I found a Bell & Fisher Whitehaven 1/8" Boxed Side Bead at our newest local Antique dealer. I had never heard of this maker, so I did some looking up when I got home. I found it in "British Planemakers from 1700 3rd Edition" This was a partnership with James Bell, who is listed in 1816, and someone named Fisher, listed in 1820 only as Ironmongers and copper merchants. Then I noticed the VR beside the description. This is "Very Rare- probably less than 50 examples known".
So how in the heck does such a rare tool wind up in Regina? Especially when Whitehaven is in Cumbria up near the Isle of Man. That's a long way from where most planemakers were found (Glasgow, London, York, Bristol, etc.) and a heck of a long way from here.
I was pleased with an early plane in pretty good condition and a nice small size. Now it has something extra special going for it.
Great find Bob. Lots of immigrants from Europe brought their specialty tools over to America when they came. All it takes is one guy with a set of tools and you can indeed find rare items over on this side of the pond. You got very lucky.
Thanks for the comment. I know I got extremely lucky on this one.
Several years ago I found a Robert Wells (Trenton, NY) 8/8 Round Molding Plane at another Antique store. Those are supposed to have about 250-500 examples. So I've had a little luck but most of the "woodies" we find here are Scottish (Mathieson, Marshall, Malloch, Stewart) or English (Moseley, Varvill and Greenslade are reasonably common). American ones are mostly Barton, Ohio and Sandusky, but far less common than UK ones. Canadian- made planes are fairly uncommon finds, with Dawson, Dryburgh, Monty and Wallace showing up occasionally.