Gary, I apologize for not understanding, or barring that the WD-40 fumes are getting to me from the whole Simonds Saw scrubbing thing I just got done doing. But are you saying the Witherby family had brothers that made both hand planes and the famous ship building machinery they were so well known for? From my understanding they were known very well for making planers, but have no patents on jointer's that I am aware of. I have been on the US Patent Offices website and did find a whole pile of patents for other machinery however. No hand tools that I am aware of however.
Here is picture of my jointer after its rebuild. Its interesting to note that another version of this jointer exists somewhere in MA too. I got an email via the OWWM website from a lawyer in that area. He said he had my jointers twin sister. Unfortunately he was not a woodworker and did little with it, merely buying it as he said "just to have something very old and interesting."
As for my rebuild, I need to machine some new knives for it, then power it somehow. Either via an electric motor, or via my 25 hp tractor PTO shaft.
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"