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    

Lg Antique Edwardian Era C.e. Jennings & Co. Machinist Chest Old Wood Tool BoxAntique Gerstner Machinist Tool Box 11 Drawer Wood Chest Jeweler Watchmaker VtgSnap-on Metal Tool Box With A Few Tools Included (vintage) Vintage Japanese Carpenters Wooden Tool Box With Tray1:10 Scale Snap On Mini Tool BoxAntique Star Chest Oak Machinist 8 Drawer Tool Box With Keys Good Shape Snap On Mini Tool BoxWards Master Quality No 45 Plane W/cutters, Small Square, Wood Tool BoxH. Gerstner ToolboxVintage H. Gerstner & Sons 11 Drawer Model 052 Machinist Oak Tool Box Chest Snap On Tools Mini Tool Box. Dale Earnhardt Eliminator Box And Top Deck1982 Snap-on Kra-21d Tool Box 21 X 11 1/4 X 8 9/16 Vintage Heavy Duty Bridge City Tools Pv-1 Pv-2 Precision Pin Vise Tool + BoxSnap On Vintage Tool Box EmblemAntique Cast Massey Harris Tool Box Lid Mh Drillbox Crown Premium Limited Edition Snap On Mini Tool Box Jewelry & Bank ComboRare Schrade Vise-grip 5wr Toolbox Multi-tool KnifeVintage Rare Craftsman Logo Tool BoxAntique Fancy Cast Iron Tool Box~used On Horse Drawn Equipment~farm ToolVintage Milwaukee Heavy Duty Metal Electric Tool Box Steel Red Tool Box Only Original Kennedy Tool Box Machinist Chest Lock & Key- #- T 092Vtg S-k Wayne Empty Metal Tool Box 8-1/2"x 3-1/2"x 1-1/2" Made In UsaVintage 1970's, Motorcraft (ford) Gas Station, Parts Cabinet, Tool Box Bridge City Tools Tb-1 Juara T-bevel Tool + BoxMini Snap On Tool BoxMatco Toolbox Bank Original Kennedy Tool Box Machinist Chest Lock & Key- #-k 1693Antique Tool BoxVintage Wooden Tool Box Original Kennedy Tool Box Machinist Chest Lock & Key- #- K 1386Tool Chest Ltd Edition Jesse James 4 Drawer Signature 207pc Tool Set. Tool Box Antique Vintage Primitive Large Wood Equipment Tool Box Chest Great Decor PieceVtg John Deere Moline Ill Tractor Combine Tool Box Cover Z412h Cast IronSnap-on Boom Box Radio Tool BoxAntique Wooden Toolbox ~ Rustic Shabby Primitive Cabin Farm Barn DecorAntique Wooden Carpenter Primitive Vtg Red Tool Box Garden Caddy Heavy Tote Vintage John Deere 3 Drawer Portable Work Tool Box Clean Used 4 Tractor Or Car TVintage 12 Drawer Metal Tool Chest, Machinist Box, Workshop Storage Bin, ToolboxVintage Solid Wood Tool Box With 7 Drawers, Inset Pulls, Early 1900's??Craftsman Vintage ToolboxVintage Kennedy 19" Tool Box Style # Cs-19-637461 Great Condition Made In UsaVintage Wood Garden Carrying Tool BoxHot Buck Folding Camping Outdoors Hunting Fishing Pocket Knife Sharp Tool+box Antique 1940's Wood Carpenters Tool Box With Hand Saw 31" X 6" X 14"Kennedy Vintage Machinist Toolbox Leather HandleVintage Sears Craftsman Hip Roofed Tote Tool Box With TrayVintage Bell System D Tool BoxLittle Drawers Tool BoxAntique Cast Iron Tool Box~used On Horse Drawn Equipment~farm Tool* Vintage * Whiz Dayco Corp. Sticker Decal Nascar Racing Rat Rod Tool Box Hat Vintage Industrial Park Union Tool Box Vintage Used Metal Tool Box Carrying Case Storage Container Craftsman 1998 Mini Tool Ornaments In Tool Box - Limited Edition - MibLot Of *100* Small & Large Racing Stickers Nascar Nhra Drag Car & Toolbox DecalsChinese Calligraphy Brush Pen Ink Inkstone Tool Box SetVintage Original Kennedy Tool Box Shop Machinist Chest Lock Key- #-t63 Original Kennedy Tool Box Machinist Chest Tubular Lock Key- #-ken 2201Snap-on Tools Collector Decal "private Property Keep Out" For Toolbox Or CaveCheckered Flags-die Cut Retro Corvette Style Racing Sticker For Toolbox Or Cave