Latham, Machinist's Tool Chest

Albert Latham and his son Harold Albert Moore Latham used these machinist tools and tool box during their careers at the United Shoe Machinery Company during early 20th century. The seven-drawer tool chest was made by Union Tool Chest Works of Rochester, New York and contained nearly 250 machinist tools. The box’s nameplate bears the family name “Latham,” the tools are well protected in the felt-lined drawers, and the box can be locked to keep them safe, reflecting the personal pride the owner had in his tools.
The Latham’s worked for the United Shoe Machinery Company (USMC) of Beverly, Massachusetts. The USMC is emblematic of the mechanization industry, enabling the mass production of a uniform shoe cheaper and faster than ever before. Over 150 machine operations were required to produce a typical welt shoe at this time, and any breakdown during the work day would halt production, making immediate repair imperative and skilled mechanics a necessity. Albert Latham was a mechanical engineer with over 30 patents relating to mechanized shoe production assigned to USMC, while his son was employed as a machinist, or mechanic.
Currently not on view
Object Name
tool chest, machinist
overall: 13 in x 20 in x 8 3/8 in; 33.02 cm x 50.8 cm x 21.2725 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Industry & Manufacturing
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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