Probably about 10 years ago I bought a lot of four wooden planes on eBay. One was marked from plane manufacturer John Veit, so let’s explore its genealogy a little. It’s a 22″ (fore?) plane, made of either beech or applewood, with plane makers mark on the toe. It has a double-iron. John Veit was a plane maker from Philadelphia (whose address is clearly marked on the plane), from around 1860 to about 1904.
Smaller plane makers like this probably didn’t have their own catalogs, and therefore often sold through dealers. One such catalog was J.B.Shannon – the planes of John Veit appeared in the 1873 “Illustrated Catalogue and Price List of Carpenters’ Tools“, as “Veit’s City Made Warranted Bench Planes”.
The blade and cap iron are from W. Greave & Sons. William Greaves was a cutlery manufacturer, anf razorsmith in Sheffield, who started in 1787, with his sons joining the company in 1817. In 1823, the Greaves family built the Sheaf Works, the first integrated steel works in Sheffield. They were manufacturing table knives, razors and edge tools. The company was dissolved in 1850, and steel and tool side of the business was bought by Thomas Turton & Sons, who continued using the Greaves & Sons’ mark. The cap iron is stamped “SHEAF WORKS”.
So how did an English plane blade and iron get onto an American made plane body? Well it turns out Greaves & Sons exported a good amount of their production to America, and the Sheffield directories actually listed them as “American merchants”.
Carl Bopp, “Made in Philada: No. 4”, The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association, March (2004)