Tool with Celluloid Handle

Tool with Celluloid Handle

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Description (Brief)
A specialized metal tool used to insert stencils into the metal frame of an addressing machine. It has advertising copy on the celluloid handle for Elliott Addressing Machine Co. of Boston, Mass. This tool was probably given to customers who purchased the machines.
Sterling Elliott (1852-1922) was born on a farm in Michigan, opened a machine shop in Watertown, Mass., became interested in bicycles, and established The Bicycling World. Then, to handle this amazingly successful weekly publication, he invented, manufactured and marketed an addressing machine. This flat metal tool was used to insert stencils into metal frame of one of those machines. The inscription on the celluloid handle reads “ELLIOTT Addressing Machine Co. / BOSTON, MASS., U.S.A.”
Ref: The Elliott Addressing Machine Co., The Story of a Father and Son or "Unscrewing the Inscrutable" (Massachusetts, 1941).
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
after 1900
Whitehead & Hoag Company
place made
United States: New Jersey, Newark
Physical Description
cellulose nitrate (handle material)
ferrous metal (overall material)
overall: 1.2 cm x 14.5 cm x.5 cm; 1/2 in x 5 11/16 in x 3/16 in
overall: 3/16 in x 1/2 in x 5 3/4 in;.47625 cm x 1.27 cm x 14.605 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I happen to have one of these tools in reasonably good condition. When were they handed out?
"Hello Bob,Thanks for your question. It inspired me to do a little more digging about the company, and I found out that the Elliot Addressing Machine Co. started in 1900. I'm not sure when these would have been given away, but it would have to be after that date. I've updated the record with this date as well, so thank you for asking!--Mallory Warner, Curatorial Assistant, Division of Medicine and Science"

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