Gerstner and Craftech Tool Chests & Craft Organizers

Gerstner and Craftech Tool Chests & Craft OrganizersFor four generations Gerstner Tool Chests have enjoyed a reputation for unmatched excellence and craftsmanship. They are recognized simply as "the finest tool chests built in America." In terms of quality, performance, materials, and workmanship, a Gerstner is in a class by itself. No other tool chest in the world has the reputation of a Gerstner.
When you purchase a Gerstner Tool Chest you make an investment in yourself and in your tools. A Gerstner is built with carefully selected hardwoods and veneers that provide a moisture-free environment for the proper storage of your precision tools. Even after a lifetime of daily use, a Gerstner Chest often maintains a value equal to or greater than its original cost.
H. Gerstner & Sons was founded on the belief that a journeyman's reputation is built upon the professionalism that he brings to his work. Gerstner Tool Chests always have and will continue to be used by men and women who take great pride in their work, their tools and their professionalism.



Exclusive Features That Make A Gerstner®
The Finest Tool Chests In The World


  • Gerstner believes that each and every wood chest they build is a keystone in their reputation. Gerstner takes great pride in their people, their products and the many professionals we serve.

  • Gerstner's restoration craftsman are specialists in their ability to service, repair, recondition and refinish virtually any Gerstner Chest regardless of age.

    Hand Rubbed Lacquer Finish

    Every Gerstner chest goes through 3 final finishing stages. At each stage the lacquer finish is hand rubbed to give a lasting beauty and protection to the selected hardwoods. Oak and Cherry chests have a hand applied stain, Walnut is not stained - this allows the natural wood grain to show.

    100% American Made

    A Gerstner is a testament to the fact that American craftsmanship can be the finest in the world. Beginning with the finest kiln dried hardwoods, over 100 separate construction and finishing operations are performed. The men and women who build the Gerstner Tool Chests are motivated and dedicated to maintaining and continuing this heritage of excellence.

    Hand Fitted Drawers and Panels

    Each drawer in a Gerstner Chest is shaped. planed and fitted by hand to insure an exact fit and smooth operation. Tongue & Groove joinery insures structural durability.

    Selected Hardwoods & Veneers

    All Gerstner products are available in Golden Oak or Natural Walnut. Golden Oak provides a rich golden brown hardwood with quarter sawn grain. The natural Walnut is a warm multi-toned natural finish hardwood. Select Gerstner products are also offered in American Cherry. American Cherry is a beautiful fruitwood color providing a rich finish.

    Solid Heavy Duty Hardware

    All hardware...drawer pulls, corner mounts, carrying handles and locks are specially designed for a lifetime of protection, service and beauty. Some models available with Brass Hardware standard. An optional upgrade to Brass Hardware is available for an additional charge for all other items.

    Felt-Lined Drawers and Storage Compartments

    The felt-lined cushioned interiors provide special protection against moisture and abrasions for precision tools.

    Front Closing & Locking Lid

    A Trademark of Gerstner Chests is the exclusive front closing lid, uniquely designed to slide under the bottom drawer when in use. When closed/locked, the lid conceals the drawers to protect your valuables against theft, temperature changes and moisture.

    Magna-Lid™

    The function of Magna-Lid System is to prevent the front lid of your Gerstner Chest from falling open when the chest is first unlatched and the spring loaded pins retract from their front locking position. Magna-Lid provides only a slight magnetic pull and is not meant to hold a front lid in its upright position while the chest is being transported of moved in any manner. This feature is standard in some of the larger Gerstner Chests, and available as an option in the smaller ones for an additional charge

    Stop-Trac™ Drawer System

    Most Gerstner Chests have the Stop-Trac System. Unique spring loaded brass bullet catches prevent drawer spillage yet allow for easy pull-out of drawers when necessary. An installation kit is available for other chests.

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    Introducing Gerstner's New "International" Line:

    Gerstner International Mission Statement

    The mission of Gerstner International is to seek out manufacturing partners the world over to enable Gerstner & Sons to offer it’s customers economically priced wood products built to a benchmark of quality that will proudly uphold the Gerstner name.


