Tales Teaser and Enticements – Part I

Moravian Architecture in Bethlehem, PA

The Early American Industries 2018 Annual Meeting is only about 3 months away.  On May 23rd through May 26th, 2018, we’ll celebrate EAIA’s 85th anniversary during our annual meeting in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania.  What follows are a few historical facts, some teasers, and hopefully an enticement or two that will convince you to come join us for all the fun.

Did you know that the Moravian church has been around for over 550 years?  Founded in 1457, the Moravian Church, or Unitas Fratrum (Unity of Brethren) as followers of John Hus gathered in the village of Kunvald, about 100 miles east of Prague, in eastern Bohemia, and organized the church. This was 60 years before Martin Luther began his reformation and 100 years before the establishment of the Anglican Church.[i]  The eighteenth century saw the renewal of the Moravian Church through the patronage of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (What a great name!).

Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf

Figure 1. Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf

The Moravians settled in Pennsylvania on Christmas Eve in 1741 founded their communal society in Bethlehem. Here’s a fact – Moravian College in Bethlehem traces its origin to a girls’ school called The Bethlehem Female Seminary founded in May 1742 by sixteen-year-old Countess Benigna von Zinzendorf. The young countess, was on an eighteen-month visit to the Moravian settlements in the New World with her father, Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf when she felt moved to start the school.  Because the Moravians consider every human soul a potential candidate for salvation, they feel every human being should be educated. Their philosophy is summed up by one of their early bishops Amos Comenius who said, “not the children of the rich or of the powerful only, but of all alike, boys and girls, both noble and ignoble, rich and poor, in all cities and towns, villages and hamlets, should be sent to school.” The Moravians therefore considered schools secondary in importance only to churches.  Come and see the wonderful architecture of the Moravians.  Experience their culture and learn more about their communal society.  We’ll visit not only the buildings, but we’ll have a chance to visit the Moravian Archives during an open house in the evening on Wednesday May 23rd.  The Moravians kept great records of all of their activities, and these records, pictures, drawings, and artifacts are preserved in the Moravian Archives.

Painting of Bethlehem Steel Works c.1881 by Joseph Pennell

Figure 2. Painting of Bethlehem Steel Works c.1881 by Joseph Pennell

Bethlehem Steel can trace its roots to the Saucona Iron Company which was established in Bethlehem in 1857.  On May 1, 1861, the company’s title was changed again, this time to the Bethlehem Iron Company.  Construction of the first blast furnace began on July 1, 1861, and it went into operation on January 4, 1863. The first rolling mill was built between the spring of 1861 and the summer of 1863, with the first railroads rails being rolled on September 26. A machine shop, in 1865, and another blast furnace, in 1867, were completed. During its early years, the company produced rails for the rapidly expanding railroads and armor plating for the U.S. Navy.  During World War I and World War II, Bethlehem Steel was a major supplier of armor plate and ordnance to the U.S. armed forces, including armor plate and large-caliber guns for the Navy.

6 inch Naval Guns Being Made at Bethlehem Steel

Figure 3. 6 inch Naval Guns Being Made at Bethlehem Steel

In the 1930s, the company made the steel sections and parts for the Golden Gate Bridge.  During World War II, as much as 70 percent of airplane cylinder forgings, one-quarter of the armor plate for warships, and one-third of the big cannon forgings for the U.S armed forces were turned out by Bethlehem Steel.  Bethlehem Steel ranked seventh among United States corporations in the value of wartime production contracts.  Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation’s 15 shipyards produced a total of 1,121 ships, more than any other builder during the war and nearly one-fifth of the U.S. Navy’s fleet.

USS Massachusetts Produced by Bethlehem Shipbuilding During World War II

Figure 4. USS Massachusetts Produced by Bethlehem Shipbuilding During World War II

At the end of 1995, Bethlehem Steel discontinued steel-making at the main Bethlehem plant. After roughly 140 years of metal production, Bethlehem Steel Corporation ceased its Bethlehem operations. During the Thursday tours we’ll learn more about the history steel making during our guided tour of the blast furnaces and the buildings remaining on this historic site. We’ll top that off with an evening tour of the National Museum of Industrial History located in one of the 100-year-old Bethlehem Steel buildings.  The museum which is within walking distance of our hotel is being closed to the public for our group and we’ll enjoy our Ice Cream Social and Whatsit’s session at the museum Thursday evening, May 24th.  The museum staff will be on hand to answer our questions and the museum will be ours to enjoy. This Smithsonian affiliated museum houses a great collection of machinery that was displayed at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. In addition, they’ve got great information on the steel industry.

Jacquard Silk Loom at the National Museum of Industrial History

Figure 5. Jacquard Silk Loom at the National Museum of Industrial History

Did you know that the Lehigh Valley was the home of America’s silk industry?  More people including women and children were employed in the Lehigh Valley’s silk mills than steel mills.  The museum has a wonderful display about the silk industry including a Jacquard silk loom.

There’s all of this and lots more to do and see during EAIA’s 2018 Annual Meeting.  If you have registered already, do it now!  I’ll tell you more in the next installment of Tales, Teasers, and Enticements.


Figure 6. At the National Museum of Industrial History

by Paul Van Pernis


[i] John Hus (1369-1415) was a professor of philosophy and rector of the University in Prague. The Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, where Hus preached, became a rallying place for the Czech reformation. Gaining support from students and the common people, he led a protest movement against many practices of the Roman Catholic clergy and hierarchy. Hus was accused of heresy, underwent a long trial at the Council of Constance, and was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415

A Maritime Blacksmith of Lamu

In my professional travels in developing countries, I’ve been amazed how analogous work methods are to those used in America in the early period of our trade history. Several years ago we had the opportunity to join our son in Kenya where he was finishing his junior year at UMass. As Peace Corps volunteers in the early 1970’s in the northwest corner of Kenya near Uganda we hadn’t an opportunity to explore the coast despite my interest and experience as a wooden boat builder. Knowing the era of traditional construction of wooden Lamu dhows was declining, we took the opportunity to fly from Nairobi to Lamu Island in a small plane to sail a dhow and explore the construction and maintenance of these venerable vessels. Lamu Island is located on the Indian Ocean on the northern coast of Kenya about 60 miles south of Somalia. The island had been the center of dhow construction for several hundred years and has not changed the construction techniques or the general structure in all that time. All of the construction is done on the island, from selection of ribs in the endless mangroves that surround the island to the forging of all the fittings that are used in fastening the hulls of the boats. Consequently it’s a time capsule and a window on the entire construction process. In many respects it’s an analog to the methods employed for shipbuilding in America two centuries ago, but with much more basic tools.

Since my son and I are amateur blacksmiths, we made sure we saw that component of construction. After sailing along the coast in a hired dhow we moored on the northwest side of the island at the small town of Matondoni, famous for centuries as a boat building center. There were a number of dhows and other small craft under construction or maintenance along the shore. After enquiring about forging of the nails and other fittings for the boats we were led through narrow passages in the crowded village to a small rectangular shelter made from palm leaves on a bamboo frame.

We were introduced to the elderly occupant who was seated on the floor before several pieces of random iron and a small fire. He was the nail maker for the boatyards in Lamu and also sent nails down the coast toward Mombasa. He also forged other fittings, but his primary focus was the very long tapered nails that fasten the ribs together and the planking to the ribs, hence are of vital importance to the integrity and water tightness of the hull.
He very generously demonstrated the forging process from beginning to end, starting with a piece of reinforcing rod and ending with a perfectly tapered and headed spike. He also challenged our son to make a nail who did so with modest success after some coaching.

