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Tool Show


"Laborer, Craftsman, Artist - 300 years of Fine Tools” was a special exhibit at the Toy and Miniature Museum in Kansas City, MO. from May 20 to Aug. 30, 2009. It was one of the largest antique tool exhibits mounted by a museum in years. I designed and built the exhibit to show my collection and my friends', Mike Santos power tools and Donald Kruse’s woodworking tool collection.


The opening poster

catalogs and books

The 1st case is Books and Catalogs. It includes Plumier's 1701 book on the Lathe, Bergeron's Manual du Tourner, the 1801 Peter Stubs catalog, E. Walker's surface gauge and catalog, a Sweet's micrometer and more. Next to many of the books are the actual tools shown in the illustrations.

signed tool

The 2nd case contains some signed tools, an engraved silver drafting set, a stamp maker's test rule and the owners stamp of Lyman Dickerman who's tool chest can be found a few feet away.

drawing instruments

The 3rd case is Drawing Instruments, these date from about 1675 to the early 1900s, and a few drawings.

instruments, left

In the upper left are pocket drawing sets, below them and 18th C. pocket cases called by the French word- etui. 

instruments, right

17th C. drawing instruments are in the center part of the display. The large set to the right was a gift in 1876. At that time this set cost the equivalent of  $ 2,000 today, it was a going away present to a man that kept the men employed during the financial crash of 1870s.

cabinetmakers chest

The 4th case is Lyman Dickerman's tool chest, born in 1830. This Carpenter/joiner fought at Gettysburg where he lost a leg and may be why some of his tools are unused. There is no record of him working in the trade after the war. A few tools even have the prices still marked on them. He had great taste in tools as he bought the finest quality offered in his day.

cabinetmakers chest, detail

He had a complete set of wood molding planes and the most modern metallic planes by Rodier.

levels and planes

The 5th case is a assortment of Planes and Inclinometers. Wooden Planes include examples made by the Nicholsons, the first American plane makers and by their freed slave Ceasar Chelor. Others by Jo. Fuller, Carpenter and more. Plow Planes are Edwin Walker, Stanley Tool Co.'s Miller's patents and more.

wide view

An overview of part of the exhibit.

power tools.2

Power Tools, the designs range from a motor with a handle to Art Deco sanders mimicking powerful streamliner trains. The layout of the display was inspired by the Futurama exhibit at the 1964 World's Fair.

power tools 3

The view from the end.

power tools

Sanders made to look like appliances and heavy saws OSHA would not approve of.

wide view 2

Another overview of the exhibit.

machinist tools

Machinist's tools.

machinist 3

Calipers and dividers of all types.

clockmakers tools

Charles M. Leonard's machinist chest, c. 1870 and watch & clockmaking tools by Peter Stubs.

shop made tools

Shop made tools, these are often copies of commercials manufactured tools.

surface gauges

A C. E. Jennings tool chest filled with surface gauges.

machinist 4

Vernier , dial and sliding calipers.

tap die

Tap & die sets for cutting threads.

small tools

Miniature tools for small work.

machinist tools 2

Speed indicators, gauges and test indicators.


Center squares, protractors and in the middle one of the first combination squares by Starrett in 1879. Millions of these are in use around the world.




Starrett Tool Co. factory display case from a dealer.

fret work

Victorian tools for the home. A pin striped Challenger fret saw.


Lathes, the polished Manson Lathe 's design is inspired by the industrial Monarch 10EE shown on the magazine cover.


The modern miniature tools of Paul Hamler.

Hamler 2

Reproduction Miller's patent plow plane and a miniature.

Hamler 3

1/5th scale miniature tools by Paul Hamler.


Reproduction ivory plow plane and a miniature.

end plaque

Thoughts about tools.


A special thank you to all those that helped with this exhibit.

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