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202286 Chuck Taylor <cft98208@y...> 2010‑03‑24 Humphreysville Plane Iron
Esteemed Gentle Galoots,

While you east-coast (US) Galoots were at PATINA, some of us west-coast Galoots 
were at the PNTC meeting in Seattle. A 24" wooden jointer plane followed me home
, and in it was an iron marked HUMPHREYSVILLE MFG CO. Actually, the "HUMP" part 
isn't legible, but the rest fits, including the length of the word. 

A trip to the archives tells me that this company was in business in Seymour, Co
nnecticut from 1852 to 1904. Another source says that they went out of business 
in 1873. Seymour was apparently called Humphreysville until 1850. Yet another so
urce says that the Humphreysville Manufacturing Company dates back to 1810, when
 it made woolen and cotton goods and paper. Col Humphreys, for whom the town der
ived its earlier name, was an aide to General Washington during the American Rev

This particular iron is tapered and laminated. It appeared to still have the 30-
degree factory grind still on it, albeit with a bit of pitting (more so on the b
evel than on the back, thank goodness). There is no mushrooming on the top end, 
as is often the case with a well-used iron in a woodie. The business end cleaned
 up well and took a nice edge.

There are no identifying marks on the wooden plane body. It, too, looks as if it
 has seen little or no use. In fact, the layout lines for the bed are still visi
ble on one side. 

It would be interesting to know how this plane and iron made their way from Conn
ecticut to Washington state, and whether or not they started out their lives tog
ether or were joined together later in their respective lives.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I could narrow the date range for thi
s iron? My wild guess is that it dates to about 1870.

Best regards,
Chuck Taylor
Everett, WA, USA


202304 "Welch, Brian" <brian_welch@h...> 2010‑03‑25 RE: Humphreysville Plane Iron
Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I could narrow the date range
for this iron? My wild guess is that it dates to about 1870.

Best regards, Chuck Taylor Everett, WA, USA

>From "The Town of Seymour" by Frank G. Bassett in The Connecticut
>Magazine in 1900:

    In 1852 the Humphreysville Manufacturing Co. built the brick factory
    below the Falls and began the manufacture of augurs and bits, plane
    irons, chisels, and other edge tools, which business was conducted
    by Mr. Raymond French for a number of years. This company was
    reorganized with the following gentlemen as proprietors : Norman
    Sperry, George H. Robinson, David R. Cook and Marcus Sperry. This
    business is now conducted by Mr. Norman Sperry who is making the
    finest goods upon the market. Garrett & Beach, manufacturers of
    German gimlet bits, cast-steel reamers and screw-driver bits, are
    located in the Humphreysville Manufactory Company's shop.

>From the book "Seymour, Past and Present" published in 1902, which I
>happen to keep under my desk:


    The Humphreysville Manufacturing Company has had an unbroken
    existence since 1806. The principal line of manufacture by the
    company for more than half a century has been augers and bits and
    the business is still carried on in the buildings erected for that
    purpose in 1845, though other buildings have been added. Mr. Norman
    Sperry is the present owner and has been the manager since 1875. The
    buildings are as follows: main building 60x80, two stories; office
    and shipping department, 20x30, two stories; three forging rooms,
    30x50, 20x35, and 20x30 respectively. The goods manufactured consist
    of the common auger, auger bits, car bits, boring machine augers and
    Jennings pattern bits, the goods being widely known for the
    excellence of their material and workmanship.

Earlier in this same bok they note that "Raymond French & Co. commenced
the manufacturing of augers and other edge tools at Blueville, on
Bladen's Brook, July 25, 1832." It was destroyed by fire in 1841. After
searching for the right spot, in 1845 Raymond French "purchased land and
water rights near the Falls owned by the Humphreysville Manufacturing
Company, and in 1845 built the large brick mill and office building
opposite Davis Block and fitted it up with machinery for the manufacture
of augers and bits, plane irons, chisels, and drawing knives. ... These
works were run without a break, employing a large number of men, for
nearly thirty years, Mr. French being the superintendent of the works.
The business was later organized under the same name, with Norman
Sperry, George H. Robinson, David R. Cook and Marcus Sperry as
proprietors. Mr. Noman Sperry is now the sole proprietor."

I have a 1905 ad for HMC and plane irons and edge tools are not
mentioned. I get the feeling that the plane irons were from the earlier
part of their manufacturing history, 1852 to 1875? So your iron could be
earlier than you think.

Hope this helps.

Brian Welch Holden, MA

202310 CheekyGeek <cheekygeek@g...> 2010‑03‑25 Re: Humphreysville Plane Iron
Thanks for the great info Brian.
Sounds like a routine from Paddy Foxworthy: "You might be a Galoot if
you keep a book published in 1902 under your desk."

I've got a complete set of Humphreyville plow plane blades that tipped
across many years ago (in fact, I think there is a duplicate of one of
the blade sizes). I think they are supposed to fit a wooden plow,
which would make sense given the time period we are talking about. I
should probably get them into the hands of somebody who has the plane
but needs the blades.

Darren Addy
Kearney, NE

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