Stanley Two Tone

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Written 5/3/91 By Carl Stoutenberg
Special Thanks to Roger K. Smith

Regarding the OH series Planes reported on with much speculation on page 30 of volume 2 #2 of your Stanley Tool Collector News, I can clear up the mystery surrounding two types of branding, two block plane base patterns, and most of the several color combinations found on OH4, OH5, and OH20 Stanley Two Tone planes.

The OH planes were conceived in 1939 and in December of that year a run was authorized for a 1940 National Hardware Week promotion. They were not intended as a replacement for the low cost Victor 1100 series plane line. Rather they were variations of basic Victor tools. The Hardware week occurred in the spring—April or May, thus, the goods were in the warehouse by February. (Previously it was reported the tools were first introduced in late October of 1941 at an October National Hardware Show.)

Apparently the promotion was successful as in December 1940 the o.k. was given again for another Spring Hardware Week promotion the following year—1941. After the promotion’s stock up, but well before Dec. 7th, 1941, the powers that be on May 13th, 1941 permanently discontinued the items. Responsible parties were told to plan for disposition of any remaining work in process which may explain some of the non—standard combinations that have surfaced.

Some of the excess went into private label items. One such example being the W. T. Grant #20 block plane which was the same as OH20 except probably the cutter did not mention Two tone on it.

This is not the end of the story! After 10 years of dormancy, in 1949, folks were considering ideas for the 1950 Hardware week promotion and someone remembered the Two Tone tools. In August of ’49 the o.k. was given to make some up for the 1950 Hardware week, In December 1950 this was done again for the 1951 Hardware week.

In October of 1951 the OH tools were again “permanently” discontinued. The Hardware Week assortments then became filled with Victor 1100 series with some special finishing.

The 1940 and 1941 variety are branded “Stanley Two Tone Made in U.S.A.” , while the 1950-51 variety have “Two Tone by Stanley ,”

*The initial 1940 offering called for the following

OH4 Blue Bottom-Yellow Frog
Ivory Bottom-Chinese Red Frog,
OH5 Maroon Bottom—Yellow Frog
OH20 Black Bottom—Yellow Lever

Handles and knobs were Red Stained on the bench planes
while the knob of the block plane was rosewood/ brown stain.

*For 1941 colors were:

OH4 Gray Bottom—Blue frog
Gray Bottom—Red Frog
OH5 Gray Bottom-Red Frog
OH20 Gray Bottom—Red Lever
Gray Bottom-Blue Lever

Handles and knobs were Brown Stained

NOTE: A new pattern was made on the OH20 Bottom and several machining operations including saw and broaching of the mouth, planing the cutter seat and milling the sides were eliminated.

For 1950 The colors were:

OH4 Blue Bottom-Yellow Frog
OH5 Maroon Bottom—Yellow Frog
OH20 Black bottom—Yellow Lever

For 1951 The colors were:

OH4 and OH5 Maroon Bottom—Yellow Frog
OH20 Maroon Bottom-Yellow Lever

Handles and Knobs imitation Mahogany same as Victor line.

This information clears up reasons for two patterns on OH20; two kinds of branding found on the utters; and some of the various color combinations. The other color combinations were reported in the field remain speculation. It could be occasional colors produced, but not documented after initial planning; or variations made as specific orders were received from people viewing the tools at the Hardware Week event. I learn more about the colors I will advise you.

I also have determined there was no special meeting Held on December 8th to discontinue these or any other lines of tools. Actually what first began being reported on as an “emergency” in 1940 was having an effect on material availability and temporary changes were occurring even in 1940. After Dec. 7th, 1941 and we were in a full scale war, the material shortages took on even bigger proportions and on

a wholesale——basis, certain lines were regularly being temporarily discontinued. Others where the government placed orders received top priority—-but these wartime activities are a whole story in themselves which perhaps can be addressed at a later date.

Happy Tooling,

Carl Stoutenberg


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