Hand tools have been used by humans since the Stone Age when stones were used for hammering and cutting. During the Bronze Age tools were made by casting the copper and tin alloys. Bronze tools were sharper and harder than those made of stone. During the Iron Age iron replaced bronze, and tools became even stronger and more durable. The Romans developed tools during this period which are similar to those being produced today. In the period since the industrial revolution, the manufacture of tools has transitioned from being craftsman made to being factory produced.
A large collection of British hand tools dating from 1700 to 1950 is held by St Albans Museums. Most of the tools were collected by Raphael Salaman (1906–1993), who wrote two classic works on the subject: Dictionary of Woodworking Tools and Dictionary of Leather-working Tools. David Russell’s vast collection of Western hand tools from the Stone Age to the twentieth century led to the publication of his book Antique Woodworking Tools.