What's new
What's new

Very nice tool set with an un-known purpose, any ideas?

rivett608

Diamond
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Location
Kansas City, Mo.
As anyone who follows my posts knows, I know a lot about antique tools, but this has me stumped. It is a fine set of tools, beautifully cased for some unknown purpose and I believe the clues lie in the little pieces parts found in the case assuming they are original to it.

First a detailed description: A 10” x 5 1/2” x 2 1/2” very nice leather covered case fitted and lined in chamois. A friend who is one of the finest gun case maker still working cleaned it up a bit and said it looks all original and these things were not later fitted in to a nice case. Based on the case and tools I guess this dates from about 1880-1920. The tools are a little finer than average and as this type of tool was offered in that period. These are in what was known as “bright” finish. Some of the tools are clearly imported, both pliers are signed P. S. Stubs (England), the vise is marked Besançon (France) and the hammer is stamped “SM” in a way I have seen hammers from England signed. The screwdriver has a boxwood handle. In the lid are a wrench which has a now chipped screwdriver tip on the end of the handle. This is clearly a wrench and not a gauge based on wear, it’s soft steel, and the lack of precision in the opening. The sizes are .230”, .275”, .350”, .390” & .475”. There is also a nice little TEE handle with a screwdriver that fits it perfectly. I am guessing there was a set of long bits, reamers or something that fit in it stored in the compartments to each side of it.

My feeling is this was a set of tools made to adjust something very fine and special. The tools seem like what you would use to tweak some kind of expensive machine that would be located in a very nice place. Just not picking the dirty type workman using this. But what were they adjusting? The clue may lie in what these little parts are.

There are a bunch of screws, thumb screws, set screws, etc. with machine screw thread sizes 1-72, 9-32, 12-30 and 20-20. These are size used in the United States at that period so I assume the set is American. There are also two thumb screws that may have never been used as they have burrs left over from being manufactured, they are .146-38 which is a pretty strange thread. Then there are springs and some kind if finger like things that might just be the clue. Look at the photos as a picture is worth a thousand words. They seem familiar but what are they from?

So, what ideas might you have of what this set was made for?

ThanksDSCN2194.jpgDSCN2197.jpgDSCN2189.jpgDSCN2190.jpg
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
I used to have one of those little hand vices. “ Besançon “ is an area in France famous for watch making. “ Stubs” were more famous for their “ Silver Steel “ ( drill rod in the USA ? ) and the short, much harder than normal, HSS drills - “ Stubs Drills “.

Regards Tyrone.
 

ManicMetalBasher

Hot Rolled
Joined
Feb 1, 2014
Location
Midlands UK
#1 03-22-2021 01:55
Limy Sami "Retirement Day"

#3 03-22-2021 02:51
"Pic #3 of the 2nd batch look like hooks from a knitting or carpet machine"

Some retirement, less than an hour and you are back in the saddle!

Best wishes.

Rich
 

cyanidekid

Titanium
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Location
Brooklyn NYC
its not dental or typewriter tools.

I thought instrument tuners kit immediately, looked up Harpsichord tools and there were some nice metal T handle wrenches showing up. the missing business ends for the T handle might have been sockets for tuning pins.

the hook like parts and wire coils do look more like bits from a knitting or weaving machine.

it is possible this was a harpsichord/celeste/harp/piano instrument tuners kit. the multiple instruments would explain the need for different size wrenches, and then it was re-purposed by a knitting or weaving machine repair person.
 

rivett608

Diamond
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Location
Kansas City, Mo.
My sister spent her career as a piano tuner and technician and these tools look nothing like anything she ever had or I have seen in other piano tuners kits.

It does look like it is for some kind of knitting machine but the fact that there is not a lot of room for spare parts makes me wonder. As for being for a typewriter, maybe but I remember when I was kid and took one apart I got ink all over the place. So how could someone use this for years without getting the fairly light colored orange chamois, which certainly is not easy to keep clean, free of ink?

Thanks, keep up the ideas.
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
Either way, it doesn't look like a toolkit that would go with the machine, rather
stay with a service person, calling on customers machines.
 

M.B. Naegle

Titanium
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Location
Conroe, TX USA
I doubt it's anything sewing related. Tune-ups or repairs happening frequently enough to have all the tools together in a nice case imply that the machine saw lots of use and not a lot of soiling. All the old time production sewing machines I'm aware of would be serviced with a standard tool-box that serviced the whole area and a few special wrenches that often stayed with the machine in it's own tool cabinet or drawer, and given that the materials and products are kept clean, the machines themselves are not always as lucky. Textile production lines are constantly changing as orders and fashions fluctuate, so it wouldn't make sense to put so much effort into one single set of tools or a single maintenance task. While many of these plants want to get as much longevity out of their machines as other industries, it's uncommon to have operators or service men who take as much joy or pride in the machines or maintenance as they do the products made.

