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A Museum of Early American Tools (Americana) Paperback – November 14, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

..".chock-full of informal lore about old tools and their uses ... superb pen-and-ink sketches."

From the Inside Flap

Fresh, informal, direct, and expressive, A MUSEUM OF EARLY AMERICAN TOOLS covers early tools and the wooden and metal artifacts that our forefathers made with them. Including dozens of pen-and-ink sketches. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Americana
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (November 14, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486425606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486425603
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.2 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is loaded with great illustrations of the tools and uses of woodworkers and farmers of old. A fast read and a valuable resourse tool you will be using for years to come.
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Format: Paperback
Eric Sloane doing what he does best. The illustrations are superb as usual and so are the descriptions of how the tools were used. This book is bound to make you think differently the next time you are at a yard sale or fleamarket standing in front of a bunch of old rusty tools.
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By Jacob on June 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
I would have to say this is one of my best books! The pen and ink drawings a wonderful. So well writen with so much information. I just finished reading this again and feel like going and useing some of the tools in there that i own! I love working with wood and other materials in the American way. Some of the tecniques he dessribes are so ture an i use the all the time! If u love America and/or hand tools, you must own this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is dedicated to the pioneer Americans who made their tools, a symbol of sincerity, integrity, and excellence. Mass production made their tools obsolete, along with early individualism, said the author. There was a special tool for every job (pp.vi-vii). In Early America a museum referred to a library of collected facts (p.xi). Shovels were made of wood to prevent harm to grain and apples 9p.xii). A house built of posts and beams used wooden pins which don't rust and loosen like nails. Sloane says that studying the tools used by pioneer Americans reveals their conscience and personality. Things were built to be honest and long-lasting, not to make the most money. There are 48 short chapters and an Index. These drawings are very interesting.

"The Romance of Tools" says a tool was an extension of a man's hand. Some gave pet names to a tool then (p.3), some do today. The Civil War period marked a new era in tool design because of mass-production (p.5). Axe handles became curved, not straight; their end had a "Fawn foot", "Scroll knob", or "Swell knob" (p.7). Early American tools had a traditional design with subtle differences and decorative touches that identify the region of origin (p.6). An ax was the most important tool for early Americans: clear the land of trees, cut fuel, build a house or furniture. Early axes were poll-less; the poll added weight for chopping. There were more than 50 patterns of Axe heads (p.12). The Broad Axe was used to hew round logs into square beams (p.14). Early American roofs were thatched, shingling hatchets were unknown. The claw hammer hasn't changed much since Roman times (p.22). Square-cut nails had greater holding power than round
nails.

Log-house notches were often made with only an ax (pp.24-25).
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Format: Hardcover
This book or publication has been around for quite a long time now. I have a copy in front of me as I write this review with a publication date of 1964. There have been quite a number of reprints since that date. There is a reason for this and that reason is Eric Sloane, the author and illustrator. Anyone familiar with Sloane is aware of his unique drawing style and down to earth descriptions of not only tools, but of early American building and craftsmanship. He, Eric Sloane is simply one of the best!

In this 168 page book the author has introduced us to a very large number of tools which were used in the past in this country. Tools made of wood and tools made of iron/metal. From cutting, to drilling, to shaving to crushing to measuring to forging to animal care to domestic to various trades...they are all here. These tools actually tell the history of our country and these tools are much more important as a history lesson than for something some yuppie paid too much for and hangs on his or her wall...you know, that "Country Look." No, these tools built a nation. There is nothing wrong in collecting them as it is a great way to preserve our history, but they mean so much more if you know what they are, what they were used for and what impact they may have had on a family or craftsman. They kept families alive, housed, fed and relatively comfortable. They should be held in respect.

The first thing the reader will note is just how ingenious people are. If they have or had a task to perform, they were able to figure out a way to do it more efficiently and more effectively. The second thing the reader will note is that by simply looking at some of these tools used by our forefathers, we do not have a clue as to what there use was.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book. This book was a gift for my boyfriend for Christmas. Not only did he read it, he's now read it many times. I've also read it. The book is extremely well written and goes through the history of American craftsmanship and tools. Different ways, in different regions, different woods, etc. This book is perfect for anyone who may have an interest in building their own tools one day, and even if you don't -- it's a beautifully written history of Americans and our evolution as farmers and hard work being done throughout the century. Full of discoveries and lost trades/ideas, I would give this book to anyone and know that I had made a solid choice. Even for someone who wouldn't normally read this kind of book, I found it to be enlightening and fun to read.
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