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The History of the Early American Industries Association

Plimoth Plantation

Our Purpose:  The Early American Industries Association Preserves and Presents Historic Trades, Crafts, and Tools and Interprets Their Impact on Our Lives

 The Early American Industries Association was founded in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression.  The following is a summary of the early history of our organization. Loring McMillen who was Vice-President of EAIA in 1958 wrote an article entitled, “Early American Industries, The History of the E.A.I.A.” for a 25th Anniversary edition of The Chronicle, Volume XI, Number 3, dated October 1958, and William K. Ackroyd and Elaine B. Winn wrote an “Early American Industries Association Sixtieth Anniversary History 1958-1993,” which was published as a special supplement to The Chronicle, Volume 51, May, 1998. Much of the following information has been gleaned from those two articles.

25th Anniversary Edition of The Chronicle

The Cover of the25th Anniversary Edition of The Chronicle, Depicting the Kitchen of Wiggins’ Old Tavern in Northampton, Massachusetts. The Drawing Was Done by Richard J. Stineley.

On August 31, 1933, 16 men and women gathered at Wiggins Old Tavern at the Northampton Hotel in Northampton, Massachusetts to form an organization of members interested in collecting, preserving, and studying the early tools and crafts of America.  The meeting was the result of a conversation begun by Lewis N. Wiggins, the owner of Wiggins Old Tavern, and Stephen C. Wolcott of Nutall, Virginia, who had stepped into the tavern as Mr. Wiggins was hanging some old tools on the wall.  As a result of that conversation they decided to gather a few like-minded individuals for lunch at the tavern.  In 1958, Mr. Wiggins wrote a letter to the then president of EAIA Fred C. Sabin recalling the events that lead to the first founding of EAIA.  “My memory is clear of our early days – the very first day in fact.  I was in the north room of my ‘Wiggins Old Tavern’ – the room that was later known as the ‘kitchen’.  It was entered from the parking lot.  The first room I had developed was known as the ‘Ordinary’, the next room was the ’Tap Room’.  On this very hot summer afternoon, I was working on the development of the ’Kitchen’.  I was hanging on the east, whitewashed wall, a number of treasured tools.  In my hand was an exceptionally interesting hand wrought steel gouge with a wooden (butternut) handle.

Lewis Noble Wiggins

Lewis Noble Wiggins, Owner of Wiggins’ Old Tavern and One of the Founders of The Early American Industries Association

Behind me a gentleman spoke, ‘I see Mr. Wiggins, that you are interested in preserving treasures.  Do you know what that fine tool was made for?’  I replied, ‘It is a gouge for woodworking.’  Then he asked me if I knew for what special purpose it was made and when I told him I did not know, he said, ‘It was especially made for gouging out wooden bowls.’  I thanked him and asked his name. ‘I am S.C. Wolcott and I live in Nutall, Virginia.’  He was a charming, intelligent gentleman.  We sat down in the kitchen chairs of the early 1700’s and discussed the various articles in that room; things that were for display and for use, as I was about ready to open that room to the public and service of food, as was in the Ordinary and the Tap Room.  Mr. Wolcott said, ‘I spend several weeks each summer browsing around New England.  I have met several interesting men who are collecting, preserving and studying the early tools and crafts of America.  We should get together and form an association for mutual aid and pleasure.  I have a very fine collection of carpenter’s tools that someday I shall give to the Williamsburg Restoration.’  I replied, ‘Please invite these gentlemen – as many as you like – to meet here at Wiggins’ Old Tavern as my guest for luncheon, then we can discuss plans for an organization.  At any rate, we would like the opportunity of becoming acquainted.”

“To my joy, within a few days he telephoned that W.B. Sprague and S.E. Gage, then at their summer homes in Litchfield, Connecticut, and Albert Wells, of Southbridge, Massachusetts, would be at hand on a certain day for a ‘get-together’ luncheon.  I telephoned a friend of mine, Earl T. Goodnow, of West Cummington, Massachusetts, an interesting intelligent collector of Early Americana, to meet with us for luncheon. It seems to me it was July 1930. (Mr. Wiggins is here incorrect, the date was August 31, 1933) After luncheon we held our first meeting.”

William Sprague after being contacted by Stephen Wolcott circulated notices and letters to various collectors and other interested people and proposed a meeting for August 31, 1933, at the Old Wiggins’ Tavern in the Hotel Northampton to form the organization.  Sixteen collectors met on August 31st, 1933, and ratified the organization of The Early American Industries Association.  The annual dues were set at $1 a year and it was elected to have two meetings a year.  At that meeting, the 20 original members were admitted to EAIA, four of whom could not attend, but were voted on and admitted anyway.  The original members of EAIA who met that day were:

  1. W. Fuessenich – Torrington, CT
  2. A. Humberstone – Edison Institute, Dearborn, MI
  3. E. Gage – Bantam, CT
  4. E. Lownes – Providence, RI
  5. Dr. A. E. Bye – Holicong, PA
  6. B. Sprague – New York, NY
  7. C. Wolcott – Nutall, VA
  8. B. Wells – Southbridge, MA
  9. N. Wiggins – Northampton, MA
  10. T. Goodnow – West Cummington, CT
  11. L. Thomas – Litchfield, CT
  12. J.C. Hood – Chelsea, VT
  13. Dr. E. A. Rushford – Salem, MA
  14. Emma Fitts Bradford – Orange, MA
  15. Florence P. Berger – Hartford, CT
  16. Waldo Cutler – Worcester, MA

At Mr. Sprague’s suggestion, J.M. Connor Jr. of Metuchen, NJ, M.L. Blumenthal of Elkins Park, PA, Stephen H. Pell of Fort Ticonderoga, NY and Charles Messer Stow of New York, NY, who could not attend the initial meeting were also admitted to the membership bringing the total to twenty members. It is of interest to note that two women, Emma Fitts Bradford and Florence Bradford were two of the original 16 members of the Early American Industries Association.  In 2008, on the occasion of EAIA’s 75th anniversary, then EAIA President, Bill Curtis, his wife Judy, along with Bill and Judy McMillen traveled to the Old Wiggins’ Tavern and presented the management with a framed commemorative certificate identifying the Old Wiggins’ Tavern as the location of the very first Early American Industries Association meeting.  The certificate was designed by then EAIA Executive Director Elton “Toby” Hall and was signed by President Bill Curtis and Executive Director Toby Hall on behalf of the EAIA membership.

The original mission statement of the organization was developed shortly thereafter and stated: “The purpose of the Association is to encourage the study and better understanding of early American industry, in the home, in the shop, on the farm and on the sea, and especially to discover, identify, classify, preserve and exhibit obsolete tools, implements, utensils, instruments, vehicles, appliances and mechanical devices used by American craftsmen farmers, housewives, mariners, professional men and other workers”. This statement of purpose has been changed several times over the years and was most recently changed in 2008 to the Statement of Purpose noted at the beginning of this “history”.

2015 Annual Meeting Medallion, Obverse

EAIA Logo.  Can You Identify All the Tools and the Trades They Represent?

William B. Sprague was elected as the first president of EAIA, with Stephen C. Wolcott elected secretary, and Earl T. Goodnow, treasurer.  Mr. Sprague quickly developed many of the guiding principles of the association. He outlined those principles to include; forming an association of people interested in the early tools and implements of American, to arouse interest in these tools, to discover their purposes and uses, to encourage museums to take a greater interest in this field, to encourage dealers to search for material, to exchange information, and to find a final and permanent repository for collections.  He stated that the tool and its use was the prime interest of the association, rather than the product.  The only requisite for membership was an interest in the purposes of the Association.

William Buell Sprague

William Buell Sprague, First President of The Early American Industries Association

Even though he was not able to attend the first EAIA meeting Charles Messer Stow is credited with having been one of the original members to whom the association owes much of its success.  John Davis Hatch, secretary-treasurer of EAIA in 1940, EAIA’s 5th president, and one of the earliest editors of The Chronicle, wrote in 1958, “The many contributions made by Charles Stow that contributed to the founding of the Association were as follows:  it was Stow who suggested that S.C. Wolcott stop at Wiggins Tavern in Northampton, MA, and who suggested that W.B. Sprague and S.E. Gage of Litchfield turn up at the earliest meeting in Northampton.  Charles Messer Stow provided the good natured ‘push’ to his New York friend Bill Sprague to take leadership in forming EAIA.  Mr. Stow provided the early list of collectors that was responsible for the wide-spread start of those invited to the initial meeting and because he was the writer of ‘The Quester’ column, (a nationally known Friday afternoon weekly hobby section on art and antique collecting) in the New York Sun, invited many to become members of the new organization.”  It’s been said that Mr. Stow liked to refer to EAIA as the “Pick and Shovel Club” because the thrust of the association was to identify and preserve the common everyday tools of the home, hearth, and forge.

One of the first objectives of the association was to publish a magazine.  Volume No. 1 of The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association dated October 1st, 1933, appeared on November 20, 1933, just three months after the initial meeting of the EAIA. The initial plan was to publish The Chronicle twelve times a year, and in 1934, seven issues were produced, however, by 1941 the current plan of producing four issues of The Chronicle each year was adopted.  The Chronicle has been published in an unbroken run since that first issue and represents an important repository of information about early American tools, industries, and the men and women who produced those tools. An article by W.B. Sprague entitled “Early American Manufacture of Felt Hats”, was the first scholarly article published in The Chronicle and appeared in the November issue, Volume 1, No. 2.  The Chronicle is the lifeblood of EAIA and is the single largest repository of information on early American industries. We owe the editors of The Chronicle a great debt for the continued production of this fine journal.[1]

It was at the third Annual Meeting of EAIA held at Old Wiggins’ tavern in 1936 that the membership first started bringing unidentifiable tools to the meeting.  It was at this meeting that the term “What-is-its”, soon contracted to “Whatsits” was first used, and the “Whatsits” session has been a part of every EAIA Annual Meeting since then. Membership at the time of the first issue of The Chronicle was 26, and by November of 1934 the membership had grown to 405.  The November 1935 issue of The Chronicle announced that the membership had grown to 610.  Only three Annual Meetings were held during the years of the Second World War.  No further membership totals were published until after the war. In 1947 the membership was 502, with the war having taken a toll on membership.    W.B. Sprague, at the direction of the EAIA Board of Directors, incorporated the Association in the state of New York on March 16, 1942. In 1944 because of the rising cost of publishing The Chronicle, dues were raised to $2.00 per year and the annual dues crept up gradually to $5.00 a year by 1952.

With the completion of the first quarter century of The Early American Industries Association in 1958, the membership and Board took up the matter of, “…recording for posterity the tools and trades of vanishing American industries.”  A Publications Committee was formed, and a book on the Conestoga wagon was chosen as the first subject for publication.  Due to delays, rewrites by more than one author, and difficulty finding a publisher, the book entitled, Conestoga Wagon, 1750-1850, by George Shumway, Edward Durell, and Howard C. Frey was not sent to the publisher until 1964.  Despite the delay, the initial order of 1500 books sold quickly, and by 1967, a second edition of the book was in the works. This was the first in a continuing line of books regarding early American industries published under the imprimatur of the EAIA.[2]

In 1960, EAIA was approached by the Smithsonian Institution regarding their new museum building, the National Museum of American History.  The Association was asked if members would be willing to donate American woodworking and carpentry tools made prior to 1850 for an exhibit in the National Museum of American  History.  The membership enthusiastically responded to this request and by 1961 the Smithsonian had accepted 62 tools from EAIA members for this exhibit.

Membership in EAIA was growing during the 1960’s.  Because historic sites such as Williamsburg, Shelburne, Old Sturbridge Village and others could accommodate only a limited number of EAIA members attending an Annual Meeting, a decision was made by the Board of Directors in 1967 to create three classes of membership:  active membership which entitled the member to a subscription to The Chronicle and the privilege of attending meetings; associate membership entitled the member a subscription to The Chronicle and an opportunity to become an active member when an opening occurred; and subscription membership which entitled the member to a subscription to The Chronicle.  Membership was limited to 700 individuals from 1967-1969.  The Board of Directors did not want to turn away active members who wanted to attend Annual Meetings because of attendance limitations placed on EAIA by the historic sites chosen for Annual Meetings. While this difficult decision disappointed many early American industry enthusiasts from across the country, it did help stimulate the formation of the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association and several other regional tool groups (P.A.S.T., N.E.T.C.A, and others) throughout the country. In the 1970’s, as historic sites and the nearby communities constructed new meeting facilities and hotels, it was possible for EAIA to allow all members to attend the Annual Meetings. In 1981, the decision about classes of membership was reversed, the By-Laws were amended, and anyone who paid membership dues was allowed to attend the EAIA Annual Meeting.

In 1971, all EAIA business information was removed from The Chronicle and instead put in a newsletter entitled Shavings.  Initially published bi-monthly is was soon determined that the business news of EAIA could be handled with a quarterly newsletter and since then, Shavings has been published four times a year.

