Discovering the Fascinating World of Antique Tools
The world of antique tool collecting is a fascinating indeed. These links will direct you to some of the best sites on the web. While many collectors also use their tools for work or pleasure, those claiming to be interested only in the use of vintage tools are often closet collectors. If you choose to pursue an interest in old tools, please be kind. More antique tools are destroyed by misguided restoration attempts than by neglect.
Auctions & Consulting
- Fine Tool Journal — The Fine Tool Journal holds quarterly auctions via its quarterly magazine which also includes well-written articles. The publisher also sponsors the annual Brown Tool Auction, the foremost antique tool auction in the United States.
- Great Planes Trading Company — Mike Urness provides a consulting service for those disposing of tool collections and arranges old tool auctions when appropriate
- Martin J. Donnelly Antique Tools — Martin Donnelly runs the largest series of tools auctions in the United States.
Yesteryears Tools — Tom Lamond's site concentrates on ax markings and labels
A Collection of Bit Braces — a site on the development of the the metallic bit brace maintained by Sandy Moss
- Buck Brothers — a history of Buck Brothers, the Massachusetts firm supplying quality chisels to generations of Americans, by Brian Welch
- T. H. Witherby — a history of Massachusetts-based edge tool maker T. H. Witherby by Brian Welch
- The Wood Central Message Boards — includes a message board focused on hand tools and traditional woodworking
- Old Tools FAQ — includes sign-up instructions for the oldtools list, a moderated e-mail discussion group of die-hard old tool enthusiasts
- The Davistown Museum Center for the Study of Early Tools — information and links to information on Maine and New England toolmakers
- Museum of Woodworking Tools — virtual exhibits include: American levels, English shoulder planes (1860-1938), iron side rabbet planes (1860-1938), Stanley combination planes, the planes of Cesar Chelor
- Museum of Our Industrial Heritage — a group dedicated to preserving the the artifacts and archival resources of the manufacturing industries of Franklin County, Massachusetts, home of the Millers Falls company, Goodell-Pratt, the Greenfield Tool Company, etc.
Rhode Island Toolmakers — the title pretty much says it all, a nice site, with much info on early plane makers
George's Basement — features include type studies of the Millers Falls Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 5 hand drills.
- Astragal Press — now partnering with the Chester Book Company, Astragal Press is major source for of books on early tools and trades
- Old Tools Shop Internet Magazine — Wiktor Kuc has put together one of the best old tool sites on the web
Reprints, paper and electronic
Spiral Screwdriver Patents — Cliff Fales' listing of spiral screwdriver patents from 1868 through 1931 includes digitized versions of his periodical articles.
Old Wood-Working Machines — information on old woodworking machines, hand-powered and electronic
Wrenching News — an online newsletter for wrench collectors, a must if you want to keep up with events