Members of the Early American Industries Association and the Mid-West Tools Collectors Association will hold their annual Antique Tool Show and Sale at the Garfield Farm Museum from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3. This is the only joint show by these two organizations in the Midwest open to the public. More than 30 different collectors will have their tools on display and for sale.
Garfield Farm Museum established this annual show to help educate the public with the realities of America's founding. Hand tools were what built and shaped America. In the 1840s as factories arose, handcrafted items became massed produced but not in the way mass production is envisioned today. The hand tools that individual craftsmen used simply transitioned to the early factories. Water power might have made it possible for a number of lathes to be powered at once but hand tools were used to make any turnings. Blacksmiths were becoming old school in the mid-19th century, as the profession of mechanic became the high tech of its day. Mechanics for the steam age to manufacture as well as maintain locomotives and lake and ocean going steamers needed even more specialized hand tools to produce the precision needed.
Tool and die makers became the top hand tool workers of the 19th and early 20th century. Their inventiveness and skills would create the power tools that society depends upon today. Appropriately, some of the most avid collectors one can meet at the Antique Tool Show are retired highly skilled tool and die makers. Many are the last generation to use hand tools and the first to use computerized machines to make the complex machines of mass production today.
Yet fine craftsmanship has not disappeared as thousands of hobbyists that enjoy working with wood, avidly seek out antique tools. Such tools that might be made of higher quality materials than what can be found on the market today or are no longer made but are still needed to reproduce certain designs or affects in furniture. The Antique Tool Show is thus an opportunity to talk with such experienced individuals who might have worked with the type of tool one purchases.
The public is invited to bring a tool they cannot identify as many of the collectors will know the answer. This is the only joint meet In Illinois of the EAIA and M-WTCA that the public is invited to attend. Opportunities at the show to become a member of the organizations will give access to their regional and national meetings.
Tours of the 1846 teamster inn and tavern begin at 11 a.m. and continue after the show until 4 p.m. Light refreshments will be available. Admission for adults is $6 and $2 for children 12 years and younger. Garfield Farm Museum is a historically intact former prairie farmstead and teamster inn being restored by volunteers as a 1840s working farm. The museum is located five miles west of Geneva, off Route 38 on Garfield Road. For more information call (630) 584-8485; email to garfieldfarm.org or visit garfieldfarm.org.