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Gerstner box with WOOD drawer bottoms?


Jun 16, 2001
St Louis
AFAIK Gerstner boxes have metal drawer bottoms....

But I have come into possession of a box with leatherette covering and no top compartment or book drawer, on which the drawer with the logo decal has a WOOD bottom. The others all have metal.

This box is very much like the copy of the first Gerstner box in the picture on their website (company history section), except that the top drawers are split instead of being full width.

I think this is fairly old, probably from some time anywhere from 1915 to 1930, based on dates found on things inside which indicate the working time of the original(?) owner. The 1" Slocombe Micrometer found in it had patent date of 1897 marked on it, which suggests it was made within the patent lifetime after that. Of course contents prove nothing much.

I expect the original owner (name and address on a brass plate found in a drawer) worked on airplanes in the 1920s, since there were sections of streamlined wire found in the box.

Oddly, I found the key to the box (or at least one that works the lock) in a drawer, although someone had added a padlock hasp.

Leatherette is pretty torn up. No pics yet.




The two pieces on top I think are the drawer slide (missing) and part of the slide for the front panel
Every Gerstner box I have ever owned and or seen (50+) has had a wood bottom on the bottom drawer.
Interesting...... This is the only Gerstner I have ever had the drawers out of, and certainly the only one I have ever had as my own possession. I buy perfectly ordinary metal Kennedy boxes, and I would go to almost any length to find alternates in place of actually buying a Gerstner.

The wood bottom is odd, because the other drawers of exactly the same "floor area" have metal. There must be some sort of good reason..........?

Maybe because that drawer is the most exposed to "outside elements" and metal might cause condensation? That might make sense.

Not being overly familiar with Gerstner, I went and looked, and this box is actually nearly identical to the "style 32", except that it is coverd in a leatherette material that now feels about like heavy construction paper.... it seems to be cloth with a thin coating.

The pattern on the front cover is interesting also, a double line pattern around an inch and ahalf in from edge, and a line from the corners of that to the actual corner. Can't tell how it was done, maybe a hot roller.
The largest & bottom drawer probably gets the most abuse + heaviest "stuff" put in it. Probably sturdier that the thin metal. Just a thought.
I have the exact same box. It belonged to my Great Grandfather. I have had it for 20 years and had not done anything with it. I just cleaned it up and it shows many years of being used every day. The greasy finger prints on the bottom of the drawers made me smile and wonder what all he had made over the years. I have many of his tools and most are L.S Starrett and Brown and Sharp.

I just finished restoring a South Bend Heavy 10 and working on a mill. Both my great grandfathers were machinist and I am sure that they are smiling as they watch me learning to make chips.

It turns out that I know whose box it probably was, a man who is the great uncle of a person I know. he did work for Curtiss-Wright, around 1920 or so.

No idea when he got the box, but it is likely around then. Don't know if he bought new, either.

I offered the relative any of the name-marked tools (free), but they were not interested. I gave them the nameplate (found loose, not attached) and a section of old streamlined biplane wire I found in it.