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

That style of cross pein hammer is usually called French pattern. Outside of modern smiths, who use all styles of tool regardless of origin, they are pretty much used in France.

Locksmith , perhaps.
As many here will have recognized, a hammer with that form is not uncommonly seen in the hands of a blacksmith.


As others have noted, not a very big hammer. Jewelry or small metalsmithing hammer. Just not in blacksmith territory in general (ther are exceptions)
It does have a musical look to it..
I'm reminded of a story i was told by one of the guys in the liverpol philharmonic (lpo) they were touring the ussr when their plane made an unscheduled stop in the middle of nowhere.

Stepping off the aircraft onto the arctic tundrre, one member of the orchestra said to the frazzled translator/tour guide 'kindly direct me to the nearest basoon repair centre'...
"The pictures appear to show everything except what is in the two compartments to the right of the large wrench-like item. See next post

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. Yes

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. spare parts that may not have been there originally

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.What ever was in there was tapered as the slot is, have no idea but wish I did, then I would copy it.

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.agree, the hammer is very small like a jewelers hammer, see my next post

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.see the next post, I think the scewdriver next to is made to remove whatever went in there

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? no, appears to be a screwdriver flat tip, As for the wrench, it is to hold something maybe while the tool in the TEE handle is used? Or for something not super tight, reminds me of the wrech that comes with a paint gun?

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.I think it for the TEE handle, very nicely made

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.maybe?

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.tools of the types that are imported were typical during this period. Early on in the States almost all metal tools were imported, by the end of the 19th century we were making lots of tools but some were still be brought over much cheaper or more specialized.

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.European tools show up quite a bit in the big American tool catalogs like Montgomery & Co. out of NY.

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 " It could have been, the case is simIlar to some German drafting instruments cases.
Here are some more pictures. As to the hammer, it is very small like a jewelers hammer. The pattern is sometimes called a riveting hammer in a number of 19th century catalogs. They have origins in both France, England and here in the states. In one of the photos it sits next to a Civil War vintage American hammer by Ames.Also shown is it next to a modern hammer I bought about 25 years ago in France, same pattern. Funny part is it French Stanley and other side is a label to that effect.

. . . 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.What ever was in there was tapered as the slot is, have no idea but wish I did, then I would copy it. . . ..

I'll repeat the suggestion earlier (#17), that the top empty slot may have held a wire drawing die. If so, all the tools in that top compartment make sense together.

And if the commonly used tools were for fine wire work (jewelry, stitching, etc.), then the lower compartment may be to adjust some related bit of machinery. Possibly a small rolling machine? What puzzles are those tiny needle-like parts and their companions. Could they have been used to secure the ends of wire for drawing; with different sizes as the wire is drawn thinner? To secure the ends of wire in use?? Or used more like needles to wire-stitch something together???

FWIW, I believe harp (etc.?) strings were once made by drawing.

Here's an antique, French, example of a tapered wire drawing die -- about the right size to fit that slot?

antique drawing plate for wire - Google Search
I looked at those harp tools. The harpists i met during my years recording were unlikely to fix their own instrument , one advantage of being a harpist apparently, is that someone else does all the humping.

Harps (at least orchestral harps) are incredibly complex, peddles all around the base, more like pianos than most stringed instruments , the kit looks a bit twee for harp repair kit.

I wonder about music boxes or those larger disc player types?
To my eye, as a blacksmith, the Ames cross pein is not a French pattern hammer since it is symmetrical top to bottom. It is closer to what is often called a Swedish pattern hammer.

The square pein on the Stanley hammer seems to be what distinguishes riveting hammers from other cross peins.

Not sure if any of this is helping identify your toolset though.

I'm assuming the regional names used by Peddinghaus are reasonably accurate since they predate the current explosion of interest in blacksmithing by a couple of decades. Who would have thought that the 1990 Centaur Forge catalog would now be a valuable historic reference that I should have saved. 🙄
fciron, agree, the French hammer is the closest match but as you similar styles of cross peens come from all over, one English catalog I have has versions for plumbers, cabinetmakers, etc.

As for it being for adjusting harps?, I don’t think so based on the scale of the tools, harps are big and have big parts, this set is small. The tuning pins on a harp are very tight and take a lot of leverage, nothing in this set is like that.

As for wire drawing, again don’t see that, I have a bunch of those plates and they are used with a draw bench, not by hand. Also the tapered fitted space tapers in the wrong direction for them to fit.

As to the little pieces, they appear to have hardened ends that rubbed against another part as they moved. There is also a little boss or pin at the end that must have engaged with something.

Thanks and let’s all keep thinking.
Billtodd the music box idea sounds good but not convinced, here is why. Music boxes are complex and have a lot of different parts and systems. Hence you would need a lot of tools and parts. This set is very basic. Since it has so few tools like screwdrivers for example, it must not have been for something with a lot of different size screws like a music box.

To me it seems it was too adjust some kind of small but not too complex machine, not something you needed to fit parts too in the field. Just a thing that might need a little tap of a hammer, maybe a lever of wire bent by holding it in the hand vise while twisting with pliers. The wrench may have held a lock nut while some tool in the TEE handle adjusted something? It is not a full tool kit for any kind of general fixing a complex something but a set for doing just a few tasks. Just my thoughts....
Still on the stringed instrument theme - something like a harpsichord? Someone familiar with antique versions of that instrument might recognize the small bits that might retain a string. The other small bits perhaps part of the action?? The handle a part for tuning?

There are a couple tiny cross pein hammers in this quick Google image search. All the string attachment / tuning pins are of a different type, though.

Tuning Hammers | Martin Shepherd Piano Service
I've had a look in my catalogue of S. Syzack & Son of London. It's not dated but about 1910, more or less. The hammer you have is a good match with their "Best Handled London or Exeter Hammers" which were available in eleven sizes, 0 to 10. Unfortunately they give no weight or size information, nor any indication what they were used for. The smallest one cost but eightpence (somewhere in the region of 30 cents at that time), so it was pretty small.

People have mentioned rivetting hammers. Tyzack listed them under "Tinmen's Tools" with weights from 1 to 1½ lb. so I think we can discount that idea.

Having worked on many different keyboard instruments over the years - I can include pianos, harpsichords, pipe organs, harmoniums and American organs (what I believe are called pump organs in the US) - and worked with professional instrument technicians, I am far from convinced that the tools were for any sort of keyboard instrument.

George B.