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Thread: I think I might have an old one

  1. #1

    I think I might have an old one

    I got what at first I thought was a Pilliod box on EBTH, But when I receiver it I could see the remains of a Gerstner decal. I think have identified it as a model number O31B. There is no stamp on the inside bottom of the box, only a penciled 58. The drawers are also all numbered 58, so box number 58. I'm missing the door, but am capable of fabricating a new one.
    The last notable thing about the box is that the drawer bottom on the largest, bottom, drawer is 1/8" plywood, and not sheet metal like the rest of the drawers. So far all I have done to the box is to scrub it down with soapy water, and I removed what was left of the worn out oily felt in the drawers.
    My question for discussion is, if this is an older box, say pre 1920, when is it OK to restore a box, and when should it be left as is. Also if anyone has a guess as to the age of this box let me know.
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  2. #2
    You can find clues as to the age of your Gerstner too case here:

    but don't think you will be able to pin the year of manufacture down to a specific year. Compare your case's dimensions and configuration and hardware to what you see on the chart and Ted's web site. Check to see if there is a Gerstner stamp on the inside bottom of the case by taking out the two bottom drawers.

    There is no set date to determine when to restore or not to restore a vintage tool box. Personally, I don't think it matters. If it looks like it needs restoration, and yours does, I restore it back to where it should be if the machinist had cared for it lovingly throughout its life. The patina of character must remain, but it has to look and smell presentable, in my opinion.

    I have restored over 175 of these tool boxes: maybe you will see something that inspires you.

    Good luck and welcome to the obsession!


  3. #3
    Thank you Terry, I'll check out the links you provided. I guess what I need to find out, is when did Gerstner start stamping the the inside bottoms of the boxes, Since my box has no stamp, only a penciled in box number. #58

  4. #4
    According to Ted's info, Gerstner started stamping in 1940. Read page 12:

  5. #5
    I've got one without any info inside as well, other than box and drawer #'s.

  6. #6


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