The smith’s forge was a small hole in the ground into which two metal pipes had been inserted to provide forced air to the fire. The fuel for the forge was charcoal and the bellows were made from two modified plastic lined cement bags. The bottom of each bag was attached to the end of one of the pipes. The other end of each bag was open; each side of the opening had been sewn to a straight sticks that formed a crude but effective valve. The bag was filled by lifting the open end, closing the sticks together and compressing the bag to push air into the pipe and then into the forge. By operating one bag in each hand, the smith was able to provide a continuous flow of air as shown in the photo below.


Note the great care that he has taken to economize on charcoal and maximize the forge fire by placing a small piece of metal over the fire to concentrate the heat. In the lower left-hand corner note the piece of corrugated steel roofing that was moved around to minimize the effect of wind.

His improvised bellows and minimalist forge.

The forging process started with the heating of rebar in the forge as shown above, drawing it out using a partially buried sledge hammer head as an anvil.

Drawing out and shaping the shaft of the nail.

The piece was straightened and partially cut with a hot chisel on the 3” x 3” steel bar beside the smith.

Hot cutting. The lighting suggests the material was cold. It wasn’t!

and bent off on the discarded casing for a vehicle axle end as shown below.

It was reheated in the forge and the cut end upset in preparation for forging the head,

The hot nail is upset at the head end.

the head forged in a rudimentary nail header, a hole through a vehicle leaf spring,

Using a hole in a truck spring as a nail header.

and resulted in a very neat rose-head on a 5 in. spike.

The final product was very clean, neat and professional and had taken less than 10 minutes….with very little fuel.

I was very interested in how the spikes were driven into the boats since it appeared that a small pilot hole would result in splitting when the spike was fully pounded in place and a larger hole would potentially leak. Much to my surprise each hole for a spike is typically drilled with three or four bow drill bits in sequence corresponding to the taper in the spike. Consequently the spike doesn’t split the wood, holds well, and is virtually leak proof.

Drilling a nail hole with a bow drill.


A bow with the four bits used in sequence to drill the tapered hols for a spike. Note that the entire spindle was replaced rather than just the bit.

We left Matondoni with a great deal of admiration for the quality of craftsmanship with very basic tools…and little bit of practical experience with bellows we never imagined existed.  A classic case of innovative “making do”, something for which blacksmiths have been known for times immemorial.

An new apprentice tries his hand at the bellows….and found them very effective after learning the rhythm.

Branded Wooden Planes in India

Branded Wooden Planes in India – American Analog….150 Years Later

During my professional career I’ve spent much of my time overseas including a 3-year period running an engineering and construction company in India, many of the projects of which were in the south. Due to the 1100 mile commute back to my family in New Delhi, I spent a number of weekends at various project sites and wandered through villages and towns of the area. As is the case for many EAIA members, I was fascinated by skilled craftsman and their tools, most of which they purchased from local shops or, more typically, constructed by the craftsman after buying critical components such as blades.

One Saturday afternoon in the industrial district of Chennai (southeastern coast of India), I was attracted to a hardware store that sold a remarkable range of locally and internationally sourced tools. Over one of the display cases was a large array of wooden planes. To my surprise they were not locally produced as was typically the case, but came from the north and were all branded “ALFA”. The proprietor of the shop told me that they are a bit more expensive than those that could be sourced locally, but were provided by a small company, EN-TECH Engineers, that wanted to develop a nation-wide brand that represented consistent quality for wooden tools at an affordable price. The owner of the company had personally traveled to Chennai with a trunk load of planes to develop the market.
I couldn’t help thinking that I had fallen into a time-warp, an analog of American plane making and marketing that was occurring more than a century and half later than similar business models in the US. I also realized this was a rare opportunity to examine the model, not through records, but through witnessing the process and the people who were implementing it. I bought one of the planes.

My first introduction to the ALPHA brand

The address on a small “rack-card” that contained advertising and the entire line of products gave me enough information to track down the owner, Zakir Hussain, who I contacted by phone. I expressed my interest in seeing the entire process and meeting the people involved. He immediately invited my wife and me to come up to Muzaffarnagar, his base of operations only 80 miles from our home in New Delhi. He also suggested that we make it a two-day visit to include seeing the craftsmen of Saharanpur, a city of approximately 700,000 people of which over 75,000 were in woodworking trades, primarily furniture and carving. Saharanpur also had a number of skilled blacksmiths and edge-tool makers from whom Zakir sourced some of his edge tools.

ALFA’s “rack card” with catalog of planes and prices. Note that a 20 in. jack plane (70 Rupees) cost the equivalent US $1.20.


We drove our trusty Tata Sumo, a bare-bones Indian SUV that seemed indestructible but equally uncomfortable on Indian roads, to Muzaffarnagar where we met Zakir and retired to a small hotel to rest for a very full couple of days ahead. Early the next morning we set off to the wood auction in Saharanpur to begin the journey along the pathway of manufacturing a wooden plane.

The wood auction is truly a one-stop source for every part of a tree. The small straight branches not used for firewood are sold to weave into the walls of homes, large logs are sold for sawn timber, and the remaining smaller pieces are sold to make small carvings.

Inspecting large timber at the wood auction.

Most of the wood used for planes is sheesham (Dalbergia sissoo) of the rosewood timber family which grows in the Himalayan foothills of northern India. It is both hard and wear resistant, more so than white oak. It is also used for carving and furniture, but has been replaced to a large degree by teak, both species now being plantation grown. An important characteristic of sheesham is the resistance of its heartwood to insects. However, its sapwood is susceptible to infestation, an important consideration for Indian craftsmen making or selecting a plane to be used in India.

There was a bit of clowning and dancing for the benefit of my wife, Alice, who was a great novelty; our host told us that they’d had never seen a European women at that wood auction.

A bit of pre-auction gaiety for our benefit.

The successful bidders moved their wood out of the yard to the mills or their furniture shops.

Auction winnings leave with the owners.

Zakir then took us into the havelis (old townhouses that now typically have commercial activity on the ground floor) of Muzaffarnagar to see some carving, but more importantly the source of edge tools that his manufacturing team used in making their planes.

A family edge-tool blacksmith shop

We initially went through some of the small craft shops where carvers were working but quickly moved to the source of edge tools, spending some time with an edge-tool blacksmith and some of his family.

His operation was a typical small family operation, including his young son who was turning a wheel that ran the blower for a very small forge. He should have been in school, reflecting a common problem of child labor among lower income families in India despite a constitutional prohibition prohibiting children under 14 from working.

The youngest son at the forge blower

The smith at the anvil. Almost his entire complement of forge tools are in this single photo. Superb quality with amazingly few tools. Note the rubber-band bound package of completed gouges on the face of the anvil.

His father was using discarded high speed still drill bits to forge chisels and gouges several of which I bought based on his “cataloge” burned into a small piece of plywood.

A really honest “catalog”: what you see is what you get!

We traced the next step in the plane-making process to the saw mill where the logs were sawn into slabs and the slabs were edge-cut.

Sawmill owner and sawyer take a few minutes out with the hookah.

Other than the pulleys and belts from an old “one-lunger” gas engine, the process was essentially as it was (and in some cases is) in the US. The one significant difference was the hospitality which included the elderly owner’s offer to smoke an Indian hookah. Somewhat to our surprise, it was started with cow dung which the elder sawyer assured us was quite sanitary due to the heat.

The boards were then sorted, edged, and sent off to the carvers of Saharanpur and Zakir’s shop.

Alice looks over wide slabs of clear sheesham. I drooled!


Edging planks of sheesham. I winced every time the sawyer stepped back….within inches of the drive belt.

The next step was at EN-TECH: cutting the plane blanks to length and some very preliminary shaping.

Cutting the rounded sides of the smoothing plane blank.

Clearly hand safety was not a significant concern and the electrical code was dealt with “economically” (wire in outlet without plugs!).
The plane blank was then trued with a fore plane.