The first “Tool Exchange” took place at the 1977 Annual Meeting and along with Wednesday afternoon “tailgating” has been a much-loved part of our Annual Meetings ever since. 1977 also saw the production of the first membership directory.  In 1977, the EAIA Board set up a committee to develop a research grant program to “…support to individuals engage in research or publication projects relating to the purposes of EAIA.  It was titled the EAIA Grants-In-Aid Program (Now called the Research Grants Committee) and the committee chair was Charles Hummel.  The committee moved ahead with the project, and EAIA’s first research grants were awarded in May of 1978.  Four grants were awarded that year and since then EAIA had awarded over 120 research grants to individuals to assist them in research consistent with the mission of The Early American Industries Association.

In 1988 the EAIA Board of Directors voted to develop the position of Executive Director for the Association.  A job description was developed, candidates were interviewed, and on July 1st, 1989, Alan Bates became the first Executive Director of EAIA.  On July 1, 1992, Richard Kappeler became the second EAIA Executive Director.  Elton “Toby” Hall became the third Executive Director in 1994 and served in that position until his retirement in 2010. Our current Executive Director John Verrill assumed the position in 2010.  In 2009, Judy McMillen became the first female President of the Early American Industries Association and served in that position until 2011.

The Early American Industries Association Board of Directors adopted a resolution on October 24, 2004 that established the EAIA Endowment Fund.  Its purpose is to provide EAIA members and friends the opportunity to make charitable gifts to the Early American Industries Association.  These charitable gifts will become a permanent endowment of financial support for the Early American Industries Association.  This fund has already assisted in furthering the publications and programs of our Association, particularly in the area of the Research Grants Program.

As we approach our 85th anniversary in 2018, the Early American Industries Association continues to “preserve and present historic trades, crafts, and tools and interprets their impact on our lives”.  We invite you to come and join this vibrant group!

Commemerative Plate Made at The Henry Ford for the 2011 EAIA Annual Meeting

Commemerative Plate Made at The Henry Ford for the 2011 EAIA Annual Meeting

Submitted by Paul Van Pernis

[1] The editors of The Chronicle have been:

  • Stephen C. Wolcott -1933-1934
  • William B. Sprague – 1934-1942
  • John D. Hatch – 1942-1949
  • Josephine H. Peirce – 1949-1952
  • Minor W. Thomas and William D. Geiger – 1952-1956
  • William D. Geiger and Raymond R. Townsend – 1956- September of 1963
  • Raymond R. Townsend 1963-1970
  • Dan Reibel – 1970-1979
  • John S. Kebabian – 1979-1983
  • Elliott Sayward – 1983-1992
  • Dan Reibel – 1993-1999
  • Patty MacLeish – December of 1999-2018

[2] Early American Industries Association List of Published Books

  1. Conestoga Wagon, 1750-1850, by George Shumway, Edward Durell and Howard C. Frey, 1964.
  2. Planemakers and other Edge Tool Enterprises in New York State in the Nineteenth Century, by Kenneth D. and Jane W. Roberts, published in cooperation with the New York State Historical Association, 1971.
  3. Illustrations of Trades, by Charles Tomlinson, 1860, reprinted by EAIA, 1972.
  4. H.H. Harveys Special Illustrated Catalogue for 1896-7, Marble and Soft Stoneworkers, Blacksmiths” and ContractorsHammers and Tools, manufactured by him in Augusta, Maine, reprinted by EAIA in 1973.
  5. T.B. Rayl & Co., Wood-Workers Tools, Detroit Tool Depot, (circa1885-1889), reprinted by EAIA 1973.
  6. Explanation or Key, to the Various Manufactories of Sheffield, with Engravings of each Article, by Joseph Smith, edited by John S. Kebabian, 1975.
  7. Mechanick Exercises or the Doctrine of Handy Works, by Joseph Moxon, 1678. Reprinted with an introduction by John S. Kebabian, 1975. Also reprinted with Astragal Press in a limited edition, 1979.
  8. The Stanley Plane, A History and Descriptive Inventory, by Alvin Sellens, 1975.
  9. The Chronicle, Volumes 1-11, Reprinted, 1976.
  10. C.S. Osborne and Co., Newark, New Jersey, c. 1890. Catalog reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association and The Early Trades and Crafts Society, 1976.
  11. The Wooden Plane, by Richard A. Martin, 1977.
  12. A Catalogue of Tools for Watch and Clock Makers, by John Wyke of Liverpool (circa 1770). Reprinted in cooperation with the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Museum, 1978.
  13. Jedediah Norths Tinners Tool Business, by John Demer, 1978.
  14. The Saw in History, by Henry Disston and Sons, 1926. Reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1978.
  15. Thomas Grant, Ironmonger, by Daniel Semel. Published in cooperation with Fraunces Tavern Museum, 1978.
  16. Tools for all Trades, 1896, by Hammacher, Schlemmer & Co., Reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1978.
  17. Tools Used in Building Log Cabins in Indiana, by Warren E. Roberts, 1977. Reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1978.
  18. American Mechanical Dictionary, by Edward H. Knight, 1881. Reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1979.
  19. Price List, William Marples & Sons, Limited, Sheffield, 1909 Edition. Reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1979.
  20. Hirth and Krause Leather and Findings Catalog, 1890. Reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1980.
  21. Hynson Tool & Supply Co. Catalog No 52, 1903. Reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1980.
  22. Joh. Weiss & Sohn, c. 1909. Austrian catalog reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1980.
  23. A La Forge Royale, c. 1928. French catalog translated by Seth W. Burchard and published in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1981.
  24. The American Axe and Tool Co., c. 1894. Reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1981.
  25. Disposing of a Tool Collection, by Ivan C. Risley. Reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1981.
  26. Jan Van Vliets Book of Crafts and Trades, a portfolio of reproductions of etchings done in 1635 with a reappraisal by Harry Bober, 1981.
  27. Popular Technology, or, Professions and Trades, by Edward Hazen, 1846. Reprinted in 1981.
  28. Practical Carriage Building, compiled by M.T. Richardson in 1892. Reprinted in one volume, 1981.
  29. Appletons Cyclopedia of Applied Mechanics, c. 1880. Reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1982.
  30. D. Stolop, c. 1915, Dutch catalog translated by Seth W. Burchard. Reprinted in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1982.
  31. The Chronicle, Volumes 12-26. Reprinted, 1983.
  32. Illustrated Book of Stoves Manufactured by Vose & Co., 1853. Reprinted, 1983.
  33. Thomas Napier, The Scottish Connection, by Alan G. Bates. Published in cooperation with The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association, 1986.
  34. Directory of American Tool Makers, working draft edition, edited by Gene Kijowski, 1990.
  35. The History of the Woodworking Plane, by Josef M. Greber, 1956. Translated by Seth W. Burchard, 1991.
  36. A Pattern Book of Tools and Household Goods, Introduction by Jane Rees and Elton W. Hall. Published by The Early American Industries Association in cooperation with the Peabody Essex Museum, 2006.
  37. The Directory of American Toolmakers, A CD version of the 1999 edition of The Directory of American Toolmakers, Robert Nelson, editor, 2007.
  38. The Chronicle, Volumes 1-60, 1933-2007, a DVD containing the first sixty volumes of The Chronicle, 2009.
  39. Stanley Woodworking Tools, The Finest Years, by Walter Jacob, 2011.

 

EAIA’s 2018 Annual Meeting – Save the Dates!

Steam Engine at the National Museum of Industrial History

The 2018 EAIA Annual Meeting Will Be Wednesday, May 23rd thru Saturday, May 26th, 2018 – Save the Dates!

Moravian Building in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Moravian Building in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Come and join us at the Early American Industries Association’s 85th Anniversary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and we’ll celebrate in style as we experience the industrial and cultural history of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and the equally fascinating history of the Moravians. Formed in 1457, the Moravian Church, or Unitas Fratrum (Unity of Brethren), was established by followers of John Hus, a Czech philosopher and reformer. This was 60 years before Martin Luther began his reformation and 100 years before the establishment of the Anglican Church.  In the early 1700’s, religious persecution of non-Catholics increased throughout much of Europe, so the Moravians sent a group of their believers as missionaries to North America in 1735. They came as part of General Oglethorpe’s philanthropic venture to establish a colony in what is now the state of Georgia. Shortly after their arrival in Georgia the Moravians experienced hostility from neighbors and government officials who looked askance at their pacifism and their friendliness with local Cherokees and enslaved African-Americans. After several years of this hostility and conflict, the Moravians decided to leave Georgia and find another place to practice their religion and perform their missionary work.

First Building in Nazareth, PA, pre 1741

First Building in Nazareth, PA, Pre-1741

In the late spring of 1740, a weary group of Moravian missionaries from Georgia arrived in Pennsylvania as “working guests” of George Whitefield, a British cleric conducting his own missionary work in the New World. Sailing to Philadelphia in Whitefield’s sloop, The Savannah, the Moravians felt they’d found a place where they could practice their faith.  Whitefield hired the Moravians to construct a school on land he owned in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where he intended to educate the orphan children of slaves. But, an argument with Whitefield over religious doctrine caused the Moravians to leave Nazareth a short time later and establish the nearby town of Bethlehem. Not long after the Moravians left Nazareth, Whitefield fell on hard times and the hard-working Moravians bought Nazareth and the surrounding 5000 acres of land from him. The original structure the Moravians built for Whitefield in Nazareth, served the Moravian community through the centuries as a place of worship, a boarding school for Moravian girls, a nursery for the children of missionaries, and as the Moravian Theological Seminary.  It is still there and now houses the Moravian Historical society.

Moravian Historical Society Building Dating to 1741-1742

The Moravian Historical Society Building Dating to 1741-1742 in Nazareth, Pennsylvania

The communal societies of Bethlehem and Nazareth became closely linked in their agricultural and industrial economy with Bethlehem emerging as the center of the Moravian communal craft economy and missionary activity in North America.  Other settlement congregations were established in Pennsylvania, New Jersey New York, and Maryland. All these churches and communities of believers were considered frontier centers for the spread of the gospel, particularly in mission to unchurched European settlers and the Native Americans. Eventually, the Moravian Bishop at Bethlehem, Augustus Spangenberg, led a party that surveyed a 100,000-acre tract of land in North Carolina, which came to be known as Wachau after an Austrian estate of Count Zinzendorf the head of the Moravian Church. The name, later anglicized to Wachovia, became the center of growth for the church in that region. Bethabara, Bethania and Salem (now Winston-Salem) were the first Moravian settlements in North Carolina. In 1857 the two American provinces, North and South, became largely independent and set about expansion. Bethlehem in Pennsylvania and Winston-Salem in North Carolina became the headquarters of the two provinces (North and South). You can learn a bit more about the still very active Moravian Church’s history and its current  mission work at http://www.moravian.org/the-moravian-church/history/.

Moravian Colonial Industrial Quarter

The Moravian Colonial Industrial Quarter in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

During our 2018 Annual Meeting you will have the opportunity to learn about the Moravians and their craft based communal economy that was set up to support their missions.  Many of the original buildings from the mid 18th century are still present and we’ll get to see those with private tours. The Moravian Archives in Bethlehem and the Moravian Historical Society Museum in Nazareth will provide you with a fascinating glimpse of Moravian history, culture and industry.  As a communal society, the Moravians kept extensive written records of all of their activities including fabulous architectural drawings, maps, and paintings. They built wonderful limestone buildings, and established America’s first industrial park known at the “Colonial Industrial Quarter” utilizing water power from Monocacy Creek.

But, that’s not all.  There’s so much to see and do, you’ll want to come back for another visit to this treasure trove of American industrial history. Here are some of the highlights of our meeting:

We’re planning a special event for Wednesday evening, May 26th at the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem just a couple of miles from our hotel.  The Moravians wrote down everything and kept extensive records.  The Archives will be open on Wednesday evening with a special display. It will include examples of their written records from Moravian craftsmen, beautiful hand painted and lettered architectural drawings as well as other Moravian artifacts.  It will be well worth the effort to get to Bethlehem in time to see this display. ( http://www.moravianchurcharchives.org/ )

National Museum of Industrial History,, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

The National Museum of Industrial History,, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

The National Museum of Industrial History will host our traditional Ice Cream Social on Thursday night.  The museum which opened in the summer of 2016 is a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum located in the old Bethlehem Steel factory complex.  They’re closing the museum to the public just for us on Thursday evening so we’ll have the museum to ourselves. We can enjoy the exhibits at our leisure, interact with the museum staff, enjoy our traditional ice cream social and we’ll hold our “Whatsit’s Session in the museum’s auditorium. The museum houses many of the original machines from the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia as well as an exhibit on the silk industry in the Lehigh Valley. ( http://nmih.org/)

National Museum of Industrial History

A Couple of the Fabulous Steam Engines at the National Museum of Industrial History

Martin Guitar has been making guitars in Nazareth, PA since 1833.  You’ll have a behind the scenes tour of the factory and see their wonderful museum. martin guitar.   (https://www.martinguitar.com/)

You’ll have a chance to visit the Moravian Historical Society museum in Nazareth and take a walking architecture tour of Nazareth if you wish. (http://www.moravianhistoricalsociety.org/)

The Pennsylvania Long Rifle Museum, Jacobsburg, Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Long Rifle Museum, Jacobsburg, Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Long Rifle Museum is in Jacobsburg, PA,  is just a few miles from Bethlehem.  This wonderful little museum houses more than 100 historic arms on either permanent display or in rotating, topical exhibits. Displays feature Henry firearms dating from the American Fur Trade Era, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the American West, and the early 20th century. Most of the firearms were made by several generations of the Henry family.  The museum is located on the Henry homestead and the family home will be open for our group to tour as well. (http://www.jacobsburghistory.com/society-collections/pennsylvania-longrifle-museum/)

Long Guns at the Pennsylvania Long Rifle Museum

Long Guns at the Pennsylvania Long Rifle Museum

I could go on and on.  We’ll visit the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts as part of our tour in Bethlehem and get a behind the scenes tour of their wonderful dollhouse collection. (https://historicbethlehem.org/?historic-site=kemerer-museum-of-decorative-arts)

One of the Doll House at the Kemmerer Museum of Decorative Arts in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

One of the Doll House at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

We’ll visit the Moravian Historical Society Museum in Nazareth, and you will have the opportunity to take a walking architectural tour of Nazareth as well. We’ll have a guided tour of the Bethlehem Steel Stacks complex and learn more about this once huge company and its history in the Lehigh Valley.

