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Child's Tool Chest (USA)

This is a Child's tool chest.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from National Museum of American History as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated 1900–24. Its medium is wood, metal, paint, paper, ink.

Miniaturizing objects to a scale accessible to children has held a special fascination for designers and makers over the centuries. This child’s tool chest declares carpentry to be boys’ work, a commentary on early twentieth century society and its gender expecta¬tions. Inside the lid is a color lithograph of boys building a small house beneath a banner that reads, BLISS UNION TOOL CHESTS FOR BOYS. R. Bliss & Company, originally a producer of wood screws and clamps for piano and cabinet makers, became well known for their lithographed wooden toys around the turn of the twentieth century.
The chest, complete with a hinged lid and a removable top tray, contains functional tools, including a metal plane, chisel, hammer, and saw. Only the size of the tools and the adjustments made to the grips for smaller hands distinguish the contents from their adult versions.

It is credited Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, 1977.1101.0167.

  • Machinist's Tool Chest (USA)
  • wood, metal, felt, mirror, approximately 250 tools.
  • Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, 1989.0259.348.
  • 14.2012.186
  • Child's Chair (USA)
  • molded laminated plywood, red stain.
  • Gift of Mrs. Eric Larrabee.
  • 1991-144-1
This object has not been digitized yet.

Our curators have highlighted 5 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

This object has not been digitized yet.
This object has not been digitized yet.
  • Sidewall, Circus, 1956
  • screen printed.
  • Gift of The Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • 1998-75-179

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 33 x 43.2 x 22.9 cm (13 x 17 x 9 in.); from collection website

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Child's Tool Chest (USA) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=28 May 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>