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Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

-0001

1924

  • Work on this object ended.

2014

2019

  • You found it!

Child's Tool Chest (USA), 1900–24

This is a Child's tool chest.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from National Museum of American History as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated 1900–24. Its medium is wood, metal, paint, paper, ink.

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.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35457109/ |title=Child's Tool Chest (USA), 1900–24 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=19 July 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>