It’s Not The Benjamin Seaton Tool Chest & Tools, However

Like the title states, it’s not the Benjamin Seaton Tool Chest nor same tools, but I enjoyed sorting thru the hand tools in this toolbox.

But first I should explain how what I am talking about, came to be. My wife is one of those people who loves to go to auctions (sometimes I feel I should try to cultivate a love for going to auctions). Roughly a year ago, Cathy came home from an auction with a wooden toolbox, and said she had bought me something at the auction.

I was like a kid in a candy store going thru the tools in the tool box. But let me show you some photos of what I am talking about.

The photo below is of the outside of the toolbox, with the following parameters:

  1. 17″ height x 32″ width x 7-7/8″ depth
  2. Toolbox was built using 1/2″ plywood (all six sides)

The photo below shows the toolbox opened, note the following features:

  1. Theres a drawer at the top of the toolbox, ideal for storing small items. The drawer outer dimensions are 1-13/16″ height x 30-3/4″ width x 4-7/8″ depth. The drawer was built using 1/2″ thick solid wood members and 1/4″ thick hardboard for the drawer bottom.
  2. The hinged compartment shown folded down in front of the toolbox is setup to hold two handsaws. Unfortunately the handsaws were not included with the toolbox.
  3. After the single drawer and hinged compartment mentioned above, the rest of the toolbox is just one large compartment for storing tools.

Now for the fun part, lets look at the tools. The photo below was taken after first getting the toolbox. I placed all the tools & parts inside the toolbox on my garage workbench and took the photo shown below.

Apparently Benjamin did not have a camera in 1797, so instead he decided to document all the tools in his tool chest with a written inventory. Today Benjamin Seaton’s written inventory, tools, & tool chest are in the Guildhall Museum in Rochester, England.

The photo below shows the chisels present in this toolbox. Notes regarding the chisels are as follows:

  1. Five cold chisels shown at the bottom left.
  2. Thirty woodworking chisels.
  3. The chisel at the bottom on the right hand side I found interesting in that the handle is an aluminum handle (only time I’ve seen an all metal handle).
  4. The three chisels with socket & wood handles in the center of the top row are Dunlap chisels.
  5. The chisel blades are an assortment of beveled sides & registered type chisel blades (blade sides square to back of blade).
  6. The majority of the chisel handles are socket chisel type handles and most of the chisels are missing the wooden portion of their handles.

The next two photos below show the rest of the tools that were found in this toolbox.

Unlike Benjamin Seaton’s tools, these tools are not new, nor in pristine condition. I would say they were used on a daily basis by someone involved in building construction. I am guessing building construction due to the six reciprocating saw blades that were present in the toolbox and the fact that the reciprocating saw is generally used for demolition work associated with building construction.

Unlike Benjamin’s tool chest, the tools in this toolbox are not complete. Theres no hammer and only a limited number of measuring devices are present.

Regarding the toolbox pictured in this post, I would estimate that this toolbox and its tools date back to the early 1940′s or early 1950′s. My rational for this time estimate is based on the following:

  1. Plastic handles for Dunlap chisels came about in the mid 1950′s prior to this wooden handles were used.
  2. The jigsaw blades (blade held in place by a screw) came into being in 1947 with the introduction of the Jigsaw in the market place. As a side note, jigsaw tool-less blade replacement was introduced in 1989.
  3. The Reciprocating Saw dates back to 1951 when it 1st came on the market.

Some notes regarding the Benjamin Seaton tools & tool chest:

  1. The Benjamin Seaton tools date back to 1796 & the tool chest to 1797.
  2. Benjamin Seaton’s woodworking tools & tool chest were never used.
  3. The “Tools and Trades History Society” located in England, published a 72 page book titled “Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton: 1797″, however its currently out of print, but a reprint according to their website is scheduled for the fall of 2011. Their website address is TATHS
  4. Used copies of the out of print book noted above are available currently for around $150 from places such as Amazon.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go back to my shop and sort these tools and put them into their respective new home (drawers) locations. I figure after a year since Cathy purchased them, its time to do this (got to work on my procrastinating problem, but not right now).

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Until Next Time, Take Care