The fore-plane used in initial sizing. Sheesham is very hard & tough wood hence it requires a “T”-handle tied back behind the blade for the 2nd “puller”.

The actual plane shaping then started with scribing the dimensions for the mouth and blade recess.


Then came cutting in the mouth and paring the bed.

All work was done while sitting on the ground….with very adept feet as the multi-position “vise”.

And recessing the cheeks for the blade and wedge.

It’s interesting to note that the floats, chisels, saws and files used are essentially the same as those used in early American planemaking.

Note that these operations used the craftsman’s feet as the vise, very similar to a number of craft techniques elsewhere in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

The bed was filed flat, and

Note the randomly spaced teeth on the hand-made rasp. Still the best (and most expensive) pattern even in the US!

the inlets for the wedge and blade trimmed with file and float.

And finally the mouth was trued from the sole.

Not that all marking was with a knife or blade of some sort. Not a pencil in sight.

In parallel, the blade was straightened, sharpened, and the cap trued.

I can’t imagine how many miles of railroad track are used as anvils worldwide. I’ve seen them on every continent to forge and adjust high quality hardware, fasteners, and edge tools.


The blades for rabbeting and molding planes were cut, forged and shaped from discarded band saw blades. As was often the case in the US, bench plane blades in India were purchased from reputable edge tool manufacturers and were made from high carbon steel. I can attest that they held a very good edge having used mine for several years.

The overall body of the plane was finally and carefully shaped.

Final shaping was the one station of production that used a vise…and was generally done by the most experienced workman.

The blade, cap and wedged checked for fit. The final “QC check” was actually trying the plane which is perhaps the most important QA test: real functionality!

The planes were then warehoused for packing and shipment…..and on to the shelves of hardware stores.

Decision, decisions! I was always careful to select plane bodies that were sheesham heart wood. Sapwood was quite hard, but not as resistant to insect damage.

The stages for producing a smoothing plane are shown below.

Note the combination of heartwood and sapwood as well as the use of both radial and tangential wood on the sole.

Although the process I‘ve described is for a smoothing plane, the company produced a wide range of planes using basically the same processes.

I obtained one of each type produced under the ALFA brand.

The full range of ALFA bench planes.

Example of ALPHA plow plane. The full line included quite an array of molding planes as well.

Regretfully, EN-TECH’s ALFA brand was discontinued. The larger Indian tool firms had made relatively inexpensive copies of several Stanley and Record planes which were more durable, much easier to adjust, and relatively inexpensive. The local carpenters who couldn’t afford the metal planes continued to purchase planes from small local suppliers despite the typically inferior quality….but lower price. I believe that Zakir thought there might be an export market for amateur woodworker who wanted to use traditional hand tools. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case, although some extremely high quality wooden planes are being imported from China in addition to those from Western Europe.

Although not a success in the long run, it was very interesting to witness the process and the business model of promoting quality through brand recognition. It was also very interesting to see how the parallel to the American model for plane development was truncated by taking advantage of American manufacturers’ early metal plane designs rather than going through the period of transitional planes that we did. It’s comparable to the implementation of cell phone technology in India vs. the US. India had relatively little stranded investment in “copper” ground line communication, was able to quickly adopt cell phone technology from the west, skipped the cell network development stages we went through, and now has very robust cellular networks.

85th Years Young! EAIA’s 85th Anniversary Annual Meeting

Colonial Industrial Quarter, Bethlehem, PA

It may be hard to imagine right now in the depths of this long hard winter, but spring is coming and before we know it we’ll be gathering from all over the country for the 2018 Early American Industries Association Annual Meeting.  It’s EAIA’s 85th Anniversary, so come and celebrate with us in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. If you haven’t already received your registration form in the mail, rest assured, it will be arriving shortly.  We have a wonderful meeting lined up for you with lots to see and do.  Fill out your registration form, sign up for the workshops you want, make your reservations with the hotel, and send it all in!  Our weekend in the Lehigh Valley will be filled with history, architecture, learning, interesting workshops, and a celebration of EAIA’s 85th anniversary.  We’ll be based at the Comfort Suites University Hotel at 120 West 3rd Street in Bethlehem.

Comfort Inn and Suites, Bethlehem, PA.

Figure. 1. Comfort Inn and Suites-University, Bethlehem, PA.

The room rate is $119/night and is good for 3 nights prior to and 3 nights after our meeting.  The phone number for making reservations is 610-882-9700.   Be sure to mention EAIA when you call to make your reservations.

As usual we’ll start our meeting on Wednesday afternoon with tailgating in the hotel parking lot.  So, bring those tools and other items from the dark recesses of your collection that you want to sell or trade. On Wednesday evening you’re invited to tour the Moravian Archives and view their amazing collection of architectural drawings, art works, day books, and journals.

Moravian Building in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Figure 2. Moravian Building in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

The Moravians were meticulous record keepers and this archive is a treasure trove of Moravian history.  On Thursday we’ll spend a full day in Bethlehem learning about the Moravians, their communal culture and their religious beliefs.  We’ll visit the wonderful 18th century Moravian buildings, the Colonial Industrial Quarter, and the Moravian Church.  The Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts is also on the agenda.  Housed in three interconnected mid-1800’s homes the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts features changing exhibits, period rooms, and galleries highlighting furniture, paintings, china, clothing, and silver from three centuries of decorative arts. The museum has over 60,000 items in their collection, so there will be lots to see.Their collection of antique dollhouses is a real treat.

Kemerer Museum in Bethlehem, PA.

Figure 3. An Interior Room at the Kemerer Museum in Bethlehem, PA.

We’ll also have a guided tour of the Bethlehem Steel Stacks and learn more about this vital industry that for over 100 years supplied much of the steel used throughout the world.

Powerhouse at the Old Bethlehem Steel Works

Figure 4. Powerhouse at the Bethlehem Steel Works

Thursday afternoon the Fiber Arts Interest Group will enjoy a talk by Rebecca Densmore on “Rug Punching”. We’ll top off Thursday with our annual Ice Cream Social and “Whatsit’s Session”.  It will be held Thursday evening at the National Museum of Industrial History just a few blocks from our hotel. The museum staff have agreed to close the museum to the public so EAIA members will have the run of the museum from 7-10 PM.  This Smithsonian affiliate museum houses wonderful exhibits related to America’s industrial history including some incredible pieces of machinery from the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial exhibition. Museum staff will be on hand to answer your questions.

The National Museum of Industrial History

Figure 5. The National Museum of Industrial History

You won’t want to miss it! Don’t forget to bring that “whatsit” you’ve been puzzling over and see if we can help you figure it out..

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

Figure 6. The Moravian Historical Society Building in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Dating to 1741-1742

Friday will be another full day.  We’ll carpool to Nazareth, Pennsylvania (just nine miles from Bethlehem) for a visit to the Moravian Historical Society which has an outstanding collection of Moravian artifacts. We’ll also take a behind the scenes tour of the Martin Guitar Factory and their wonderful on-site museum.

Martin Guitar Factory Museum

Figure 7. The Martin Guitar Factory Museum

Lunch will be at the Pennsylvania Long Rifle Museum where we’ll tour the museum and hear from their archivists and enjoy a black powder rifle demonstration (Jacobsburg Historical Society).  The Henry Family not only produced or repaired firearms for all our nation’s major conflicts from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, but they were also the primary suppliers of rifles for one of the largest American business enterprises of the early nineteenth century, John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company. The Henry firearm became the most prominent early weapon of the western frontier due to its durability, accuracy, and relatively low cost.

Early Handguns at the Pennsylvania long Rifle Museum

Figure 8. Early Handguns at the Pennsylvania long Rifle Museum

Then we can head back to Bethlehem in time for the Great Planes Antique Tool Auction scheduled for Friday night at the hotel. Mike and Sarah have put together a wonderful auction for our 85th anniversary meeting.

