29th Aug 2003, 11:56 AM #1
History of Stanley/Bailey Bench Planes
Does anyone know much about the history of Stanley and Bailey? I gather Bailey was a plane maker who was 'acquired' by Stanley Rule. They had a falling out and Bailey went his own way.
The reason I ask is I've got this No. 5 plane that I thought was a Stanley. The lever cap is a Stanley but it is not the original and the body is stamped only 'Bailey' and 'Made in Can.'
Can anyone enlighten me?
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29th Aug 2003, 12:34 PM #2
One of the definitive Stanley plane websites is:
A snippet from one of the pages follows:
"This is the first plane of the Bailey series, which Stanley made into the world's standard plane configuration after they bought the patent rights to the design from Leonard Bailey, who was making the planes in relative obscurity in Boston, Massachusetts during the 1860's. Bailey had experimented with several designs, but finally settled upon a style that is still being manufactured, with minor modification, today. "
There's a lot more info out there! I also found this:
which contains the following info:
"Leonard Bailey and the Stanley Rule and Level Co 1869-1884
The relationship between one of America's foremost inventors of carpenters' hand planes and the manufacturing giant Stanley Tools, has a great history of both great productivity and of ambitions and dreams shattered beneath the wheels of the Industrial Revolution. Before speculating on the relationship between the Stanley Co. and Leonard Bailey, let's first review the known chronology of events as it applied to both.
May 1869 -S. R. & L purchases BAILEY, CHANEYAND CO. of Boston Mass. (this is Bailey's factory where he has been producing planes of various designs) and acquires the right to manufacture tools under Bailey's several patents. Stanley also contracts to produce planes at its New Britain Conn. factory (about 100 miles west of Boston), to which it removes machinery and stock from the Boston plant. Production of the first Stanley/Bailey planes commences. CHARLES MILLER is also a contractor at Stanley (starting approx. 1871) and produces his patented metallic plow plane.
Early 1875 - JUSTUS TRAUT patents the No.110 block plane Stanley has had in production for several months. Bailey claims sales of the plane cut into his royalties and the contract between Bailey and Stanley is terminated.
Summer 1875 - Leonard Bailey begins development of the 'Victor' plane line to compete with the Stanley/Bailey planes still in production by Stanley. Fighting between Bailey and the Stanley Co. over patent infringement is bitter, Stanley makes every attempt to stop Bailey from producing the VICTOR line of tools.
Summer 1878 - Stanley wins a court decision against Bailey and the Victor line of planes, the result of which is for Bailey to sell the Victor business to the BAILEY WRINGING MACHINE CO. of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, to move there and produce both VICTOR and DEFIANCE planes and tools.
January 1880 - Stanley Rule and Level Co. purchases the Defiance plane business of the Bailey Wringing Machine Co. and offers remaining stock for sale in its catalogue that year.
July 1884 - Stanley purchases the remains of the struggling Victor Plane Co. from Leonard Bailey along with manufacturing machinery and remaining inventory which they offer in their catalogue of that year. LEONARD BAILEY ends more than 30 years as a carpenter tool inventor and manufacturer and spends the rest of his long productive life in the manufacture of copy presses.
Stanley Rule and Level Co. continues to produce tools many of which are invented and developed by the brilliant plant superintendent Justus Traut. Stanley eventually sells the remaining stock of Victor and Defiance tools and in 1906 after Bailey's death, commemorates Bailey by casting his name in their standard line of bench planes.
Was Leonard Bailey mad as hell at the Stanley Rule and Level Co.? Probably, at sometime, why else would he name his planes 'Victor' and 'Defiance'. How did Bailey get along with other great tool inventors of the day? Some well, others not so well - surely he didn't have much use for Justus Traut who litigated against him and his Victor planes. On the other hand he and Charles Miller were jointly granted a patent for the Victor #14 combination plane.
