Let's Accessorize Our Tool Hoard
set of hollow and round bottoms for attachment to a Stanley
45 combination plane
It's not often that one gets a chance to examine the thought
process of an inventor who created substantial and lasting patented
items. After his arrival in America in 1854 to join his father,
Justus A. Traut, aged 14, embarked on a journey that saw him
develop, design and patent more than 300 usable items. Traut
was employed by the Stanley Tool and Level Co. as a contractor
during its major growth years from 1870 to 1908 following the
American Civil War. From 1903 until his death in 1908, he collaborated
with his son Frank L. Traut on the majority of his patents.
It is alleged that J.A. Traut was the most successful inventor
of any time who specialized in woodworking hand tools.
By 1865 manufacture of the wooden plane was starting to wane,
as hand production of the various types and styles was too laborious
and required numerous skilled tradespersons. The American industrial
machine was starting to reach its zenith during that period.
With the modernization of the manufacturing process, machines
were created that could do the work faster, resulting in the
elimination of independent wooden plane makers. Bailey's patent
of 1856 had proven that a metal (cast-iron) tool could be mass
produced and sold at a much lower price, giving more consumers
a chance to own and use good, affordable, workable tools.
Traut's patent #206,507, dated 1878, was for a series of attachments
to fit a purpose-built carrier body that allowed the user to
create beads as well as hollow and round profiles. No longer
would a craftsperson have to carry an assortment of planes to
do a job. In 1884, Traut took it one step farther with patent
#294,825 for the basic version of the Stanley 45, advertised
as "seven planes in one". Presumably, this later patent
supplanted the earlier plane, which is not commonly found. The
model 45 combination plane was continually produced (with improvements)
until about 1962.