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Part Two: a little more Chapin, a little more gauge…
Three of Hermon’s sons – Edward M, Philip E and George W, worked in his business. Edward ultimately succeeded him as President, and Philip left shortly thereafter, in 1865. In 1868,Edward bought George out and became, like his father before him, the sole proprietor.
Edward’s sons, Hermon M and Frank, came into the business and on Edward’s death in 1897, brought in Rufus Holmes as a partner and President. The acquisition of the struggling D S Stephens was completed in 1901, and Rufus Holmes continued as President with the Chapin brothers and a Stephens grandson as his officers. When Rufus died in 1908, Frank took over as President, and continued until he sold the by then struggling firm to Stanley in 1928.
This marking gauge (or scribe) is exquisite. It is made from box wood, no doubt expensively imported from England, and has brass in all the right places; the thumb operated set screw and escutcheon, the wear plate on the face of the block, the slide and channel, and the wear plate at the scribing end of the gauge. All are nicely fitted, with due care for appearance. The wear plate on the block is a full face, rather than the more common inset scrolls or bars.
There are several reasons that this is in such great shape after so long… It was a treasured possession of the original owner, and probably an heirloom piece thereafter (it came out of an attic in New England, not far from its birthplace). It is made from well seasoned box wood, which has superb hardness and wear characteristics and which doesn’t shrink as it ages. I already mentioned brass wear plates.
Of the many (many!) such tools I own, made by all the biggest and best names and some of them exceedingly beautiful, this became my favorite even before I tore off the last shred of packaging.
Thanks, @attic_gold Michelle!