In May of 1872 O.R. Chaplin was granted a patent of his "Improvement in carpenter's plane" consisting of an interesting method of adjusting the depth of the blade by a simple thumb lever. Over the next 28 years Chaplin produced this version of his plane in several iterations including an adjustable mouth, cast iron handles with options for wood and India rubber.
Chaplin's patent as applied for and granted in 1872. Note the interesting and somewhat complex mechanism for adjusting the blade depth.
The earliest models of Chaplin's planes were japanned red which was replaced in the late 1880s by black. Many versions had bright nickel plating adorning the cast iron knob, tote, screw down tightening cap and adjusting lever. The all cast models with plating were indeed a sight to behold.
This example is in its original configuration and even after 150 years, with but a honing of the blade, it works as it was designed.
Chaplin improved the design in about 1899 by adding a lateral adjusting lever. His later patents, all pertaining to that feature were included on all planes produced after that time and until the company ended production in about 1914.
The planes were produced by Tower & Lyon, which was also the marketing agent. Mr. Tower, aslo an inventor, contributed some design improvements as well. Other names synonymous with the Tower & Lyon Chaplin's patent planes include firearms makers Iver Johnson and Reinhardt Torkelson (rubber tote and adjustable mouth) and Maschil Converse (lateral adjuster)
The two-piece screw down cap was a combination chip breaker and lever cap (sans lever). The two pieces were mated for life as evidenced by the matching assembly numbers and riveted together.
Early iterations of the special order wood handles were attached via a patented cast iron boss attached to the main casting. This photo shows that the patent had yet to be granted ("PAT APPL FOR")when this plane was assembled.