One day in the late 1980s, Peter Hardwick had just installed a new chimney in his house.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, he invited a friend to show his recently completed project.
This friend is an insurance agent. He saw on the wall of Peter's living room an intricate cabinet full of exquisite tools. Professional habits made insurance agents acutely aware of his quirks, so they encouraged Peter to insure him.
After that, Peter concluded, "I opened a can of worms!" (American slang for "try to solve a problem but create more problems").
When buying insurance, you first need to figure out what it is before you can accurately estimate its value.
He therefore consulted with Fine Woodworking, the Smithsonian Institution and antiques appraisers.
The call was answered by Sandor Nagyshalanchi, senior editor of Fine Woodworking magazine. About what happened later, he vividly recalled:
"In early 1988, I was going on a reconnaissance trip to Maine, so I went to check on the toolbox. When I opened it, (he emphasized), my jaw dropped in amazement. It's lying on the ground!"< /p >
So he began to take these impressive photographs, which over time became widely known through magazine covers and posters.
At that moment, Peter's life changed forever.
This single image on the back cover and the poster that followed caused a huge problem.
In the days before email, the magazine sent a lot of fan mail directly to Peter, so his inbox at home was full of letters and he was overwhelmed.
Later, he received too many letters, so he simply rented a special mailbox to receive letters sent to him through Fine Woodworking Magazine.
It's a pity that Peter didn't save those fan letters, which was his biggest regret during this period.
The Smithsonian Institution made higher demands.
David Schite, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, visited Peter while on vacation. Because they both have similar personalities and both love this tool cabinet very much, they quickly become friends.
At the time, Peter was in a dilemma.
On the one hand, he owns a family heirloom, which is also a monument to America, which he is very proud of.
On the other hand, he is very concerned about whether the safety and security of his home, a simple farmhouse in Maine, can meet the requirements for preserving this national treasure.
Finally, Short found a workaround. If Peter lends the toolbox to the Smithsonian for 10 years, the Smithsonian will take full responsibility during that time.
In the end, Peter agreed, which finally allowed him to take good care of the national treasure.
All his life, Peter took great pride in making the right decision.
As mentioned above, at the National Museum of American History, the tool cabinets are well maintained and well documented.
It became an integral part of the exhibition Engines of Change: The American Industrial Revolution, 1790-1860. along with several tool boxes and cabinets used in various industries.
While the various exhibitions ran for almost 20 years (from late 1986 to mid-2006), Studley's tool cabinet was probably on display for only a third of that time, probably between 1992 and 1999.
There is no doubt that it was at these exhibitions that thousands of woodworking enthusiasts saw this tool cabinet. Countless woodworkers on the Internet are fascinated by it.
As an ordinary woodworking lover recalled: "For a long time this cabinet stood quietly in the shade behind the glass."
While in the museum, Studley's tool cabinet has been photographed and documented, has undergone extensive cleaning and some conservation treatments, and has been included in a series of small exhibitions. In the meantime, the flow of fan mail kept coming, even more exploding with the release of the poster, followed by a great article on woodworking, then a second edition of the poster, and finally a third.
The mass mailing woes made Peter wonder if he owns the collection.
This once again changed the course of Studley tool cabinet history.
Okay, the story is over.
Thank you for reading.
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Next issue preview: Studley tool cabinet construction details and tool descriptions.
The best tool cabinet in the world, no