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JOEL Joel's Blog

Roy Arnold a Short Tribute.


Roy Arnold a Short Tribute. 4I found out today that Roy Arnold passed away. I never met the gentleman - the only conversation I ever had with him was about credit card information for a book I ordered from him - and yet I feel his loss.
Roy Arnold was one of the most important pioneers in tool collecting and an early important dealer in tools. But the most important thing he did was encourage scholarship in the world of tools. He published a huge number of very important, seminal works on tool collecting. He published the works of Bill Goodman - ("British Planemakers From 1700," to name one title) He published the works of Mark and Jane Rees ("Tools: a Guide for Collectors" - such an important book, and one of many ). He reprinted numerous catalogs that today in our shop we refer to constantly in our quest to reintroduce tools from the early 19th century.

Above is the cover of Catalog #1 from 1974. Roy Arnold and his partner Phillip Walker didn't just want to sell tools, they also wanted to educate people as to why the tools they sold were interesting and historically important. Their focus wasn't buying used tools on the cheap to help mend the shed, but rather tools as historical markers of our industrial societies and as masterpieces of art and craft. Below is a scan of a page of the catalog (click on the image to enlarge it). You can see how much effort has gone into explaining the significance of each tool. When I was starting out, I learned tons from reading these pages. Since then, prices have gone up a lot, but I think Roy would be very proud that his encouragement of more research has made many of his descriptions obsolete, as new findings have taught us lots more.

Our condolences go out to Roy Arnold's family, and I hope that they gain comfort in the knowledge that the work that he started - learning and educating others about tools - continues forward.
Roy Arnold a Short Tribute. 5
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01/05/2010 KC
He had a great shop on High Street in Ipswich. I have fond memories of a pilgrimage to the UK to purchase tools.
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