Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, Warrnambool
Moulding Plane .
A moulding plane is a specialised plane used for making the complex shapes found in wooden mouldings that are used to decorate furniture or other wooden objects. Traditionally, moulding planes were blocks of wear-resistant hardwood, often beech or maple, which were worked to the shape of the intended moulding. The blade or iron was likewise formed to the intended moulding profile and secured in the body of the plane with a wooden wedge. A traditional cabinetmakers shop might have many, perhaps hundreds, of moulding planes for the full range of work to be performed. Large crown mouldings required planes of six or more inches in width, which demanded great strength to push and often had additional peg handles on the sides, allowing the craftsman's apprentice or other workers to pull the plane ahead of the master who guided it.
John Moseley & Son:
Records indicate that before 1834, the firm is listed at number 16 New Street, London and according to an 1862 advertisement the shop had been established in New Street since 1730, The Sun insurance records from the time show that John Moseley was the possessor of a horse mill in the yard of his premises, which means that some kind of manufacturing was taking place, as the mill would have provided power to run a saw or perhaps a grinding wheel so the probability is that he did not just sell tools, he made them as well. John Moseley died in 1828 and his will he names his four sons: John, Thomas, William and Richard. To complicate matters he also had brothers with the same first names; brothers Richard (of Piccadilly) and William (of Peckham Rye) are named as two of the executors. Brother Thomas is not mentioned in this will, but became a minister and was one of the executors of brother Richard’s estate when he died in 1856. From John’s will, we also learn that, although the shop was in New Street, he resided in Lympstone, Devon. The family must have had a house in that county for quite some time as both sons Richard and William are baptised in Devon, although John and Thomas were baptised in London.
In the 1841 and 1851 census records, we just find William in New Street, but in 1861 both William and Richard are listed there as toolmakers. That Richard was staying overnight at New Street was probably just accidental as in 1851 and 1871, we find him with his wife Jane and children in Clapham and Lambeth respectively. In 1851 Richard is listed as “assistant clerk cutlery warehouse” and in 1871 as “retired plane maker and cutler”. Although the actual place of work is not stated, one may assume he worked in the family business.
1862 is a year full of changes for the firm. In that year, William had a new property built at 27 Bedford Street. In the catalogue for the 1862 International Exhibition, 54 Broad Street (later 54-55 Broad Street) is listed for the first time, which may very well coincide with the split of the business into a retail and a wholesale branch. Around the same time, they must have moved from New Street to 17 & 18 King Street because their manufacturing premises had been pulled down to form the New Street from Cranbourne Street to King Street.
In January 1865, William died and Richard continued the business. In 1867, the partnership he had with his son Walker and Thomas Elis Hooker, is dissolved. Richard continued tool making at King Street and Bedford Street. Richard retired somewhere between 1867 and 1871, but the business continued. The business is taken over by W M Marples & Sons and tools continued to be made in London until 1904 when manufacturing relocated to Sheffield.
A vintage tool made by a well documented company, this item was made commercially for firms and individuals that worked in wood and needed a tool that could produce a ornamental finish to timber. The tool was used before routers and spindle moulders came into use after World War ll, a time when to produce a decorative moulding for a piece of furniture, door trims etc or other items had to be accomplished using hand tools and in particular one of these types of planes. These profiled planes came in various shapes and sizes to achieve a decorative finish.
A significant tool from the mid to late 19th century that today is quite rare and sought after by collectors. It gives us a snapshot of how furniture and other decorative finishes were created on timber by the use of hand tools. Tools that were themselves hand made shows the craftsmanship used during this time not only to make a tool such as the subject item but also the craftsmanship needed to produce a decorative finish that was needed to be made for any timber item.
Inscriptions & Markings
J Moseley. maker and R Knight & J Heath also stamped stamped (Owners)