Child's Tool Chest (USA), 1900–24
This is a Child's tool chest.
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.
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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.