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Guest imported_MrEarl

Vintage Cornwell Mechanics' Chest

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Guest imported_MrEarl

Just picked up this old Cornwell Mechanics chest off Craigs list. Actually I called about the old Mac bottom chest but when I got there I fell head over heels in love with this Cornwell and had to have it. Luckily the guy was nice enough to offer come creative financing as I had not brought enough cash to buy both. I have been becoming very dissatisfied with my Craftsman tools quality lately and have decided to begin collecting Cornwell tools. Would LOVE to have a bottom chest to match the top. Is anyone familiar with Cornwell and might know the age of this box. I'm thinking early 60's? Is anyone familiar with the Cornwell line. Does anyone have any Cornwell tools for sale? or trade for Craftsman?

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Guest imported_MrEarl

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Is anyone familiar with Cornwell and might know the age of this box. I'm thinking early 60's? Is anyone familiar with the Cornwell line. Does anyone have any Cornwell tools for sale? or trade for Craftsman?

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So... 65 views and no replies as to whether anyone is familiar with the Cornwell tool line. I don't think it is that rare of a tool line?

Oh well... tired.gif

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They are still in business. Their contact link on their website would probably be somewhere to find somebody to answer your question.

Check out:

http://www.cornwelltools.com/index.asp

This is their history page from their website:

A History Forged in Steel

Eugene Cornwell founded the Cornwell Quality Tools Company in Northeast Ohio in the early 1900s. Eugene was a highly skilled blacksmith determined to produce "the best tools." By experimenting with various steels and heat treating methods, he not only accomplished his dream, but also achieved widespread reputation as a top-notch toolmaker.

Eugene Cornwell began forging more than metal when he set out to produce rugged, longer-lasting tools. From his small blacksmith shop in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, he forged a company. A company that cares about doing the best it can because it's employee owned. A company that is committed to the pride that accompanies the sale of quality materials. A company that recognizes the importance of family because the company itself is family owned. And over the years that hasn't changed. With the use of high-grade alloy steel, combined with modern heat-treating methods, it is no wonder Cornwell has continued to produce the finest tools in the world, that have truly been The Choice of Professionals® since 1919.

2004 marked Cornwell's 85th Anniversary as a corporation. Eugene initiated a notion that his company should remain in the family, and Cornwell has been family owned for its entire history. It fostered this notion by being the oldest in the business to provide direct sales through independent tool dealers.

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Guest imported_MrEarl

Thanks Matthew, I had googled Cornwell but did not find that particular site. It appears they are an American family owned business since the early 1900's so that tells me a lot. What with more and more tools being made in China these days, I think they will be a good line to turn to. The guy that I bought the box from had a few misc pieces and they felt good in the hand, well balanced and appeared strong.

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Sorry Lamar. I googled them but until you brought it up I'd never heard of em........Bob

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Guest BJM

Lamar,

As a professional mechanic I can tell you this about Cornwell. In the current Lexicon of tool providers that visit a service repair shop whether it is attached to a brand or is an Independent, Cornwell is considered the "fourth" tool dealer, behind Snap On, MAC, and MATCO. Their quality is about equal to MATCO.

Every mechanic has a favorite tool vendor, mine was Snap On. I have maybe "only" about $250 in Cornwell goods out of about $10,000 in tools.

Our last Cornwell guy went out of business and we did not have Cornwell for some time. The problem is the focus of doo-dads in their flyers over plain old fashoined quality tools at a fair price. You'd get a flyer to look over and there would be piggy banks, shirts, toy models, etc and Oh Yeah, tools on page 10.

Cornwells basics are decent but many are CAST, not forged tools. All of the "Big 3 1/2" vendors, and of course Sears and others come with a 'lifetime guarantee' but so what?

I have some broken tools now from all of them and unless your in the biz, you aren't going to get a positive response from a dealer. Soooo, I buy tools based on how they help me in the garage and under the hood. It's kind of scary losing a Snap-On tool because of the cost but hold a Snap On box-end wrench in your hand, and a Craftsman or Matco/Cornwell, and you'll see what I mean. Snap-On is balanced, forged, you can even see some wavy imperfections in their perfection.

You can't go wrong with Cornwell, BUT I would buy Craftmen just as soon because of availability of exchange. You can't walk into a Cornwell "store" and exchange a broken tool.

Cornwell, MAC, Matco, Cobalt, Craftsmen, etc are all cast and that's the difference. MAC and MATCO might have forged lines of Hand tools but they are bend over expensive.

