The original cost of a new hand plane in the early 1900's

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  • #555126
    GfB
    Participant

    Today, getting a newly manufactured, high quality hand plane is gonna cost ~$200-300. I’m curious what hand planes cost in the early 1900’s, and even late 1800’s, adjusting for inflation? According to the inflation calculator I used, $200 in 2017 is about $7 in 1900.

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  • #555127
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    Well, I own a copy of the 1906 #355 Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue ( all 1147 pages of it) prices were pretty stable from say, 1890 to WWI.

    in 1906, this offering below from Hammacher Schlemmer hardware in NYC cost $85.

    It was a toolchest/ workbench in fumed white oak for an apartment dweller that folded up to look like a sideboard.

    It was called outfit number 100 because it contained 100 hand tools.

    The planes included a Stanley #4,#5,#18 block plane, and a #78 moving filletster plane.

    Elsewhere in the catalogue a Stanley Bailey #4 was $2.40.

    A Staley #45 with 20 cutters was $9.00.

    A Stanley #9 cabinet maker’s plane was $4.10. Collectors have paid a couple thousand for a good survivor.

    Stanley shoulder planes #’s 92-94 averaged about $2.10 ea.

    I assume your modern plane was based on the Stanley bedrock series. In 1906 a Bedrock #605 was in the catalogue for $3.20.

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    #555130
    GfB
    Participant

    @awesomeopossum74

    Larry, that is an amazing looking book and tool chest! In today’s inflation, that $85 would have been about $2000-2500. You might be able to get the tools for that much these days, but that chest itself would be worth a bit on its own.

    As far as the cost of a Stanley #4 at $2.40, that puts it around $60-70 with inflation. Interestingly, with the prices the way they are on eBay, you can expect to pay that much for a re-fettled #4 from the same era.

    #555132
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    They gave the catalogue away for free, btw. I see a copy for sale at $300.

    How much inflation is that?

    It has a warning that if you tore pages out of it, they wouldn’t send you another.

    It wasn’t an annual catalogue, but they honored those prices until the next edition.

    And I’ve seen the chest empty for about $4000 now.

    I don’t think you could get the set for $2500. The chisels are Buck Bros, the saws by Disston, etc.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Larry Geib.
    #555134
    GfB
    Participant

    @awesomeopossum74

    [quote quote=555132]
    It has a warning that if you tore pages out of it, they wouldn’t send you another.
    [/quote]
    Haha, how would they know? Did you have to send the old one in for inspection?

    [quote quote=555132]
    It wasn’t an annual catalogue, but they honored those prices until the next edition.
    [/quote]
    The old way. When verbal promises were considered contractual.

    My father used to work for Department of Environmental Protection. He surveyed and recommended land for purchase by the state to become parks. He told me about an elderly gent who quoted him a price verbally for a parcel of his land, without knowing its actual value (which was substantially more). When the state came to bind an agreement, the old timer told them he’d already quoted, and would stand by it. That’s honor. Don’t see that any more.

    #555135
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    According to this source a 1907 carpenter in NYC could expect to make $44 a week ( probably a 50hr week).

    https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?q1=Carpenters;id=uc1.b3991872;view=image;seq=83;num=75;start=1;sz=10;page=search

    So that kit would have been two weeks wages. But it was marketed to gentlemen of leisure ( lawyers, dentists ) who typically made 5 times that.

    #555136
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    Haha, how would they know? Did you have to send the old one in for inspection?

    Apparently people were placing orders by circling what they wanted and sending the pages in.

    That’s how my grandparents ordered stuff from Sears.

    #555144
    Alan
    Participant

    @alan141

    That style of Workstation / Toolchest would make a great project today.

    #555149
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    Lee valley offers plans for it. Theirs is a little different. The vice options and spot for the mitre box is filled with more drawers.

    But you could change stuff up.
    For example, I’d use the space for shooting boards.
    http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/Page.aspx?p=69603&cat=1

    The original without tools cost $45, which means they valued the 100 tools at $40.

    I have a set of these plans, but I’m unsure whether I will build it. I’ll eventually be moving to a senior center 5-10 years from now, but they have a wood shop. There will even be room for my venerable workbench.

    That would certainly be better for me. There are compromises with the limited work area with the H&S bench.

    Ya gotta think about these things.

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