The Bethlehem Steel Stacks

The Bethlehem Steel Stacks

The Fiber Interest Group is already making plans for a special project and demonstration during the meeting. We’ll tailgate on Wednesday afternoon, and have our usual tool sales on Saturday morning.  Mike Urness and Sara Holmes from The Great Planes Trading Company will put on an antique tool auction on Friday night at the hotel. (http://www.greatplanestrading.com) Mike has a collection of Pennsylvania made tools as well as a fine collection of watch and clock maker’s tools that he will put in the auction along with a good selection of other antique tools. We’ll hold the Saturday morning tool sales in the Moravian Industrial Quarter and at the same time there will be an opportunity to learn how to make Moravian stars, hand dip some candles, visit the blacksmith shop and learn about Moravian beer making from a “beer historian”.  Their will be an opportunity to have a sample!  We’ll set up our displays in the same area on Saturday morning. The theme for our member displays is “Tools that Measure and Tools that Cut”.  So get creative and show us your measuring and cutting tools from rules to scissors, to micrometers, to chisels, planes, knives, tape measures, lumber scales, calipers, surveying chains, speed indicators, etc.  Have some fun and teach us all a bit more about those interesting tools in your collection.  We’re really hoping to see some displays from the Fiber Interest Group that fit this theme.

On Saturday afternoon Henry Disston Jr. a long time EAIA member will give us a lecture on the history of the Disston Saw Company and end his lecture by playing his musical saw.

We’ll end our meeting with our always fun Silent Auction, Banquet and Annual Meeting. And to top it all off, next year we’ll will celebrate EAIA’s 85th anniversary!  So, we’ll have some fun and maybe a few surprises as we celebrate that milestone.

The Comfort Inn and Suites, Bethlehem, PA.

The Comfort Inn and Suites, Bethlehem, PA.

We’ll be based at the Bethlehem Comfort Suites University at 120 West 3rd Street in Bethlehem. (http://www.comfortsuitesbethlehem.com/ ) The room rate will be $119/ night and will be good for three days prior to and 3 days after our meeting. The meeting hosts are David Lauer, David Pollak, and Paul and Eileen Van Pernis.  So, remember to put the dates May 23rd through May 26th, 2018 on your calendar, and we’ll look forward to seeing you next May! Look for more information in upcoming issues of Shavings and here on the EAIA website.

Moravian Gemein House Worship Space

Moravian Gemein House Worship Space

by Paul Van Pernis

 

 

A Picture Gallery From Old Sturbridge Village – The 2017 EAIA Annual Meeting

Covered Bridge at OSV

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What a fantastic 2017 Early American Industries Association meeting at Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts on May 17th thru May 20th!  We enjoyed a beautiful venue, sunny warm weather, amazing displays, wonderful lectures, workshops, auctions, great demonstrations, and fascinating displays.  We learned, had fun, relaxed, renewed old friendships and made new ones. We savored wonderful food and enjoyed pleasant company.  Take a look at a visual tour of a great meeting in this slide show..  Thanks to Bob and Alice Roemer, John Verrill and all the staff at Old Sturbridge Village for a great time! Also thanks to Mike Urness and Sara Holmes for another Great Planes Auction.

posted by Paul Van Pernis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metal Mouths and Faucet Handles

Stanley model Shop Planes with Metal Mouths, Title Image

From its inception the Stanley Rule & Level Company was very attentive to its customers needs and desires.  Their salesmen were instructed to listen carefully to comments and suggestions from their customers about the tools they manufactured and bring that information back to the foremen in the shop.  Because of the nature of the “inside contracting system” the shop foremen were anxious to meet the needs of their customers.  A new or improved tool that appealed to Stanley’s customers meant more income for the shop foreman, his employees as well as the company .  Based on the large number of variations of Stanley’s “transitional” wood bottom planes from the Stanley Model Shop that have turned up, the skilled mechanics at Stanley invested a lot of time and effort on improving these planes.  Stanley manufactured and sold eighteen different models of their transitional wood body planes during the 74 years they were offered in their catalogs.[1]  Between 1869 and 1943, multiple patents were granted to Stanley employees relating to “improvements” in these transitional planes. Some of those “improvements” were incorporated into the Stanley transitional plane line, but others never made it into production.  Those “improved” planes that didn’t make the grade were relegated to the shelves in the Stanley Model Shop. Fortunately, for plane collectors, many of these “improved” transitional planes have escaped from the Model Shop and have found their way into the tool collecting world.[2]  I’ve shown you a few of those planes in previous posts and I hope you will enjoy looking at a couple of more.[3]

Holding the cutter and cap iron tightly in position to prevent “chatter” was a problem with transitional wood bottom planes. In addition, scratches, gouges, and damage to the beech wood soles of  transitional planes were  common problems as well. Often, much of this damage occurred near the mouth of the plane.  Resurfacing  the sole of the plane to restore a smooth surface was not difficult but would result in an increase in the size of the mouth of the plane.  Justus A. Traut submitted a patent application on December 28th,  1901, and on October 7th, 1902, was granted patent No. 710,542 which attempted to solve some of these problems.  The rather complex patent drawings shown in Figures 1 and 2 were accompanied with multiple pages of descriptive patent text to illustrate and explain Traut’s ideas.

Justus Traut Patent No. 710,543 Patent Drawing

Figure 1. Justus Traut’s Patent No. 710,543 Patent Drawing “A”

In summary, the patent describes the body of the plane body as being made of “any suitable wood adapted to the purpose” with a throat cut into the body designed to accept the “operative mechanism” which is described in the patent as an “adjustable supporting frame” for the cutter, lever cap, cutter adjustment screw, and the lateral adjuster.

Justus Traut Patent No. 710543 Patent Drawing

Figure 2. Justus Traut’s Patent No. 710,543 Patent Drawing “B”

The “operative mechanism” also included a metal sole with a narrow mouth opening for the cutter.  The patent drawing shows the “operative mechanism” held in place in the throat of the plane body by two wood screws.  If the sole of the plane were resurfaced, this “operative mechanism” which included the metal mouth could be moved upward by loosening the two screws in the throat of the plane that attach the “operative mechanism” and cutter frame to the body of the plane. This would keep the metal portion of the sole flush with the wooden sole of the plane body. Traut wrote in his patent with a flourish of elegant prose that…“the opposing forces thus set up tend to the establishment of perfect equilibrium between the parts and result in a bench plane possessing the greatest stability and practicability and in which chattering of the plane iron is practically destroyed or overcome due to the inherent tension at which the frame is always held.”  Traut was trying in this patent to eliminate cutter chatter and at the same time provide a means for maintaining the narrow throat width for the cutter.  I’m not sure that his design completely achieved the goal of eliminating cutter chatter, but it certainly created an improved method of holding the cutter compared to what was then being used on Stanley wood bottom transitional planes. And, it simultaneously solved the problem of the cutter mouth being opened if the sole of the plane was resurfaced.

Stanley Model Shop #27 Size Jack Plane with Metal Mouth

Figure 3. Stanley Model Shop #27 Size Jack Plane with Metal Mouth

The Model Shop plane shown in Figure 3 is identical to the plane shown in the patent drawings and is likely the plane used to produce those drawings. There is no doubt that it was made by Traut and the men in his shop. It is assembled on the body of a #27 Stanley transitional jack plane. The beech bottom is 15 inches long and 2 and 11/16ths inches wide. While the cutter, cap iron, and lever cap on a standard #27 transitional plane are 2 and 1/16ths inches wide, the cutter, cap iron, and lever cap on this plane are narrower at 1 and 15/16ths of an inch wide. The cutter, cap iron, and lever cap are narrower on the Model Shop version of this plane to allow for the metal “operative mechanism” and the narrower width of the metal mouth.  The Model Shop number “211” is painted on the front tote, on the upper surface of the toe, on the toe of the plane, and on the lever cap.  The stamp on the toe, the Stanley logo stamped on the cutter, the single patent date of 7-24-88 on the lateral cutter adjusting lever, and the “B” casting mark on the bottom side of the frame of the plane are typical of Stanley planes made from 1900-1904[4]  (See Figures 4 and 5).

 

 

Stanley Model Shop Numbers on #27 Size Jack Plane

Figure 4. Stanley Model Shop Number “211” on the Model Shop #27 Size Jack Plane with a Metal Mouth.

Model Shop Number "211" on Stanley #27 Size Jack Plane.

Figure 5. Model Shop Number “211” on Stanley #27 Size Jack Plane Lever Cap and Stanley Cutter Logo Which Helps Date This Plane to 1900-1904.

Traut applied for the patent on this plane on December 28, 1901, so it’s very likely that this plane was produced during the last three months of 1901.  Figure 6 shows the “operative mechanism” and cutter support frame removed from the plane.  Interestingly, this mechanism is attached to the body of the plane with two pan head machine screws that are threaded into the wood throat of the plane rather than the wood screws shown in the patent drawings. I would think the machine screws wouldn’t have held as well as a wood screw had this plane ever been put to use, so the use of the machine screws on this plane is puzzling.

Cutter Support Frame from Model Shop #27 Size Jack Plane with Metal Mouth

Figure 6. “Operative Mechanism” and Cutter Support Frame from Stanley Model Shop #27 Size Jack Plane with a Metal Mouth

Figure 7 shows the sole of the plane with the metal portion of the sole and the cutter mouth.  Note how the metal mouth fits snugly into the sole. While there are a few storage scratches and stains on the sole, the plane is in unused condition.

Sole of Stanley Model Shop #27 Size Jack Plane Showing the Metal Mouth

Figure 7. Sole of Stanley Model Shop #27 Size Jack Plane Showing the Metal Mouth

The “operative mechanism” and the metal cutter frame incorporating the metal mouth look like they would have worked very well and would have lived up to the claims Traut made in his patent. Figure 8 shows the “operative mechanism”  and cutter frame inserted into the plane with the cutter, cap iron, and lever cap removed.

Cutter Support Frame from Model Shop #27 Size Jack Plane with Metal Mouth Shown in Stanley Model Shop Transitional Jack Plane

Figure 8. Showing the “Operative Mechanism and Cutter Support Frame in Place in the Stanley Model Shop #27 Jack Plane

But despite the “improvements”, Stanley never put this plane into production.  One of the major selling points of the Stanley transitional planes was their lower cost. Figure 9 is taken from a Stanley 1902 pocket catalog and illustrates the difference in cost between Stanley’s cast iron bench planes and their transitional planes.  The transitional planes were priced fifty cents to two dollars less than a comparable cast iron plane.

Pages from Stanley 1902 Pocket Catalog Showinf Prices of Cast iron and Transitional Planes

Figure 9. Pages from the Stanley 1902 Pocket Catalog Showing Prices of Cast Iron and Transitional Bench Planes

The cost of casting and machining the “operative mechanism” and cutter frame on this Model Shop plane would likely have made these planes as expensive, if not more expensive than their cast iron counterparts.  So, this nicely designed and interesting plane never got beyond the prototype stage and was relegated to a shelf in the Model Shop.

 

Model Shop #22 Transitional Size Smooth Plane with Metal Mouth and Faucet Handle Adjuster

Figure 10. Stanley Model Shop #22 Transitional Size Smooth Plane with Metal Mouth and Faucet Handle Adjuster

This next Model Shop transitional plane is shown in  Figure 10 and also has a metal sole plate and mouth that extends through the body of the plane, but differs from the first plane in the nature of its cutter adjustment mechanism. This plane is 8 and 3/8ths inches long and 2 and ½ inches wide at the mouth.  The cutter, cap iron, and lever cap are 1 and 11/16ths of an inch wide, equal in size to the cutter, cap iron, and lever cap used on a conventional #22 size Stanley transitional smooth plane. To accommodate the metal sole plate, the metal mouth, and the “faucet handle” cutter adjustment mechanism the wooden body of the plane is about ¼ inch longer in length and ¼ inch wider at the mouth than a conventional #22 size Stanley smooth plane. The cast iron frame that sits atop the wooden plane body has also been modified slightly to accommodate the cutter adjustment mechanism and the metal mouth and sole plate (See Figure 11).

