DetailsCraftsmen, over the centuries, have transformed inherently humble objects -- drills, saws, planes, and levels -- into works of art. Tools Rare and Ingenious expands on Sandor Nagyszalanczys acclaimed book The Art of Fine Tools by offering a world tour of objects that rarely leave the private vaults of collectors.
In more than 375 color photographs, the author presents tools ranging from calipers that mimic dancing ballerinas to a carved breast drill thats shaped like a violin and, astonishingly, outfitted with a bow. Some tools glitter with silver and jewels, others are breathtaking in their simplicity. Included in this fascinating history are makers marks and logos, jewelry-like miniature tools, patent and prototype models, and elaborate presentation tools that were created as awards or gifts.
This is a book to treasure. Collectors and craftsmen will relish the depth of historical and technical information that accompanies each picture. And anyone who has ever held a hammer or a saw, no matter how briefly, will marvel at these masterpieces of art and utility.
About the author
Sandor Nagyszalanczy of Bonny Doon, California, is a professional furniture designer, freelance writer, photographer, and tool consultant. A custom furniture builder for over twenty-five years, he has also been a senior editor of Fine Woodworking magazine. He has appeared on History Channels Modern Marvels and ABC Televisions World News Tonight to discuss antique and modern tools. Nagyszalancy has written and photographed eight books also published by The Taunton Press, including The Homeowners Ultimate Tool Guide, Power Tools, The Art of Fine Tools, Setting Up Shop, and Woodshop Dust Control. He is a four-time winner of the Golden Hammer award for excellence in home and workshop writing.
- Additional Information
SKU FWW61077983 Table Of Contents Introduction
Primitive and Ancient Tools
Fine and Fancy Tools
Makers Marks and Logos
Patent Models and Prototypes
Presentation and Exhibition Tools
Tools of Many Trades
Intro About half a decade has passed since I wrote The Art of Fine Tools, the first book I had written and photographed that explored the realm of magnificent vintage tools. The premise for that book was simple: Present the most amazing vintage tools with artistically taken photographs that provide the viewer with an intimate look at the beauty and subtle details of those tools. The woodworking and other tools featured in that book were from many of the best private collections across America.
To my great delight, the concept seems to have resonated with woodworkers and other craftsmen alike, in addition to many individuals who had never picked up a hammer or plane in their lives but who admired those marvelous tools not only for their historical and functional qualities but also for their aesthetic appeal. Indeed, the finest vintage tools deserve to be seen and appreciated in much the same way we admire a handsome Asian porcelain vase, a lithe Italian marble statue, or a classic bronze bust from ancient Greece.
The success of that first book emboldened me to once again take my camera in hand (this time, a digital model) and embark on another photographic safari, to stalk and capture the most remarkable vintage tools I could find. I had the great fortune of starting this project with a very full Rolodex of premier tool collectors who were gracious enough to allow me into their lives to see and photograph their best tools. For this project, I expanded my horizons to include not only the collections of North America but also several fine collections in England, Germany, and Austria. And I enlarged the scope of my quest to incorporate vintage graphics and tool-related ephemera in addition to the tools themselves.
Because some of the generous individuals I visited had collections of enormous size and scope, you may be curious about how I decided which tools to focus my lens upon. I must tell you with all honesty that I simply did not apply any sort of succinct logic in making my choices. The tools I have included in this book are ultimately the ones that I felt would have the greatest appeal to the reader. Many were so visually striking that they veritably jumped off the walls and display shelves and demanded attention.
These pieces of 'eye candy' include rare and incredible things, such as a pair of calipers shaped like a graceful ballerina dancing, an Asian ink line carved into a stylized dragon, and a wooden jointer plane with a pair of entwining sea serpents forming its handle. Some tools were chosen because they were made of precious materials or were richly appointed with decorative embellishments: a plow plane made of ebony and ivory; a level extensively inlaid with multicolored woods; a panel saw with an elaborately cast bronze escutcheon.
Others were picked because of the history they embody or convey: a backsaw with a medallion in its handle commemorating the Revolutionary War; French plane irons with the image of Napoleon Bonaparte struck into them; a silver level made to commemorate an English kings dedication of a bridge across the river Thames. Still others were included because of the remarkable ingenuity of their designs: a combination tool with a geared drill drive incorporated into its slender handle; a scrollsaw that used human pedal power to propel its blade; a plumb bob with a clock-spring-powered retraction mechanism built into its cast body.
In addition to chapters on ancient, decorative, fancy, and miniature tools, several chapters of this book explore different aspects of tool history and creation. These include a chapter on patented and prototype tools, which explores not only ingeniously designed tools that received government patents but also one-of-a-kind prototypes that reveal early stages of tool development. This chapter also includes a number of early patent models -- working tools and machines made either in full or reduced scale -- that were filed along with their inventors patent applications.
A chapter on makers marks and logos contains a collection of colorful, decorative, or interesting graphics used to give tools name recognition or brand identity, as well as to promote their manufacturers. This chapter includes not only tools but also vintage toolboxes and display cabinets, tin and cardboard signs, and other printed materials that have interesting advertising graphics. Presentation and exhibition tools comprise another chapter, with a focus on tools created as awards and gifts for special occasions, such as the completion of a significant building project, the retirement of an employee, or the christening of a ship. This chapter also contains a number of fancy tools created especially for major exhibitions, such as the Paris Tool Exhibition of 1867 and the great Exhibition of 1851 in Londons Crystal Palace.
One chapter delves into tools used by specialized trades, such as wheelwrights, coachmakers, coopers, and blacksmiths, that are now relegated to the history of the early industries. A chapter on combination tools provides colorful examples of tools made both for the professional tradesman and the household fix-it person. These inventions, which combine the functions of three, four, ten, or more basic tools into a single compact device, often display great ingenuity on the part of their creators.
Finally, a chapter dedicated to craftsman-made tools surveys the many unique creations that resulted when tool users became toolmakers. Working either out of necessity or a desire to create the tools they used on the job, these craftsmen produced one-of-a-kind tools that range from strikingly primitive examples, like a handplane cobbled together from chunks of raw wood, to impressively sophisticated plows, levels, and even geared drills.
As you peruse the collection of amazing tools presented in these pages and read of their rich histories, I hope you will feel, as I do, that they comprise a sort of tool museum in print. I use the word museum here as the venerable author Eric Sloane did in his classic book A Museum of Early American Tools: 'a collection of things brought together for musing; for the exploration of their qualities; for the wonderment of their origins.' Although the tools themselves are scattered around the world, they have, indeed, been assembled here for your musing. It is my sincere hope that these remarkable tools bring you pleasure and enrich your sense of the fertile history of the toolmakers creative craft and inspired art.
Video No Author Sandor Nagyszalanczy ISBN 978-1-60085-670-9 Publication Year 2005 Pages 216 Photo color photos Drawings and drawings Video Download No Other Formats No Cover PDF eBook Format eBook (PDF)
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