Is it a Knowles, a Holly, or ???

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This plane was posted by Garey Jones in a tool group on Facebook. My first thought was “That’s a Knowles”. I still think its a Knowles, but i thought there was a slight possibility it was an early Holly. This plane is part of a 80+ wooden plane collection which came down from Garey’s grandfather to his father to him.  The plane was either given as a gift or acquired by Garey’s grandfather in Norwich Connecticut.

After contacting the tool enthusiast lucky enough to be in possession of this plane,  I discovered its been passed down in the family for a few generations. What a great heirloom.

Hazard Knowles was issued the first significant plane patent in the US.  The patent was issued on August 24, 1827. He was from Colchester CT.

But as history goes, a lot of planes were made with a similar design, so we often hear “Knowles’ type”. These are plane of the same era with very similar features, but of an unknown maker. They may be Knowles, they may not.

Since no plane has been found with a makers mark of Knowles, it is very common for planes to be called Knowles planes, even though it is unknown who the actual maker is.

The slight variation from the patent on this plane is the tote receiver. In my opinion, it doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been actually made by Knowles. A lot of patented planes were manufactured slightly different than the patent, and often different variations have been found.

With that in mind, this could certainly be a Knowles plane, but how would one ever know?

All of the tool dealers I’ve contacted agree it’s a Knowles Type plane, making it a great piece. I would guess over the many years the tote has been modified or replaced, as well as possibly the wedge. To some collectors this would deter from the value. From my perspective, its all part of its history.


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