COLLECTION: Tools & Equipment

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Tool chest

Origin: England
OL: 44 1/4"; OW: 26"; OH: 26"
Pine, oak, mahogany, ebony, satinwood, iron, textile, paper, brass.
Gift of Mr. Frank McGregor Smith.
Acc. No. 1986-268,1
Six-board pine chest with open-face dovetailed sides, nailed bottom, and top secured with iron strap hinges. Flat, wide base molding with ogee return. Top has inlet end battens and applied front molding which form lip overhanging sides when closed. Applied brackets on ends for rope handles. Oval brass key escutcheon on front. Exterior shows traces of red/brown paint or stain. Lid secured by double-staple lock, complete with key. Inside of lid covered with textile-backed blue-green wallpaper. Attached to inside of lid by iron butt hinges and swinging down to open is mahogany tray decorated with ebony and lightwood inlay in corners and fitted on interior with brackets to hold saws and layout tools. Tray held closed by push-button spring latches on each side. Interior of chest has well for planes and a combination tray/drawer unit in front (two drawers present). Bottom of tray cut to hold squares. Attached to inside front of chest is slotted rail (for chisels?). Fitting into chest is sliding till with four dovetailed drawers, scratch beaded, in center flanked by two full-depth wells with lids hinged on brass butts. Drawers have brass drop pulls, and till rolls on brass casters.
Label:George W. Cartwright II immigrated from London to the state of New York in 1819. His fitted tool chest contained chisels, planes, sharpening stones, and implements for marking, measuring, carving, and veneering. Many had been made before Cartwright was born, indicating that he probably inherited the tools or bought them secondhand. A substantial number of these tools remain with the chest today.
Provenance:Frank McGregor Smith
Inscription(s):"G.W.C. / II / PASSENGER" painted on lid. Document "Mr. Cartwright / The Grove / Camberwell" nailed onto chest front.