Saturday you’ll have the opportunity to once again spend time in the Colonial Industrial Quarter where we’ll set up Saturday morning tool trading and displays. Our display theme for this year is “Tolls that Measure and Tools that Cut”.  This theme gives you lots of room to be creative!  Displays are a popular and wonderfully educational part of our Annual Meetings, so please consider bringing a display!  Once you’ve looked at the displays and done some tool trading you’ll have the chance to choose from several workshops on Saturday morning including:

  • A Blacksmithing presentation which will be held at the Blacksmith’s shop in the Colonial Industrial Quarter.
  • Moravian traditions activities including, paper star folding, candle dressing and scherenschnitte. Scherenschnitte is a traditional German folk craft that involves cutting paper to produce designs or pictures.  At the end of this workshop, each participant will take home a glass Moravian star, a folded Moravian star and a “dressed” candle. Moravian stars, originated in the Moravian boarding schools in Germany in the nineteenth century as an exercise in geometry, the stars were carried throughout the world by Moravian missionaries and other church workers. Now, this popular Christmas decoration is used throughout the world to proclaim the hope of Advent.
  • A special “Behind the Scenes” Textiles Presentation with the curator at the Kemerer Museum.  The museum has an extensive collection of textiles and you will have the opportunity to see them in the company of the museum curator.
  • Brewing Talk with tastings.  The Moravians were into beer and a “beer historian” will  discuss and demonstrate early American brewing techniques. Yes, you’ll have a chance to sample the brews!
  •  A Polly Heckewelder Doll presentation.  Johanna Maria “Polly” Heckewelder  was born on April 16, 1781 in Salem, a Native American mission on the Muskingum River in Ohio. She was said to be the first “white” woman born in the Ohio territory. Polly was educated at the Female Seminary in Bethlehem. After completing her education, she taught school before losing her hearing a few years later. Throughout her adult life, she lived with her parents, who returned to Bethlehem in 1810, and in the Single Sisters’ house in Bethlehem. In 1861, Ms. Heckewelder founded the Freedman’s Aid Society. The members sewed clothing and other items for soldiers fighting in the Civil War. In 1865, the group changed its name to the Ladies’ Sewing Society. Ms. Heckewelder died on September 19, 1868. When the Ladies’ Sewing Society began sewing cloth dolls for charity in 1872, they named the doll Polly after Ms. Heckewelder. The Polly Heckewelder doll is the oldest, continuously made, American doll. It originated in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where it is still manufactured today by members of the Moravian Church’s Ladies Sewing Society. The tradition of these handmade dolls continues today. The purpose of the society in making the doll has always been to benefit church and mission causes and to have fun.  You’ll have the opportunity to see how these dolls are made.
  • Behind the scenes Doll House Collection Tour at the Kemerer Museum There are 40 replica buildings and 5,500 doll house pieces at the Kemerer Museum. The collection features dollhouses from every decade between 1830 and 1930. You’ll have a chance to get “up close and personal” with these wonderful items from the Elizabeth Johnston Prime Dollhouse and Toy Collection.
Doll House at the Kemmerer Museum in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Figure 9. One of the Doll Houses at the Kemerer Museum in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

After lunch on Saturday we’re going to hear Henry Disston Jr. talk about the history of the Disston Saw Company and hear him play his musical saw at the end of his presentation.  After Henry Disston Jr.’s talk you’ll get a breather before our annual Silent Auction.  This fun event will be a great warm up to our 85th Anniversary Banquet and Annual Business Meeting.

Whew! That’s a lot to see and do!  So, sign up on line, fill out your registration form, sign up for the workshops, track down your whatsits, think about what you can donate to the Silent Auction and come join us as we celebrate EAIA’s 85th Anniversary in the Lehigh Valley on May 23rd thru May 26th, 2018.

Moravian Colonial Industrial Quarter

Figure 10. The Colonial Industrial Quarter in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

by Paul Van Pernis


American Anvils

An Unwritten Chapter in the Annals?

by Clayton E. Ray

I believe that a significant epoch of anvil-making in colonial North America has yet to be recognized and documented. Postman’s pioneering 1998 book, “Anvils In America”, the first comprehensive coverage of the subject, provides a solid foundation for further research. Its greatest value is not as a last word, but as a catalyst, a value yet to be realized. Anvils are unquestionably the most important tool in the development of civilization but remain strangely neglected. The formation of BIG (Blacksmithing Interest Group) stands to redress this lapsus.

I have seen a few crude anvils of a certain blocky type, and have two in my possession.


Unsigned Anvil

These are cast iron without a face plate or cutting table, and without hardy, pritchel, or handling holes. They have no heel, a small horn, and no constricted waist, and their front and back surfaces are planar and vertical. The toes are insignificant in size, and there may be a fifth toe. The only one that I have seen having any marking is one of mine with the name “Jones” embossed on one side.

Anvil with cast in “JONES”


I think that these anvils were cast in one piece (excepting the horn), and were poured upside down, having no undercuts. The horn would have been added by welding.

The skilled iron workers in any of the foundries from Massachusetts to the Carolinas easily could have made these anvils clandestinely while pouring the sows and pigs that they were supposed to be making to send to the mother country to be returned as value-added finished products, including the expensive steel-faced wrought anvils for marketing to the needy pioneers, whose needs could have been met much more cheaply by the crude locally made cast anvils. No colonial community could have functioned without a smithy.

Not surprisingly, there is little or no paper trail of this activity, as production of such finished items in the colonies was prohibited. The royal appointees who supervised the Colonies (Spotswood, Byrd, and others) carefully concealed their own illicit profitable ventures. Thus far, I know of only one revealing allusion (cited by Postman, page 46), in which the writer in 1759 recommended the purchase of an anvil “of Byrd make”. William Byrd as early as 1744 had exploited his extensive iron deposits in central Virginia. There may very well be more clues to be found in colonial writing.

An additional source of documentation might be the metallurgy of the anvils themselves, but that is beyond my expertise and access. Meanwhile, I hope and expect that other members of EAIA have seen anvils of this kind, and will have better ideas for pursuit of their story. If my suspicions as to the source and age are confirmed, they would add significantly to the record of anvil making in North America.

Please share this blog with any of your friends who may have more information about possible American anvils of this period or even the anvils illustrated in this blog.  Any comments should be added as comments to the blog.  Your help is needed!

Model Shop Chamfer Planes – Part II

Traut's Patent Chamfer Plane & Model Shop Chamfer Plane 809x550

Part I of this post introduced you to Justus Traut’s patent No. 316,079 granted on April 21, 1885.  This patent very clearly illustrated and described what became the Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane (See Figure 1).

Traut's Patent 316,079 Drawing 1

Figure 1. Traut’s Patent 316,079 Drawing Showing the Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane

The patent also included a drawing of the “spokeshave” style chamfer plane discussed in Part I (  For consistency, the terms used by Traut in his patent description and that were used to identify the major components of Traut’s plane in Part I will be used again here in Part II.

Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane Type 1

Figure 2. Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane Type 1

Introduced in 1885, the Stanley #72 chamfer plane sold well enough that it remained in the Stanley line-up of specialty bench planes for 53 years until it was discontinued in 1938 .  With is “V” shaped sole, the plane is designed to chamfer stock.  Each side of the “V” shaped sole acts as a guide to maintain the plane at a 45º angle as the chamfer is cut. The front section or “sliding portion” of the plane can be raised or lowered to increase or decrease the width of the chamfer. The plane is capable of cutting a chamfer slightly in excess of 1¼ inches wide. With the front “sliding stock” of the plane set at its lowest position, the plane can also function as a smoothing plane. Figure 2 shows a Type 1 Stanley #72 chamfer plane and it is identical to the plane shown in the patent drawing except that the production model was fitted with a brass faucet handle set screw rather than the large round set screw shown in the patent drawing.  The plane is 9¼ inches long and 2 inches wide. The cutter is set at a bed angle of 50 degrees with the bevel facing down.  The cutter does not have a cap iron.  The japanned lever cap fixes the cutter in place by tightening a thumb screw. The raised rib on the front “sliding stock” fits into the groove on the rear “gage” portion of the plane (See Figure 3).

Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane Front Sliding Section

Figure 3. Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane Type 1 Showing the Raised Rib on the Front “Sliding Stock” with the Brass Faucet Handle Set Screw

The faucet handle set screw when tightened holds the front “sliding stock” firmly in place and thereby determines the depth of cut and the width of the chamfer produced by the plane.  As the front “sliding stock” is moved higher on the rear “gage” section, the resultant chamfer becomes deeper and wider.  “STANLEY RULE & LEVEL CO. AND PAT APR 21, 85” is stamped in three lines on the upper end of the cutter (See Figure 4).

Cutter on Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane, Type 1

Figure 4. Cutter on Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane, Type 1

There are no other markings on the body of the plane to identify it as a Stanley product and the sides of the plane are japanned.[1]  It appears that the “Type I” version of the plane was produced for probably less than one year.  By 1886, “STANLEY” and “No 72” were cast onto the sides of the “gage” or rear portion of the plane.[2]

Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane Type 1 With Front Sliding Section Removed

Figure 5. Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane Type 1 With Front Sliding Stock Removed

The addition of a bullnose front “sliding stock” for cutting stopped chamfers was made available by 1899 or 1900 and became an attachment supplied with the Stanley #72 by 1909.[3]  On March 23, 1886 Traut received an additional patent, No.338,570, that described a beading attachment which could be substituted for the front “sliding section”.  This attachment allowed the user to create various types of moldings on previously cut chamfers. This beading attachment was first made available to users in 1886. When this beading attachment was combined with the bullnose attachment and the #72 Stanley Chamfer Plane, Stanley marketed it as the #72½ Stanley Chamfer Plane with Beading Attachment (See Figure 6).[4]

Stanley #72 Chamfer and Beading Plane

Figure 6. Stanley #72 Chamfer and Beading Plane With Bullnose Piece, Beading Attachment, and Various Beading Cutters

Traut’s chamfer plane obviously worked well and was popular with Stanley’s customers as evidenced by its longevity in the Stanley product line.  The Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane is easy to set up and works very effectively and is actually a fun tool to use.

Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344

Figure 7. Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344

Recently, in March of 2017, an intriguing and somewhat mysterious chamfer plane that appears to precede Traut’s patented chamfer plane came to auction.[5]  This Stanley Model Shop plane shown in Figure 7, has characteristics that suggest that it could have been made as much as 10-13 years earlier than 1885, the year Traut applied for his chamfer plane patent. This plane, which has Stanley Model Shop #344 painted on the toe, is 10 and 7/16ths inches long and 2 and 1/16ths inches wide, so it is both longer, wider, and heavier than the Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane. It is beautifully made and machined.  Like the 1885 Traut’s patent chamfer plane, the “V” shaped sole is designed to hold the plane at a 45º angle as the chamfer is cut. Both sides of the casting are milled and there is a 1 and 3/8ths inch long scale inscribed on the left side of the rear “gage” portion of the plane.  The scale is divided into 1/8th inch increments. A single line is inscribed on the front “sliding stock” of the plane opposite this scale.  This scale and corresponding line were obviously intended to act as a guide for setting the depth of cut of the chamfer (See Figure 8).

Scale on Left Sidewall of Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344

Figure 8. Scale on Left Sidewall of Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344

The front “sliding stock” of the plane fits into a sliding dovetail on the rear “gage” portion of the plane.  This sliding dovetail is machined to very close tolerances and creates a snug fit between the “sliding stock” and the rear “gage “portion of the plane. This is very different from the method of attaching the “sliding stock” to the “gage” portion of the plane on the Traut’s patent chamfer plane (See Figure 9).

Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 on Left Showing Machined Sliding Dovetail Connecting the Front Sliding Section to the Rear Gage Section and Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane on the Right Showing Raised Rib and Machined Groove Joining Front Sliding Section and Rear Gage Section

Figure 9. Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 on Left Showing Machined Sliding Dovetail Connecting the Front Sliding Stock to the Rear Gage Section and Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane on the Right Showing Raised Rib and Machined Groove Joining Front Sliding Stock and Rear Gage Section

As shown in Figure 10, the “sliding stock” is held in place by a compression screw with a knurled knob that is inserted through a hole in the right sidewall of the plane and is then threaded into the left sidewall. When this screw is tightened, it compresses the two sidewalls of the rear “gage” portion of the plane just enough to hold the front “sliding stock” firmly in place.

Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane 344 Showing Threaded Compression Screw

Figure 10. Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane 344 Showing Threaded Compression Screw Used to Hold the Front “Sliding Stock” in Place

The increased length of the rear “gage” portion of this plane allows for the use of Leonard Bailey’s cutter adjustment mechanism and the graceful curve of the sidewalls provides additional strength to the casting.  This plane also has an adjustable throat plate under the front knob which allows the user to open or close the mouth of the plane (See Figure 11).

Front Knob and Adjustable Throat Plate on Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344

Figure 11. Front Knob and Adjustable Throat Plate on Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344. Note Model Shop #344 Painted on the Toe

The front knob screw is fixed in place in the front knob by means of a piece of metal that is stuffed into the bottom of the knob. Once the size of the plane’s mouth has been set, the throat plate is then held in place by tightening the front knob (See Figure 12).

Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 Showing Adjustable Throat Plate and Front Knob Removed

Figure 12. Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 Showing Adjustable Throat Plate and Front Knob Removed. Note the Metal Stuffed Into the Base of the Front Knob.

The plane’s cutter is 1½inches wide.  At just 1/8th of an inch narrower than a cutter for a #2 Stanley smooth plane, it was likely made by simply grinding down the edges of a cutter from a #2 smooth plane. There is a small 1 and 7/8ths inch by 15/16ths of an inch rectangular plate with a slot in its upper end attached to the cutter with a screw.

Cutter on Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344

Figure 13. Cutter on Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 Showing Small Rectangular Plate that Slips Over the Cutter Adjusting Lever.

The slot is placed over the cutter adjusting lever which allows the cutter to be adjusted for depth of cut (See Figure 13). The lever cap also seems to have been produced by grinding the edges of a #2 smooth plane lever cap. A #2 smooth plane lever cap is 1 and 9/16ths of an inch wide, and the lever cap on this plane is 1 and 7/16ths inches wide (See Figure 14).

Stanley #2 Size lever Cap (left), Lever Cap From Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 (right)

Figure 14. Stanley #2 Size lever Cap (left), Lever Cap From Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 (right).  The Lever Cap on the Right is Slightly Narrower

There are no trademarks on either the front or rear castings. The markings on the cutter adjustment screw and the trademark stamped on the cutter suggest that this plane was produced sometime between 1872 and 1875 (See Figure 15 and Figure 16.[6]

Cutter on Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344

Figure 15. Cutter on Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344

Cutter Adjustment Screw on Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344

Figure 16 Cutter Adjustment Screw on Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344











If one assumes that the numbering system used for Stanley Model Shop planes was sequential, (and that is a big if!), [7] then this plane with Stanley Model Shop #344 on the toe appears to have been produced 10-13 years before both the “Spokeshave” style chamfer plane and the Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane shown in Traut’s 1885 patent.  The “spokeshave” style chamfer plane shown in the 1885 patent and featured in Part I of this post carries the Stanley Model Shop #776 which suggests that it was put into the Model Shop at a later date than this chamfer plane.

