Hi there! What a fun Friday I had with Nancy, one of my closest girlfriends. We had a leisurely breakfast followed by some vintage shopping. We didn’t make any phenomenal scores, but we sure enjoyed each other’s company. Later in the day I added some new merchandise to my booth at the Gristmill Antique Center, followed by dinner and a movie with my sweet husband. Have you seen Wonder Woman yet? I highly recommend it.
Saturday we drove into Albany for an archaeology presentation at the historic Myers home, where researchers have begun to piece together just how important the city of Albany was to the abolition movement and the underground railroad.
The Meyers, an African American couple of some means, likewise played an integral role in these movements. After the presentation, attendees were given the opportunity to conduct computer research on some of the artifacts discovered during recent digs on the property. It was both fascinating and fun. I see a blog post about it in my future 🙂
But you’re here today, I’m sure, to see some of my recent vintage finds. I thought today I’d focus on twelve terrific vintage tools I’ve picked up recently. I know it’s a somewhat unusual category for women to collect and/or sell, but tools in and of themselves can be works of art and collectors tend to be avid and are typically willing to pay good value for what they want. I am not a tool expert by any means, but I have found success with a few things that I’m happy to share with you. Some brands to keep an eye out for include Stanley and Millers Falls (remember the drill I bought recently?).
I stumbled into selling slide rules accidentally, by buying one that was cheaply priced and subsequently learning more about its value. Many are beautifully made and they are highly collectible.
Frederick Post Co. marketed this one that I recently purchased at an estate sale (cost: $3.00, value: $20-25.00). Manufactured in Japan of bamboo and plastic and with a leather case, it dates to 1947. Sales were sluggish looking on eBay, so I put it in my antique booth and it sold recently for $22.00.
You may recognize these two rules, both of which I purchased within the last year, and both manufactured by the New York company, Keuffel & Esser.
The rule on the left, which dates to the 1920’s and whose cardboard holder was ripped, sold from my antique booth for $22.00 (cost: $3.00). The newer rule (1940’s) on the right with the leather case and original manual, sold from my Vintage Blog Shop for $37.99 (cost: $2.50). They make great man cave decorations, too.
I have found that vintage and antique levels of all sizes sell fairly well for me, but lately, I’ve learned that I can make more on the larger sizes by upcycling them into coat racks. This small one cost just 50¢ and I’ve priced it at $6.00.
I buy every single vintage folding ruler that I come across if priced a dollar or under (this one cost just 50¢) because they always sell, and quickly (for $8-10.00). I recently sold a metal version for $12.00.
I shape them into stars, which look good in my booth and give decorators ideas on how to use them. Available.
I really liked the look of both of these rulers, particularly the “font” on the 18″ one on the right. I’ve not learned much about the Great Neck, right angle ruler (cost: 25¢, value: $10-12.00), but was able to unearth some info about the 18-incher.
Made by the L.S. Starrett Co. in Athol, MA of tempered steel, this No. 4 ruler was manufactured for the use of machinists and measures down to 64ths of an inch (cost: 75¢, value: $15-30?). As you can tell, it’s seen better days and will need some TLC before I can sell it. I just read about using The Works (a toilet bowl cleaner available at the dollar store) to remove rust from tempered steel. I’ll let you know how it works.
I’m also a huge fan of wooden rulers and measuring devices of all kinds and buy them regularly to sell and use in DIY projects. Here are two DIY’s: Yardstick Christmas Tree and Yardstick Coat Rack. I’ve got a third one coming up soon!
I am attracted to old tools with wonderfully fluid lines and remarkable gracefulness. I’ve even started hanging onto beautiful calipers like the ones above (left); they would be lovely displayed together (value: $6-10.00).
I picked out each of these from a box of old tools priced at 50¢ each. The adjustable wrench on the upper right is unmarked but appears at least partially hand-forged (value: $6-10.00).
The snap ring (automotive) pliers on the bottom are marked “Waldes Truarc Pliears No. 6” and seem to sell on eBay for $10-20.00.
Like folding rules, I buy up every reasonably priced magnifying glass I come across because they sell quite well (cost: $1.00, value: $6-8.00). Larger versions with handles constructed of special materials like Bakelite or carved wood will, of course, yield better values. That is if I can get them to my shop before my sweet daughter sees them, LOL. They look great in decorative vignettes as well as together in a basket or bowl.
A Slaymaker (fascinating name!) lock and key (cost: $1.00, value: $10-15.00). The company was in business from 1888 through 1986, when it shut its doors. Vintage and antique locks of all kinds sell very well for me. One benefit, of course, is that they are functional as well as decorative. Hang several from old nails on a piece of barn board and you’ll be happy you did.
A Stanley, 3″ clamp (cost: 50¢, value: $6-10.00). Like locks, clamps of all kinds, especially painted versions, sell very well for me, and of course, “Stanley” is a great name in tools. Frederick Stanley founded it in 1843 in Connecticut.
Final Fabulous Find: A carbon steel hunting knife with a stacked leather handle and an oak leaf motif leather sheath, marked “Hawthorne, Made in USA” (cost: 50¢, sold: $18.00 last week at my booth). It was in terrible shape when I bought it–covered in rust–and was still, as you can see, not in the greatest shape, hence the lower price.
It was likely manufactured by Western, a Boulder, CO company, for Montgomery Ward sometime between 1955 and 1970. “Hawthorne” was a product name used by Monkey Wards (that’s what we called it, back in the day). Knives of all kinds, including pocket knives, are very good sellers. Display several in a case and you have a handsome library or office decor.
I hope today, if you’ve not thought of buying tools to collect or sell, I’ve given you something to think about. Tools can be cool! And they can be moneymakers too. Let me know what you think or what your tool-related experiences have been, in the comments below.
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