Tools from History, 1427

MASTER of Flémalle - Mérode Altarpiece (right wing) 1427

Another classic tools painting, this time from 1427 from a painter known as “Master of Flémalle” which I found on the ever so handy site Web Gallery of Art.  In this painting you can clearly see Joseph working in his carpenters shop (this is the right side of a larger painting) and the artist put great detail into the tools.  In this scene you can see the following:

  • Spoon bit auger
  • Hammer
  • Chisel (fishtail)
  • Pincers and Nails
  • Interesting shaped knife
  • Brace and spoon bit
  • Axe
  • Saw with straight handle

Nothing too unusual, expect the brace is clearly displayed and in use.  I had wondered how far back the brace went, and this shows in in use back as far as 1427.  The Mastermyr find had a number of spoon auger bits that dated the use back to roughly 1000 AD, but the wood bits all rotted away on that particular find and we don’t know what sort of mechanism was used to turn them. I would presume it’s something like the one show here.

The other odd thing was the saw handle.  It’s a straight rod, which does seem a bit uncomfortable.  The teeth look to be cut on the push as well, but it’s hard to be certain that the artists painted this aspect exactly as it was seen.  There is some good detail in all the tools that leads me to believe that he was painting from real life tools, but it’s hard to be certain on small details like saw teeth.  Just something to scratch your head at I suppose.


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