Object of the month A photograph of GWR number punches, which is an example of a key GWR tool.

May 2024: GWR Tools

GWR Tools

This month we look at another part of the STEAM collection that will be going display at our sister venue, Museum & Art Swindon, GWR Tools!

The history galleries at Museum & Art Swindon inevitably include the arrival of the GWR to Swindon and the impact that the company had on the town and its residents.  To illustrate the company in object form, tools from the Works were the obvious choice.  So, in the display case covering industry in Swindon during the 19th and early 20th Century are a small selection of tools from STEAM’s, quite large, tool collection.

The tool collection at STEAM contains carpentry tools (including planes and chisels), upholstery tools (such a trimmers and stamps) and foundry tools (such as ladles and moulding trowels).  There is also a selection of precision tools such as measuring gauges and micrometres.  There are numerous general tools such as spanners (including some giant ones!), hammers, dividers, tongs, spades and forks.  The majority of these tools tend to be marked ‘GWR’ or ‘BR(W)’ which gave ownership to the company.  In some cases the tools are also marked with an employee name.  Some of the tools are held within their own toolbox which belonged to, and, in most cases, were made by GWR employees.  Some are particularly attractive, with one being inlaid with marquetry.

The selection of tools that will be on display at Museum and Art Swindon include a screwdriver and a spanner from AE Shop, set of number punches from No.3 Shop, a gauge for measuring wire, and a parallel ruler from the drawing office.


Selection of GWR Tools

A photograph of GWR number punches, which is an example of a key GWR tool.

GWR Number Punches late 19th and early 20th century.

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