On This Day In Wreck History - March 7, 1994.

Patrick Leach wrote:
Leonard Bailey, inventor of the common bench plane (as we know it) sold his patents to Stanley Rule and Level Co back in 1869. Mr. Bailey got a bit cheesed over the fact that he wasn't getting his just desserts from the burgeoning corporation, so he decided to invent another line of planes. This po'd Stanley, who sued Bailey in an attempt to stop him from making planes, called The Victor Plane. Even though the adjustment mechanism was different from his first patents, a judge ruled that the Victor mechanism was an in- fringement of the exclusive rights of Stanley. Things bounced back and forth for several years, and Stanley decided to become an agent for the sale of Bailey's Victor Planes due to the good press (in the trade rags of the time) they received. Finally, Stanley bought the Victor series outright, made them for a few years more (until late 1880's) and then chucked them altogether for the original Bailey design. The only plane that endured was the #20, but it underwent many modifications over its lifetime.
There are two basic adjustments characteristic of the Victor planes. The first, used on bench and block planes, has a circular disc, onto which an eccentric lever device is fixed. This device engages the cutter to raise or lower it whenever the disc is turned. There were three basic designs of this mechanism, but all operated on the principal of turning a disk, located at the top of the frog, to regulate the cutter.
On the #20, the Victor adjustment is a large, horizontal adjusting wheel, which is held captive in the main casting of the plane. Through the center of this wheel passes a large threaded post. When the wheel is turned, the post is raised or lowered (depending upon whether the screw is turned clock- wise or counter-clockwise), which in turn adjusts the sole of the plane to make it convex or concave. This adjustment mechanism is the best of all Stanley's circular planes, since there are no gears to strip (like the #113), and because it adjusts uniformly (unlike the #13 which requires the front and rear of the sole to be adjusted individually). I think Record's version of the circular plane is based on this design.
BTW, I should mention that this description is of the common, Stanley produced mechanism. The original #20's don't have the horizontal wheel. They have a large thumb screw-like threaded post, along with two large medallions attached to the body.
|> As a last note I found a Stanley #4 for $20 with very little rust and nickel |> plating in good shape. It has a strange 'b'ish shaped hole for the cap iron |> to clamp onto the blade. Any idea on the age, and is it a reasonable price?
The little hole you describe sounds like the one for the lever cap, not the cap iron. This is the kidney-shaped hole, which was introduced in the early 1930's. I buy every #4 I can find for $20, as long as they are in useable shape.
Patrick Leach
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