Q: This set of antique drafting tools was given to me in 1953 when I started art school. The wooden box is lined with velvet and has a silver plate on top that reads "H.W. Bennet, manufactured by Benj'n Pike & Sons N.Y." There are no dates shown. Can you tell me how old the tools are and the possible value?
A: Benjamin Pike was an optician who opened a shop in New York in 1798. The name of his business changed after his sons joined him. It was called Benjamin Pike & Sons from 1841 to c.1843 and from 1850 to 1867. The company made barometers, compasses, surveyor's instruments, and other scientific instruments. Some of the instruments sold by them were made by other companies. The company went out of business in 1916. H.W. Bennet may be the store that sold the instruments or the owner of the set.