Book On Vintage Hand Tools, Crafted Artifacts

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Readers are treated to a majestic view of vintage hand tools and the artifacts they helped craft in the well done Living Crafts, Historic Tools: The Craftspeople & Collections of the Landis Valley Museum. The new book offers an exceptional and museum-quality look at early tools over decades of pre-industrial America. Moreover it also features the end products.

Craftsmen, both men and women, “made cloth and clothing, containers and furniture, nails and horseshoes, pots and pans, and teapots and mouse traps,” note the authors. “If there was a demand for an object, there was a craft person to produce it, be it as humble as a whittled clothespin or as elegant as an embroidered ball gown.”

This newly released volume includes detailed chapters on metals, wood works, pottery, textiles, and even leather and paper. Hundreds of items are colorfully illustrated in a vast range of early tools from wood worker’s planes and sheep shears to flax wheels and blacksmithing tools. Just as importantly the book presents the crafted products as well.

“What we celebrate today as crafts were once the means of everyday manufacture,” say authors Michael Emery and Irwin Richman. “The craftsman’s product was not quaint, archaic or merely decorative, but normative, everyday, and, most important, usually utilitarian.”

Emery is a Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum educator and volunteer coordinator. Richman is a professor emeritus of Pennsylvania State University and a research associate with the museum. The Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum is a major public attraction in the state of Pennsylvania that is devoted to the Pennsylvania German culture. It offers visitors a look at a major collector of early tools. Further, there are demonstrations of such vintage tools by craftsmen in authentic dress.

Living Crafts, Historic Tools: The Craftspeople and Collections of the Landis Valley Museum by Michael Emery and Irwin Richman. Hardcover, 592 images, 160 pages, $29.99 plus shipping from Schiffer Publishing.

Book reviews by Robert Reed, Antique and Collectible News Service, PO Box 204, Knightstown, IN 46148.

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