Stanley Model Shop Transitional Smooth Plane (foreground), Stanley #22 Transitional Plane, (background)

Figure 11. Stanley Model Shop Transitional Smooth Plane (foreground), and a Standard Stanley #22 Transitional Plane, (background). Note the Difference in the Metal Frame at the Heel and the Smaller Front Knob on the Model Shop Plane

There is no Stanley stamp on the toe.  The trademark on the cutter for this plane (See Figure 12) is consistent with the years 1910-1920, and Model Shop number “3162” is rather crudely painted in white on the side of the plane (See Figure 10).  This is one of four transitional planes of this configuration known.  Two of the others were 15-inch long Stanley wood bottom transitional jack planes.  The frame and cutter adjustment mechanism is nickel-plated on one example and on the other it is japanned.  These planes carry the Model Shop numbers “3159” and “3160” painted with white paint on their sides in the same rather crude fashion as found on this plane.  The fourth plane is a Stanley No. 35 size transitional smooth plane with the faucet handle adjuster and red japanning.  Model Shop number “3161” is painted on the rear tote of this plane.[5]  It appears the men in the Model Shop were trying out this adjustment mechanism on a variety of transitional planes with a variety of different finishes.  Who knows, there may be even more of these transitional Model Shop planes with faucet handle adjusters and metal mouths out there somewhere.  If you have one, please let me know.

Cutter Logo on Stanley model Shop #22 Smooth Plane

Figure 12. Cutter Logo on Stanley Model Shop #22 Smooth Plane with Metal Mouth and Faucet handle Cutter Adjuster. This logo was stamped on Stanley Cutters from 1910-1920.

This little smooth plane captured my attention when it came up for auction for a couple of reasons. The first is the “faucet handle” cutter adjustment screw.  This has been seen on a few other Stanley planes and was used in the Model Shop version of the Stanley #97 Cabinet Maker’s Edge Plane.  For a good look at that plane check out Walter Jacob’s article in “The Chronicle”, Volume 69, Number 3, September 2016, pp. 128-129.

Faucet Handle on Stanley Model Shop #22 Size Smooth Plane with Metal Mouth

Figure 13. Faucet Handle Cutter Adjustment Screw on a Stanley Model Shop #22 Size Smooth Plane with a Metal Mouth

The “faucet handle” cutter adjuster appears to have been an attempt to correct the problem that plane users had trying to turn the conventional round brass horizontal cutter adjusting screw in the confined space between the planes frog and the back portion of the frame casting on the smaller sized transitional planes or other planes with a low cutter angle. Additionally, the cutter adjustment mechanism that utilizes this “faucet handle” is different from what’s seen on Stanley’s conventional wood bottom transitional planes.  Turning the “faucet handle” moves a cast iron plate which rides in machined ways on the frog.  The cutter fits over a raised tab on this cast iron plate and the entire plate moves when the ‘faucet handle” adjuster is turned thus moving the cutter in or out of the mouth of the plane.

Cutter Adjustment Mechanism and Frame on Stanley Model Shop #22 Smooth Plane

Figure 14. “Faucet Handle” Cutter Adjustment Mechanism with the Cast Iron Plate with the Raised Tab and the Accompanying Frame on the Stanley Model Shop #22 Smooth Plane with a Metal Mouth.  Note the Two Screws Which Hold the Metal Mouth in Place and Allow for Its Adjustment

This cutter adjustment mechanism which is shown in Figure 14 is an adaptation of Traut’s cutter adjustment mechanism illustrated in his patent No. 645,220 dated March 13,1900 (See Figure 15).  While the cutter adjustment mechanism on this Model Shop transitional plane is similar to what is shown in the patent drawings, the sliding plate has been adapted to work on the cutter support framework that is similar to  what is shown in Traut’s patent No.710,542 that was used on the first plane shown in this post.

Justus Traut Patent Drawing, Patent No. 645,226

Figure 15. Justus Traut Patent Drawing, Patent No. 645,226

The second interesting feature of this plane is that the adjustable metal mouth frame is secured to the cast iron frame rather than being attached to the wooden body of the plane (See Figure 14).  If the sole of the plane were to be resurfaced, the screws holding the metal mouth in place can be loosened and the metal mouth can be easily raised to remain flush with the sole of the plane. Figure 16 shows the metal mouth mechanism removed from the throat of the plane and shows how simple it would have been to adjust the metal mouth mechanism.

Stanley Model Shop #22 Size Smooth Plane with Metal Mouth removed and Showing Cutter Adjustment Mechanism.

Figure 16. Stanley Model Shop #22 Size Smooth Plane with Metal Mouth Removed.

The cast iron frame that supports the metal mouth mechanism is screwed to the upper surface of the plane’s wood body with a wood screw through the front knob and two round head wood screws placed through the frame just behind the mouth opening. Rarely, Model Shop tools are accompanied by their Model Shop tags and this is one of those rare instances where the tag was still present with the plane. The tag shown in Figure 17 allows us to know exactly when this little plane entered the Model Shop, May 25, 1916.

Model Shop Tag from Stanley #22 Size Transitional Plane With Metal Mouth and Faucet handle Adjuster

Figure 17. Model Shop Tag from Stanley #22 Size Transitional Plane With Metal Mouth and Faucet handle Adjuster Showing the Date 5-25-16.

So, with that documentation, we know that the men in the Model Shop continued to experiment with modifications to Stanley’s transitional planes years after Traut was granted patent No. 710,542 and eight years after his death.[6]

Sole of Stanley Model Shop #22 Smooth Plane with Metal Mouth

Figure 18. Sole of Stanley Model Shop #22 Smooth Plane with Metal Mouth and Faucet Handle Cutter Adjuster

The plane is also in beautiful condition with just a few scratches and stains on the sole (See Figure 18).  The cutter adjustment mechanism and the metal mouth make a lot of sense and it appears that this plane would also have worked very well.  But, again, most likely because of the additional expense of casting and machining the frame and cutter support mechanism, Stanley put this one back on the shelf in the Model Shop one hundred and one years ago!  Thankfully, these interesting planes were at some point “liberated” and have found their way into the tool collecting world for those of us who find them intriguing glimpses into the history of American woodworking plane development.

By Paul Van Pernis

[1] The Stanley transitional planes included the following catalog numbers:  21, 22, 23,  24, 25, 26, 27, 27½, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, and 37.  The number of Stanley transitional planes swells to twenty-three if you include the 122, 127, 129, 132, and 135 in the Liberty Bell series of planes.

[2] Transitional planes are wood bottom planes with a cast iron frame attached to the upper surface of the wood bottom.  The frame supports the frog, and the rear tote and front knob are attached to the frame as well.  The name “transitional” is a misnomer as they are not a chronologic bridge between the classic wooden bodied bench plane and a cast iron bench plane.  Rather, they are simply a wood bottom plane with a cast iron frame mounted on the upper surface of the plane that incorporates the adjustment feature found on the similarly sized cast iron planes by the same manufacturer.  Roger Smith does an excellent job of explaining the development of these planes in Patented Transitional and Metallic Planes in America, Volume I, pp. 25-39. For general information regarding Stanley transitional planes go to Patrick Leach’s Blood & Gore at http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan4.htm.

[3] Here’s the link to the previous post. http://eaiainfo.org/2015/03/14/stanley-model-sh…od-bottom-planes/.

[4] See Roger Smith’s type study of “Bailey-Stanley Wood Bottom Plane Types in Patented and metallic Transitional Planes in America Volume I, pp. 275-278.

[5] The plane discussed in this post was Lot #504 in the 42nd International Antique Tool Auction of Saturday, April 6th, 2013. The two jack planes described above were sold as Lot #342 in the 39th International Antique Tool Auction of Saturday, October 29th, 2011. The Stanley #35 size transitional smoothing plane with the faucet handle adjuster and red japanning on the cast iron was Lot #627 in the 41st International Antique Tool Auction on November 3, 2012.  It also came with a Model Shop tag dated 5/25/1916. I am aware of one other Model Shop plane with a “faucet handle” cutter adjustment screw.  It was sold as Lot #343 in the 39th International antique Tool Auction on Saturday October 29th, 2011.

[6] Justus A. Traut was born in Potsdam, Germany on June 12, 1839.  In 1904, a celebration was held at Stanley commemorating his 50th year with the company.  He died on March 9, 1908 just shy of his 69th birthday. So, he wouldn’t have been around to work on this Model Shop plane.

Panic, Patents, and Liberty Bell Planes

Model Shop #104 Liberty Bell Smooth Plane

This post is a bit longer than those I’ve written in the past, but I hope you’ll enjoy the story that’s in here about another interesting plane from the Stanley Model Shop. 1873 to 1879 were tough years for the Stanley Rule & Level Company as well as the rest of the U.S. economy.  The “Panic of 1873” began in September of that year when the Jay Cooke brokerage firm declared bankruptcy.[i]  Five Thousand businesses failed in the first year of the “Panic” and over 10,000 businesses closed their doors before the country came out of the depression in 1879. Several factors contributed to the collapse but much of it was due to post Civil War inflation and over speculation in rapidly expanding railroads.  Despite the tough economic times, Stanley kept most of its workers employed and the inventive minds working at Stanley continued to innovate, develop new tools, and worked to meet the needs of their customers and the expanding country.

In the midst of this severe economic downturn, Justus Traut and Henry Richards combined a couple of their patents, submitted the results to Stanley’s Operating Committee, received the committee’s approval, and as a result, developed a whole new line of planes that Stanley introduced to their customers in 1876 just prior to the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition.

The #120 block plane I highlighted in my last post (http://eaiainfo.org/2017/03/01/120-model-shop-prototype-block-plane-from-evolution-to-production/) was based upon the cutter adjustment mechanism patented by Justus Traut and Henry Richards on April 18, 1876. I included only one of the drawings that accompanied that patent because it most clearly illustrated the adjustment mechanism I discussed in that post.  The original patent showed the cutter adjustment mechanism on a bench plane.  Traut and Richards filed for a reissued patent and were granted that patent on March 20th, 1877.[ii]  The re-issued patent also provided a very clear illustration of their adjustment mechanism on a bench plane. This drawing is shown in Figure 1.

Traut & Richards Patent for Liberty Bell Plane

Figure 1. Justus Traut & Henry Richards Patent Drawings for Their Compound Lever Cutter Adjustment Mechanism

Justus Traut and Henry Richards had  also filed an earlier patent application on June 15th, 1875 for an “improvement in bench planes”.  Their patent application stated that,…“The object of the present invention is to produce a plane with a wrought-metal stock or shell of suitable shape and form to possess all the needed strength and stiffness at the points of greatest strain, and yet be neat and serviceable in all the details and particulars of its construction; and to this end it consists in swaging or stamping said stock or shell from a blank of sheet or wrought metal, properly cut so as to afford strong sides and stiff angles…”  The patent for this steel plane body, No. 168,431, was granted on October, 5, 1875 (See Figure 2).[iii]

Justus A. Traut and Henry Richards Patent No. 168,431 for a Steel Body Plane

Figure 2. Justus A. Traut and Henry Richards Patent No. 168,431 for a Steel Body Plane

These two patents came together to create the Stanley Model Shop bench plane shown in Figure 3.  This may in fact be the plane that Traut and Richards submitted to the Stanley Operating Committee for their approval.

Model Shop #104 Liberty Bell Smooth Plane

Figure 3. The Stanley Model Shop #104 Liberty Bell Smooth Plane

The plane is 9 inches long and 2 and 5/16ths inches wide (the same size as a Stanley #4 size cast iron plane).  The cutter is 2 and 1/16th inches wide. The body of the plane is made of 1/16th inch thick cold rolled steel with a cast iron core riveted to the interior of the bed of the plane.  The receiver for the rear tote and the frog are integral parts of the casting and are riveted to the area behind the plane’s mouth. The raised front knob receiver and the lip of the plane mouth are integral to the casting that is riveted to the toe of the plane. Both the rosewood rear tote and the rosewood front knob are held in place by a threaded rod and a brass barrel nut like those seen on Stanley’s Bailey style bench planes. Because of the arched casting on the rear portion of the plane, the rosewood rear tote has a concave groove on its bottom surface so it conforms to the arched shape of the casting (See Figure 4).  All of the production models of these planes would have the concave groove on the bottom surface of the rear tote.

Rear Tote on Liberty Bell Smooth Plane

Figure 4. Showing the Rear Tote on the Model Shop Liberty Bell Smooth Plane with a Concave Bottom that conforms to the Shape of the Bed of the Plane

The interior of the plane is japanned, the sidewalls and sole are polished, and “PAT OCT.  5, 1875” is stamped on the left sidewall (See Figure 5).