I'm thinking it's something office related like the typewriter or adding machine mentioned above (less soiling and less connection to regular service tools), or something medical or laboratory (less quantity of product, but more exacting standards).
 

JST

Diamond
Joined
Jun 16, 2001
Location
St Louis
The pictures appear to show everything except what is in the two compartments to the right of the large wrench-like item.

Also, in the compartment with the lid, there are some items that appear to have a thread on them, or a spring. I do not see those in the photo of the contents. I assume those are the screws mentioned.

The contents in the two open compartments not shown seem to be either spares or more likely, things that go with the handle and wrench-like item. But not seeing them, it is not clear.

There are three long empty compartments. One above the hammer, and two alongside the wrench-like item. It would be useful to know what was in them.

It is interesting to see the collection of tools in the first section.... A hammer, hand vise, with small duck-bill and chain nose pliers, and what may be a small screwdriver or an awl-like tool. Everything but the hammer suggests finer work. Maybe something needed to be removed using the hammer, and perhaps some sort of drift that fitted in the spot next to the hammer, and which was then to be worked on.

The handle is an interesting item also. It has a set screw, appears to be part of a tool to be assembled, and which was expected to be used with some force. Perhaps to pull out a part, or to clamp something in place.

The form of the "wrench" itself is not suited to much force. The openings of different sizes do appear to be for nuts, or something similar, but why is there a hole in the middle? Does it form a "puller" when used with the handle and a part that is no longer present?

The apparent screwdriver that is next to the wrench is a very clumsy sort of design, but not un-heard-of. Not intended for much force.

All-in-all, it looks like a toolset that is missing a few pieces, but that was intended for adjustment of some device that was itself perhaps more delicate, but may have been attached to a larger machine from which it may have needed to be removed.

It looks "continental europe" to me, despite the screw sizes, and indeed the hand vise has the name of a French city on it. The form of the hammer is particular, and I cannot recall where I have seen one like it before.

Everything in there is something that was also made here, and there seems no need to import them unless the toolset was with a machine or device that was imported. The form of screwdriver type tool is unusual also, and again not US in type, even for the apparent time of manufacture, which I would suppose was maybe 100 years ago, plus or minus.

So it seems to me that it is a set shipped with or otherwise associated with something originating in europe, perhaps France. As to what that was, I have no idea
 

PeteM

Diamond
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Location
West Coast, USA
Another thought. Seems the top part includes tools one might normally see for working wire - metal wire stiching, fitting, jewelry, etc. A hammer to flatten wire, pliers to work it. The long slot with a missing tool might have held a drawing die - making the hand vise even more useful.

The tools below look like they are for maintenance of some associated tool. Wire roller? Stitcher? Lacing? ???

Key to the whole thing seem to be the tiny and apparently size-adjusted or wear parts in the small compartment -- also handily accessible from the top. A few look almost like ratchet regulators. The more numerous blunt needle-like ones suggest (to me) some sort of wire or other fairly heavy (cord, carpet . .. .) and rudimentary stitching/bending/lacing etc. tool.

How were old leather machine belts originally laced??
 

M.B. Naegle

Titanium
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Location
Conroe, TX USA
Another thought. Seems the top part includes tools one might normally see for working wire - metal wire stiching, fitting, jewelry, etc. A hammer to flatten wire, pliers to work it. The long slot with a missing tool might have held a drawing die - making the hand vise even more useful.

The tools below look like they are for maintenance of some associated tool. Wire roller? Stitcher? Lacing? ???

Key to the whole thing seem to be the tiny and apparently size-adjusted or wear parts in the small compartment -- also handily accessible from the top. A few look almost like ratchet regulators. The more numerous blunt needle-like ones suggest (to me) some sort of wire or other fairly heavy (cord, carpet . .. .) and rudimentary stitching/bending/lacing etc. tool.

How were old leather machine belts originally laced??

AFAIK, they were sewn or laced together before the metal clips/links were introduced. The lacing would have been done with a hand held needle and awl. The later metal clips were installed with a special vise mounted die set or a dedicated press.
 

jim rozen

Diamond
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
Location
peekskill, NY
Hammer is key I suspect. The shape alone says that it was designed for a specific task in mind. Moreover, the cut-out in the case is exactly the correct size and shape to accept that hammer head. Either the case was custom made for the owner (who supplied the hammer to the case-maker) or that shape hammer was commonly used for this particular application (whatever it was), so that pre-made tool kits included it.
 








 
Top