Child's Tool Chest

As illustrated in this child's tool chest from the early 20th century, children frequently encountered their society's gender expectations at a young age. The tool chest from R. Bliss & Co. declared carpentry to be boys' work. It came with a hinged lid and a sliding, removable top tray. Inside is a colored picture of boys building a house under a banner that reads "BLISS UNION TOOL CHESTS FOR BOYS." R. Bliss & Co., established in 1845, started as a tool company, making wooden screws and clamps for piano and cabinetmakers, before it became a leading manufacturer of toys by the turn of the 20th century.
Currently not on view
Date made
R. Bliss and Co.
Place Made
United States: Rhode Island, Providence
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
paint (overall material)
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 13 in x 17 in x 9 in; 33.02 cm x 43.18 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
John R. Gerwig, Jr.
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Artifact Walls exhibit
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Family & Social Life
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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