STELLARTON, N.S. – He remembers the day. It was in the early ‘90s.
Garry Leliever picked up a worn carpentry level at an auction and decided to buy it.
“I cleaned it up and I was addicted,” the Pictou County man said Saturday as he sat behind a table showing just a fraction of his collection. “My grandfather had been a carpenter and my mom sent some of his older tools to me as well. It awoke the bug in me again.”
Leliever was one just one of many who have caught the same bug over the years and the collectors enjoyed some time talking, trading and learning at the Museum of Industry, where the annual Atlantic Tool Collectors Show was held.
He said what he loves most about this annual event is that you learn something new each time. He personally has books and tons of research available at home, but he has never left without learning something new.
“Sure as the devil I will find something else about a tool I didn’t know, whether it’s a manufacturer, a name, style or what it was used for. It’s just educational.”
Darrell Hamilton was another attendee and has been collecting most of his life and has been a member of the tool club for about 15 years.
“Myself I collect Winchester. It’s the same company as the firearms.”
Most people don’t know, but the company had the tool manufacturing branch of the business between the years 1922 and 1929.
“They are rare and they’re expensive,” Hamilton said.
He travels a lot in the U.S. and has found a lot of the tools down there.
“There’s a whole story with how Winchester (tools) came about. After the First World War, that was the war to end all wars, they said we better diversify here and find something else to make or we’re going to be out of business. So they started making tools.
But then in 1929 the stock market crashed . By that time, it was pretty clear that there would be a continued need for the guns.
And so the tool side was forgotten by most – just not by collectors like Hamilton.