The Very Rare Upson Nut Karman Patent No 2 Smooth Plane

The history of the Upson Nut company is a bit cloudy, depending on what source you reference. The company was incorporated in 1872 in Unionville CT. At about the same time the Standard Rule Company was founded as part of the Upson Nut group. For the first 17 or so years the companies were involved in making their namesake tools, i.e. nuts and bolts and standardized rules. At some point the company opened a manufacturing plant in Cleveland, OH.  In about 1889 Standard Rule and Upson merged. That same year employee George Karman came up with a variation of Stanley's patented lateral lever where in a friction plate, attached to the bottom of the lever, moved the iron laterally rather than the Bailey pattern lateral adjuster nib. The design was used on their Bailey pattern planes and on a very few Standard Rule planes, apparently without much fiscal success. While very few of the No 2 size Upson planes are known to exist, it's believed that no examples of a Karman patent two size Standard Rule plane were ever produced though they have been noted in larger sizes. The Upson plane was produced for only two years at which point Stanley purchased the tools division of the company. Under Stanley's ownership the company quit producing the Karman patented planes though continued to produce planes with the Upson Nut name and logo until the 1920s. The accuracy of this information cannot be guaranteed. Numerous sources were reviewed but each varied. A general assumption was made based on the consistency of available data.

Second rate production still works rather well
Upson Nut #2 smoothing plane

These planes are some of the rarest in the #2 size. Let me know if you find one. I'd love to compare its performance to this example.

George Karman 1889 patent friction plate adjuster

Perhaps the size, perhaps the design was ineffectual in this plane. The iron sat above the adjusting plate too far for it to have any effect on the lateral movement of the iron. A few Upson Bailey pattern examples have been found in the No 2 size sans the friction plate.

Upson Nut #2 smoothing plane  c1894-96

I was actually quite impressed with the performance of the plane and was able to produce as fine a wispy shaving as with any #2 size Bailey.

Upson Nut #2 smoothing plane  c1894-96
Upson Nut #2 smoothing plane  c1894-96
Upson Nut #2 smoothing plane  c1894-96
Upson Nut #2 smoothing plane  c1894-96

It's quite apparent that Upson ripped off Stanley's Bailey pattern but was not even close to Stanley's quality or marketing. The Karman patent planes were only produced for 2 years, 1894-1896.

Upson Nut #2 smoothing plane  c1894-96
Upson Nut #2 smoothing plane  c1894-96

The logo is quite reminiscent of the early Stanley "half moon" trademark. Apparently the designers at Upson Nut had a difficult time coming up with an original idea.