Patent Date on #104 Liberty Bell Smooth Plane

Figure 5. Patent Date of Traut & Richards Patent Stamped on the Left Side of the #104 Liberty Bell Smooth Plane

The uniquely shaped and japanned cast iron lever cap  is shown in Figure 6.  It has a bell with the number “76” on its face and locks the cutter in place with a japanned lever cap screw (Later versions of the Liberty Bell Planes would have a nickel-plated lever cap screw). The cutter adjusting lever is “Y” shaped and this was used on the production models of this plane. This plane found its way out of the Stanley Model Shop and is in beautiful condition.  The japanning is bright, the rosewood tote and front knob are pristine,and the steel body of the plane is in almost perfect condition except for a few fine scratches on the sole.  The cutter has never been sharpened.

Liberty Bell Plane Lever Cap, Front

Figure 6. Liberty Bell Plane Lever Cap. Note the Fine Detail and that the Liberty Bell Even Has the Crack in it.

 

There are however, several features on this Model Shop Plane that make it unique and different from the production version of this plane:

  1. The plane has two raised ridges on the toe casting that angle back toward the plane’s mouth at a 45º angle (See Figure 7). The production versions of this plane don’t have the raised ridges on the toe.
    Toe of Model Shop #104 Liberty Bell smooth Plane

    Figure 7. Toe of Model Shop #104 Liberty Bell smooth Plane Showing the Raised Reinforcing Ridges Not Seen on Production Models of the Plane

  2. This plane has two large triangular supports set at a 45º angle which act as the bearing surface for the cutter. The production versions of this plane have two “U” shaped cut outs in the frog to accommodate the cutter adjustment mechanism and do not provide a continuous bearing surface for the cutter (See Figure 11).
  3. The cutter on this plane has an earlier Stanley trademark that was used on their Bailey bench planes in 1875(See Figure 8).[iv]
    Cutter Logo on Stanley Model Shop #104 Liberty Bell Plane

    Figure 8.  Cutter Logo on Stanley Model Shop #104 Liberty Bell Plane

    The trademark stamp on the cutters seen on the first production models is shown in Figure 9.[v]

    #120 Block Plane cutter logo circa 1876-1888

    Figure 9. Drawing of the Logo Used on Early Production Models of the Stanley Liberty Bell Planes

  4. The cutter adjusting mechanism is identical to that shown in the patent drawing (See Figure 1). Using the same letter designations shown in the patent drawing I’ll attempt  in Figure 10 to make clear to you how the cutter adjuster works. The primary lever “j” moves on a shaft that is held in place by a screw “m” inserted through the right sidewall of the plane. That shaft fits into a hole in the triangular cutting iron support “d”.  The secondary lever “h” has a rocking spindle “f” and a groove “g”. This secondary lever “h” is attached to primary lever “j” via a pin “i” that fits into a slot cut into the lower end of the primary lever “j”.  The primary lever “j” and the secondary lever “h” form a compound lever.  The raised “stud” on the back of the combined cutter and cap iron fits into the groove “g”. When the primary lever “j” is moved up or down in moves the cutter in or out of the mouth of the plane and adjusts the cutter to the desired depth for planing.
    Model Shop Liberty Bell #104 Showing Cutter Adjustment Mechanism

    Figure 10. Model Shop Liberty Bell #104 Showing Cutter Adjustment Mechanism

  5. The production models of this plane have a modified cutter adjustment mechanism that reduces the number of parts required and reduces the amount of machining required to attach it to the frog.[vi]  This modified cutter adjustment mechanism is shown in Figure 11. Note the large “U” shaped cutouts in the frog and the small raised wedge on the frog casting which allows the now rounded end of the primary lever “j” to be wedged into a hole in this small raised wedge.  The “U” shaped cutouts eliminate the need to cut a slot for the lever through the side of the cutter support mechanism.  This simplified arrangement still allowed for precise cutter adjustment while significantly simplifying the manufacturing process.
#105 Liberty Bell Plane Cutter Adjustment Mechanism

Figure 11. Modified Compound Lever Cutter Adjustment Mechanism Shown on an Early Production Model of the #105 Liberty Bell Plane

6. The Model Shop version of this plane and a very few of the early production models had cutters with the raised stud that fit into slot “g” on the cutter adjustment mechanism attached to the cutter so that when lever “j” was moved, the adjusting motion was applied directly to the cutter, whereas later production models had the raised stud that fit into slot “g”  attached to the cap iron so that the adjusting motion was applied to the cap iron rather than the cutting iron.  The effect was the same because in both cases the cap iron is firmly attached to the cutter (See Figure 12).

Cutters for Early and Later Versions of Liberty Bell Planes

Figure 12. Early Version(top) and later version(bottom) of Cutter and Cap Irons for the Liberty Bell Planes.

Once this steel bodied plane was developed, Stanley chose to introduce it as part of whole new line of planes in 1876 called “The Stanley Adjustable Planes” Stanley’s advertising stated that the planes were “adjusted by a compound lever and are equally well adapted to coarse or fine work.” The line included two sizes of this steel bodied plane, the #104 and #105.  The #104 was the same size as a cast iron #4 sized Bailey plane and the #105 was the same size as a #5 size Bailey cast iron plane. Both of these planes featured rosewood totes and front knobs (See Figure 13).

Metal Liberty Bell Planes

Figure 13. The Cast Iron #120 Block Plane with the Five-Point Star lever Cap and the #104 Liberty Bell Smooth Plane and the #105 Liberty Bell Jack Planes with Wrought Steel Bodies

It also included a series of transitional planes that used the same compound lever adjuster in a cast iron frames attached to beech wood plane bodies (See Figure 14).

Liberty Bell Transitional Planes

Figure 14. The Liberty Bell Transitional Planes

They full line of Liberty Bell Planes offered by Stanley included the:

  1. # 120 Cast Iron Block Plane – 7¼inches long, 2 inches wide.[vii]
  2. #122 “Liberty Bell Smooth Plane – 8 inches long, 1¾ inches wide.
  3. #127 “Liberty Bell Jack Plane – 15 inches long, 2 1/8 inches wide.
  4. #129 “Liberty Bell Jack Plane – 20 inches long, 2 3/8 inches wide.
  5. #132 “Liberty Bell Jointer Plane – 26 inches long, 2 5/8 inches wide.
  6. # 135 “Liberty Bell smooth Plane – 10 inches long, 2 1/8 inches wide.[viii]

When introduced, all of these planes were priced at $1.00 less per plane than the comparable cast iron or transitional Bailey style planes also sold by Stanley. All of the planes in this new line of planes had a liberty bell with the number “76” on their lever caps, except for the #120 block plane which had a five-pointed star on its lever cap. The star and liberty bell were Stanley’s effort to honor the nation’s centennial in a very striking and appealing way.  The liberty bell on the lever cap led to this series of planes being called “Liberty Bell” by collectors. In addition, Stanley repeated this patriotic theme on the first production models of the transitional planes in this line by having the Stanley eagle stamped on the toe of the plane (See Figure 15).  The eagle stamp is only seen on the earliest of the Liberty Bell transitional planes and was discontinued in 1886.This stamp had also been used on the early Bailey style transitional planes from 1869-1874.

Eagle Stamp on Stanley #122 Liberty Bell Plane

Figure 15. The Eagle Stamp on an Early Stanley #122 Liberty Bell Plane

Stanley introduced these planes to their customers in early 1876 and featured them prominently in their display at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.  The United States wanted to let the world know how far it had come in just a hundred years when it brought the world to Philadelphia for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. Officially known as the International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures and Products of the Soil and Mine” the Centennial Exhibition was the first “World’s Fair” held in the United States. It opened on May 10, 1876 and ran until November 10, 1876.  Over 9 million people attended the fair.  Probably the most significant result of the Centennial Exhibition was to demonstrate America’s new industrial prowess.  Within a decade of the fair, the U.S. had eclipsed every other country in the world in innovation and industrial production.[ix]  Stanley was part of the exhibition and had a large display of its full line of products in Machinery Hall.  Figure 16 is a picture of that display.

Stanley Rule & Level Company Display Cabinet at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition

Figure 16. Stanley Rule & Level Company Display Cabinet at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition.  Photo used with Permission from the Free Library of Philadelphia

It is the only known photo of the display and while it is not a great photo, it shows the wide variety of tools manufactured by Stanley at the time. Figure 17 shows a July 1, 1876 Stanley Pocket Catalog, the Cover is over stamped with information about where the Stanley display could be seen at the fair. The blue printing on the cover reads, “Your attention is invited to a full line of Samples of our Goods at the CENTENNIAL EXHIBITION, Main Building, N, 89. The Tools may be seen in practical use, in Machinery Hall Section A,4, Column 35.”

July 1, 1876 Stanley Pocket Catalog

Figure 17. July 1, 1876 Stanley Pocket Catalog Shown Turned on Its Side With Information Stamped on the Cover Regarding Stanley’s Display at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition

The Model Shop version of the Stanley #104 is unique and helps to reveal the story of a Model Shop plane that led to the introduction of an entire line of planes to Stanley’s stable of woodworking planes. The Liberty Bell planes obviously sold well and remained popular with Stanley’s customers for many years. They were phased out in 1918 after being part of the Stanley line of planes for 42 years. Despite the fact that the wrought steel bodies on the #104 and #105 Liberty Bell planes were prone to rust and pitting, examples of all of the planes in the “Liberty Bell” line in good condition are highly prized by collectors.

By Paul Van Pernis           

[i] The Panic of 1873 and the long depression that followed had multiple causes.  Chief among those was post Civil War inflation, large speculative investments primarily in railroads, property losses due to the Chicago fire of 1872, followed by another large fire in Boston in 1872, and economic disruptions in Europe caused by the Franco-Prussian War.  The failure of the Jay Cooke brokerage firm set off a chain reaction resulting in multiple bank failures.  The New York Stock Exchange suspended all trading for 10 days in September of 1873. 18,000 businesses failed between 1873 and 1875. The Panic of 1873 was called “The Great Depression” until it was superseded by the stock market crash of 1929

[ii] Traut and Richards, on June 28th 1876, just two months after receiving their patent  for the compound lever cutter adjustment mechanism applied for and were granted a reissue patent #7,565, for this same adjuster on March 20, 1877.  Once a patent is issued, the patent holder(s) may request a “reissue” of the patent to correct mistakes in the issued patent or make additional claims regarding the patent.  Traut and Richards initial patent claimed only the compound cutter adjustment mechanism. In the reissued patent, they also claimed the inclined brackets on which the cutter rested, the slotted cutter, and the fastening nut used with the slotted cutter.

[iii] This same patent was applied to two other Stanley planes, the #80 and the #90 steel cased rabbet planes produced from 1877 to 1888.

[iv] To learn more about the trademark stamps on Stanley plane cutters see Roger K. Smith’s type study in Patented Transitional and Metallic Planes in America 1827-1927, Volume I, pp. 279-284. The circular Stanley trademark stamp shown in Figure___ was never used on the Bailey bench planes produced by Stanley, but was used on some block planes and the Liberty Bell series of planes

[v] Later versions of these planes would include later Stanley cutting iron trademark stamps.

[vi] These changes closely parallel the changes made in the cutter adjustment mechanism on the #120 block plane featured in my previous post. ( See http://eaiainfo.org/2017/03/01/120-model-shop-prototype-block-plane-from-evolution-to-production/).

[vii] I speculated in a previous post (http://eaiainfo.org/2016/05/23/more-rosewood-buttons-on-lever-caps/)  that a block plane  with a wrought steel body from the Stanley Model Shop may have been intended to become part of the Liberty Bell line of planes, but the plane was never put into production, and the #120 block plane filled that spot in the Liberty Bell line.

[viii] The Liberty Bell transitional planes are the same size as the #22, #27,#29 #32 and #35.  Stanley chose to simply add a “1” in front of those numbers on the Liberty Bell planes so the size  of each plane was clear to their customers.

[ix] 37 different countries sent exhibits as did 14,420 U.S. businesses.  There were over 250 separate “pavilions” on 285 acres of land in Fairmount Park.  There were 8000 operating machines on display in Machinery Hall. Over 9 million people visited the fair during the six months it was open. The Main Exhibition Hall was the largest structure at the Centennial and the largest building anywhere in the world at the time. The glass and steel frame was 1,876 feet long and covered more than 20 acres, or six football fields, with well over eleven miles of walkways.

#120 Model Shop Prototype Block Plane; From Evolution to Production

Stanley #120 Prototype and Stanley #120 Type 1 Title Image

It’s late in the year 1875, and Justus Traut and the men in his shop at Stanley Rule & Level Company are still diligently working on a cutter adjustment mechanism for the Stanley #110 block plane. Traut and Henry Richards, one of the “mechanics” working in Traut’s  shop, produced the block plane prototype shown in Figure 1. [i]

Stanley Model Shop Traut & Richards #120 Block Plane Prototype

Figure 1. Justus Traut and Henry Richards Stanley Model Shop #120 Adjustable Block Plane Prototype

This plane came from the estate of a granddaughter of a Stanley employee.  It was found in a box containing several other early Stanley Model Shop tools. This intriguing block plane carries a Stanley Model Shop number that appears to be “1522”, although the 3rd digit in the number is very faint (See Figure 2).[ii]

Shoe Buckle Lever Cap from Stanley Model Shop #120 Block Plane Prototype Showing Model Shop # 1522

Figure 2. Shoe Buckle Lever Cap from Stanley Model Shop #120 Block Plane Prototype Showing Model Shop # 1522

The plane body is 7 and 5/8ths inches long and 2 and 1/16th inches wide. The plane body’s configuration is very similar to that of the #110 Type 3.[iii]  However, it lacks the reinforced handrails on the side walls and the raised lug at the heel of the plane seen in #110 Stanley block planes of a similar vintage.  The front knob is turned fruit wood and is friction fit into the cylindrical raised receiver on the toe of the plane.  The shoe buckle lever cap with its two piece lever cap adjusting screw helps to date the plane to late 1875.  The slotted cutter has no trademark stamp.

