Historical information

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 object. 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 worker to pull the plane ahead of the master who guided it.

Auburn Tool Company:

The Auburn Tool Company is known to exist from 1864 to 1893. George Casey reorganized the firm of Casey, Clark and Company as a joint-stock company in 1864, under the company name of Auburn Tool Company. The 1865 New York State Census noted the firm as a manufacturer of the plane, plane irons, and skates. The production that year was listed as 30,000 pairs of skates and 35,000 planes along with 25,000 dozen plane irons. The plane irons carried the trademark "Thistle".
Both skates and plane irons were made from welded wrought iron and cast steel. The Auburn Tool Company was among the five leading plane manufacturing firms existing in the mid to late 19th century USA. Others were: H. Chapin's Son; Greenfield Tool Company; and Sandusky Tool Company. Auburn Tool Company, with these others, was also a founding member of the Plane Makers Association, organized around 1858 to fix prices. Most of the companies tools were manufactured by prisoners and in 1866 the firm was outbid for prison labour by J M Easterly and Co.
After losing the contract with the prison authority they constructed a new building and continued in the plane manufacturing business with private labour. The 1870 US Census reported the firm had 21 machines, driven by water power, employing 66 males, producing annual products valued at us$70, 000.
After A. Howland and Company was dissolved in 1874, the Auburn Tool Company again resumed using contract labour at the State Prison until 1877. The Auburn Tool Company merged with the Ohio Tool Company of Columbus, Ohio, on Nov 14, 1893. Although plane manufacturing was continued at Auburn until after 1907, after this merger the firm went under the name of the Ohio Tool Company.


A significant item 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 was made predominately by hand and with tools that were themselves hand made shows the craftsmanship used to make such a unique item. It also gives an insight into how many manufacturing companies bid for the rights to use prison labour to make their products at this time in our history.

Physical description

Decorative wood Moulding, plane Round type

Inscriptions & markings

Auburn New York. Owner A Neudt Size 14