Taths logoTools and Trades History Society


TATHS Library

The TATHS Library contains over 1200 books and catalogues on tools and trades, including many that are out of print.

The TATHS Library is located at the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading. It can be visited in the Reading Room without charge but it is necessary to make an appointment.

Some items may be temporarily removed by MERL for exhibition elsewhere and It is advisable to check with the Reading Room before making a visit to view a particular item.

The Reading Room is open Tuesday to Thursday 9.30am to 12.30am and 1.30pm to 4.00pm. Currently closed for lunch 12.30am to 1.30pm.. It is open to the public. To make an appointment, telephone: 0118 378 8660 or email merl@reading.ac.uk.

The Museum of English Rural Life, The University of Reading, Redlands Road, Reading RG1 5EX. Further information can be obtained on the MERL web site.

Please note the Reading Room is closed during the Covid lockdown and updates and Covid restrictions are available on the MERL website.

Click on any of the changing pictures below to see a bigger selection of books in the TATHS Library.


The catalogue of items in the TATHS library at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) is in title order. The items within the library are filed strictly in TATHS Accession Number order and it will help the library staff if you quote both title and number when requesting to view a particular item.

A Class has been assigned to show whether the item is a Book (B), Almanac (ALM), Trade Catalogue (TC) , Video, CD or Other (O).

An attempt has been made to provide a Category and in some cases Sub Category to give some indication of the subject matter and help to search for a particular subject. On some Trade Catalogue entries the Sub Category indicates the firm involved.


Categories and Sub Categories

  • 18th Century Tools
  • Adzes
    • Axes
  • Agricultural
    • Horticultural
  • Archaeological Tools
  • Blacksmithing Farrier
  • Bookbinding
  • Boring Tools
  • Brickwork
  • Building
    • Architecture, Leadwork, Steelwork, Plastering,
    • Electrical, Glass, Fixings, Plumbing, Surveying, Lifts,
    • Heating, Roofing
  • Cabinet Making
    • Ornament
  • Carpentry
    • Joinery
  • Collecting
  • Coopering
  • Country Crafts
    • Coppicing, Thatching, Corkcutting, Buttonhooks, Canework
  • Decorative Arts
    • Pottery, Sculpture
  • Draughting
    • Drawing, Design
  • Edge Tools
  • Encyclopedia
  • Engineering
    • Steam
  • European Tools
  • Furniture
    • Treen
  • Gauging Instruments
  • Hammers
  • Hardware
    • Nailmaking, Woodscrews
  • Hones
    • Stones, Abrading
  • Horological Tools
  • Iron
    • Steel, trade Ironwork
  • Joinery Trades
  • Kitchenalia
    • Baking, Cheesemaking, Grocery
  • Knives
    • Scissors
  • Lathes
  • Leather Trades
    • Shoemaking, Saddlery
  • Locks
  • Marking
    • Setting out Tools
  • Medical
    • Dental Instruments
  • Metalwork
    • Gunsmithing
  • Milling (millwrighting not metalwork)
  • Musical Instruments
  • North American Tools
    • Lathes, Levels
  • Planes-metal
  • Planes-wooden
  • Printed Ephemera
  • Printing
  • Rope work
  • Rules
    • Measuring, Sliderules
  • Saws
  • Scientific Instruments
    • Globes, Lens making, Microscopy
  • Shipwrighting
  • Silversmithing
  • Social History (includes Biographies, and registers)
    • Directories
  • Stonemasonry
  • Textiles
    • Felt, Linen, Tailoring, Needlework, Spinning,
  • Embroidery,
    • Cloth Finishing
  • Timber Trade
  • Tinsmithing
    • Coppersmith
  • Tool Manufacture
  • Tools
    • Supplies ( wide ranging TCs )
    • Undertaker's supplies
  • Trade Catalogues (these appear as TC in the Class field)
  • Trademarks
  • Veterinary Instruments
  • Welding
  • Wheelwrighting
  • Woodcarving
  • Woodworking Tools

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