THE LATEST ON WASTE DISPOSAL: DiMola’s trash collection of antiques keeps growing with 1940s tool chest
My mystery toolbox
Earlier this week, The New York Times published a story called “Mysteries of a Nazi Photo Album” about an anonymous photo album that exhibited images from 1941 of both Hitler and his victims. Yesterday, the Times published another story revealing that it had learned the photo album had belonged to photographer Franz Krieger, a native of Salzburg, Austria, whose wife and 2-year-old daughter were both killed when America’s 15th Air Force bombed that town.
Certainly, I don’t have such a photo album, nor a concrete story to go along with it, but I do have what I believe is my own mystery object that dates back to World War II. It’s a Union Chest 7-drawer machinist tool chest that, I think, was manufactured in 1941. The story in the Times inspired me to document the toolbox and see if any readers had more information it.
My basic searches on eBay have shown that toolboxes like this one sell for up to $900 right now. The exterior of the box is made of a medium to dark wood. It has 7 drawers, all with small metal handles. The top part of of the box folds open, and can be locked by securing two metal latches. The box is in overall good condition, although it does look like someone got use out of it — the wood is slightly worn and the material from the main handle has cracked a bit. Still, the outside of the box is overshadowed by its contents.
Take a look inside
All of the antiques that I found in the box provides some clue as to who had owned this toolbox.
These black-and-white images are of a woman, sunbathing in a swim suit outside. The photo is dated 1960. My initial thought was that this toolbox had not been used in World War II, because the war was in 1944, and the photo is from 16 years later. However, it’s very possible that the owner actually had been in the war when he was much younger. All speculation.
Dated 1954, this is a receipt from a tailoring company called J. Munder & Co., Inc. Now the home of the women’s clothing store Bebe, the tailoring shop was once located at 100 Fifth Avenue in New York, according to the receipt.
Spark plug indicator chart
We’re getting closer, because this indicator chart is dated 1948 — just four years after the war ended and 12 years earlier than when the black-and-white photographs had been taken.
This is an owner’s guide to using a Whirleybird Spreader. Produced by ORTHO, this manual teaches an owner how to disperse grass seeds and other lawn products, using the spreader. It was printed in the United States in 1927.
Well, this is handy, because you can store your smokes and your lighter in the same spot. It was made by a company called Ronson, and it’s a “Mastercase” case/lighter combo. The “Mastercase” was first produced in 1933.
Handwritten task sheet
This could be the owner’s duty sheet if he had been in the army, or perhaps his father’s. It notes when he reported for duty and each time he had a meal. It could also indicate that this guy was a civil worker, such as a fireman or police officer. It’s dated 1954.
Here’s just one of several tools that were in the box when I found it. This particular tool was manufactured by The L.S. Starrett Company, which was founded in Massachusetts in 1880 and still exists today. The rest of the tools were vintage scroll tools, typical items that an engineer might use.
In their original case.
This watch is 3 inches wide. It’s about time I found a toolbox like this.
What keeps me going is the fact that I can find stuff on my jobs that takes an hour or longer to look at — when I have the free time.
If you have any information about the toolbox, or feel compelled to share a memory, thought or question about any of my waste disposal jobs, please don’t hesitate comment on the blog.