So, who made this plane and when?  The lever cap, the cutter adjustment mechanism, and the adjustable throat are all features developed by Leonard Bailey. The graceful curve of the sidewalls on the rear “gage” portion of the plane and the fine fit and finish of the plane are typical of Bailey’s design signature. Leonard Bailey began his tenure at Stanley Rule & Level Company in 1869, and left the company in 1874 primarily because of a dispute with the Stanley board of directors over his desire to have total control over all the woodworking planes being manufactured at Stanley. Justus Traut and the men in his shop were also manufacturing planes at that same time, some of which competed directly with the planes being produced by Bailey and the men in his shop.[8]  Is it possible that Leonard Bailey made this plane? He may have presented this prototype to the Stanley Production Committee who, for whatever reasons, decided not to put this plane into production. So, it went onto a shelf in the Model Shop and possibly got left behind when Bailey left Stanley. Perhaps several years later Justus Traut came across this chamfer plane on a shelf in the Stanley Model Shop and modified it slightly at a time when carpenters and cabinet makers were asking for a chamfer plane. Traut was adept at appropriating the ideas of the men in his workshop and turning them into patents, and it’s conceivable he may have done the same thing with this Model Shop plane. Traut’s version of the chamfer plane is smaller, less complicated, required less machining, and therefore would have been considerably less expensive to manufacture. Traut received approval for his version of the chamfer plane from the Stanley Production Committee in 1885 and went on to apply for and receive Patent No. 316,079 later that year for what became the Stanley #72 chamfer plane.  If only we had access to the written records of the Stanley Production Committee.  We know they exist and a review of these documents would help tool researchers find answers about this tool and so many others. Unfortunately, despite several attempts by multiple tool researchers and collectors, the legal counsel at Stanley has refused to allow anyone access to those records.

Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane Type 1 on the Left and Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 on the Right

Figure 17. Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane Type 1 on the Left and (Bailey’s?) Stanley Model Shop Chamfer Plane #344 on the Right

So, although we know this plane was made at the Stanley, I’m not convinced that it was made by Justus Traut. While I’m not yet completely convinced that Leonard Bailey made this plane, I tend to lean in that direction. We know that Justus Traut gets credit for the Stanley Chamfer Plane and his 1885 patent No. 316,709, but it’s my guess that the idea was not entirely his!  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Can you help solve this mystery?

by Paul Van Pernis

[1] The first description of the Type 1 Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane was in an article by Clarence Blanchard in “Stanley Tool Collector News”, Volume 4, Number 9, Summer 1993, pp. 12-13.

[2] A type study of the Stanley #72 and #72½ chamfer planes, titled, “The Stanley No. 73 & 72½ Chamfer Plane”, by John Wells & Chuck Wirtensen was published in The Gristmill, No. 123, June 2006, pp. 12-16.

[3] Blanchard, Clarence, “Stanley Plane Truth and Exceptions to the Rule, Stanley No. 72 Bullnose Attachment”, The Fine Tool Journal, Volume 46, Number 2, Fall 1996, p. 14.

[4] The number 72½ was sold by Stanley from 1886 until 1917.  Further information about the 72½ is available in the type study cited in footnote #2.

[5] See Lot 396 from the 50th International Tool Auction, March 25th, 2017 by Brown Auction Services.

[6] See Roger K. Smith’s excellent type study of “Bailey-Stanley Iron Planes” in Patented Transitional & Metallic Planes in America 1827-1927, pp. 279-284

[7] A caveat!  As I’ve mentioned in prior posts regarding Stanley Model Shop planes, the numbering system used in the Stanley Model Shop is at best confusing and and may not be entirely reliable in determining when tools were made and/or placed on the shelves in the Model Shop.

[8] For more information about Bailey’s years at Stanley see, “Leonard Bailey:  The Years at Stanley Rule & Level Co., Part I” in The Gristmill, June 2009 No. 135, pp.30-37 and “Leonard Bailey:  The Years at Stanley Rule & Level Co. Part II”, in The Gristmill, September 2009, No. 136, pp. 13-22.  Both articles are authored by John G. Wells and Paul Van Pernis

Traut’s Model Shop Chamfer Planes – Part 1

Traut's Chamfer Plane with Original Patent Papers

Justus A. Traut, worked for the Stanley Rule & Level Company for over 50 years, and churned out patent after patent from the time his first patent was issued on June 20th, 1865, until November 3, 1908, when his last patent was issued posthumously, almost eight months after his death.[1] Traut was just one of the brilliant inside contractors who worked at Stanley.  Although he was touted during his lifetime as being the “The Patent King of the United States”, it’s likely that many of his patents were the result of ideas and innovations developed by the mechanics working in his shop at Stanley.  Traut was adept at refining those ideas and innovations and then submitting a patent.  It was only on rare occasions that he shared credit for his patents with others.

Stanley Rule & level Company and their inside contractors were very responsive to the needs of their customers.  They listened carefully to suggestions from the users of their tools and kept a close watch on the developing styles and trends in furniture, architecture, and building construction.  The Eastlake and American Queen Anne styles of architecture and furniture were very popular in the United States between 1870 and 1910. Houses were filled with wainscoting, fancy wooden trim, elaborate staircases, window treatments, fireplace surrounds, and mantels. The furniture followed suit with lots of spindles, chamfers, beading, inlays, and elaborate decorative details. Justus Traut was no doubt aware of these trends and responded by submitting a patent application on February 25th, 1885, for a chamfer plane.  Granted on April 21, 1885,  Traut’s Patent No. 316,079 states, “My plane is principally designed for use in making chamfer moldings on the corners of pieces of wood-work for various uses.” A chamfer can be defined as a transitional edge between two faces of an object.  It is a bevel created at a 45º angle to two adjoining right-angle faces. Chamfers are used as a decorative detail or as a means to “ease” sharp edges both for safety and to prevent damage to the edges.

Traut's Patent 316,079 Drawing 1

Figure 1. Showing Traut’s Chamfer Plane Which Became the Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane

Traut’s patent included drawings of two versions of the chamfer plane. The first set of drawings shown in Figure 1 illustrates a plane that is essentially identical to the Stanley #72 chamfer plane produced and sold by Stanley starting in 1885. Bear will me, and I’ll come back and discuss this version of Traut’s chamfer plane in detail in Part II of this blog post along with another interesting and somewhat mysterious chamfer plane from the Stanley Model Shop.

Traut's Patent 316,079 Drawing 2

Figure 2. Patent Drawings of Traut’s Spokeshave Style Chamfer Plane

For the moment I’d like to focus on the plane shown in the second set of patent drawings  (See Figure 2). This drawing depicts a two-handled “spokeshave style” version of the chamfer plane. Recently this spokeshave style version of Traut’s chamfer plane along with the accompanying original patent papers came to auction[2] (See Figure 3).

Traut's April 25, 1885 Patent No. 316,079 for a Chamfer Plane

Figure 3. Original Patent papers for Traut’s April 25, 1885 Patent No. 316,079 for a Chamfer Plane

Likely Traut himself, or one of the mechanics in his shop, personally made this tool. It’s exciting, at least for me, to hold in my hands a tool that Traut no doubt held in his hands. Traut assigned this patent to the Stanley Rule& Level Company as soon as he was granted the patent.  The patent is signed by Martin Van Buren Montgomery who was the commissioner of patents in 1885 and also by the then “acting” Secretary of the Interior who’s name I can’t read on the patent. I haven’t been able to uncover who this was in my research, so if you know who this gentleman was, please let me know. (Thanks to reader Gary Hammond who informed me that the “acting” Secretary of the interior was H.L. Muldrow).[3]

This delightful little spokeshave style chamfer plane is only 4½ inches long and 9 inches wide across the width of the handles. The japanning on the outside of the plane body and the nicely curved handles are in excellent condition. The Stanley Model Shop number “776” is painted on the end of the right handle and on the lever cap. It is not a “patent model” because the U.S. Patent office stopped requiring the submission of patent models in 1880 (See Figure 4). So this plane would not have been sent to the Patent Office in Washington, but would have remained at the Stanley factory .[4]

Traut's Spoke Shave Style Chamfer Plane

Figure 4. Traut’s Spokeshave Style Chamfer Plane. Note the Stanley Model Shop Number “776” on the Lever Cap

In his patent, Traut describes the front portion of his chamfer plane as the “sliding stock” and the rear portion of the body of the plane as a “gage” with “an angular groove b, extending longitudinally through it’s under face” These are shown in the patent drawing in Figure 2. above as “A” and “E”(See Figure 5 below).