Slotted Cutter from Traut & Richards Prototype #120 Adjustable Block Plane

Figure 3. Slotted Cutter from Traut & Richards Prototype #120 Adjustable Block Plane. Showing Hand Filed Screw Head

Stanley Model Shop Protype #120 Block Plane Slotted Cutter with Hand Filed Nut

Figure 4. Stanley Model Shop Prototype #120 Block Plane Slotted Cutter with Hand Filed Nut

A machine screw has been filed to a square head with a slot that is designed to fit over the raised nib on the bronze portion of the cutter adjustment mechanism (See Figure 3 and Figure 4).  This screw is held in position in the slotted cutter with a hexagonal nut.  The location of this screw and nut in the slot can be changed to accommodate repeated sharpening of the cutter (See Figure 5).

Hand Filed Screw and Nut from Traut & Richards Stanley #120 Prototype Plane

Figure 5. Hand Filed Screw and Nut from Traut & Richards Stanley #120 Prototype Plane. Note All the File Marks and Hand Work on Both the Nut and the Screw

The triangular cutter support ribs hold the cutter at about a 16-degree cutting angle (See Figure 8). Only the interior of the plane body is japanned. One of the most appealing features of this Model Shop plane is the evidence that this plane was a “work in progress”.  On the right sidewall of the plane where there is a layout line scribed just above a plug that has been placed in the casting where a hole had been initially drilled (See Figure 6), and file marks are present on the adjusting lever and other parts of the cutter adjusting mechanism providing evidence to all the hand work that went into making this Model Shop prototype.

Figure 6. Right Sidewall of the #120 Prototype Block Plane Showing Evidence of Hand Work

Traut and Richards submitted a patent application on December 27, 1875 for the compound lever cutter adjustment mechanism seen on this plane. They were granted patent #176,152, on April 18, 1876, for a “…device for holding and adjusting the cutting iron.”[iv]  However, the patent drawings don’t show a block plane but instead show a bench plane utilizing this compound lever cutter adjustment mechanism. In my next blog post I’ll tell you how this patented cutter adjustment mechanism came to be used on the “Liberty Bell” series of bench planes, but for now let’s get back to what was to become Stanley’s #120 adjustable block plane. Figure 7 shows one of the patent drawings for this patent showing the compound lever cutter adjustment mechanism.

Traut & Richards Patent for #120 and Liberty Bell Planes

Figure 7. One of the Patent Drawings From the Traut & Richards Patent No. 176,152 for the Cutter Adjustment Mechanism Used on the #120 Adjustable Block Plane and the Liberty Bell Planes

While not identical to the patent drawing, the compound lever mechanism on this Model Shop block plane operates using the same principle but with a modification of the location of the fulcrum points of the levers compared to what is shown in the patent drawings (See Figure 8).

Compound Lever Cutter Adjustment Mechanism on the Traut & Richards Prototype #120 Adjustable Block Plane

Figure 8. Compound Lever Cutter Adjustment Mechanism on the Traut & Richards #120 Adjustable Block Plane Prototype

The mechanism consists of two interconnected levers, “A” and “B”.  Lever “A”, the primary lever, moves through an arc of 1¾ inches from its bottom most position to its top most position, while the raised nib “C” on the secondary lever “B” simultaneously moves through an arc of only 1/16th of an inch. This 28:1 difference in motion means that a ¼ inch movement of the primary adjusting lever “A” results in the cutter moving only 9 thousandths of an inch. This creates a very sensitive cutter adjustment mechanism .

With a few minor modifications, this plane became the Stanley #120 adjustable block plane and was first offered for sale by Stanley in 1876.  The first production model of the #120 Stanley Block plane is shown in Figure 9.

Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane Type 1

Figure 9. Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane Type 1, Introduced in 1876

  There are differences between the Model Shop prototype and the first production model of the #120 adjustable block plane.  Most notable are modifications made to the cutter adjustment mechanism.  Figure 10 illustrates the changes made to that compound lever cutter adjustment mechanism.

First Production Model of the Stanley #120 Block Plane Showing the Compound Lever Adjusting Mechanism

Figure 10. First Production Model of the Stanley #120 Block Plane Showing the Compound Lever Adjusting Mechanism

The compound lever cutter adjustment mechanism was modified to reduce the number of parts and make production easier.  The end of the primary adjustment lever “A” was redesigned to fit into a socket in a short cross rib that was part of the plane’s body casting.[v]  The primary lever “A” is connected to a short shaft on lever “B”. Lever “A” and lever “B” would be assembled first and then the compound lever would have been inserted into the plane body and supported on a pin that enters through the right sidewall of the plane and projects through both of the cutter support brackets. The cutter adjustment lever “A” is shorter than the one seen on the Model Shop prototype and the cutter support ribs have been modified slightly and the angle changed so that the cutter is now bedded at about a 23 degree angle as opposed to the 16 degree angle seen on the Model Shop prototype.  The plane is 7 and ¼ inches long, 3/8ths of an inch shorter than the prototype plane.  The interior and exterior of the plane body are japanned except for the sole of the plane. The number “157” is stamped in the casting near the heel of the plane (See Figure 11).

Casting Imprint #157 on the First Production model of the Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane

Figure 11. Casting Imprint #157 on the First Production model of the Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane

The toe of the plane has the raised cast cylindrical receiver similar to the one seen on the prototype.  It is ½ inch tall and 13/16ths of an inch in diameter. The turned fruit wood front knob is again friction fit into this receiver. The rounded cutter has an early Stanley Rule & Level Company logo stamped on its upper end, along with the April 18, 1876 patent date (See Figure 12).

Stanley Imprint on Cutter From Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane Type 1

Figure 12. Stanley Imprint on Cutter From Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane Type 1

A machine screw with a wide slot cut in the head is held in place in the slotted cutter by a brass barrel nut. The wide slot in the head of the machine screw fits over the raised nib on the cutter adjustment mechanism in a similar fashion what was present on the prototype (See Figure 13, Figure 14, and Figure 15).

Slotted Cutter from the First Production Model Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane

Figure 13. Slotted Cutter from the First Production Model Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane Showing the Brass Barrel Nut

Slotted Cutter from the First Production Model Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane

Figure 14. Slotted Cutter from the First Production Model Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane Showing the Flat Head Screw with the Wide Slot

 

Brass Barrel Nut and Flat Head Screw From slotted Cutter on the First Production Model of the Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane

Figure 15. Brass Barrel Nut and Flat Head Screw From Slotted Cutter on the First Production Model of the Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane

The modifications in the compound lever adjustment mechanism reduced the mechanical advantage of the cutter adjustment mechanism from 28:1 to 12:1 As a result,  a ¼ inch movement of the adjusting lever resulted in a 2/100ths of an inch movement of the cutter at the mouth of the plane.  While not as sensitive as the prototype, the production model’s adjustment mechanism was still adequately sensitive. And finally, the rather fragile “shoe buckle” lever cap was abandoned in favor of a much easier to use side in lever cap with a cast iron adjusting screw bearing a five-pointed star in honor of the nation’s centennial which was being celebrated when the plane was released in 1876 (See Figure 16).

Lever Cap From Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane Type 1 Showing Five-Pointed Star

Figure 16. Lever Cap From Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane Type 1 Showing Five-Pointed Star

In 1876 when the #120 block plane was introduced, it sold for $1.00 compared to $2.00 for a Stanley #9½ adjustable block plane with Bailey’s cutter adjustment mechanism.  It’s important to remember that Stanley was not trying to decrease the sale of Bailey’s block planes, but were looking to reach a broader audience with the introduction of the lower cost #120 adjustable block plane.  Bailey’s planes had become widely accepted by carpenters and cabinet makers and Stanley certainly wanted to maintain and grow that market.  With their lower cost, the #110 and #120 block planes were designed to appeal to the home owner and amateur woodworker. From the outset, these planes met with success and widespread acceptance. Stanley sold a lot of them and the #120 adjustable block plane became a staple in the Stanley lineup and remained in production until 1947(See Figure 17).[vi]

Bailey #9 1/2 Block Plane Foreground, #120 Adjustable Block Plane Background, Both c. 1876

Figure 17. Bailey #9 1/2 Block Plane Foreground, #120 Adjustable Block Plane Background, Both circa 1876

Next time I’ll tell you about how this same cutter adjustment mechanism came to be used on the “Liberty Bell” series of bench planes.

by Paul Van Pernis

Footnotes

[i] Henry Francis Richards was one of the “mechanics” who worked in Traut’s shop at Stanley.  He was born on September 13, 1824. He died in 1912 at the age of 88.  Census records list him as a “mechanic” or “machinist”.  His residence in New Britain was in walking distance from the Stanley factory.  He was the co-patentee with Justus Traut on at least three other patents between 1875 and 1876.

[ii] The adjustable Model Shop #110 block plane discussed in my last post carried two Model Shop numbers, #51 and #52.  If this plane followed that one chronologically, one would assume that it would be labeled #53, or #54.  But instead it’s got a four digit Model Shop number.  As I’ve said before, the Model Shop numbering system is a mystery to me!

[iii] An excellent type study of the early Stanley #110 non-adjustable block planes by John G. Wells entitled, “Early Models of the Stanley #110 Block Plane 1874-1887”, can be found in Antique & Collectible Stanley Tools, by John Walter, pp. 750-756.

[iv] Traut and Richards on June 28th 1876, just two months after receiving this patent applied for and were granted a reissue patent #7,565, for this same adjuster on March 20, 1877.  Once a patent is issued, the patent holder(s) may request a “reissue” of the patent to correct mistakes in the issued patent or make additional claims regarding the patent.  Traut and Richards initial patent claimed only the compound cutter adjustment mechanism. In the reissued patent, they also claimed the inclined brackets on which the cutter rested, the slotted cutter, and the fastening nut used with the slotted cutter.

[v] This small raised cross rib was also cast into the Stanley #110 block planes of the same vintage.  This allowed the same casting to be used for either the #110 or the #120 block plane. Please note the accompanying photo which shows a circa 1876 Stanley #110 block plane.  With a few machining changes and the addition of the cutter adjusting mechanism this #110 block plane could have been easily converted to a #120 adjustable block plane.

Stanley #110 Block Plane, Type 3a Showing Raised Cross Rib

Stanley #110 Block Plane circa 1876, Showing Raised Cross Rib

[vi] The Stanley #120 block plane continued to evolve. For more information on the evolution of the Stanley #120 see, “Early Models of the Stanley No. 120 Adjustable Block Plane 1876-1947” by John G. Wells, The Gristmill, September 2006, No. 124, pp. 14-19, and “Stanley #120 Adjustable Block Plane, Early Development” by Paul Van Pernis, The Fine Tool Journal, Volume 48, Number 4, Spring, 1999, pp. 9-12

2017 Annual Meeting Activities

You may have looked at the 2017 Annual Meeting on the events section of the EAIA website or on the blog and wondered what is included in each of the workshops, tours and presentation as you try to determine which of them many activities you’d like to sign up for. So we’ve put together the summary below: a fairly complete albeit brief description of the activities, the leaders, and the capacity limitations.

But before you read on, consider the great contribution you could make by exhibiting pieces of your collection….or equally important….demonstrating a particular skill that will engage our participants during the Saturday morning activities. Old Sturbridge Village has an amazing number of crafts being demonstrated by their interpreters. However the membership of EAIA also has a great passion and expertise in trades and individual skills. You can sign up for tables or let us know what space and support you may need for a demonstration. Please let us know. YOU can contribute to the overall knowledge and excitement that will be generated by this meeting! Please do!

Now for the activity descriptions.

Tinsmithing Workshop  (Capacity – 6 workshops @ 5 people/workshop)

This workshop will give the participants the opportunity to use a variety of 19th century tin machines and hand tools. The mysteries of the burring machine and pan swedge will be revealed!  Each participant will make and take home a tin sconce.

Workshop Leader:  Phil Eckert, Program Manager of Tin Production

Blacksmithing Workshop (Capacity – 4 workshops @ 8 people/workshop)
This workshop will introduce the participants to the basic tool and elements of blacksmithing. They will be able to apply their knowledge to forge a basic early American utilitarian object which they will take home with them.
Workshop Leader: Derek Heidemann, Coordinator of Men’s Crafts

Hearth Cooking Workshop (Capacity – 3 workshops @ 10 people/workshop)

This workshop will give you the opportunity to try out a variety of tin, iron, and ceramic cooking tools to prepare authentic 19th-century recipes. Working with skilled hearth cooking experts, you will learn a variety of hearth cooking techniques that utilize the bake oven and open hearth. Enjoy an afternoon snack together and walk away with a recipe booklet to use at home.

