A type of tool that shows up rather
frequently in old tool chests is a tool handle. They must have
been important at one time or they would not have been purchased
and added to a working tool kit.
Many of them show extensive wear
and use modification so they were not just for admiration. This
post explores some of these tool handles, mostly the ones that
have hollow handles filled with various tools such as pointed
awls, brad awls, countersinks, gouges, chisels, turnscrews, and
I selected representative types
from my collection. There are many variations of this type of
tool not included here. It is a tool type that was manufactured
from circa 1790 to circa 1940.
Tool handles appear to have first
been manufactured in England in the late 18th Century, made with
chucks like those on Sheffield braces. They were often included
in small gentlemens' tool chests.
Early ones were not hollow for tool
These English tool handles appear to be the
next stage in the evolution
of this tool type. The top one is boxwood and the bottom one is
The handles are hollow and contain tools.
This Stanley cast iron tool handle was
patented in 1867.
It is hollow and contains tools.
I think this one is a mid-19th Century
a wooden handle made in America.
This type of tool handle has wings on the
chuck to tighten and loosen it.
The top one is English and the bottom two are American.