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    

Large Vintage Gerstner Ob62 Tool Box Base Riser Chest Machinist Tools Large Vintage Gerstner O62 Tool Box Chest Machinist Tools Antique Vintage Oak Wood Wooden Machinists Chest Tool Box 7 Drw Project Diy NrImmaculate Gerstner & Sons - Machinist Tool Box Chest - Leatherette 7 DrawerSnap-on 10 Drawer Limited Edition Chevy Belair ToolboxAntique H. Gerstner & Sons Wood Machinist Tool Box Oak 0422 Vintage Metal Industrial Machinists Drawer Chests Waterloo Tool Box OrganizerVintage Stanley Works Wrought Steel Hardware Wood Crate Handmade Tool Box Vintage Indian Motorcycle Yale Lock For Tool Box Motocycle Old AntiqueVintage Japanese Carpenters Wooden Tool Box With TrayAntique Oak Machinist Metal Lathe Toolbox Vintage Blacksmith WoodworkingVintage Small Simmonds #50079 Steel Machinist Tool Box W/ 5 Drawere & KeyVintage S-k Tools 1/4" Drive Socket Set In Metal Tool Box 21pc. No.4921 U.s.a.Vintage S-k 1/4 Or 3/8 Socket Set Metal Tool Box Good Cond Made Usa SkVintage Stanley Bailey No 7 Plane First Time Out Of Tool Box In 40 Years 3 0f 3Machinist Tiger Oak Craftsman Tool Box-chest 7 Drawers-original Key 1910-20'sTriumph Pre Unit Motorcycle Tool Box Rigid Frame Thunderbird Tiger T100 5t Twin Antique Plomb Los Angeles Tool Box Army Od Green Old Large Ww Ii Era Trays 9990Primitive Hand Made Wood Tool Box With Two Drawers Scrolling Design On EndsBuck Made In Usa #136 Honemaster Knife Sharpener Sharpening Tool & Box1930's Indian Chief & Sport Scout Factory Original Toolbox. Corbin1870's Iron Age Cast Iron Tool Box Implement Box For TractorVintage Craftsman Tool Box Chest #6512 W/top Tray Or Tote Excellent Condition!Antique Primitive Wood Toolbox Carrying Tote Wood W/ Leather Tool Holders Wow !!Kennedy Kits Tool Box Model 526!! Mint Condition Full Of Machinist Tools!!! Nr!Kennedy 520 7 Drawer Machinists Tool Box ChestOld Vtg Rustic Primitive Wood Carpenter Tool Box Caddy Carrier Farm Ranch Vintage Classic Craftsman 6512 Tool Box With Tray Vintage Snap On 1/4 Drive Midget ToolboxVintage Craftsman Metal Tool Box Tombstone Top Very Lite Use Factory Error TagKennedy Tool Box Chest Machinist Base Riser 2 Drawers Lock Keys Mc-28-2187 NrVintage Stanley Bailey No 3 Plane First Time Out Of Tool Box In 40 Years 1 0f 3Antique Pattern Makers Tool Box W/trammel Point Beam Compass & Dividing ToolsVintage Metal Craftsman Tool Box Toolbox W- Removable Tray Caddy Good ConditionChinese Calligraphy Brush Pen Ink Inkstone Tool Box SetVintage Indian Motorcyie Water Decal I Bought American Window/toolbox/helmet !!!Antique Stanley No 42 Saw Set Vintage Pistol Grip Tool Toolbox Carpenter ToolKennedy 7 Drawer Tool Box - Model 520Kennedy 3 Tray Tool Box Model-613Vtg Unknown Mfg. 1/2" Drive Ratchet, Socket, Breaker Bar, Tool Box Set - Husky?Antique Wood Wooden Carpenters Buggy Tool Box Carrier Holder CaseVintage Wooden Tool Box / Great Shape / Metal Handle Vintage Metal Tool BoxCase C Tractor Tool BoxHazet Tool BoxAntique Excelsior Trunk Lock & Key Chest Steamer Latch Set Toolbox Luggage 5987Gm Goodwrench Dealer Promo Mini Tool Chest W/tool Box On Top And 7 Tools.I.h.c. Tractor Tool Box - International Harvester Co.Vintage Kennedy Metal Tool Box W/tray - Model K-20-7241 - Parts Or RestoreEm* Old Ford And Mercury King Bolt Bushing Reamer Driver Tool, Box....1920'sWwii Gpw Willys G503 Jeep Tool Box Padlock Us Eagle LockLowe's Promo Mini Tool Box.2 Vintage Tool Box Chest Brass Handles Western Electric 3 Vintage Quaker State Motor Oil Magnets For Refrigerator, Toolbox, DashboardKennedy Tool Box Usa W/keysSnap-on Tools Miniture Toolbox Wagon Bank(model #krl7002a)serial#f282411aAntique Wooden Tool Box K .t. 1942Vintage "bell System D" Red Tool Box With 3/8" Drive Ratchet, Socket, Wrench LotMetal Tool Box/ Tackle Box Army GreenVintage Skiltools/skilsaw Inc. Metal Tool Box