Traut's Patent Spoke Shave Style Chamfer Plane with Front and Back Sections Separated

Figure 5. The “Sliding Stock” on the Left is Shown Removed from the “Gage” on the Right

The two pieces are brought together when the raised machined rib on the back of “sliding stock A” is slipped into the machined groove on the front of “gage E”.

Back Side of Frog Portion of Traut's Spoke Shave Style Chamfer Plane

Figure 6. Showing the Raised Machined Rib on the Back of the “Sliding Stock”

The 1½ inch diameter shouldered depth of cut set screw is used to hold the two pieces together and to adjust the depth of cut of the chamfer. When the set screw is tightened, the front “sliding stock” is held firmly in place on the rear “gage” portion of the plane. The large size of the depth of cut set screw required the addition of a groove in the “gage” portion of the plane to prevent the set screw from hitting the casting of the rear “gage” portion of the plane. (See Figure 7).

Depth of Cut Adjustment Screw for Traut's Spoke Shave Style Chamfer Plane

Figure 7. Depth of Cut Set Screw for Traut’s Spoke Shave Style Chamfer Plane. Note the Thick Brass Washer

Once the depth of cut of the chamfer is set by adjusting the “sliding stock A”, the set screw is tightened and the spokeshave style chamfer plane is set squarely over the corner that is to be chamfered (See Figure 8).

Side View of Traut's Spoke Shave Style Chamfer Plane

Figure 8. Showing the “Sliding Stock” and the “Gage” Joined Together. Also Note the Groove in the “Gage” Portion of the Casting to Accommodate the Large Depth of Cut Set Screw and the Model Shop Number “776” Just Visible on the End of the Handle. The Plane is Now Set to Cut a Chamfer

Traut stated in the patent, when the plane is moved over the wood, …. “shaving after shaving is removed until the ‘gage E’ stops further cutting by resting firmly for its whole length upon the stock being chamfered.”  The result is a chamfered corner.

Trademark Stamped on the Cutter of Traut's Spoke Shave Style Chamfer Plane

Figure 9. Stanley Oval Trademark Stamped on the Cutter of Traut’s Spokeshave Style Chamfer Plane

The cutter is 1¼inches wide and has a nice oval logo stamped on the upper end of the cutter (See Figure 9).[5]  No cap iron is used with the cutter. The diminutive japanned lever cap is 1 and 5/8ths inches long and only 1 and 5/16th inches wide.  The lever cap adjusting screw is brass and is identical to those seen on the Miller’s Patent Plow planes produced by Stanley between 1875 and 1884.[6]  The cutter is held in position by tightening the lever cap against the cutter.  The plane fits nicely in my hands and feels like it would have worked quite well using either a push or pull stroke across the work piece.  This little plane is in almost pristine condition and it is clear that this spokeshave style chamfer plane was never put to use nor put into production. One can imagine that Traut envisioned this chamfer plane being added to the extensive line of spoke shaves that Stanley was already manufacturing. Its small size would have made it handy to use and its simple construction would have made the cost of manufacturing it quite reasonable.  But, that never happened. Instead, this plane along with the original patent papers spent its days quietly resting on a shelf in the Stanley Model Shop until it thankfully found its way into the tool collecting world.

Traut's Patent Spokeshave Style Chamfer Plane

Figure 9. Traut’s Patent Spokeshave Style Chamfer Plane

There is a Part II to this blog post that contains information about the Stanley #72 chamfer plane and a “mystery” Stanley Model Shop chamfer plane. The image below shows the first production model of the Stanley #72 chamfer plane and an intriguing Stanley Model Shop chamfer plane that seems to predate those shown in Traut’s 1885 patent. So, stayed tuned for Part II of Traut’s Model Shop Chamfer Planes.

Stanley Model Shop Prototype Chamfer Plane Foreground, Stanley #72 Type 1 Background

Figure 10. A Unique Stanley Model Shop Prototype Chamfer Plane is Shown in the Foreground,  and the Stanley #72 Chamfer Plane,  Type 1, in the Background

by Paul Van Pernis

[1] For more information on Justus A. Traut, see Smith, Roger K., Patented Transitional & Metallic Planes in America, Volume II, 1992, pp. 207-213.  A complete list of his patents can be found at

[2] Lot 397, 50th International Antique Tool Auction, March 25th, 2017.

[3] The first U.S. patent law was passed in 1790, and the granting of U.S. Patents was controlled by the Secretary of State until 1849, when Congress transferred U.S. Patent Office to the Department of the Interior.  In 1925, the responsibility for issuing patents was transferred to the Department of Commerce, where it remains today.

[4] In the US, patent models were required from 1790 to 1880. The United States Congress abolished the legal requirement for them in 1870, but the U.S. Patent Office kept the requirement until 1880.

[5] This logo, has been noted on some Stanley #102 and #110 block planes of similar vintage.

[6] See the excellent type study entitled “Stanley #41,42,43,44 Miller’s Patent Plow Planes” by Walter Jacob in Antique and Collectible Stanley Tools, 2nd edition, 1996, by John Walter, pp. 717-725.

Brown’s 51st International Antique Tool Auction

William Patent "Universal Plane", Patented by Stephan Williams of Philadelphia in 1864

Brown’s 51st International Antique Tool Auction was held on October 28th, 2017, at the Radisson Hotel in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.  There was active bidding in the room as well as from absentee bidders.  The prices realized that are listed in this post include a 13% buyer’s premium. Prices shown below enclosed in square brackets are pre-auction estimates taken from the Brown auction catalog No. 51. The condition of all items was taken from the same auction catalog and neither the pre-auction estimates nor the condition of items reflect the author’s opinion unless so noted. All photographs are courtesy of Brown Auction Services.

Selected Auction Items

Lot 431. A Sandusky No. 141 Center Wheel Plow Reproduction (See Figure 1.)  Mint and beautifully made from solid rosewood with ivory tips, possibly made by Jim Leamy, and rated Mint with an estimate of [800-1500]. It sold to a floor bidder for $2,712.00.

Replica of a Rosewood Sandusky No. 141 Center wheel Plow Plane

Figure 1. Lot 431. Replica of a Rosewood Sandusky No. 141 Center wheel Plow Plane

Lot 720. The two miniature Infill Miter Planes made by Bill Carter of London and shown in Figure 2. Each of these beautiful little  planes is just 3 inches long and 5/16ths of an inch wide and are made of gunmetal with dovetailed steel soles. One has a boxwood infill and the other a rosewood infill. These were rated Fine and were estimated at [400-800] but surpassed that for a hammer price of $1695.00 to an absentee bidder.

Two Miniature Infill Planes Made by Bill Carter

Figure 2.  Lot 720, Two Miniature Infill Planes Made by Bill Carter

Lot 368. A William’s Patent Adjustable Sole Plane. A rare example of the design patented by Stephen Williams of Philadelphia, PA, in 1864, in which the body is made of eight sliding wooden blocks clamped together by a brass band which allows the sole to be adjusted to different shapes.  Other than some slight damage it was very clean and complete. Rated as Good+ with estimate of [3000-5000], it brought $3,390.00 from an absentee bidder (See Figure 3).

