The Tool Chest created by Freemason, Master carpenter, and Veteran piano maker, Brother Henry O. Studley

The Henry O. Studley Masonic Tool Chest

   The Tool Chest was apparently created between 1890 & 1920 by Brother Henry O. Studley

                                  while employed by the Poole Piano Company, Boston.

                                                           THE STUDLEY MASONIC TOOL CHEST
 

 
Brother Henry O. Studley (1838-1925) created this magnificent wall-hung chest while employed by the Poole Piano Company of Boston between 1890 to 1920.  In an oak clamshell box adorned with rosewood, ebony, pearl and ivory. Studley kept tools he made and a collection of the finest hand tools made prior to 1900, including a complete set of woodworking tools as well as machinist and stonemasonry tools.
 
If the workmanship in his Tool Chest is any indication of the maker's talent, then the craftsmanship of Master carpenter and Freemason Henry O. Studley must have been awe-inspiring,
 
To pack the 300-plus tools into a case only 19½ inches wide, 39 inches long and 9½ inches deep, Brother Studley devised a jigsaw puzzle arrangement of flip-up trays, fold-out layers and hidden compartments. 

Maine native Pete Hardwick originally owned the Tool Chest, which had been in his family since it was bequeathed to his grandfather by Brother Studley.  Hardwick acquired the Tool Chest from his brother by trading a 1934 Ford sedan for it.  A good trade?  It would seem so: Just one tool - the Stanley No. 1 plane housed in the ebony archway in the upper-left part of the chest - was appraised at $700.00. In 1993,  the Tool Chest was carefully restored to its original splendour and glory, loaned to the Smithsonian Institution, then displayed in the National Museum of American History as the centerpiece of woodworking and other tradesman Tool Chests.  Brother Studley's Tool Chest then changed hands again (for an undisclosed $$$ amount) to another private collector.

                                          The Studley Tool Chest holds hundreds of tools

With the tools removed, the intricate woodwork of the Studley Tool Chest is revealed. Masonic references, such as the Square & Compasses in the lower part of the left half of the case, also stand out. Smithsonian conservators spent 245 hours cleaning and making minor repairs to the Tool Chest.  Close tolerances and the precision fit of the tools are apparent when the Tool Chest is closed. The Smithsonian's David Shayt suggests part of Brother Studley's inspiration may have come from the way upright pianos pack many parts into tight places.

The Studley Tool Chest going three layers deep in the right upper half of the Tool Chest, the lift-up and swinging door sections provide easy access. The doors that normally hold bits, echo a Gothic Cathedral motif and may have roots in Masonic lore, researchers suggest. This part of the case may follow a Masonic idea of putting the most complex or precious things in the 'northeast corner of a Lodge.'

                                            The Studley Tool Chest on Brother Henry O. Studley's Workbench.

          Brother Henry O. Studley, Master Carpenter  and  Veteran Piano Maker at his workbench

               in the Poole Piano Factory, Boston.  His Tool Chest is displayed on a wall behind him.

                                 Brother Henry O. Studley's Tool Chest and Workbench exhbited

                                          at the Scottish Rite Temple, Cedar Rapids, Iowa May 15-17, 2015

 

                                                                                  RURAL MASONIC LODGE A.F. & A.M. 

                                                                                           Weymouth, Massachusetts​​​​​​​
 
                                                            The old Lodge with the young Spirit.
 
  Brother Henry O. Studley joined the Rural Masonic Lodge A.F. & A.M. and records show that he                                                  achieved first, second and third degrees in 1871
 

                 This lodge has been temporarily displaced from its home in Quincy due to a fire.
 

Rural Lodge was chartered on June 8, A.D. 1801, A.L. 5801 in Randolph as the 34th lodge in Massachusetts.  In 1803, Rural Lodge’s petition to move to Quincy was granted, and the Lodge has been a fixture in the community ever since.
 
On September 19, A.D. 1804, A.D. 5804, Rural Lodge received its first visit from a presiding Grand Master, M.W. Isaiah Thomas, for the purpose of Consecrating the Lodge and installing its officers. Following the ceremony, a large banquet was served with many guests.
 
The record states that: 
The Grand Lodge was honored with the company of John Adams, Esq., late President of the United States; and the Honorable John Quincy Adams.  (Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts 1792-1815, p. 249)
 
In the book Stalwart Builders, the official history of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts between 1733-1978, the author, M.W. Thomas Sherrard Roy, noted, “Neither John Quincy Adams nor his hosts had any reason to anticipate the virulent attacks he would one day make upon the Craft” (p. 83).  In 1834 Adams unsuccessfully ran for Governor of Massachusetts as the Anti-Masonic Party candidate, although his membership in the party may have had more to do with his animosity towards Andrew Jackson than his feelings about the Fraternity.  Jackson, an active Mason and Past Grand Master of Tennessee, defeated Adams for President in 1828.
 
Today, Rural Lodge is a diverse group comprised primarily of men from Quincy, or those who live or work there now.  There are also a number of Brothers from Dorchester, Milton, Braintree, and other towns throughout the South Shore.
 
The Lodge takes an active role in making Quincy a better community.  We have partnered with the Quincy Public Schools and in recent years we have donated a wheelchair accessible school bus, defibrillators and ‘EpiPens’ for every school, and numerous smaller gifts to help individual students.  We have supported the Quincy Medical System/Marie Curry Breast Cancer walk for several years, we hold several MYCHIP events each year, and recently began a program to support Cradles to Crayons (cradlestocrayons.org).
 
Rural Lodge isn’t all serious though, and we like to have a good time.  In the last few years we’ve had specialists give scotch, beer, wine, and brandy tastings.  We have taken trips to the Newport Mansions, the Cape Cod Dinner Train, Mohegan Sun, and the Museum of Science.  Our annual summer BBQ at the Squantum Yacht Club ensures the Lodge gets together during a time when we are not meeting.
 
Rural Lodge has 24/7 Answering Service: 781.534.9554.  If you are interested in learning more about Rural Lodge or what we have scheduled, contact our Masonic Ambassador, or leave a message for us.