D'ELIA ANTIQUE TOOL MUSEUM
BOW DRILLS
PATENTED HAMMERS
MERCER TOOL MUSEUM
AMERICAN SAW CO.
D'ELIA ANTIQUE TOOL MUSEUM
MARCUS TIDEY - PLANEMAKER & INVENTOR
DISSTON D-8 SAW PATENTS
3 LONG BRACES
MAINE LOGGING TOOLS
COMBINATION SAWS
HISTORY OF DISSTON SAW CO.
RESTORING PLANES
MICALIZZI TOOLS
RESTORING HANDSAWS
THE D’ELIA MUSEUM & BOOK
 
 
 
By Bob Garay

 
Above is book about the planes in the D'Elia Antique Tool Museum.
     At our June CRAFTS meeting a member had just returned from the Mystic Seaport EAIA meeting. A special part of this event was a trip to the D’Elia Antique Tool Museum. Thus, at our meeting he showed us the new book “American Wood & Metal Planes” It is a collection of over 400 color pictures with descriptions of planes from the D’Elia Museum. I was amazed with the amount of rare and unique planes in the book. I was also impressed with the quality of the 342 page book, with all color photography of these rare planes. As soon as I got home I ordered a book for myself. When I got it in the mail I immediately opened it up and sat down spending the next two hours going over every plane in the book. Being completely absorbed in the book when I was done, I knew I had to set up a visit to the museum and see these planes in person. 





To the right is the Scotland Library with the D'Elia Antique Tool Museum attached to the right.
    
      Thus, July 27th I picked up fellow CRAFTS member Hank Allen and headed to Scotland, Connecticut to visit the museum. It was an easy ride along the coast then we headed inland thru some country roads in a very historic area of Connecticut. We easily found the Scotland Library & Delia Museum and turned into its graceful curved driveway revealing the museum in a quiet wooded setting
with attractive modern architecture. This museum all came to be while Andy was searching for a home for his extensive collection of antique tools. He suggested to the town of Scotland
joining the public library and his tool museum in one locality. He and his wife Anna Mae generously donated the funds to put a new structure on an existing town owned parcel of land. The result is a lovely library occupying 7,000 sq. ft., and the D’Elia Antique Tool Museum is in a separate 1,000 sq. ft. room. 
 

 
Above are three stained glass windows that are on the front exterior of the Library/Museum. See the close-up below of the details and craftsmanship they all have.

    
Entering the library, I was captivated by the expansive layout, with fine wood furnishings. I was pleased when I learned that the architect was from New Jersey. When we got to the museum, Andy opened it up just for us so we could explore the many rare and unique planes inside. What I found out once we were inside is that Hank and Andy were old high school chums and they spent most of the time talking about younger days. This left me on my own to explore all the planes in their oak cabinets. Each plane is presented with information relating to its history. At anytime I wanted Andy would open a cabinet and let me hold the plane for closer inspection and photograph it.

 
This is the view when you enter the museum. It is very spacious and clean looking.


     Andy’s extensive collection of over 14,000 planes has many examples of patented planes from 1820 to 1940 featuring inventors such as Knowles, Holly, Loughborough, Bailey, Rodier, Worrall, and many other rare inventors. The collection also consists of uncommon planes made by makers, Stanley, Sargent, Chaplin, Gage, and a number of Dutch and English planes. Also on display is a collection of early 18th century wooden planemakers such as F. Nicholson, Chelor, I. Nicholson, I. Jones, Jo. Fuller,
Jn.Tower, and others. He has over 150 different Connecticut plane makers as well. All of the antique planes were acquired by Andrew D’Elia over the last 40 years. He even has the first plane he collected, a crown molder by E.B. Jackson. He paid $35 for it at the Newfane, Vermont flea market. The collection of patented planes is probably the most extensive ever assembled in one place. A number of the patented planes are represented in great depth.

 

 
Worrall Multiform plow plane, Mount Holly, NJ Joseph Jones 1873 patent scraper, Newark, NJ
Wm. Lowe's patent plane, Newark, NJ Tidey 1854 patent beveling plane.
Above are planes in the museum that have ties to New Jersey.


 
 
 
 
 
Roy Underhill (right) presenting the Melancholia plane that he made to Andy D’Elia, at EAIA’s 75th anniversary meeting. Photo: Paul Van Pernis
 
     The museum opened in 2006 and is open weekends 10:00AM – 4:00PM or by appointment. Over each of the museum’s five windows are unique stained glass panels depicting a number of rare woodworking planes. The maker of the glass, Stained Architectural Glass, of CT. had to borrow the planes and take them to NJ to match up the colors with the stained glass they were going to use. Also in the museum are paintings of plane inventors and blow-up copies of rare planemaker marks. The planes are all housed in over 20 fine oak framed glass cabinets with mirror backs and are well lighted. These cabinets are all custom made by a California company following Andy’s specifications. It is well laid out and has a spacious feel.

Now if our visit to the museum wasn’t enough to make a great day, Andy invited us to his house for some lunch. He lives only minutes from the museum in a colonial house built in 1720. His wife Anna Mae made sure we had plenty to eat before we left for our trip back home. Especially fine was the home made cake topped with ice cream for desert. Now I have always thought tool collectors were special people, well a trip like this supports that position.
 
 
Andrew D’Elia and the D’Elia antique Tool Museum can be reached at 860-423-2016 and email – www.deliatoolmuseum.com

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