As far as we know now, the story begins in Roman times. The Romans themselves said the plane was invented by the Greeks, but so far no Greek planes have been found.
W.L. Goodman, “The Story of the Plane”.
My favorite plane is a Lie-Nielsen (L-N) No.62 low angle jack plane that I purchased from L-N earlier this year.
I bought it because I was tired of fighting tough wood - e.g., wenge, ebony, ziricote - with a vintage Stanley No.5 jack plane set up with a toothing iron and that got swapped out for smoothing iron to finish the work.
I ordered the No.62 with two extra irons - a toothing iron and a regular iron. The toothing iron makes short work of reducing wood down to desired thicknesses, the other iron got a 35 degree angle on it, which, if sharpened it well enough, will produce a glassy smooth finish.
It took a while to make the decision to purchase this plane, the price of the plane and extra irons was a bit of an issue, but after I saw that most used L-N tools sell for the same price, or more, as a brand new L-N tools on eBay, price was no longer an obstacle.
When I looked at reviews of how well this plane performs, reviewers loved it or hated it. Do an Internet search of reviews if you want to read what was and is said about this plane.
This plane is a joy to use. It hogs off wood, it can produce a smooth glassy finish, and the best thing about it for me is that I can joint a guitar top or back with far more precision and ease that with my well tuned circa 1994 English made Stanley No.7 jointer plane. I haven't used the No.7 to joint a top or back since I got the No.62; the only time I use my Stanley No.5, type 10 jack plane is to clean up the faces of a rough cut board, and my Stanley No.3, type 11, smooth plane hasn't seen any bench time. For the work I do, building classical guitars, this plane truly lives up to its sobriquet of jack.
Will I be selling my Stanley planes on eBay anytime soon? Not yet, sentiment is holding me back. Someday, maybe, and replace them with the same size Lie-Nielsen planes.