It’s so satisfying to finally find something you’ve been looking for. For the last three years, I’ve been searching for a box to hold my shoe care supplies, but nothing was quite right. Ephtee was too expensive and Orvis too small and boring. Luckily, StyleForum member Nutcracker tipped me to Gerstner & Sons, an American chest manufacture based in Dayton, Ohio. Their “12 Repair Kit” model came to me two weeks ago and it’s near perfect.
Gerstner & Sons has all the makings of a good American heritage story. They were founded in 1906 by a woodworker named Harry Gerstner. He earned his reputation by designing and constructing well-made tool chests for machinists, which famously included the Wright Brothers. When he started the company, there were perhaps dozens other American manufacturers, but as allocations for metal went towards the war effect, there were just fifteen by the end of World War I. That number dwindled further in the 1960s as companies closed down or moved on to other productions, and today, there’s just one – Gerstner & Sons – which is still owned and operated by the same Gerstner family.