Cornwell has been around a while but because of strong brand loyalty in the garages, it's tough to be a dealer. I have seen mechanics completely ignore the Cornwell guy because they knew he wasn't going to be around for long. On the other hand, they have some wonderful boxes, very expensive like all new boxes, but in world of machismo gone mad (that is a major brand service shop like I worked at) "special Edition" tool boxes including airbrushed graphics and exotic powder coated paints rule! My box of choice was a Craftsmen ball bearing lower box with a top MAC box vintage 1965, kinda' like your Cornwell. Still have them. It didn't make sense to me to spend $10,000 on a huge colorful tool box!!??? I made the same or more money then those guys. You only need what you need.

I think they were making up for deficiencies in other areas. I was down there next to the Porsche master tech and Scott had a 30 year old Snap On box so worn out, but he wouldn't think of getting a new box. But the 19 year old pimple faced kid tried to one up the old farts by getting a bright shiny box that he was $50 per week minimum into, and then was repossessed 6 months later when he couldn't make it work. Many of these were Cornwells.

So I would so don't bother getting Cornwell tools, but that's just one opinion. MAC is a Stanley company, and their stuff is no better then Craftsmen to Kobalt. MATCO was always junk for me. I hate MATCO, but other guys are loyal.

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There are a lot more to tools than most realize. Many of the big three Snap-on Mac and Matco don’t make all of their tools, the specialty ones are farmed out. Like one of the Matco trim tool set is made by Old forge but then has the better Matco handles. Here is a website that sells it http://www.shop.com/+-a-old+forge+trim+tools-p30036773-k36-st.shtml. OTC Stringer makes tools for the big three. I used to do prototype cars at Roush and notice the similarities between brands and on that trim tool both companies have the same flaw in the blade and when I received the Old Forge set the sheet metal door handle tool said Matco on one side and old Forge on the other. Some of the Craftsman professional are the same as Matco. Some of the tool boxes and I think the ratchets at least two years ago they were. Mac does the same with farming out. There is a tool we used to accurately(not a common hydrometer) tell the freezing point of anti freeze I can’t remember the name Mack sells it for a about a hundred over what there supplier sells it for under their name. I think Cornwell is under rated but is hard to find a supplier. At Roush most people avoided the Snap-on man because of how he took care of warranty items. You buy a lot you get taken care of and if you don’t that looks like customer abuse. Tools are an investment and Cornwell doesn’t do well on resale. The tool boxes that held up the best there were the Mac but are so over built it is crazy. Cornwell is not well known because they were not heavily into garages but more tool and die with many of the black oxide instead of chrome. I own mostly Snap-on but think they are overrated and priced. I got them in the eighties as they came to our shop. I was at a dealer than and you make payments. There is very little you can’t buy off the web that is better and cheaper than Snap-on but the return is the problem. There are two German Companies that make some awesome screwdrivers. I like them better than my Snap-on’s.

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Guest imported_MrEarl

Thanks Jake and Kris

I don't know then...maybe I'll just stick with Craftsman. I have had to return several practiclally new ratchets and wrenches lately and was aggravated by that. The first set of tools I ever owned was a set of Craftsman I got for Christmas 1966 for to work on my 57 Chevy I had just gotten for my 16th birthday. Still gottem. Now those ratchets are still good. It's the new crap that doesn't last til it's out of the box. I think I let that Cornwell box get me all excited about Cornwell and thought it would be a unique and "cool" tool to collect. But if resale isn't that good then maybe I need to heed what my wife always tells me when I am looking to buy something. "Just so it's something I won't be able to give away when you're gone" Which is always a puzzleing statement to begin with.... here's a few pics of some old pieces I picked up at the local pawnshop, along with a old MAC SEAT.

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Just picked up this old Cornwell Mechanics chest off Craigs list. Actually I called about the old Mac bottom chest but when I got there I fell head over heels in love with this Cornwell and had to have it. Luckily the guy was nice enough to offer come creative financing as I had not brought enough cash to buy both. I have been becoming very dissatisfied with my Craftsman tools quality lately and have decided to begin collecting Cornwell tools. Would LOVE to have a bottom chest to match the top. Is anyone familiar with Cornwell and might know the age of this box. I'm thinking early 60's? Is anyone familiar with the Cornwell line. Does anyone have any Cornwell tools for sale? or trade for Craftsman?

cc811e29.jpg

891ea3d8.jpg

2ec6b6f3.jpg

60566f99.jpg

158cb0d0.jpg

I have the bottom to this set

If you are interested I am in Boise Idaho mbeckamo@aol.com

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If you dont mind me asking what did you pay for this chest I have a very early serial number 2060 and was actually trying to get a fair sale price

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Jeeze it was like 5 years ago but am thinking $200 each for the top and bottom. Would stll like to find a bottom south of the Mason-Dixon and east of the Mississip

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