Wall Cabinets

.A^side from practical considerations, there is historical precedent for wall-hung tool cabinets. By the turn of this century, some woodworkers had given up the traditional cabinetmaker's tool chest in favor of tool storage on the wall. These boxes are generally tall and shallow—a practical shape for a toolbox that is to be hung on a shop wall. The demand for wall-hung cabinets in the early 1900s was apparently great enough to inspire a number of commercial toolbox makers (such as W. Marplcs & Sons of England and C. E. Jennings of New York) to offer wall-mounted toolboxes in their catalogs. As you can see in the photos on pp. 79-80, the offerings even included an unusual corner-mounted version.

One of the most magnificent examples of a wall-hung toolbox is that of H. O. Studley, a gifted joiner and patternmaker. Because the cabinet was built from the same materials with which one of his

H. O. Studley's wall-hung tool cabinet, built around the turn of the century, contains nearly 300 tools. Photo by Eric Long. Smithsonian Institution.

Poole Piano Boston

employers constructed pianos (mahogany, ebony, and rosewood with inlays of ivory and mother-of-pearl), it is thought that Studley built the box during his tenure with the Poole Piano Co. of Boston. That would place its construction between 1890 and 1920.

As you can see in the photo on p. 76, Studley managed to fit a remarkable number of tools into a small case (only 19'/2 in. wide by 39 in. high by 9'/: in. deep when closed). There were nearly 300 tools inside the case when it was disassembled by the Smithsonian Institution for cleaning and restoration. Studley achieved this feat with equal measures of artistry and ingenuity. Using motifs from classical architecture, he constructed arched enclosures, Gothic-style swinging doors and intricate lift-up trays. These holding strategies nestled the tools as closely together as possible without compromising their accessibility. Most of the tools can be removed without having to move another tool out of the way.

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