Henry P. Cope Routers

Origins of the Stanley No. 71 Router Plane

Henry Cope was a pattern maker working for the Detroit Stove Works when he patented his first router plane in 1884. (Patent No. 294,724: filed January 12, 1884 and granted March 4, 1884.)

Henry P. Cope's router patent

Design Changes

Cope modified his first router model (Type 1) by redesigning the cutter locking collar (Type 2).

Type 1. Patented March 4, 1884 by Henry P. Cope

Type 2. Second model as sold to Stanley Rule & Level Co.

Cashing In

Cope sold his router plane patent rights to Stanley Rule & Level Co. in 1884. Later that year Stanley introduced it's No. 71, a slightly larger version of Cope's router plane.

Type 2 router plane by Henry Cope above the No. 71 (Type 1) router plane as made by Stanley Rule & Lever Co.

Stanley Rule & Level Catalog advertisement dated January 1, 1887.

Trivia Corner

John Henry Bissell was an attorney who owned half the rights to Cope's router patent. He was born in 1846, and his law offices were located at 80 Griswald Street, Detroit, MI. He must have been very prominent as he had a telephone in 1884.

Henry Cope lived at 215 McDougall Avenue, Detroit, MI for the years 1884 and 1885. His brother George also worked at the Stove Works. In 1886 Cope quit his job and opened his own business, The Excelisior Stove Pattern Company, at 59-61 Fort Street in Detroit. Henry Cope was listed as President, with his brother George as Secretary and Treasurer. I would venture that this all came about with the money he received from selling the patent to Stanley Rule & Level Co. All this not being enough, he was married in 1886 to Catherine (the Widow) Philps. Things must have continued to go well for him, as he had a telephone installed by 1889.

Last modified: April 15, 1996

Jay Sutherland, jay@ee.cornell.edu