Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Depression Era Ingenuity - Recycling At Its Best (Part 2)

As promised, here is my Depression Era Tool Box that I was lucky enough to find at an Aladdins Fair last year. It has been made out of old kerosene crates and has been fitted out inside with cigarette and chemist tins for the storage of all sorts of bits of hardware.  Just the sort of storage system that every workshop should have. I believe it was discovered under a Queenslander (typical Queensland house) in the inner suburbs of Brisbane.


The tool box is rather crudely made but quite robust. It measures approximately 55cm wide x 36cm deep and 28cm high. Unfortunately, it has some small damage to the drop down front.

The seller presumed that Virtue is the name of the owner. He must have obviously lived in Brisbane. One can only presume that Mr Virtue must have taken this tool box on site with him to warrant the need to write Brisbane on it. Maybe he had his own Handy Man business? We will probably never know.  Both the top and the bottom are marked with FIRE TEST 150ยบ indicating the burning quality of the kerosene that would have originally been in these crates.
One end of the toolbox is made from a Shell kerosene crate. Barely visible now.

But the other end is the crowning glory of the toolbox. A very nice WHITE ROSE OIL kerosene crate end has been used here. What a great picture of a rose and what great colours too.

Each end has a nice crudely hand made metal handle. This also indicates that the toolbox was meant to be moved around with it's owner

A simple hasp and staple latch has been added to the drop down front.

The front drops down to reveal two crudely made slide out shelves. There is also a space below them for some tools.

Another view of the box with the sliding shelves partly out.

Top shelf revealing some of the many containers fixed to it to store all manner of hardware.

Top shelf completely removed from the toolbox.
Tins opened to reveal their contents.
Lots of nice screws. Solid brass ones aren't cheap to buy these days.

More screws and some small round wooden boxes that may have originally been pill boxes.


Below are some photos of individual tins. They are not in the best condition (although some not to bad) but are a good representation of what would have been available in the 1920s and 30s. The first group are all tobacco tins.

HAVELOCK Flake Cut PURE FRAGRANT TOBACCO tin
REFEREE FLAKE CUT TOBACCO tin
CHAMPION TOBACCO FLAKE CUT tin
Yankee Doodle FLAKE CUT tobacco tin
T. C. WILLIAMS Cos. WELCOME NUGGET tobacco tin


There is also a surprisingly large variety of pastille, jube and butterscotch tins. These appeal to me more as I collect chemist items. Below are a few photos of these individual tins.

JONE"S ANTISEPTIC THROAT PASTILLES tin
SIGMA PASTILLE tin

Henderson's Sweets WEE MACGREEGORS BUTTER SCOTCH tin (This is one of my favourites)

MacRobertson's SUPERIOR Butter Scotch tin

Henderson's VOICE JUBES tin

G. HUDSON EUMENTHOL JUJUBES tin



There is also one R. BELL & Co VESTA box fixed to the top sliding shelf.

R. BELL & Co VESTAS tin



On the second sliding shelf were a few odd containers. These were just loose and weren't fixed to the shelf.
 Small Wulfing's Formamint FOR Sore Throat tin
Nice clean Vaseline CAMPHOR ICE tin
And a BAUER & BLACK ADHESIVE TAPE spool that was now being used to house a string line.


What to some may only be a dirty old box of bits and pieces, is to me a thing of beauty! I can only imagine the many things that this tool box (and its owner) must have been involved in building or repairing early last century. The stories it could tell if it could only speak!



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