At any rate there is plenty for tool collectors to speculate about concerning Leonard Bailey, Victor and Defiance tools, and their relationship to the giant tool maker Stanley Rule and Level Co. For a more comprehensive look at this page of tool making history see Patented Transitional and Metallic Planes in America 1827-1927 by Roger Smith. "
29th Aug 2003, 12:34 PM #3
29th Aug 2003, 01:03 PM #4
Thanks for the supertools link, it looks like the definitive answer to questions I didn't even know I had. I found the other one but must have missed that one. Certainly answers some of my questions and it looks like mine must be a Stanley plane.
I can't find any reference to them being made in Canada, which is what threw me initially. Maybe one of the Canucks around here can shed some light. I always thought Stanley planes were made in the US.
But that supertools one is a brillant link, so thanks again....
29th Aug 2003, 04:58 PM #5
If you're interested in hand planes, and the relationship of Stanley to all the others, get a copy of Garret Hack's book, The Handplane Book . Great read and very, very informative.
Regards from Perth
1st Sep 2003, 01:11 PM #6
Just to confuse the issue, handed down from my grandfather I have a Stanley Bailey 31/2, made in England. Still a beautiful plane to this day.
22nd Dec 2008, 08:06 AM #7
Stanley 3 -1/2 Made in USA
Termite,....did you ever find out much about your No. 3-1/2 plane? I have one also that I inherited from my dad. I've looked for sources of info on the internet, but no mention of the 3 -1/2....only 3's and 4's. Also, mine has a corrugated sole.
Just wondering as to what I might have, or not have.
29th Nov 2010, 10:33 AM #8
29th Nov 2010, 11:58 AM #9
It seems likely someone replaced a broken Stanley lever cap with a Sargent. Sargent used the "VBM" (Very best Made) slogan from 1909-1918, according to David Heckel's book. Stanley Bailey-model planes of that period has nothing cast on the lever caps (see link below).
Try dating your No. 6 from the other parts for fun. Maybe you'll find they added Stanley parts to a venerable old Sargent lever cap ;-)
The Stanley Bench Plane Page
29th Nov 2010, 12:12 PM #10
I just read back in this thread and it looks like nobody answered you question. Years ago now. A large quantity of Stanleys were manufactured here in Canada. At the time, it was very common for American and other manufacturers to maintain branch-plants here to escape duties. For similar reasons, Stanley made planes in England. If you are typing them, the features seem pretty similar to US models as far as I can tell. The blades and bodies will say "Made in Canada". I do not know but would love to find out if some of the parts were imported from the US and assembled with Canadian parts for sale in the Canadian market.
Were Stanley planes made in Australia, too?
29th Nov 2010, 01:00 PM #11
Yes since then I've discovered that Stanley planes were also manufactured in Australia and England. The Canadian ones are considered of good quality I gather, the English and Australian ones less so.
The #5 that I mentioned was actually a #4 and it is still my favourite plane. Nice rosewood handles and a pleasure to use. The hardwood handles on the English and Australian planes I have are not as nice to hold."I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."
29th Nov 2010, 01:30 PM #12
Now you tell me - I bought a few English-made Stanleys for fun a few months back but have yet to fettle and bring them into use.
29th Nov 2010, 01:36 PM #13
Yes I'm not sure to what extent the perception is based on fact versus tool snobbery
I think there are plenty of people here who have been able to turn the English ones into good users. They're just not as sought after by collectors, which makes them good value I reckon.
But that Canadian #4 is a nice little plane."I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."
29th Nov 2010, 09:47 PM #14
29th Nov 2010, 10:35 PM #15
England and the rest of the commonwealth had an enormous debt to the U.S. (Lendlease etc) so dollars were withheld and special arrangements had to be made to transfer funds from the sterling block
American Stanley planes and Disston saws disappeared from catalogues like McPhersons and were replaced by Canadian or English equivalents
We had a healthy tool industry here (Turner, Carter, Pope, Bergs - Titan etc) but the minnows got swallowed when Stanley stated to have access again to worldwide markets.
A well fettled Turner with Berg (Eskiltuna) blade will eat timber like no Stanley ever did