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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Machinist's tool chest, about 1949Machinist's tool chest, about 1949

John Emile Lovret, who went to work at age fourteen to support his family, became a skilled machinist and inventor, working for various companies before setting up his own shop in New York. He decorated his tool chest with family photos and a playing card he considered his good-luck charm. In 1998, when ill health forced him to close his shop, his daughter contacted the Smithsonian. Curators chose to collect this chest because "for a machinist the tool chest is the embodiment of the person. . . . Mr. Lovret is important not because he is the first, the only, or the best but because he provides us anecdotes to tell the common, the usual, and the ordinary."

See also: Tools, Work History

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