Gerstner price when new
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  1. #1
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    Default Gerstner price when new

    Wondering what your Gerstner Machinist Tool Chest or Case cost in its day, when it was new? Check this out, Pg 10f and Pg 10g have been added to ‘The’ Guide. 'The' Guide for Wooden Machinist Tool Chests, pre-1960

    pg-01-cover.jpg

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    The 042 I have was free. All dad had to do was complete his apprenticeship to get a no cost one.
    Bob

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    My 052 was $72.95 30 November 1966 in downtown Hartford CT. Lotsa bucks for a apprentice boy

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    Cool. If I can just remember where I put the key to my time machine, I'm headed back to 1959 with $60 in cash for one of the larger oak chests. Should have change left over for lunch at the Horn and Hardart automat.

    Current pricing on an 8 drawer metal Kennedy box: Amazon.com: Kennedy Manufacturing 526B 8-Drawer Machinist's Chest with Friction Slides, Brown Wrinkle: Home Improvement

    Thanks for the PDF.

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    I bought my Gerstner 042 ca 1979-80. I believe the price was right around $200-250. It was a lot of money in those days, but I was single and working a lot overseas. I figured it was a "now or never" type of decision. I bought the chest through an industrial supply firm outside Downingtown, PA called "Hatts" if I remember the name right.

    In 1973-75, I was working at Millstone Unit II nuclear powerplant on the construction site. There was a fine old time hardware/mill supply on Bank Street in New London, CT called "Gruskin's". Gruskin's always had a few Gerstner chests on the shelves in their store. I kept meaning to buy one and never did. Time and jobs rolled along, and I decided to buy the Gerstner 042 (?- the chest with the drawer for the "Machinery's Handbook") since I had been buying a lot of my tools and supplies thru Hatts. As I recall, they had to order the chest. It is not a decision I have regretted.

    Peter M speaks of the year 1959 and the Automat. Sounds like NY City of possibly Philly to me. Back in those days at the Automats, you got a bunch of nickels and bought your meal using nickels as "coin of the realm". They had a change clerk in a kind of kiosk and she'd take a dollar bill and you got 20 nickels. The food was in vending equipment with marble facades and small glass doors in heavily nickelled frames. The placard on each food or beverage item said "deposit X nickels". You did that, turned the knob and opened the glass door to take out your selection. Great baked beans and great coffee, and you ate at real tables with real metal flatware on china or glass serving dishes. Cops, cabbies, and everyone else in need of a quick/reasonably priced feed frequented the Automats. A buck's worth of nickels could buy a decent amount of food, even in 1968 when I started engineering school. There was an Automat a little walk away from the engineering school. Close to the school was a beat-up bar or tavern known to all the engineering students as "Greasy's". I think the real name was "the Rose Grill". It was a beatup old bar where locals and hungry engineering students ate and also drank. They had a hot food line, and a knackwurst sandwich with sauerkraut on a hard roll was 40 cents, while a short beer was about 30 cents. If you were done with classes and had taken a pounding on an exam, you could have a boilermaker (shot of whisky, beer chaser), for 90 cents in Greasy's.

    I have no idea what a new Gerstner chest cost. Probably up over a thousand bucks. My son was working in NYC one summer about 7 or 8 years ago. He said he had found a "bargain"- a bar having a special on boilermakers for only 7 bucks. In some bars in NYC, you pay more than that for a beer. Indexing things to a gallon of regular gasoline, ca 1972, was about 42 cents. Gasoline hovers around $2.65 a gallon here in NY state, and applying that index to a Gerstner chest costing 200 bucks in 1979, the Gerstner chest would now cost about 1200-1500 bucks.

    The Automats are history, and modern fast food joints and the fast food they serve are nowhere near the caliber of the old Automats. Subway fare in those days when I was in engineering school was a whopping 25 cents. With a buck or two, a person could eat reasonably and travel around NY City and have a little change left over.
    I worked in a union machine shop while in school, and as a helper, I think I started at $1.87 an hour. When I moved on up to journeyman a few years later, I think the starting rate was maybe 4.00 or 4.50 an hour. When I got out of school as a freshly-minted mechanical engineer, I left home to work on powerplant construction projects. My starting salary, which was considered quite good for the times, was $12,000 a year. I rented a furnished efficiency apartment for 40 bucks a week, and for about 10 bucks, got a sack of groceries which would last a few days. A bowl of chili for lunch was 60 cents, coffee was a quarter. Time and the value of a dollar seem to have spiraled into a blur at this point. I am allegedly retired, will turn 70 in September, God willing, and wonder where the years went and find myself a bit bewildered at how fast the world is now moving when I go on engineering jobs or leave the bubble that is our home environment in our hills. I do some work for a local machine shop, and it is heartening to see the Gerstner wood chests at the toolmakers' workbenches, and to see them running manual machine tools like Hardinge HLV lathes and Bridgeports and Moore jig borers. This same shop has CNC machine tools including a brand-new 5 axis Haas CNC machining center, CNC waterjet, wire EDM, and a bunch more of the modern stuff, but plenty of one-off jobs get done in the old ways on manual machine tools. The wood machinist chests seem to be one of the constants.

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    I started out with a metal Kennedy, had it for years, then before shipping went crazy, I added a couple of more, with matching risers.