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    Craftech

    Hand crafted from solid hard wood. Very sturdy to last for a long time.

    by Craftech International - 20 years of history in wood craftsmanship - Specializing in attractive, yet cost effective, designs of medium size furniture RTA (ready to
    assemble.)

    Craftech International designs and manufactures the finest quality wooden tool chests, work benches and easels. Craftech strives, with full commitment, to provide special products that are functional useful, durable and beautiful.

    All our tool chests and craft organizer are hand crafted and made from solid hard
    wood. They are very sturdy and durable, and will last for a long time.

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    For any other Gerstner Products, please email us at:
    mail@MadisonArtShop.com


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    HISTORY OF H. GERSTNER & SONS, INC.

    1884 was a very important year for H. Gerstner & Sons. It was the year company founder Harry Gerstner was born. Some other very notable and interesting events were taking place around the country at this time: the Statue of Liberty was completed, Boston and New York were first linked by telephone, the Cincinnati Reds held their first game at Crosley Field, and Dayton, Ohio, had its first paved street. Harry Gerstner first started working when he left high school at age 17. He signed on as a woodworking apprentice to become a pattern-maker starting at a salary of six cents an hour. At the completion of his four-year apprenticeship, Harry received a one hundred dollar bonus and was earning ten cents an hour - top wages for a journeyman woodworker in the Dayton area.

    Harry Gerstner made his first tool chest while working as a pattern-maker. It took him a year to design and make, as he only spent evenings working on it. After it was completed a friend remarked that he would like to have one of these well-designed chests, so Harry built another one. Some of his fellow workers commented on how well made it was, and this got him thinking that there may be a demand for his chests, as they were better and different than anything on the market at that time. So, in 1906 while the Wright Brothers were perfecting their first airplane, Harry Gerstner used the 100 dollar bonus from his job and founded his own tool chest company. He picked up his first orders by making evening door to door sales calls on his many friends and acquaintances.

    Harry decided to name the company H. Gerstner & Sons not only in honor of his father Herman Gerstner who introduced Harry to woodworking, but also because the name sounded established and he hoped that he would someday have his own sons to bring into the business. Indeed, it was a family business from its inception and Harry provided jobs for his father, his two brothers and his two sisters. His first woodworking tools were fairly basic and some of his machines were handmade. His first machine was a "saw-table," he says he made with an old motor from a washing machine. Even today, some of the specialized tool room machinery from the era of the Wright Brothers Bicycle Shop is still being used in the making of authentic Gerstner hardware and fittings. Harry designed his tool chests to hold the full compliment of a journeyman's precision tools and the basic principle of design for his tool chests was "A place for everything and everything in its place."

    H. Gerstner & Sons was not the only manufacturer of wooden tool chests during the early 1900's. Because of the allocation of metal towards the war effort, by the close of World War I there were about 20 companies producing wooden chests. The mid 1960's saw the last of H. Gerstner & Sons competition as all the other companies either closed down or moved on to making other products. As the twenty-first century draws near, H. Gerstner & Sons stands alone in maintaining over 90 years of quality manufacturing of wooden tool chests.

    H. Gerstner & Sons has always kept quality as the number one priority in establishing the company's reputation. The tool chests were never built to be beautiful, but H. Gerstner & Sons products have a certain "look," and their inherent quality has come to be appreciated as a truly "American" product. Like all articles of merit they have been flattered by cheaper imitations, but the company focus has always been to build the best quality wood products money could buy. Some years ago a man would bring his personal tools to a job interview. If they were presented in a Gerstner Chest, he was virtually assured a position. The name Gerstner has been well established to mean the highest quality in wooden tool chests, and the use of a Gerstner Chest was, and still is, evidence that a craftsman takes genuine pride in himself and his work.

    In the company archives are letters from people who purchased our chests as far back as the 1920's. Many of these early Gerstner Chests are still in use today and their current owners are as happy with them now as the day they were first purchased. The tool chests are built to be extremely durable and some letters we have received told of Gerstner Chests even surviving through fires. The chests were sometimes damaged beyond repair, but the tools they held were protected. Due to the moisture absorbing characteristics of wood, tools stored in Gerstner Chests remain in a rust-free environment. With a little care a Gerstner Chest will last a lifetime and beyond. People have often sent their older chests in to be refurbished to keep them in top condition, as many of them are passed down through family generations. The company has operated from its present location since 1913 and Gerstner Tool Chests are to be found in virtually every quality metalworking shop from coast to coast. In recent years the company has begun to build fine wood products for homemakers and hobbyists. These new products exhibit the same craftsmanship and attention to detail as the reputable Gerstner Tool Chests.

    H. Gerstner & Sons is still a family owned business today. While Harry Gerstner and his wife, Emma, never did have any sons, they did have three daughters, and since the beginning, the business has been run by a family member of their descendants. Harry Gerstner was still active in the company until he passed away in 1972. He saw many times when businesses were closing because of poor economic conditions and the instability of the country (such as World War I & II, and the Great Depression of the 1930's). Other businesses slowly dropped out of existence while H. Gerstner & Sons determinedly hung on. To fight against the loss of business to cheaper competitors, Harry Gerstner was even clever enough to develop his own thrifty models in the 1920's when he started producing a line of tool chests under the name of National Cabinet Co.

    John A. Campbell was the first "outside" family member to enter the business. He married Charlotte, the eldest of Harry Gerstner's daughters, whom he met in college. Harry convinced him to move to Dayton in 1938 and join the business. John's background as a high school English teacher provided him with the writing and communication skills he needed to help develop some early brochures used by the company. He was very active in sales and dealer relations while he was with the company, and was vice president and in line to take over the business until his untimely death in 1961 at the age of 50. He spent 23 years working at H. Gerstner & Sons and the good "old fashioned" friendly customer service policies he initiated are still practiced today.

    The next family member to enter the business was Harold Leland. He married Harriet, the youngest of Harry's daughters. He was president of the company from 1962 to 1976. Harold saw the company through some very difficult times as his competitors began closing down or moving on to other products. His background in engineering helped to formulate cost and control systems that are still used in the running of the business. Under Harold's leadership the company began to introduce new products that would help assure the future growth of the company.

    John Harry Campbell (nicknamed Jack), son of John A. Campbell, and grandson of Harry Gerstner, is the present owner of the company. He purchased the company from his uncle (Harold Leland) in 1976 and has set about reaffirming the policy of building the finest wood products available on the market today. He is also bringing the company into the 21st century through continued diversification into other products designed for home and hobby as well as new tool chests designs for industry.

    Jack’s daughter, Kim, and son, Scott, worked part time for the company during their teenage years. Now, both are working full time toward becoming the fourth generation owners and management at Gerstner. Scott is currently the Production Manager and Kim is the National Accounts Manager.

    H. Gerstner & Sons started making tool chests exclusively, but throughout the years many other products have been introduced by the company. Today though, tool chests are still the most popular item in the Gerstner line. People have discovered that in addition to their use for tools, Gerstner Chests are ideal as jewelry chests, hobby chests or because of their unique styling they can be used as ideal accent pieces for home decor. The distinctive styling of Gerstner Chests has had a definite influence on other Gerstner products such as: attaché cases, collectors chests, fly tyer cases, and cigar humidors to name a few. Numerous movie stars and film personalities use Gerstner make-up cases and Gerstner customers include sports figures, famous statesmen and even several former presidents of the United States. Gerstner Tool Chests and other wood products represent both the quality of fine woodworking craftsmanship and the proud tradition of true American heritage.

    In closing, we would like to ask your help. If you have an older model chest and you know its history or when it was purchased, please send us some information and a picture. This will help us to help others in identifying their older chests. Also if you have any comments or an interesting story regarding a Gerstner Chest, please send them in; we would love to hear from you.

    Written by Kimberly A. Campbell
    National Accounts Manager
    daughter of John H. Campbell and
    great granddaughter of Harry Gerstner