I am assuming that these were probably used to mix small amounts of paint or hold small amounts of solvent. I had never heard of the Clark-Lurton Corp. and thought that might be a lead. I found the company history on-line and Bingo! a clue as to a possible time frame. From the Savogran Website:
"The Savogran Company purchased Sterling-Clark-Lurton in 2004 to capitalize on the synergies of these two historic companies. SCL was incorporated in 1922 as the Plymouth Rock Paint Company. In 1924, the name was changed to the Sterling Paint & Varnish Company. The product line consisted of a full line of exterior, interior and marine paints, as well as putty for wood and steel sash windows. Over time the product line expanded to include artist oil colors, caulking and glazing compounds and paint removers.
In the 1950's, with paint sundry products outselling paint, the company name was changed to Sterling Quality Products to reflect the success of their trade name “Sterling Quality.” In 1961, Sterling bought out the Clark Lurton Corporation. Both companies sold solvents and served the same customer base. SCL serves the paint and hardware trade, glass industry, marine trade and automotive aftermarket."
So maybe all this stuff is only as old as I am.
Also in the top tray were these items.
The green thing on the left is one of those things they used to stick in food like a sandwich to hold it together or as in this case probably to mark which steak is cooked medium-well, etc. It reads New Yorker Steak House Boston. Not sure what those were used for.
The brushes are odd.
All are rather small with long fine bristles that have stiffened so they are unusable in their present condition. Even the shapes are different than the brushes I am used to. They do not seem suitable for oil painting like Madge did.
Looking closer for brand names I found something strange. Most of the brushes were repaired with sticks or other old paint brush stems and taped together. The original stems on these brushes were hollow transparent tubes. In the photo below you can see the light shining through the hollow transparent part. I have no idea what that means or why they would be made like that. I am now thinking that these are for some unknown to me art form. What could it be?
A couple of the other items had me stumped too.
The palette knife is not much different from those found in stores today. Next to that is one of the unknown items. It is just a wooden stick with a sharp metal point, what I would call a stylus but for what craft? Next to that is a peel-able eraser and a blending stump just like the ones I use. The yellow handled tool is I think another stylus. The end is angled and rounded slightly, not as sharp as the other one. I really want to know how this was used.
And finally there were these two writing implements with some good clues written on them.
The wood pencil reads "Armco Drainage Products New England Metal Culvert Co. Palmer Mass, Boston, Mass, Portland, ME." So this is the second reference to Boston. The mechanical pencil says "Overhead Door Sales Company of New Hampshire, Complete Sales, Service & Installation, Milford N. H. Phone 707. We had family in New Hampshire. And in fact my Great Uncle Maurice worked with the DOT of New Hampshire. He might be a likely candidate to receive a promotional pencil from a metal culvert company. I remembered learning that his wife, Bertha had done some sort of crafty thing. So I went to ask Dad if he could remember what type of work she had done. He said he did not know but that it involved paper because there was a lot of that in Maurice's house when they cleaned it out. So at this point I am leaning toward this being Bertha's paint box and not Madge's. Next up the treasure in the bottom of the box.