Early iteration of a chain wrench: a tool used in place of typical pipe wrench in confined spaces where pipe wrenches are not practical. Donated by Hammer & Cortenhof Hardware Store in Grand Rapids in December of 1969.
Gift of Hammer & Cortenhof Hardware Store
Hammer & Cortenhof Located in the heart of the Eastown neighborhood, on Lake Drive, the Hammer & Cortenhof Hardware Store operated for the better part of the 20th century. Originally a plumbing company, it began to offer a diverse selection of services. During the late 1960's and early 1970's the store was managed by James Geib. Around this time, the store gifted the Museum a large collection of historic tools. Sometime after this the store went out of business, like much of the Eastown neighborhood. But, like much of the neighborhood, the building has been reimagined and repurposed. Eastown Antiques is located in the old Hammer & Cortenhof building. They opened in 2005.
Hammer & Cortenhof operated during some of the most fascinating and tumultuous years of Grand Rapids history and is emblematic of businesses in the city's heyday, business decline in Eastown, but also of reinvention and repurposing in the heart of the self-styled "Grand Rapids hippest neighborhood." Their donations paint a picture of manufacturing and industry of an era prior to automation and outsourcing.