Atomic bomb story

I sold my BMW motorcycle franchise in early 1975. I immediately bought a workshop in Fort Bidwell, CA, from a widow whose husband had recently died. Next door to my good friend, Rod Miller, was Bud Lewis. We talked, and I helped him with a few minor chores around his place. We exchanged stories about my father, a top machinist for Boeing. Eventually, Bud showed me three Gerstner machinist tool boxes. One was large, and the other two were smaller. He gave me the larger one and a smaller one. I have no idea what I did with the smaller toolbox.

He told me he had been in charge of 178 machinists in Alamogordo, New Mexico. He couldn’t tell me more since it was top secret, but it was apparent that he was in charge of the men who made the parts for Atomic bombs.

This is the Gerstner box in the closed position.
Here is a view of some of the tools in the drawers of the Gerstner toolbox from about 1938.

I have taken excellent care of these two pieces of history. From time to time, I would use a tool and replace it when finished. The keys to lock the box are at the top, just under the lid.

I could list and sell the individual tools on eBay and do quite well. I don’t need the money and would forever feel guilty for selling.

I have always felt that this Gerstner toolbox belongs in a museum. I am happy to report that today, August 26, 2022, this toolbox was officially donated to the National Museum of the Pacific War.

My 47 years as the caretaker of this historic toolbox are finally over.

Updated 1 April 2023