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]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Kennedy Tool Box #52611 Machinist Metal Garage Shop Vintage Tool Chest 11 DrawerUgly Little 16" Stanley Sweethart Toolbox Saw No.780 Crosscut - Hand SharpenedAntique 3 Tier Tool Box Spur Auger Bits. Russell Jennings Mfg. Co. Set #100 Snap On 1920-2010 Miniature Tool Box Collectible Vintage Antique Green Tote Tool Box Caddy PrimitiveVintage 20" Oak 7 Drawer Machinist Tool Chest Box Toolbox H.gerstner & Sons ?Indiana Farm Find-vintage Metal Tractor Tool Box-country DecorVintage Williams Ratchet Socket Set Metal Tool Box Case U.s.a.old Tool 5 Vintage Oak Wood Machinist Tool Box/chest Drawers Nr Bargain Priced Very OldVintage Kennedy Model 520 Metal Machinist Tool Box 7 DrawersAntique Vintage Steel Metal Mechanics Tool Box Chest Organizer W/trayKennedy 8 Drawer Tool Box With 5 Drawer Side BoxOld Metal Fishing Tackle/tool BoxSnap On Mini Tool Box 5 Drawer Great ConditionVintage Kennedy Model 520 Machinist Tool BoxVintage 3-tier Wood Auger Bit Box W/14 Bits Craftsman Mix Drill ToolboxAntique Tri-level Wood Auger Bit Box Case Russell Jennings Drill Toolbox Full! Jewelers Tool Box Lot Hammers Vise Anvil Silversmith Blacksmith Old WatchmakerOld Vintage Wooden Stanley Tool BoxPlumb Tool Co, 9980 Tool Box Lockable With Side HandlesBreyer Traditional Horse Accessory Toy - Nib 2476 Grooming Kit - Brushes Toolbox Mccormick Deering - Antique Vintage Tool Box Lid Mower Farm ImplementVintage Craftsman Metal Tool Box Chest Sears Inner Tray 16x 7 1/2 X 7Rare Vintage Proto Flying Lady Socket Set Metal Tool Box Case For RatchetVintage 3 Latch Craftsman ToolboxVintage Lot 2 Small Green Tool Boxes-giller Tool Box & Bits Amazing Antique Carpenters Wood Tool Box Captain Ships Chest - Almost 3 Feet!Vintage Kennedy Machinist Tool Box 520? Vintage Craftsman Cantilever Tool Box LockableExcelsior Luggage, Suitcase, Briefcase, Toolbox & Steamer Trunk Key # Ky73Vintage Military Ammo Box Burrowes Gun Ammo Tool BoxSears Craftsman Old Style Heavy Carpenters Tool Box Long Luggage, Suitcase, Briefcase, Toolbox & Steamer Trunk Key # 908Vintage Union Machinist Tool Box ChestVintage Tractor Tools And Tool Box, Case, Ih,Chest Handles/door/barn Door Handles/tool Box Handles/cabin Door Box Of 10Vintage Heavy Cast Aluminum Tool Box - 8.5"x3.5"x3" - HingedLong Luggage, Suitcase, Briefcase, Toolbox & Steamer Trunk Key # 22054Snap-on Tools Red Toolbox KeychainVintage Armaloy Armstrong Bros. Tool Co. Metal Socket Tool BoxPratt Whitney Toolbox StickersMotorcycle Helmet Tool Box Biker Women Lady Girl Decal Sticker LotEagle Luggage, Suitcase, Briefcase, Toolbox & Steamer Trunk Key # 56v21Mccormick Cast Iron Tool Box LidGeneral Hardware No.14 Jobbers Drill Gauge Gage Steel ~ Usa Machinist Tool Box