William Patent "Universal Plane", Patented by Stephan Williams of Philadelphia in 1864

Figure 3. Lot 368. William’s Patent “Universal Plane”, Patented by Stephan Williams of Philadelphia in 1864

Lot 530. Figure 4 shows  Shaw’s Patent Combination Brace Wrench. Similar to the Lowentraut combination tool patented by Samuel Johnson, this rare example of a combination brace wrench was patented by Elver Shaw on June 28, 1989.  It has a metal rather than rosewood grip and the patent date cast into the side. Some light pitting was noted, but the tool is complete and in good working condition. Rated Good+ with an estimate of [300-600] it sold for $1017.00 to a bidder in the room.

Combination Brace Wrench Patented by Elver H. Shaw on June 28, 1898

Figure 4. Lot 530. Combination Brace Wrench Patented by Elver H. Shaw on June 28, 1898

There was a wide selection of planes by 18th century American makers in this auction including several molding planes and a few plow planes. The top sellers of the group were a molding plane by N. Potter (Lot 591), with an astragal and cove form, which sold far beyond its [300-600] estimate for $4068.00 (see Figure 5)

18th Century Molding Plane by N. Potter

Figure 5. Lot 591, 18th Century Molding Plane by N. Potter

An ogee and astragal molding plane by F. Nicholson (Lot 393, shown in Figure 6) with his “Living in Wrentham” mark, was estimated at [1200-2000] and was hammered down at $3616.00.  Both of these planes were sold to the same lucky bidder in the room.

Francis Nicholson Eighteenth Century Molding Plane

Figure 6. Lot 393 A Francis Nicholson Eighteenth Century Molding Plane with His ‘Living in Wrentham” Mark on the Toe

The auction also featured two stunning modern infill planes made by Sauer & Steiner who build each plane by hand. They look almost too pretty to use.  Lot 117 was a K5 smoothing plane with a beautiful steel body and Desert Ironwood infill in Fine condition and estimated at [800-1600].  It sold for $1864.50 to an absentee bidder (See Figure 7).

Sauer & Steiner K5 Bench Plane

Figure 7. Lot 117, A Sauer & Steiner K5 Bench Plane

The other, Sauer & Steiner plane, Lot 411, shown in Figure 8 was a K18 jointer plane, also with a steel body and beautiful Desert Ironwood infill.  It was in Fine condition with an estimate of [2000-4000] and also sold to an absentee bidder for $3729.00.

Sauer & Steiner K18 Jointer

Figure 8. Lot 411, A Sauer & Steiner K18 Jointer Plane

Prototype tools are of great interest to many collectors, and this auction didn’t disappoint. There were three lots featuring tools patented by Justus A. Traut. Lot 371 was a prototype Clapboard Gauge invented by Justus Traut that became the Stanley No. 89 clapboard gauge.  Traut was granted patent No. 377,178 on January 31st, 1888 for this tool.  The  clapboard gauge was sold with the original patent papers as well. Estimated at [2000-4000] and in Fine condition this lot sold for $3614.00 (See Figure 9) .

Traut's Patent Clapboard Gauge with Patent Papers. Patent No. 337,178, January 31, 1888

Figure 9. Traut’s Patent Clapboard Gauge with Patent Papers. Patent No. 337,178, Granted on January 31, 1888

Lot 372 featured Traut’s prototype for a marking gauge along with the original patent papers as well as the document assigning the patent to the Stanley Rule & level Company.  Stanley never put this tool into production but Traut received patent No. 670,627 for this tool on March 26, 1901.  As can be seen in Figure 10, it was in Fine condition.  With a [2000-4000] estimate it sold to an absentee bidder for $4,407.00.

Prototype Marking Gauge with Patent Papers by Justus Traut. Patent No. 670,627, 3/26/2001

Figure 10.  Lot 372, a Prototype Marking Gauge by Justus Traut with Patent Papers and the Document Assigning the Patent to Stanley. Patent No. 670,627, Granted 3/26/2001

The last lot in in this group, Lot 373, was a try square prototype.  Traut received patent No. 266,556 on October 24, 1882 for this tool which was never put into production. This lot also included the original patent papers. Rated Fine with a [2000-4000] estimate, this lot also sold to an absentee bidder for the same price as the previous lot, $4,407.00 (see Figure 11).

Prototype Try Square with Patent Papers by Justus Traut. Patent No. 266,556, 10/24/1882

Figure 11. A Prototype Try Square with Patent Papers by Justus Traut. Patent No. 266,556, Granted 10/24/1882

Speaking of Stanley patents, Lot 174 (see Figure 12) featured a Type 1 “hooked” Millers Patent plane with a very well-done replacement tote. A very pretty plane, this one was in Good+ condition and estimated at [3000-5000] and brought a respectable $2,260.00 from a floor bidder.

A Type 1 No. 41 Miller's Patent Plow Plane

Figure 12. A Type 1 No. 41 Miller’s Patent Plow Plane

Lot 614 was a very rare Grantham’s Clynometer Folding Inclinometer. 10 inches long and made of two pieces of boxwood hinged at the end, with a brass level vial on top and removable scale on the side to hold it in position, this interesting inclinometer is marked with scales on the top surface as shown if Figure 13. Only one other example is known. This inclinometer was rated Good+ with a [700-1000] estimate and brought $1,045.25 from an absentee bidder.

Grantham's Clynometer - a Very Rare Folding Inclinometer

Figure 13. Grantham’s Clynometer – a Very Rare Folding Inclinometer

Lot 479 featured a very well-preserved American Style Goosewing Axe.  Likely originating from the Pennsylvania area, this 18-inch axe was in very nice condition with its original handle. Rated at Fine (see Figure 14), with an estimate of [300-600] it brought $508.50 from an absentee bidder.

American Style Goosewing Axe

Figure 14. Lot 479 An American Style Goosewing Axe

Several unique saws were featured in the auction. An Anderson Patent Saw, Lot 138, was patented by William Anderson in 1902. This double-sided saw is ground as a crosscut saw on one side and as a rip saw on the other side.  It also features a slot near the tip designed to allow the user to pivot the blade on a point to start the cut. The saw was in Fine condition with an estimate of [200-400] and sold for $452.00 to an absentee bidder (see Figure 15).

Double Sided Crosscut and Rip Saw Patented by in 1902 and Manufactured by William Anderson

Figure 15. Lot 138. A Double-Sided Crosscut and Rip Saw Patented in 1902 by William Anderson

Lot 416 featured a Richardson Patent Timber Saw which features a teardrop cutout in the middle of the blade that was designed to reduce friction. In Good condition with an estimate of [250-450], it brought $310.75, also from an absentee bidder (see Figure 16).

Richardson's Patent Timber Saw

Figure 16. Lot 416, Richardson’s Patent Timber Saw

Lot 426. This Shelton & Osborne Screw-arm Plow Plane was a stunning plane with a solid ebony body, wedge, and fence, with boxwood arms and nuts. In extremely good condition with a Fine rating, this uncommon Birmingham, CT, maker specialized in high-end plow planes and this one was no exception (see Figure 17). It surpassed its [400-800] estimate with a hammer of $1,525.50 from an absentee bidder.

Shelton & Osborne Plow Plane with an Ebony Body and Boxwood Arms and Nuts

Figure 17. Lot 426, A Shelton & Osborne Plow Plane with an Ebony Body and Boxwood Arms and Nuts

by Paul Van Pernis and Katyn Adams

Many thanks to the staff at Brown Tool Auctions for providing the pictures and their help in preparing this post.

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

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. ( )

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. (

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.   (

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. (

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. (

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. (

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. ( 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. ( ) 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