In the early 1960s, there was a surge in tool collecting primarily due, in my opinion, to the demise of the apprentice system for traditional trades where skills were passed from generation to generation. Rapid industrial growth post Second World War meant that many were trained on the job, and there was no need to spend a long period learning all the intricacies of a particular trade. This change meant a difference in how tradespeople approached their tools. No longer did one have a tool chest full of items to cover any aspect of work one might encounter. In some toolboxes, these tools could have been apprentice pieces or owner-made interpretations of more costly items or perhaps a gift from a master who was passing on the craft to a deserving individual.
The embellishment and care in construction applied to these tools elevated their appearances and made them stand out. In fact, a sub-class of tool collectors has developed that focuses on these unique pieces within a display collection. The item could be an elegant gauge or an overly decorated cutting device or just a simple and timeless construct that catches one's eye. It matters not. The unique aspect is that one realizes that the item has an appearance and proportion along with the maker's special touch to separate the item from the rest of the pile. Sometimes manufacturers created such items for expositions. "Tools as Art" or "Tools Are Art" are two popular descriptions to classify these types of tools. CLICK HERE