Alloy Artifacts  

About Alloy Artifacts

Alloy Artifacts is an online museum of tools and tool history, with a focus on hand tools of the early 20th century.

The core of our collection on display consists of more than 5,000 photographs of tools, together with information related to the design, identification, manufacturing dates, and usage of the tools. These tools represent the production of more than a hundred different companies, and cover a period ranging from the late 19th century through the mid 20th century.

To assist visitors in understanding and interpreting our display objects, we also offer extensive supplementary information in the form of notes on company history, patents, trademarks, industry practices, and period advertisements. To the greatest extent possible our information is based on published and publicly available material, with sources identified to serve as a starting point for additional research.

Visitors familiar with our site will find two broad themes recurring throughout the collection: the development of interchangeable sockets and drive tools, and the adoption of alloy steels for toolmaking. These two trends to a large degree defined the development of the tool industry in the 20th century, and both trends were highly intertwined with the rapid growth of the automobile industry. We feel that the development of alloy steels was of great importance, and that mankind probably learned more about using steel for toolmaking from 1910 to 1930 than in the prior 5,000 years of human history.

Now in our second decade of operation, Alloy Artifacts has become a favorite destination for people interested in tool history, industrial development, or who just want to know how great-granddad managed to keep the Model T running. Each month we welcome many thousands of visitors, with increasing numbers from outside the United States. We hope that everyone will find our site to be interesting and educational.

With approximately 5,600 tools on permanent display, Alloy Artifacts is a substantial collection in the area of Industrial History, and is probably the most extensive online collection. Although we're downsizing our physical inventory of tools, we still have a substantial number held back for future display, and hope to keep extending and improving our site as time permits.

Please enjoy your visit and come back again soon!

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