William Taylor Adams (1822 – 1897), pseudonym Oliver Optic, was a famous academic, author, and a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Adams in whole wrote over 100 books and most of them for a boy audience. "Plane and Plank"by Oliver Optic is the second of The Upward and Onward Series, in which the main character Phil Farringford, appears as a mechanic. The events of the story are located on the Missouri River and in the city of St. Louis. Phil learns the trade of a carpenter, and the contrast between a young mechanic of an inquiring mind, earnestly laboring to master his business, and one who feels above his calling, and overvalues his own skill, is presented to the young reader, with the hope that he will accept the lesson.