Everhard Ball Bearing Beveled Stitcher

Fillet or creaser?

At the massive Brimfield Flea Market last month, I picked up this unusually well made tool. Note the ball bearings barely visible around the axle. Not only does is spin freely, but there is zero play side to side. And the wheel is very heavy.

At first I thought it was an unusual fillet, used for marking lines in leather. But it turns out it was made for the tire/ rubber industry. It is marked “The Everhard Mfg. Co.”, and is known as a beveled stitcher,  used to smooth wavy edges of uncured rubber. It also bears a striking morphological resemblance to a leatherworkers wheel. Even if it can’t be usefully adapted for bookbinding work, it is still a wonderfully well made object to have.

Yikes! Have I started down the slippery slope from tool user to collector? Is this a problem?

The Antiques Garage Flea Market

If you think everything in Manhattan is overpriced, overhyped, trendy, useless, distracting and a disgusting display of conspicuous consumption, you are partially correct. However, there are three great flea markets in Manhattan that I regularly visit.  The Antiques Garage, West 25th Street Market, and the Hells Kitchen Flea Market are open all year on weekends, 9:00 to 5:00. Last weekends haul—


13 pound die. Flea Market price: $10 

First, a 13 pound die that was originally used to stamp medallions or belt buckles for the 1991 Daytona Bike Week.  This is a great heavy weight, a nice compliment to the smaller dies I use for paper repair. All of these are hand carved out of steel and the vendor thought it was something in the “D” series. Drawback: I had to carry it home, a 3 mile walk. Bonus: If my conservation work dries up, I could do a second stamping of these (possibly) collectible belt buckles.


19th century photograph of a worker, but in what trade? Flea market price: $4

I also picked up this photograph.  Some type of conveyer belt and height adjustment?  Is it a stack a papers or thin wood in the foreground? Plywood manufacture?


A Charles Buck 4″ mini drawknife. Flea market price: $20

This will be perfect for shaping tool handles.  Given its rust, I relunctly plunked down $20 because this knife will take two or three hours of work to get it into useable condition.  However, after a little research at home, I found pristine collector example selling for $130. The Davistown Museum indicates while Charles Buck was part of the Buck Brothers, who still make edge tools today. Charles had a falling out with the other brothers and also made tools under his own name. Reportedly, his were of better quality than the others. Apparently tools marked with his name were made between 1872 and 1915.

Flea markets—another reason to come visit NYC.

The Ascent And Descent Of Man


The above photo is from Popular Science Monthly, Vol. 124, No. 6, June 1934, p. 35.  This is an early depiction of the ascent of man, and it is taken from the Peabody Museum of Natural History, at Yale University.  It was featured in a section of the magazine that reports on new Science news, so it must have been fairly recently installed.  The succession is gibbon, orangutan, chimpanzee, gorilla and human.

Recently, I saw the sign below on 23rd. St., NYC, and it was an ad for some online food ordering company.   I thought it was clever in depicting technological tool use, and how we become dependent on the increasing size of our tools, thus returning us to our protohuman stature?

descent of man

%d bloggers like this: