Tony Dingle has been a collector of hammers for many years predating when it became fashionable to collect them. Over the years he searched every chance he got to find another one that was different from what he’d found before. This collection of 1000+ hammers is surprisingly diverse and is an eclectic mix comprising hammers from many trades and varieties within those trades. His hammer collection predominantly focuses on English types although there are a few from outside the UK.
Speaking to Tony he has decided having reached into his mid 90’s the time was right to pass his collection onto new hands. His passion for this subject led him to write a hammer book called ‘A collector’s guide to hammers’ a few years ago which is elusive to find in itself nowadays. Hopefully, by undertaking this tool auction for him we can record the collection with imagery that will help tool collectors for many years to come. I have to say, it’s been a pleasure to deal with such a gentleman and how helpful he and his family have been throughout preparing for this auction.
Tony Dingle served his apprenticeship as an agricultural engineer and like so many of his age spent time in the military before working many years as an agricultural service engineer working on many of those old machines that attract so much attention today. He later became a lecturer in an agricultural college for some 30 years working well past his retirement age. Once retired he continued with the restoration of old machinery involving many engineering principles involved, alongside his pursuit of adding more to his hammer collection.
In his hammer book, he states ‘there is no such thing as an ordinary hammer as every trade had one purposely designed to meet their needs to become more efficient or make a task at hand much easier to achieve. Within each task, there were also different designs made by a wide range of tool manufacturers. I would say that once we start to understand this topic there will be rare toolmakers along with rare types of hammers. Early hammers are described as being made of soft wrought iron followed by a period where harder steel was added to the striking faces to improve their durability before the manufacturing process brought with it more durable cast steel tools. The book also describes and illustrates county patterns before the demise of these local makers, all very interesting stuff.
Many of these old hammers in the collection would never have survived had it been for his foresight and many years of hunting them out. Years and years of leg work, research, and conversations worldwide have gone into bringing this collection together and I hope you find it as interesting as I have found it.
That’s the thing with collecting Antique tools, we are proud of what we have amassed but so often these tool collections get dispersed without recognition. We hope we can stem this tide with some effort to record more tool collections like this in the future for our paid members to view.
This hammer auction will be split into two parts, 300 lots in this first auction and the remaining part in a second auction later this year, we will update members on this nearer the time. There is away’s something to learn when collecting old tools and we hope this tool auction (although very different) brings those less familiar with the subject some interest.