Skip to main content

Font Size: A+ A-

Share This Post

Happy Birthday Mr Salaman!

Posted on: 24th April 2015 By: Catherine Newley

This Friday marks the birthday of Harpenden man Raphael Salaman, who would have been 106 years old on 24th April. Salaman was responsible for one of the largest groups of objects in our collections: the tools.

Salaman worked for Marks and Spencers and his job took him on site visits to stores across the country. While out and about, he took the opportunity to indulge in his hobby - talking to local craftspeople and collecting examples of their tools.

Along with a variety of implements which include saws, chisels, hammers, wheels, barrels and bellows, we also have some of his documentation. Like any serious collector, he made copious notes about each of the places and the people he collected tools from. His research led him to publish some really important books, including The Dictionary of Woodworking Tools and The Dictionary of Leather Working Tools, and these books are still used by people interested in trade tools today.

Many local people will remember the tool collection from when some of it was on display at the Museum of St Albans and I often get asked what has happened to it. Although it's not on display currently, it is safely looked after in our museum store, ready for opportunities for display in exhibitions. And in the meantime, I've recently spent time in the store with a tools specialist to do some research on Raphael Salaman and to help us understand the national significance of this collection. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll be able to get more of this fantastic collection listed and photographed online so that even when it’s not on display, it’s easy for anyone to view it at the click of a button.