Throughout the 20th century mechanical fitters and machinists within most factories provided their own general purpose tools with which to work. However, this was not the case when it came to specialist tools and machine parts. For such items, the factories often held their own central specialist tool store from where items could be booked out on loan to individual workers.
A tool check issued by the Great War aircraft manufacturer Sopwith Aviation Company Limited
A common system of keeping track of such tool loans utilised metallic checks. These were often similar in appearance and design to the identification and security passes described above.
In factories employing such systems, those workers that had a need to draw specialist items from the central tool store were issued a number of checks (in the order of 10 per person) bearing their work’s identification number. On arrival at the tool store, the worker would request the item to be taken out on loan and hand over one of his/her personally numbered tool checks. The storekeeper would then hand over the tool in question, which were typically kept in cabinets or suspended from hooks on a storage board. In place of the tool, the storekeeper would suspend that worker’s tool check from a peg or hook in the location where the tool had been stored.
After returning the tool to the stores the storekeeper returned it to its allocated storage place. Thereafter he returned the worker’s tool check to close out the tool loan procedure.