A MACHINIST’S TOOLBOX

Machining – a process to cut and form
Raw material into a final desired shape.

Machining with interchangeable parts
Dates to the first Industrial Revolution,

And prior to that for wood based tools.
Machinists have machined since the 1600s.

Machinists are crafts people who earn their living
With machinist’s tools, of which they are proud.

Quality toolboxes themselves are crafted with care,
The same care machinists use to make their objects.

Abe Megerdichian was a master machinist,
Having worked for 40 years in a factory,

Making aircraft engine parts his entire career.
He locked his tools up in his Journeyman

Model 2610, hand crafted by premiere
H. Gerstner & Sons, Dayton, Ohio,

Itself, a 4th generation American company
Specializing in making quality toolboxes.

3 front clasps and 1 clasp on each side
Hold down the lid of Abe’s toolbox.

Release the 5 clasps and front panel,
Hinged at the bottom, opens down.

Abe taped to the inside of the front panel,
A map of factory campus where he worked.

3 full size, shallow drawers are at the bottom.
3 half size, shallow drawers are to the left,

4 are to the right of center.
In middle, a vertical draw

To house Machinist’s Handbook.
Abe kept his snugly in there.

Outside the case Abe engraved his name
On a solid, black plastic nameplate, and

He embossed his name on red plastic,
Adhered to the left front outer face.

Under the lid a full size, deep drawer.
In which Abe stored his miscellany,

Tiny drills and rasps, magnifiers,
Empty plastic containers,

Plastic encased machining charts –
Abe stashed them all there,

Also, costume jewelry, serving as inspiration
For jewelry he’d machine for his wife Jenny.

A man with a sense of humor,
Abe also kept in the top drawer,

Cast lead models of couples in ____ positions.
These pieces were good for laughs.

The insides of the drawers
Abe lined with graph paper.

Within the drawers were the tools of his trade:
One point holders, book ends, proportional scales,

Dowel holders, chocks, drill stands, oilcans,
Ball peen hammers, mallets, mirrors, pliers,

Hacksaws, screwdrivers, squares,
Round and adjustable stands.

Alongside the tools, Abe’s knowledge
Of how to expertly use all these tools.

Abe was more than machinist.
He was an artist,

Some say industrial folk artist
Whose work is unparalleled.

He would re-purpose scrap and rejected metals,
Aluminum, brass, copper, lead, stainless steel,

Into his interpretations of everyday items.
Hundreds and hundreds them over decades.

Full size and miniature,
As art or for utility.

Vehicles, toys, household items, flora and fauna,
In metal.  Nearly all as gifts for family and friends.

Without question, the piece of which he was most proud –
None other than his shoebox size, aluminum rendition

Of his own toolbox, with tiny, solid brass versions
Of all his actual tools mentioned above.

Some wedges the size of your fingernail,
Calipers as big as pinky fingers, hammers

5” long, workable itsy bitsy wrenches and clamps,
A machinist’s manual with a stand of its own.

Abe lined the smoothly polished shelves with green felt,
And installed a dime size mirror on the underside of the lid.

Hinges work.
Drawers glide.

Machinists drool and others say Wow!
When they see Abe’s toolbox and tools.

What do you say?
Take a good look.

Abe’s actual toolbox, closed, as photographed by Scott Sutherland

Abe’s actual toolbox, partially open, as photographed by Abe’s son Robert

Abe’s art interpretation, as photographed by Scott Sutherland

Machinist’s Toolbox

Machinist’s Toolbox with Tools

Details of a Machinist’s Toolbox

Abe’s art interpretation, as photographed by Abe’s son Robert

Abe’s art interpretation, as photographed by Abe’s friend Al Der Parseghian

More details of a machinist’s toolbox

A Machinist’s Actual Toolbox as Exhibited at Charles River Museum of Industry

“A beautiful box of essential hand tools with which a skilled artist like Abraham Megerdichian could precisely execute exquisite works of utility and art.  The magnitude of this simple box of tools is greater than the sum of a container and the individual items contained.  For in essence tools, creativity and art resonate throughout the depth and breadth of this whole collection of art works.

The steep profile with sturdy carrying handle of this tool box is reminiscent of a time when utility objects had stylistic character and personal feel one wanted to take home.  The number and dimension of each tool in the box is made to scale and uniquely detailed for identity by a hurried tradesman, an exacting artisan and curiosity of an art museum leisure visitor.  There is a feeling with this box of tools that pride of execution was done with exactitude right from design concept.

Tools play an important role in the evolution of society, man and his tools are tied together from the stone age through the industrial age and into this space age, now aided by our computer tools.  Interestingly, classic hand tools have never gone away for they remain in workshops, garages, kitchen cabinets, and office drawers; there is a hammer everywhere including this tool box.”  Ripton Rowe

Golden Oak with Nickel Hardware. Design introduced in 1930s
https://gerstnerusa.com/2610-chest

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