Site: The Tool Box
Location: Colyton, Devon
Date: 23 September 2011
SiB Team: CD and SB
Image: Apprentice piece
Engineers use scribing blocks like this one to etch lines at set heights and to judge the level of the surfaces they are working on. They fall into a category of ‘tools that are used to make other tools’, though someone needs to make them in the first place. Mike Hill probably made this particular scribing block as an ‘apprentice piece’ during his training.
Many of the tools in this shop are marked with the names of the people who made them (the maker’s mark) and the names of the places where they were made. An idiosyncratic industrial geography can be read in the rows of clamps and planes, chisels and drill bits. The tools carry marks of their origins, and their working lives. They arrive battered and grubby, and undergo a transformation at the hands of Michael in the back room workshop. Repaired and ready on the shop’s display shelves, they await their next posting.
Image © Steven Bond/University of Exeter