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I Forge Iron

Antique Tools & Machinery

Tim McCoy

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I found a great reference book at the library today:

Encyclopedia of
Antique Tools & Machinery
by C. H. Wendel

ISBN: 0-87341-607-4
Published by Krause Publications
Copyright 2001
255 pages ... over 1,000 reproductions of old catalog illustrations of tools/equipment - black & white and some color photos.

I found this book to be a treasure trove of information regarding tools and equipment that date from before 1925. Divided in to 14 alphabetical sections listed by types of tools and/or areas used such as blacksmithing or bee keeping and surveying. Illustrations of each item are taken from period specific catalogues. Many of the tools shown can be made by blacksmiths such as beading tools used for fluting coach bodies or 4 way cross wrenches for tightening nuts on tire bolts for wagons. Of special interest for IFI members would be the sections on Adzes, Picks and Mattocks; Blacksmithing; Carriage and Wagon Making tools; Chisels; Post Drills; Farrier Tools; Grindstones & Grinders; Hammers ... the list goes on.

There are no instructions about manufacturing, but many of the illustrations should be more than helpful for understanding completed products. How many of us have actually seen a "Boilermakers Riveting Hammer", a "Carriage Ironer's Hammer", a "No. 20 Champion Grinder" or an "Edwards No. 5 Shear" (built in 1895 and capable of cutting a 4 x 1/2" bar)?

For those of us who have an abiding interest in all things related to tools and for those wanting to do reproduction/repair work on older tools this is a great resource. It can also be a source for identifying many tools that have passed into the "Whatzit" phase. There is even a section on Railroad Tools. Included in that section is an illustration of two railroad track levels made by the Buda Company out of Harvey, Illinois.

I do not know if this book is still in print, but you may search for it online or simply check with your local library to see if they can order one for you to check out on a lending program.

On page 212 there is an illustration of two Diston hacksaws made especially, "For cutting rails, girders, and other heavy pieces ..." they used an 18" blade and came with single or double handles. So, whether you need information on Alligator wrenches or Cornice hammers for working copper, this book is a great resource.

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