old Beat-up, Rusty With Parts Missing Greenish Tool Box 5 Drawer Craftsman Rolling Locking Toolbox Chest Shop Cabinet Tools Wrench SearsVintage Union Steel Red Steel Machinists Chest Tool Box 7 Drawer CollectibleVintage Machinist 5 Drawer Toolbox Oak Tool Chest!Antique Wood Tool BoxMachinist Transfer Punch Set In Index Tool Box Find Mechanic Fab Shop 3/32-17/32S-k Professional Tools- Die Cut Mirror Chrome/black Sticker For Toolbox Or CaveVintage Industrial 15" Sk Tools Tool Box Metal Steel Case For Ratchet Socket SetSnap-on Limited Edition" Mustang" 30th Anniversary Minature Tool BoxVtg Metal Tool Box~industrial Chest~old Rustic Primitive Country Farm Garden ArtAntique Wooden Box Carpenter Tool Box Tote Rustic PrimitiveVintage 50s 60s Handmade Wooden Carpenter's Tool BoxVintage Antique Stevens Walden Inc Flip Top Metal Tool Box 2-7/8x1-1/4x6-1/2Champion "q-x Moly" Cool Small Sticker For Toolbox Or Cave