Notes on Dating a Parks Planer
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Submitted to the Old Woodworking Machines Discussion Forum by Keith Bohn
e-mail: UnisawA100@wi.rr.com.Catalog No. 37
My earliest Parks catalog showing the 12" No. 95 planer is dated 1940. The catalog measures 6" X 9" and is Catalog No. 37. I say it's dated 1940 but that's according to the price list insert as the catalog doesn't have a true date or date code but the price list is noted as being for Catalog No. 37. The planer shown is identical to all Parks No. 95's I've ever seen with the exception of:
1) There are four thumb nut type fasteners on the top of the machine where they later used the 1" coupling nuts (Part No. A-49). Curiously, my 1938 Craftsman catalog shows the coupling nuts.
2) The gear box cover is not secured and instead is somewhat saddle shaped to where it looks to have been set in place and held by gravity. Again, the 1938 Craftsman catalog is somewhat contradictory and shows a set in place cover though the castings are slightly different. By the way, my 1948 Craftsman catalog shows a secured gear box cover.
3) There is no throw out handle (Part No. A-11) on the gear box. As might be expected, the 1938 Craftsman has this feature.
4) There is a flat bar in front of the column tie rod (Part No. A-66). For all I know this may have acted as the column tie rod as I cannot see past it to see if there is one or not. The 1938 Craftsman catalog shows the round column tie rods.
5) The gib screws on the four corners of the bed are shown as hex head cap screws and jamb nuts where later they used 1/4-20 hex socket screws and jamb nuts. And yet again, the 1938 Craftsman shows the hex sockets and jamb nuts.
6) The base casting (Part No. A-61) in the 1940 catalog has the end of the table raising shaft exposed (on the left, facing the machine's infeed table) and held in place with a shaft collar on the outside of the machine. The 1938 Craftsman catalog shows this area to be cast iron and machined from the inside to accept the shaft. In other words, you cannot see the end of the shaft in later *improved* models.
It does not show a stand. Sell price: $187.50
The balance of this catalog features the old Parks line of combination machines and stand alone machines that were made up of angle iron bases and castings that Parks built from the earlier part of the 20th. Century.
I can only speculate that this 1940 catalog used old art work as every difference shown is included in the 1938 Craftsman catalog.
Moving along,Kindt-Collins Catalog - dated 1946
Shows the machine as we know it with the exception of, a cast iron stand in lieu of the 12 ga. sheet metal stand. The casting's foot print looks to be the same as the sheet metal stand and the top of the casting is the same as the machine's base, but, the casting flares gracefully upward. It has an large opening on the right for the motor pulley to fit through just like the sheet metal stand. No pulley cover is shown nor is a motor.
The Parks No. 20 planer is shown on the same page. No other Parks machines are shown in the catalog.
This brochure is identical to the one posted on James' Web page with the exception of:
1) It shows the cast iron base as shown in the Kindt-Collins catalog.
2) The gear box cover is not secured.
3) It has the 1887 date on the back and the text on the inside states, "For over forty-eight years Parks has manufactured..." With some simple addition we arrive at a late 30's date for the brochure, but wait, there is a price list included that's dated 1952, but, the price list calls the base out as, "Fabricated Steel Base".
Again, must I conclude that old art work was used?Parks Brochure
This one is the exact duplicate of the one shown on James' Web page and ha the 1887 date and the mention of being in business "For nearly three-quarters of a century". Again, doing the math thing we arrive at late 50's/early 60's. Again though, a non-secured gear box cover.
Was film so expensive then or what?
This last brochure is bound in a *leatherette* style folder along with other brochures for Parks machines and has a 1962 price list so I can only conclude that it's a true 1962 brochure.
Now, what do we take from this little exercise? Catalogs aren't the best way to *vintage* a machine. Parks, it appears, did not like to spend money on re-shooting art work for their catalogs. Therefore, when another catalog shows *improved versions*, I rely on the other catalog's date. That's not to say that other catalogs might use the manufacturer's stock art work, but, when an improvement is shown, it's a safe bet that the art work is newer.