This is the plane that started the first war between L. Bailey and Stanley Rule & Level. At first glance, it is a No. 120 a Justice Traut block plane patent. This, however is a type 1 No. 120 and has the unusual iron depth adjustment. More on that in a bit. Leonard Bailey claimed this plane cut into his royalties, those from the sales from the 9 1/2 family of block planes. He and Selden Bailey, started the Defiance line of planes in Providence RI. Stanley claimed him doing that interfered with the purchase of the patents from L. Bailey. On to the plane itself. The depth adjustment on this plane is similar to the Stanley Liberty Bell series but in reverse. The NIB or tongue is on the frog adjusting mechanism, engaging a slot on the backside of the iron (on the Liberty Bell planes we have the tongue or nib on the iron and engages a slot on the frog). The frog is very interesting. This plane is not perfect, however it is sound. I believe the front knob is a replacement, the lever cap should be a 5 star not the 6 start, but to find this in the condition it is in is amazing.
Other comments from Taylor Maxwell. There is a very informative post by Robert Dermers describing the development & “types” of the no 110 and no 120. The no 110 was developed first (i.e. the “shoe buckle”) and by type 3 the no 120 was developed and they both shared a body:
According to his research the no 120 type 1 shared a body with the no 120 type 3A & 3B. What I didn’t know before was that the no 110 type 3A (mid 1876 to early 1877) had a 5 pointed star lever cap & the no 110 type 3B (early 1877 to late 1878) had a 6 pointed star lever cap. The only other difference between them was that the type 3A had NO raised lug on the back and the type 3B did.
Both your plane and mine have the raised lug in the back suggesting that they correspond to the no 110 type 3B body and the original cap lever for it was probably a 6 pointed star. However the 6 pointed star lever cap in the type 1 no 120 had a 3/16″ diameter threaded hole while later no 120 type 2’s had a 6 pointed star lever cap with a 5/16″ hole recessed 1/4″ deep before it gets to the smaller threaded hole. As such, there is a good chance that the lever cap on your plane is still not original.
The type 1 no 120 is associated with both the 110 3A AND 3B bodies. The primary thing that distinguishes a no 120 type 1 from a type 2 appears to be the raised knob receiver with the fitted knob (which yours has). Apparently even some early no 120 type 2’s had the original Traut adjustment mechanism and accompanying slotted blade.
Thank you for posting this. I was pretty excited when I stumbled across mine a few months ago and it is great to learn something more about it. I really like knowing the the star was originally meant to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the US. Learning from you that this had a role in the the Bailey/Stanley rift is very interesting although a bit sad.
here is another interesting article about an actual prototype of the no 120 by Justin Traut in this EAIA article by Paul Van Pernis:
and another article about an adjustable no. 110