Without doubt one of the best known hand tool manufacturers is the Stanley Tool Company. It was founded by Frederick T. Stanley in 1843, originally a bolt and door hardware manufacturing company located in New Britain, Connecticut.
The Stanley Rule and Level Company was founded in 1857 by Henry Stanley in New Britain, Connecticut.In 1920, this companies merged with the separate but related Stanley Works, founded by Henry Stanley’s cousin Frederick Trent Stanley, and continued operating as its hand tools division.
Stanley is a well-known brand of tools and has produced millions of hand planes, saws, rulers, try squares, chisels, screwdrivers, and many other types of tools for consumer and for industrial use. Their innovations include the Bailey plane, the Surform shaper, the PowerLock tape measure, the utility knife (called the “Stanley knife” in English).
One of the best, if not the best repository of Stanley Tool knowledge is Patrick Leach’s website.
Take for example his section dedicated to the Bench planes. There is just so much good info here.
In this video Alan Martin – the Stanley Work’s historian – takes us on a guided tour of the Stanley Museum and factory.
And if any one out there has a Stanley No. 1 smoothing plane let me know – I’ll even trade you a signed Alvin Sellens’ pioneer work, The Stanley Plane A History and Descriptive Inventory – now out of print.