Emptying the tomb of lost Jeep tools

This story has an odd beginning as many of mine do.  In January of 2011 I was towing a Willys MB back from Massachusetts.  I stopped at a rest stop near Scranton, PA for a break.  When I came outside there was a woman happily staring at the bright yellow MB.  “It’s a Willys!” she said, and thus began the conversation.  She explained that a family friend had recently passed and that there were Jeeps and lots of parts that the family was trying to figure out how to sell.  I gave her my business card and after a fun chat went on my way.  I never expected to hear from her or the family.  Below is a photo of the yellow jeep and myself after the blizzard my father and I rescued it in.


A month later I received a phone call from Mrs. Barton, whose daughter had inherited the house, workshops, and all Jeep contents.  Apparently a couple folks had offered insanely low amounts of money for the collection.  This sounded wrong so I made time to head up to NY state and take a look.  Plus I purchased some parts to make the trip worthwhile.  On that first trip I was more than a bit overwhelmed by what I found.  Here’s just one example of a shelf in John Barton’s workshop:


Many of my readers who own vintage Jeeps will recognise the name John Barton.  He was active on forums like G503.com and a very helpful person.  John specialised in Jeep tools and so he had bins of wrenches, hammers, jacks, grease guns, fire extinguishers, axes and shovels etc. etc.  At the end of last summer my helpers and I headed up to the Barton workshop and spent a couple days inventorying EVERYTHING using the part numbers and guides from WW2.  In trade for doing inventory we came back with the shovel and axe collection, and a battered Jeep which we have since restored.  Below is a photo of my helpers (Vlad, Kelsey, and Izzy.  These three hold my world together!!) with the Jeep.Image

After inventorying the estate I went back one more time to purchase some parts for a project.  When I met with Diane Barton she mentioned that John had written a book on Jeep tools.  Someone had offered to re-publish the book if the family would sign over the rights to it.  That sounded rather sketchy so I took on the job and re-published the book through an online publisher.  It is available through my website.

After a few months my friend Pete asked if he would be,” stepping on my toes,” if he bought the contents of the estate.  Having no money myself I told him to go ahead.  Pete was primarily interested in the tools and Jeep accesories.  He thought the parts would make a good inventory for my business.  So numbers were discussed and finally, this past weekend, Pete, Izzy, and I went back to empty the workshops.  We spent a Friday evening and half of Saturday removing items from the workshops, organising them, and packing them in the truck. Below are some of the really nice Fire extinguishers we found.


We ended up with boxes and boxes of tools and accesories.


There were many first aid boxes and gas casualty boxes.


We found three original tire pumps!!!


And there were more mechanical parts than you can imagine.  Below is a crate of original starters and generators.


In my next posting I will include photos of the mechanical parts, and how we removed everything from the basement workshop.  I became very good friends with an ancient chain hoist 🙂

If you are interested in anything you see in my photos just email me at: merlin@hansonmechanical.com We are inventorying everything again and should have prices for items within a couple weeks.

onwards and upwards!


(UPDATE: as of right now we know we have several Warren, Barcalo, and Vlcheck wrenches in the tool assortment.  If you are looking for any of these let me know. We do know the value of these though, so they will not be going for $5.00 or anything silly.)

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