    A few years ago, my OCD became focused on wooden tool chests............had to get some, started with a less than pristine leather covered Gerstner. Of course that led to others, on fleabay, shipping wasn't as bad then, so an 042 and a Union box joined the "collection"..............Then the desire for a new one became an issue, plus the desire to give Gerstner some support, finally dropped the hammer on an 052..........it resides on the dresser in the bedroom.

    I hope that I won't get into trouble for hoarding machinist boxes
    Just went to Gerstner's website, don't see the 052 being available anymore, looks like they have scaled the models down in number

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    Went to a tool show in Cincinnati in the mid 80's. Near the front door, Gerstner was selling "show specials" for couple hundred bucks if I remember correctly. They were "attache" cases made by Gerstner, just like their tool chests. I thought I would get one on my out of the show. Dumb move, they were all gone when I came around again. Beautiful little buggers.
    JH

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    I recently bought new keys for our two Gerstners as the originals were long gone. Both are the same 42 style with the handbook drawer in the middle.

    One we bought full of tools from a widow at church who's husband had been a tool and die maker. I think she wanted a couple hundred dollars for the collection, which ended up distributed between several other tool chests in our shop. The Gerstner is in pretty good shape and now resides in our Inspection crib.

    The other Gerstner's a little more worn and was the main box that belonged to Mr. Irwin Spalding who taught my dad machining years ago. I don't know what my dad paid for it as the purchase included multiple tool boxes, cabinets, a mill and a couple lathes. Irwin had either engraved his name and/or painted all the tools in the Gerstner with an emerald green paint and most of those tools have remained together over the years. Most of the collection came together between the 30's and the 50's when he worked at Wright Aircraft. We had kept those tools out of use for a long time as they kept "wandering" around the shop, but we've gotten a pretty good handle on that practice now, so a week or so ago I cleaned the toolbox up, filled any holes there were in the tool assortment, and started using it myself. My old toolbox was a small steel Kennedy that's now going to be a traveling set of tools until one of my kids starts hitting a green button and sawing up material.

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    I paid $83.25 for my O-52 in 1971. Bought it at Cornell supply Co. in Toledo Ohio when they were still downtown. Made the money by working in my dads shop and scraping out TV sets for the copper. I was 14 years old.

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    I was shopping at the company store for one in 1985. I can't recall the exact price but I decided to save some bucks and go for a Kenedey. I was 19 so the money was a big deal. Now all these years later the Kennedy is still useful but worn and showing some rust. If I had got the Gerstner I went in the store to get I bet it would still look pretty good with no rust but I am just guessing. The elements are tough on metal out here. Not a bad decision since now I can afford any box I want but I still like those Gerstner top boxes!

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    Since this thread came up, I will ask if Gerstner ever got away from the practice of making the drawers so that if pulled all the way out, they dumped the contents? I thought they would have made a drawer slide that prevented this.

    JH

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    That's how you separate the real machinists from the button pushers, doncha know...

    M.B. Naegle, when discussing Mr. Spalding's box, said: "Most of the collection came together between the 30's and the 50's when he worked at Wright Aircraft."

    You mean Wright Aircraft in Dayton, here?

    Wright Company Factory (Coming Soon) | National Aviation Heritage Area

    I went to the final auction out of there years ago, when Delphi Chassis (?) was moving out. Buddy of mine got a Heavy 10, maybe, from there. Interesting place, for sure.

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    I attended the Machine Tool Show at McCormick Place about in 1995. I visited the Gerstner exhibit booth. They had a deal where they were selling toolboxes under the National name. These toolboxes were made in the Gerstner factory, and were the same as the regular Gerstner toolboxes. I purchased a 26 inch box for $100.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James H Clark View Post
    Since this thread came up, I will ask if Gerstner ever got away from the practice of making the drawers so that if pulled all the way out, they dumped the contents? I thought they would have made a drawer slide that prevented this.

    JH

    None that I have seen have any stops.

    For that matter, I don;t know that I have ever seen it on a wood box. Pull out, set on bench, get what yu want, put back. not the brightest way, but at least you are expecting to have to grab it that way

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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post
    None that I have seen have any stops.

    For that matter, I don;t know that I have ever seen it on a wood box. Pull out, set on bench, get what yu want, put back. not the brightest way, but at least you are expecting to have to grab it that way
    newer ones have detents

    stop trac

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    Looks like the Stop Trac is an option and can be retrofitted on the older ones..............Just checked my "new" 2610, which used to be the 52? (which is only about 6 yrs old) It doesn't have anything to stop the drawers from coming all the way out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    newer ones have detents

    stop trac
    My O-52 that I think is a 1980's model has stop trac. It also has a mechanism to keep the front face from falling on the floor. Wish my Kennedy 11 drawer had that feature.

    Steve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James H Clark View Post
    Went to a tool show in Cincinnati in the mid 80's. Near the front door, Gerstner was selling "show specials" for couple hundred bucks if I remember correctly. They were "attache" cases made by Gerstner, just like their tool chests. I thought I would get one on my out of the show. Dumb move, they were all gone when I came around again. Beautiful little buggers.
    JH
    Had to see one of these attache cases for myself. Turns out they still sell them. Over $1000 today!

    Steve.

    YouTube

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