The Sum of All Parts: New Departure Tool Box, ca. 1940s

A place for everything and everything in its place. Isn’t that the instruction Moms collectively passed down to their youngins?

New Departure Manufacturing Company started business in 1888 as a maker of doorbells before shifting gears (yes, a lame pun) and moving into automobile, motorcycle and bicycle parts. More specifically, coaster brakes, wheel hubs and precision ball bearings. (Incidentally, brothers Albert and Edward Rockwell also formed the Yellow Taxicab Company in 1909 but that’s a story for another post).

Toward the end of the First World War, the company was acquired by General Motors who accurately surmised the value of their bearing components.

This rather large tool kit (25″ x 12″) managed to weather many bike shop-related storms over the years and surprisingly still possesses clear graphics and only mild pitting of the steel. Under the hinged top is a storage section for larger tools and parts while below, two ample drawers reside, each with divided sections for smaller components.

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