Artisan Made Bronze Version of a No 2 size Davis Level and Tool Smoothing Plane

(This excerpt was taken (stolen actually) from information provided by The Davistown Museum;https://www.davistownmuseum.org/bioDavis.htm)

The ornate levels and measuring tools of L. L. Davis and the Davis Level & Tool Company of Springfield, MA, are among the most sought after examples of the florescence of American toolmakers in the second half of the 19th century.   There is no direct connection between the Davis family of the Davistown Plantation and Leonard Davis.

The following information is quoted from the DATM (1999, pg. 214).

The Leonard L. Davis Co., started in 1867, "...became the Davis Level & Tool Co. in 1875.  Leonard L. Davis was born 21 Feb. 1838 and died 13 Aug. 1907.  He had 17 March 1868 and 17 Sept. 1867 patents for inclinometer levels made by this company (but marked with his name only) and the successor.  He also had a 31 Aug. 1875 metal plane patent, and a 21 Nov. 1871 level patent; the planes were made, but it is not certain if the level was.  (NOTE: Different Davis levels are marked with 17 March 1867 and 17 March 1868 patent dates; documentary sources indicate that only the 1868 date is valid.)"

The Davis Level & Tool Co., (1875 - 1892) "...made inclinometer levels with 29 May 1877 (F.T. Ward & T. Bedworth), 17 Sept. 1867, 17 March 1868, and 22 Sept. 1868 patents; metal planes patented by Charles E. Torrance 2 Jan. 1872; a universal square patented by Joseph C. Marshall 2 Jan. 1877; braces with patent dates of 17 April 1883, 14 Oct. 1884, and 1886 (John Bulen); and a 4 Dec. 1866 R. Hathaway patent combination gauge (also made by J. Stevens & Co.).  Davis sold his patent rights to the M.W. Robinson Co. of NY."

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

Unmistakably a scaled down Davis patent plane albeit with some liberty taken by the maker. This plane was produced Ca1997, The original company never produced a #2 size plane. Apparently the example was produced as a single item. The Victorian style design is typical of the day with a sweeping (exaggerated) tote horn.

Davis Level and Tool #3 size smoothing plane (for comparison)

Davis Level and Tool #3 size smoothing plane (for comparison)

Note the similarity between this cast iron #3 size and the bronze version. The maker had to do some fine work to maintain the look and style.

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

The Leonard L. Davis Company was formed in 1865 in Springfield, MA and in 1875 the name was changed to The Davis Level and Tool Company. Their entry into the plane manufacturing business started at about this time, though they were much better known for their ornately designed levels.

Davis Level and Tool #3 size smoother

Davis Level and Tool #3 size smoother

Davis Level and Tool only produced 4 sizes of planes to include a block plane, smoothing plane (as above) a jack plane and a jointer. Apparently early renditions did not have the adjustable mouth plate.

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

The beautifully turned knob and true shaped tote enhance the interest and beauty of the piece. The wood species is unknown.

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

The brass knobs are designed with a cross hatch knurling. This version has a sliding plate fitted under the iron held in place with 2 screws. Loosening the screws allows the plate to move fore and aft, which changes the mouth width.

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

The threaded brass knob behind the frog adjusts the pitch of the blade, as in Leonard Bailey's patented design on his split frame and vertical post planes. The adjusting bar with the knobs on each end shifts side to side for angular lateral adjustment.

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

The tote horn with the exagerated lateral sweep seems fragile enough. Though this plane has never been used, nor does it appear that it was ever intended for use. The iron has never been honed.

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

If you look closely at the edges of the bottom you should be able to see a very tight seams extending the full length. It would appear (with no supporting evidence) that the bottom was cast in three pieces, then adhered by methods unknown to form the body. The interior is covered with japanning and any seam is not visible. Anybody out there that can shed some light on this?

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

The mouth adjusting plate can be seen in the mid section of the main casting. There is a tiny thumb knob at the back, presumably for setting and maintaining the adjustment.

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

Davis Level and Tool #2 size Bronze Reproduction

As was apparently the practice of the day, the maker not only japanned the inner sections of the casting but most of the other components, including the back of the iron.

maker's mark

maker's mark

I wish I knew more about this person. Anyone with information, I'd love to hear from you.