Who made the “Right-Hand” Bend Lateral Lever Fulton Hand Planes is an update to my previous article, A History of the Fulton Model 5260 and 5262 Cast Iron Bench Planes Sold by Sears, Roebuck & Co., posted September 15, 2019.
Shortly after publishing an article on the Fulton model 5260 and 5262 cast iron bench planes in which I highlighted a series of these planes that feature an unusual right-hand bend lateral adjustment lever of unknown origin, I received a message from Randall Thompson. Mr. Thompson is a frequent contributor to the Facebook page, Hand Plane building, Restoring and Collecting. Mr. Thompson’s keen eye and broad knowledge surmised a probable connection between the right-hand bend Fulton planes and the Buckeye Mfg. and Foundry Company. In reviewing Roger K. Smith’s Patented Transitional & Metallic Planes in America 1827-1927, (PTAMPIA), the history of the Buckeye Saw Vise Company, aka Buckeye Mfg. and Foundry Company, makes it the likely manufacturer of these right-hand bend lateral lever Fulton planes. According to PTAMPIA, Buckeye Saw Vise Co. was first listed in the Cleveland, Ohio Directory in 1910 and last found in 1929. The company name was changed to Buckeye Mfg. & Foundry Co. from 1918-1924 only, then renamed Buckeye Saw Vise Co. This aligns with the timeline of the Fulton model 5260-5262 right-hand bend planes available only in the Sears, Roebuck & Co. 1928-29 Fall/Winter and 1929 Spring/Summer catalogs.
These Buckeye Saw Vise Co. planes are identifiable by their distinctive right-hand bend lateral adjustment levers with larger squared off tabs (figure 3).
Additionally, they feature a two-ridge brass depth adjustment nut. Under the frog the company mark BVS CO is cast into the bed of the plane along with either a 4 or 5 indicating the size of the plane.
Figure 4 shows the BVS CO 4 mark followed by the number 4 indicating a size 4 smoother plane, Fulton model 5260, circa 1928-29 manufactured by the Buckeye Saw Vise Co.
Figure 5 shows the BVS CO mark preceded by the number 5 indicating a size 5 fore plane, Fulton model 5262, circa 1928-29 manufactured by the Buckeye Saw Vise Co.
The BVS CO company mark in the casting are solid confirmation of these plane’s origins. Obvious now, but it took the keen eye and experience of Randall Thompson to point out the link to the Buckeye Mfg. and Foundry Company. And credit Roger K. Smith’s work in the two PTAMPIA volumes for substantiating the link between Buckeye Mfg. & Foundry Co. and Buckeye Saw Vise Co. That was the final link to the BVS CO markings.
The updated timeline for Fulton model 5260/5262 planes is illustrated in the following table:
There remains one unidentified right-hand bend Fulton plane possibly of the 5260 line. It is distinguished from these Buckeye Saw Vise planes in several areas. It has a japanned lever cap, steel depth adjusting nut, and no BVS CO cast in the bed. Further, the unidentified plane has C-27 cast into the frog bed and C-55 cast into the underside of the frog (figure 6).
After the ubiquitous FULTON WARRANTED trademark stamp on the cutter the manufacturer mark “CD” appears which has not been linked to any known Sears, Roebuck & Co. tool supplier (figure 7).
Lastly, the plane sports an unusually tall, slender knob, that best matches the 1926-27 Jr. Jack plane sold alongside the Fulton planes (figures 8 & 9). I suspect this plane was also made by Buckeye Saw Vise Co. as the right-hand bend lateral lever appears to be unique to this manufacturer. The missing BVS CO and differing foundry marks may be attributed to the period in which Buckeye Saw Vise Co. reorganized into the Buckeye Mfg. & Foundry Co. from 1918-1924. I have two identical examples of this plane in my collection; thus, it is not a one-off assembly of random parts.
Could it be Buckeye Mfg. & Foundry Co. used these old stock castings from 1924 to supply Sears, Roebuck & Co. with the 1926-27 Jr. Jack planes? Reusing old stock was a common practice of plane manufacturers and part of the challenge when trying to identify a plane’s history. Features that match the catalog description and illustration include; keyhole up cutter, japanned lever cap, tall slender knob. In conflict with the description is the steel depth adjusting screw vs. the catalog listed brass screw.
Examination of known Buckeye Mfg. & Foundry Co. planes or records of supplier contracts between Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Buckeye Mfg. & Foundry Co. would reveal the answers. Until such time, just another antique hand plane mystery.
Antique hand plane type studies are always evolving as lost artifacts are discovered in old tool chests and barns. The author is interested in findings that may add to or modify the information presented here. Please provide any comments or contributions via email at: Fulton.Planes@comcast.net.
You can find additional information on Sears, Roebuck & Co. “in-house” brand cast iron hand planes, as well as other well-known manufacturers at www.APlaneLife.us. The website features photo galleries of restored antique cast iron bench and block planes, antique saws, information on restoration, planes for sale, articles on antique tool collecting, and useful links for the enthusiast.