VINTAGE WOODWORKING HAND TOOLS
Starrett precision measuring and layout tools

Last updated: 29 October 2016

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1916 Advertisement


I have been using Starrett tools for many years for I believe they are the finest precision measuring tools ever made. I used them during my employment in the woodworking trade (1947-1950) and later in the aircraft manufacturing field. The first craftsman I worked for as an apprentice held Starrett precision measuring tools in great esteem, as did my father who used them exclusively in his capacity as a production line inspector during WWII.

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Tool box drawer of representative woodworker's vintage Starrett tools

Of course, most Starrett tools are not manufactured for use in woodworking, but rather for precision metal working. However, they are a joy to use and many are very useful for those engaged in producing fine woodworking that incorporates precisely fitted joints.


THE COMPANY

L. S. STARRETT
ATHOL, MASS.

was founded by Laroy Sunderland Starrett in 1880.

In 1900 it was incorporated as
THE L. S. STARRETT CO.
ATHOL MASS. U.S.A

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The Starrett "calipers, square & micrometer" Trade Mark was adopted in 1897


IDENTIFICATION STAMPINGS ON VINTAGE STARRETT TOOLS

Original (Circa. 1880) Company name stamping:

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.......... often accompanied by Patent information. Patents automatically expired after twenty years from the date of issuance.

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Company name stamping after Incorporation in 1900:

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It doesn't seem plausible to me that the Company would begin stamping their tools in this manner prior to Incorporation.

However, that is only my personal opinion. Many (maybe most) Starrett tool collectors maintain the stamping change occurred shortly after 1895 and that the transition lasted until the early 1900s.

In most instances (but not always), the Catalog No. was also stamped at various locations on tools and on occasion additional information relating to the tool (particularly for rules, wire gages, etc.) was included.

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Occasionaly only Starrett and the catalog number was stamped on tools

Company name with Trademark stamping (circa.1910) found on some tools:

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I have not been able to determine where the following stamping fits in except that it appears to have been used whenever there was not enough space available for the normal stamping:

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These alternate stamping forms seem to have persisted through the 1930s.


THE SELDOM ENCOUNTERED NO. 0 MECHANICS' BADGES

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Actual Pin Badge

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Actual Charm Badge

The following listing is in the No.19 Catalog (1910):

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Page 6 of No. 19 Catalog (1910)

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Extract from No. 19 Catalog

They were first listed in the supplement to catalog 17 (1901) and then listed in 18 (1907), 19 (1910), 20 (1913) and lastly in catalog 21 (1916) and were produced from 1901-1919.


PACKING BOXES

Starrett tools were originally mostly packed and distributed for sale in black cardboard boxes with black labels followed by green cardboard boxes with black labels, however, certain tools were (and still are) also packed and distributed for sale in fitted wooden boxes.

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Black packing box with black labels
(Photo credit: Rick Slaney)

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No. 29 6" Steel Scratch Gage in green box with black label (circa. 1895)

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Close-up of label on above box

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Close-up of stamping on above tool
L. S. STARRETT, ATHOL, MASS.

I think that the green cardboard packing boxes were replaced by the following maroon boxes, c. 1900.

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I believe those plain maroon boxes were followed by ones with white top labels as depicted below although I have not been able to determine the time frame of their adoption.

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I have not been able to determine when the maroon cardboard packing boxes were replaced by the following patterned ones - some maintain it was around the early 1940s.

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REFERENCES


Go to the Vintage Woodworking Hand Tools Directory