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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Chisel, Cold
Catalog #: 2002.0075.08, Accession #: 2002.0075
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
Used with a hammer (such as the hammer, Cat 2002.0075.07), typically for cutting off small to medium size bolt heads and nuts, or small rivet heads. Though typical of cold chisels made since the 1920s, this one was probably made in the 1970s.
Physical Description
6 1/2" L x 3/4" W x 3/4" D
Date Made:
Dates Used:
1800s - Today
Gift of National Park Service

Part of a small array of hand tools displayed in "America On The Move" - such tools were used in the inspection and repair of steam locomotives. Light repairs on steam locomotives were usually done in roundhouses at the many small locomotive terminals throughout a railroad's system; heavy repairs were done in a large, centralized repair shop serving the whole system (often referred to as the "Back Shop"). Most of these tools date from the early- to the mid-20th century, roughly 1900-1955.

A chisel like this was used with a heavy, short hammer for cutting into metal, usually bolts, nuts, and small rivet heads needing removal. The term "cold" chisel means that the metal being cut into was not usually heated. (Many times in a shop, things made of steel would be heated with a gas torch, often to a red heat, to facilitate removal of a part.)

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