Old tool packages

Many tool companies sold their planes, and other tools in boxes. Not like the boxes that tools are packaged in nowadays. These are *cool* boxes. They were mostly made out of pasteboard, of the full-lid-lift-top variety. The most interesting features are the ID labels at the ends of the boxes. Often colour-coded based on the type of tool, or the manufacturer.


The boxes were formed by folding the pasteboard and covering with a layer of paper. The boxes were often orange, as in the case of Stanley, or red for Millers Falls. Stanley introduced the orange boxes around 1900, with dark green labels with white text. The earliest of these boxes had a picture of the tool on them, which disappeared around WWI.


These days its hard to find original tools still in their boxes, except for “new” old stock, or tools from a collection. Often I imagine the boxes were just thrown away, or used for other purposes. The periodical “The Iron Age” (1893) mentions that “empty pasteboard boxes will form very practical and welcome receptacles for nails and different hardware”. Nowadays tools, when they come in boxes, are in utilitarian corrugated cardboard boxes. Nothing at all interesting, I have to think something has been lost along the way.

Just for interests sake, here are two boxes, one from Veritas, the other from Lie-Nielsen. Nothing super-exciting about these boxes.



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