Workshop Leader: Emily Dunnack, the Director of Museum Education

Museum Education Tour (Capacity – 2 tours @ 15 people/tour)
Tour our unique Museum Education Center with Emily Dunnack, the Director of Museum Education. Learn about how the building is used for both kids and adults for workshops and other hands-on activities. Spaces include a blacksmith studio, wood shop, printing press, three large looms, four open hearths, and other surprises.
Workshop Leader: Emily Dunnack, the Director of Museum Education

Collections Tour of 19th Century Tools (Capacity – 6 tours @ 10 people/tour)
The groups will visit the extensive collections of OSV in the Collections Building. Some of the tools have been reproduced for use in the living Village, but most are not normally on view. In addition to commentary from the group leaders, the EAIA participants are urged to provide their own expert insight into the tools they view.
Tour Leader: Tom Kelleher, Curator of Mechanical Arts

Mills Tour (Capacity – 4 tours @ 25 people/tour)
Sturbridge has 3 operating mills: a gristmill, a saw mill and a carding mill. The tour will start with a general discussion of the importance of water power in New England in the 18th & 19th centuries. Visits to each of the working mills will include discussion of the operation as well as viewing the water-powered machinery that provides their power.
Tour Leaders: Justin Kennick, Program & Exhibit Lead, Mills & cooper Shop; Tom Kelleher, Curator of Mechanical Arts

Village Craft Tool Tour (Capacity – 4 tours @ 15 people/tour)
The tour will visit all of the active craft locations in the Village including the Print Shop, Shoe Shop, Tin Shop, Blacksmith Shop, and Cooper Shop. Expert craftsman interpreters and the tour leader will be available to describe the processes, and as appropriate to their work, demonstrate aspects of it and answer questions that the EAIA participants may have.
Tour Leaders: Tom Kelleher, Curator of Mechanical Arts; Derek Heidemann, Coordinator of Men’s Crafts

Machinery Storage Tour (Capacity – 4 tours @ 10 people/tour)
This is a behind-the-scenes tour through the Machinery Storage building in which a large pieces of the collection are stored. They include mill, metalworking, agricultural, agricultural and transportation items, some which were intended to be included in a more expanded “mill village” which would demonstrate other water powered processes.
Tour Leader: Tom Kelleher, Curator of Mechanical Arts

Farm & Garden Tools Tour (Capacity – 5 tours @ 15 people/tour)
OSV is a living rural New England village and as such includes agriculture as a focus, including fields, orchards, kitchen gardens, an extensive herb garden and livestock. The tour will go through the various agricultural structures and be introduced to their use, structure and the tools that were employed in and about them. Included will be the Fitch Barns, Salem Towne Barn, Freeman Farm Barn, and the associated fields and gardens.
Tour Leader: Dave Hruska, Coordinator of Agriculture; Amy Murray, Coordinator of Horticulture

Textile Collections Tour (Capacity – 3 tours @ 12 people/tour)
The art of quilting represented many things to a 19th century woman – a useful skill needed to make warm bedding and garments, an expression of skill and taste, and even an opportunity for social enjoyment. Learn about quilts, quilted garments, and quilt-making in the early 19th century New England.
Tour Leaders: Rebecca Beall, Collections Manager and Curator of Textiles; Jean Contino, Coordinator of Households and Women’s Crafts

Research Library Tour (Capacity – 4 tours @ 12 people/tour)
The Research Library contains more than 35,000 volumes and focuses on the history and material life in rural New England from the years following the American Revolution until the Civil War. The collection includes textbooks, juveniles, advice books, periodical literature, maps, broadsides, diaries, account books, letters, as well as copies of manuscript census schedules, property deeds, probate records, and town directories.
Tour Leaders: Caitlin Emery Avenia, Curatorial Director; Amy Hietala, Library Assistant

Fiber Arts Projects Yarn Sewing    (Capacity – 36 People)

This will be the first Annual Meeting during which there will be daily activities and a reserved room for the Fiber Arts Group use throughout the meeting.   In addition to the daily tours, the Fiber Arts Group participants will work with OSV Textile Staff on a traditional yarn sewing project.   They will begin to stitch a yarn sewn piece suitable for a footstool cover, table mat, or doll-house rug. This practical and decorative technique was commonly used in the 18th and 19th centuries to make hearthrugs, coverlets and mittens.  All materials will be provided.  We will be using woolen yarn, dyed at Old Sturbridge Village with natural dyes.

Workshop Leader – Jean Contino, Coordinator of Households and Domestic Crafts

 

Presenter: Jane Nylander

Presenter: Jane Nylander

Plenary Presentation – “Color and Comfort: Textiles in the New England Home”

Presenter: Jane Nylander

Jane is an OSV Trustee, OSV Curator of Textiles and Ceramics 1969-1986, author of “Our Own Snug Fireside: Images of the New England Home 1760-1860”, President Emerita of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now Historic New England), and former President of Strawbery Banke Museum. Jane will provide a look at textiles used for both clothing and household furnishings during the years 1790-1840: what they looked like, how and where they were made, and how they were cared for during a period of innovation, industrialization, and continuing tradition. It is drawn from years of research and illustrated by contemporary prints and paintings as well as examples from the unparalleled collections of Old Sturbridge Village.

Presenter: Norm Abram

Presenter: Norm Abram

Plenary Presentation – “The Importance of Preserving the Skilled Trades in the 21st Century”

Presenter: Norm Abram

Norm, an OSV Trustee, master carpenter and host of PBS’ This Old House, The New Yankee Workshop, many other TV appearances, and author of 8 books on carpentry, will speak on the critical importance of skilled craftsmen in the building trades. Norm is has been a great advocate of craft training for increasing the skill and capacity in the building trades. He is currently is using his reputation as both a skilled craftsman and a TV personality on This Old House to promote Generation Next which will help raise money from companies and trade associations serving the home construction and renovation industry to support scholarships for students pursuing careers as carpenters, electricians, roofers, masons and plumbers. There will be a question and answer period after the presentation

Presenter: Tom Kelleher, OSV Historian and Curator of Mechanical Arts

Presenter: Tom Kelleher, OSV Historian and Curator of Mechanical Arts

Plenary Presentation “19th Century Cabinet Making: the Samuel Wing collection at Old Sturbridge Village”

Presenter: Tom Kelleher, OSV Historian and Curator of Mechanical Arts

Tom is skilled in a variety of historical trades including blacksmithing, coopering, gravestone carving, and timber-framing. He’s president of the international Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM), and a long-time member of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills and EAIA. Samuel was a cabinetmaker in the early 1800s and OSV is fortunate to have a collection of his tools, patterns, unfinished furniture parts, and manuscripts, which all remained in the Wing family for 150 years. Participants will have the opportunity to closely view a selection of those items which are not normally available.

If you’d like to learn more about the EAIA 2017 Annual Meeting at Old Sturbridge Village or register for the event, please visit our website here.

18th C. House Wrights, Jointers & Carpenters: Bristol County, MA, part 2

Bristol County Documents Part Two

This fifth post of documents and deeds relating to Early American woodworking trades and craftsmen covers Part 2 of Bristol County, Massachusetts. Middlesex and Essex counties of Massachusetts were covered previously and Plymouth County will be next. As with Bristol part 1, most of these Bristol County documents are court records. All provide a name, a profession, a place and a time. It seems like these craftsmen were actively engaged in lawsuits….both as defendants and as plaintiffs. I have to wonder about Mr. Gallap being sued by a widow though.

Notes:
1. The original spelling is retained if possible.
2. If the spelling or interpretation of a name is questioned, that entry is set apart using ( ).

 

1743 William Gallap, NS joyner Bristol Bristol MA
1744 David Burr, NS houswright Rehoboth Bristol MA
1745 Ebenezer Cobb, NS joyner Taunton Bristol MA
1791 Joseph Burt, NS shop joiner Taunton Bristol MA
1791 Cyril Peck and Miles Shorey, NS house rights Rehoboth Bristol MA
1798 Isaac Drake, S and William Davis, NS joiners Taunton Bristol MA

Table Note: NS denotes “not signed” and S denotes “signed”.

 

1743 Judgement against William Gallap of Bristol, in Bristol County Massachusetts, Joyner in a suit brought by Hannah Walker, widow for 3 pounds 11 shillings owed. Witnessed by Seth Williams and signed by Timothy Wales, clerk.

1743 William Gallap of Bristol, Joyner.

1744 David Burr of Rehoboth, Bristol County, Houswright recovered judgment against Claudia Dillis of Groton, New London County, Connecticut for 2 pounds 11 shillings and 3 pence. Witnessed by Seth Williams and signed by Timothy Wales, clerk.

1744 David Burr of Rehoboth, Houswright

1745 John Marshall of Freetown, Shipwright lost case against Ebenezer Cobb of Taunton, Bristol County, Joyner. 20 pounds old tenor is owed. Witnessed by Seth Williams and signed by Timothy Wales, clerk.

1745 Ebenezer Cobb of Taunton, Joyner.

1791 A memorandum documenting Joseph Burt of Taunton, Shop  Joiner as principal and Edward Burt of Taunton, yeoman as surety for 42 shillings. Complaint by Jacob Babbit of Taunton, Silversmith, charging that a silver bar worth 14 shillings had been taken by Joseph. Signed by Seth Padelford, Justice of the Peace.

1791 Joseph Burt of Taunton, Shop Joiner.

1791 A complaint against Cyril Peck and Miles Shorey of Rehoboth, House rights and William Doggett of Rehoboth, yeoman. It is charged that they interrupted the public worship of God, and with force and arms assaulted John Ellis of Rehoboth, minister of the First Precinct Meeting House. This is almost as bad a being in a suit against a widow.

1791 Cyril Peck and Miles Shorey of Rehoboth, House rights.

1798 Isaac Drake of Taunton, Bristol County, joiner with 40 dollars paid by William Davis of Taunton, Bristol County, joiner sells a small lot of land in Taunton. Signed by Foster (Levis), Joseph Swift and  Isaac Drake with a seal. Signed on reverse by Foster (Levis) JP and James Williams Reg. Also mentioned: Robert Crossman, Gershom Holmes, Isaac Washborn and Esq. Fales. 12 3/8″ by 7 7/8″.

1798 Isaac Drake and William Davis of Taunton, Joiners.

 

1798 Isaac Drake and William Davis of Taunton, Joiners. (reverse)

 

Historic Trades Sampler 2017

Eastfield

The EAIA Eastfield Historic Trades Sampler will be held on Thursday, July 27th through Sunday, July 30, 2017, at Historic Eastfield Village, in East Nassau, New York. The Eastfield Historic Trades Sampler offers a sampling of trades with an opportunity to learn about them while completing a small project related to the craft. The program includes making domed wooden boxes; carving fish decoys; crafting iron utensils in the blacksmith shop; decorative painting ; molding, painting and firing 19th century pearl ware plates in the pottery;  rigging with pulleys, levers and gin pole to move heavy objects; and black power shooting. Each project is led by an experienced tradesman.

This year our instructors include Billy McMillen, domed boxes, decorative painting & black powder shooting; Bill Rainford, rigging & engineering; Scott Penpraze, ceramics & pottery; Olof Janssen, blacksmithing; and Joseph Brien, fish decoy making.

Each day begins at 9 A.M. with classes running until noon when lunch is served in the Yellow Tavern, at 1 P.M., the afternoon sessions resume. The workshops end around 5 P.M. The group generally goes together to a local restaurant for dinner at their own expense. The evenings are accented by traditional drinks, games of dominoes, and lively discussions of history, and perhaps some music at candle lit gatherings in the Briggs Tavern in front of a cozy fireplace.

Eastfield Village is not a museum open to the public. Its creator, Donald Carpentier, assembled the twenty or so buildings and the thousands of architectural elements, tools and artifacts specifically to serve as a study collection; the Village itself is an educational tool. Combine this unique preservation laboratory with gifted instructors who are eager to share their expertise and the result is a level of detail and depth to the program that only Eastfield can offer.

Students are welcome to stay without cost in several of these buildings which have been restored to their 18th and 19th century appearance, but they must bring their own bedding & 10 ten inch white candles. The experience is unique and immersive in that the buildings function as they did when they were new, so lighting is with candles; beds have rope supports, and straw & feather ticks; and out houses serve their original function. For those who rather have modern conveniences there are hotels, B & B’s, and other accommodations nearby. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend this year; the dates are Thursday, July 27th, through Sunday, July 30, 2017. Registration information and a full schedule are available on our Web site.

Seating is limited so classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost is $485 for the four days and includes the daily workshops, morning coffee, & lunches. Some of the workshops will have a modest materials fee. Follow this link to register.

