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Wood planes are used to smooth wood or to create wood mouldings. Plane making was a highly specialized trade in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Cesar Chelor, the creator of this plane, was a slave belonging to plane maker Francis Nicholson of Wrentham, Massachusetts. Upon Nicholson's death in 1753, Chelor was given his freedom along with his workbench, tools, some land and timber. Chelor was then able to stamp his own name on the planes he created, such as the one shown here, which he made in about 1770. In 1758, Cesar Chelor married Judith Russell. The couple had nine children and were part of a larger African American community living in Wrentham. Cesar Chelor died in 1784. Today, there is a "Cesar Chelor Drive" in Wrentham and Chelor's planes are highly valued by historians and collectors.

 

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