Justus Traut’s Early Adjustable #110 Block Planes

Model Shop #110 Adjustable Block Plane Attributed to Justus Traut

As I told you in my last post, Stanley Rule & Level Company introduced the #110 non-adjustable block plane sometime in 1874.  The plane was derived from Justus Traut’s patent No. 159,865 granted on February 16, 1875.  Traut had sent in his patent application on November 13, 1874 at about the time Stanley started advertising the #110 block plane for sale. Traut’s patent shows a plane with the design characteristics of the first production model #110 block plane and a cutter adjustment mechanism.  The cutter adjustment mechanism was the major claim Traut made in his patent (See Figure 1).

Traut's Patent for a Block Plane No. 159,865

Figure 1. Traut’s Patent No. 159, 865 for the Stanley #110 Block Plane

Stanley was already selling the#110 non-adjustable block plane when Traut sent in his patent application. The #110 non-adjustable block plane was based on Birdsill Holly’s block plane as noted in my last web post which is available at http://eaiainfo.org/2016/12/26/copy-cat-blocks-and-one-from-the-model-shop/.   Holly never patented his block plane and Traut was free to essentially copy Holly’s design and sell the block plane without any fear of complaints or legal threats from Holly.  So Traut’s patent claim did indeed apply to the cutter adjustment mechanism described in the patent. However, this cutter adjustment mechanism was never used on a production model of this plane.  I suspect that there may be one out there somewhere from the Stanley Model Shop with Traut’s cutter adjustment as shown in his patent, and if so, I’d love to hear about it and see some pictures!  Figure 2 shows the image found in the 1874 Stanley catalog of the #110 non-adjustable block plane. It is interesting to note that the image is of a Type 2 #110 block plane and not the Type 1 version as seen in the patent drawings.   This suggests that the Type 1 version was made for a very short time, possibly only one casting run, and that Stanley may have been producing these planes in  early 1874 and started selling them several months before Traut applied for his patent.

Catalog Image of Stanley #110 Block Plane from the Stanley Rule & Co. 1874 Catalog

Figure 2. Catalog Image of Stanley #110 Block Plane from the Stanley Rule & Co. 1874 Catalog.  This Image Shows the Type 2 Body for the Stanley #110 Block Plane

Figure 3 is an example of a Type 1 Stanley #110 block plane.  The tapered boat shaped body is 7 3/8” long and 1 15/16” wide at the mouth.    The “shoe buckle” lever cap is held captive by a steel rod that passes through the right sidewall of the plane (when viewed from the heel of the plane) and is screwed into a threaded hole on the left sidewall.

Stanley Type 1 #110 Non-Adjustable Block Plane

Figure 3. Stanley Type 1 #110 Non-Adjustable Block Plane

The lever cap has a delightful filigree design on its upper surface. The lever cap adjusting screw is a steel screw with four wings (some examples are seen with a brass four wing adjusting screw).  When the lever cap adjusting screw is tightened it secures the cutter in place and simultaneously applies pressure to the leading edge of the cutter via the front edge of the lever cap. The unmarked cutter with its semi-circular top is 1 and 5/8ths inches wide and is supported on a cross-rib cast in the bed of the plane (See Figure 4).  A fruit wood front knob is friction fit into a raised cylindrical receiver which is cast onto the toe of the plane A raised lug rests on the heel of the plane and extends just a bit beyond the end of the plane bed.

Cross Rib Support on Type 1 Stanley #110 Block Plan

Figure 4. Cross Rib Support on Type 1 Stanley #110 Block Plane. Note the Steel Four Wing Lever Cap Adjusting Screw

The gently flared side walls include raised vertical ribs to aid in gripping the plane. The lever cap and both the inside and outside of the body are japanned. There are no marks on the plane or its cutter which would identify it as a Stanley product. This version of the #110 block plane was probably in production for less than six months.

Type 2 Stanley #110 Block Plane

Figure 5. Type 2 Stanley #110 Block Plane. Note How Closely This Plane Matches the Image Shown in the 1874 Stanley Catalog

By mid-1875, the boat-shaped body was replaced by a plane with parallel sides (See Figure 5). This is the version of the plane shown in the 1874 Stanley catalog. The “shoe buckle” lever cap remains but the winged lever cap adjusting screw has been replaced by a coarsely knurled brass adjusting screw.[1] The vertical ridges on the side walls are gone and replaced by reinforced ribs on the upper edge of the side walls.  The cross-rib cutter support has been replaced by two wedge-shaped ribs that run parallel to the long axis of the plane (See Figure 6).

Figure 6. Interior of Plane Body from a Type 2 Stanley #110 Block Plane

Figure 6. Interior of Plane Body from a Type 2 Stanley #110 Block Plane Showing The Raised Cutter Support Ribs

Stanley Trademark Stamped on Cutter in a Type 2 Stanley #110 Block Plane

Figure 7. Stanley Trademark Stamped on Cutter in a Type 2 Stanley #110 Block Plane

The plane is slightly shorter at 7 and 5/16ths of an inch in length and slightly wider at 2 and 1/16ths of an inch.  The cutter is still 1 and 5/8ths inches wide and has a semicircular top, but “Stanley Rule & Level Co.” has been stamped on the upper end.(See Figure 7).[2]  The raised lug on the heel of the plane is also slightly shorter than on the Type 1 version.

Justus Traut's Stanley Model Shop Adjustable #110 Block Plane

Figure 8. Justus Traut’s Stanley Model Shop Adjustable #110 Block Plane

Leonard Bailey left the employ of the Stanley Rule & Level Company on June 1st, 1875 to start his own competing plane manufacturing company.  All the plane patents he’d licensed to Stanley in 1869 remained by contract with Stanley, so Justus Traut and the men in his workshop were free to make any improvements or modifications to Bailey’s planes or their own planes without fear of any arguments from Bailey, and they didn’t waste any time doing so! The plane shown in Figure 8 is from the Stanley Model Shop and is one of Traut’s attempts to create an adjustable Stanley #110 block plane.  This appealing plane is in superb condition.  The japanning is bright, the cutter has never been honed, and the sole of the plane looks as if it has never been run across a piece of wood.  Curiously, it has Model Shop #51 painted on the toe and Model Shop #52 painted on the lever cap (See Figures 9 & 10).

 

Stanley Model Shop #110 Adjustable Block Plane Showing Model Shop #51 on the Toe

Figure 9. Stanley Model Shop #110 Adjustable Block Plane Showing Model Shop #51 on the Toe

Lever Cap On Stanley Model Shop #110 Block Plane Showing Model shop #52

Figure 10. Stanley Model Shop #110 Block Plane Showing Model Shop #52 on the Shoe Buckle Lever Cap

In my experience, Stanley Model Shop planes are labeled with only one number while this one has two consecutive numbers.  We know that the Holly Block Plane I discussed in my last post carries Model Shop #47.  We also know based on an article in The Fine Tool Journal that block planes #48 and #49 exist.[3]  The Model Shop tool #50’s whereabouts is not known and it might be a model of the plane shown in Traut’s patent drawing (Again, I’d love to see this one!). So, it is a mystery as to why this plane got two consecutive numbers instead of one, but the lever cap appears to have always been together with the body of the plane.[4]

Interior of Body of Stanley Model Shop #110 Adjustable Block Plane

Figure 11. Interior of Body of Stanley Model Shop #110 Adjustable Block Plane Showing the Cutter Adjustment Mechanism in Place

This plane has all of the same dimensions and characteristics of the Type 2 Stanley #110 block plane except for the ingenious cutter adjustment mechanism that’s been added to the heel of this plane (See Figure 11) and the use of a slotted cutter from a Bailey #9 ½ block plane.  The style of the lever cap adjusting screw and the early Bailey cutter help to date this plane to mid-1875 to early 1876 which supports the premise that Traut and his workmen immediately started experimenting on adjustment mechanisms for the #110 block plane as soon as Bailey left Stanley. The front knob is missing and in fact there are no wear marks inside the cast cylinder on the toe of the plane which suggest that this plane may have never been fitted with a front knob. The cutter adjustment mechanism consists of a large 1½ inch diameter steel wheel which rotates freely on a partially threaded filletster head machine screw that is threaded into the sole of the plane (see Figure 12).  This steel wheel has a coarse thread cut into its finely ribbed edge.  This coarse thread engages a cylindrical gear that is supported on a pin placed between the two wedge-shaped ribs that support the plane’s cutter. A small groove has been filed into the right sideboard of the plane to allow the insertion of the pin and the cylindrical gear.

Cylindrical Gear and Vertical Adjusting Screw on Stanley Model Shop #110 Adjustable Block Plane

Figure 12. Cylindrical Gear and Vertical Adjusting Screw on Stanley Model Shop #110 Adjustable Block Plane

When the wheel is turned teeth on the gear are engaged in the coarse thread on the edge of the wheel while another of the gear’s teeth engages one of the slots cut into the back of the plane’s cutter.  This combined motion of the wheel and the gear will either advance or withdraw the cutter (See Figures 13 and 14).

Cutter Adjustment Mechanism on Stanley Model Shop Adjustable #110 Block Plane

Figure 13. Cutter Adjustment Mechanism on Stanley Model Shop Adjustable #110 Block Plane with Slotted Cutter in Place

It’s a very elegant cutter adjustment design and works very well, but would have required a significant amount of precision machining and in the end offered no significant advantage over the cutter adjustment that was already in use on Bailey’s 9 ½ series block planes.  There is no known patent associated with this cutter adjustment mechanism and it never made it into production.  Instead, this fascinating plane was relegated to the shelves in the Model Shop until it made its way into a tool auction many years ago.

Cutter Adjusting Mechanism Components from Stanley Model Shop #110 Adjustable Block Plane

Figure 14. Cutter Adjusting Mechanism Components from Stanley Model Shop #110 Adjustable Block Plane

There is one more #110 block plane from the Model Shop that didn’t find its way into my collection but also demonstrates another interesting attempt at a cutter adjustment mechanism.  It is shown in Figure 15 and is discussed in Clarence Blanchard’s Fine Tool Journal article I mentioned above. Although the Model Shop number is unreadable, the lever cap adjusting screw is a four wing  screw (made of brass) which suggest that this plane probably predates the one discussed above.

Stanley #110 Block Plane with Cutter Adjustment Mechanism from the Stanley Model Shop

Figure 15. Stanley #110 Block Plane with Vertical Wheel and “L” Shaped Arm Cutter Adjustment Mechanism from the Stanley Model Shop.  Note the Brass Four Wing Lever Cap Adjusting Screw. Photo Courtesy of The Fine Tool Journal

The cutter adjustment mechanism consists of an “L” shaped bar and a vertically positioned wheel at the heel of the plane.  The short arm of the “L” engages one of the slots cut into the back of the cutter.  The long arm of the “L” is attached to the wheel that is fixed vertically to the heel of the plane.  As the wheel is turned, the bar moves up or down moving the cutter in or out of the mouth of the plane.  This too is an interesting method of cutter adjustment, but there is no known associated patent and this plane also spent most of its life in the Model Shop until it too found its way into a tool auction.

All of these cutter adjustment ideas were “food for thought” in Traut’s workshop.  It is conceivable that these two planes were experiments in designing a cutter adjustment mechanism but were discarded in favor of the mechanism shown and described in Traut’s patent.  Justus Traut appears to have been intent on producing an adjustable block plane of his own to rival Bailey’s #9 ½ so that he too could reap the economic benefits associated with an adjustable block plane.[5]  Traut persisted and next time I’ll tell you how later in 1876 his Stanley #110 non-adjustable block plane was adapted to become the Stanley #120 “adjustable” block plane.

by Paul Van Pernis

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[1] Some of the early versions of this plane for a very short time (early to mid-1875) had a lever cap adjusting screw that consisted of two pieces, a filletster head machine screw and a circular brass disk locked onto the filletster head screw.  See adjacent photograph.

Two Piece Lever Cap Adjusting Screw on a Type 2 Stanley #110 Block Plane

Two Piece Lever Cap Adjusting Screw as Seen on a Few Very Early Type 2 Stanley #110 Block Planes

[2]  Other cutter seen on these early versions of the #110 block plane have a semicircular trademark stamped in them which reads “Stanley Rule & Level Co.” The Stanley #110 continued to evolve.  For further information look up the excellent type study put together by John G. Wells entitled “Early Models of the Stanley No. 110 Block Plane:  1874-1887”.  It was first published in The Gristmill, Number 81, December 1995, pp. 10-14.

[3] Blanchard, Clarence, “Birdsill Holly and the Stanley Rule & Level Co.”, The Fine Tool Journal, Volume 57, No. 2, Fall 2007, pp. 20-23.

[4] The numbering system used over the years in the Stanley Model Shop is a mystery.  At times, it appears logical and sequential, at other times it appears totally random.  I look forward to the day when someone can make sense of it all!

[5] Sales figures for 1876 indicate that Stanley sold 7,000 #9 ½ and 1,406 #9 ¾ Bailey block planes in 1876.  Royalties were paid to Bailey based on the number of planes sold so Traut would have had a strong financial incentive to create a plane that could compete with Bailey’s so his royalty payments would increase.