Basketmakers’ Tools

This specialised group of tools was first introduced by MARPLES in the 1928 Catalogue, but was probably available slightly before that time. They seem to have survived the incursion of Mr.Hilter into civilised life and appear for the last time in 1959All of these tools were available until the end of 1963, all except Item #3687 [Shears], which were de-listed c.1960.




At the moment the only physical example I have of any of these tools is a Basketmakers’ Shave:

You may note that MARPLES employed the same drawing of this item in all the catalogues despite the attachment of the hinged plate being moved from a screwed into end grain position to being screwed into a cross grain position as shown in my example. [date not known]
Also, I am unsure as to whether the adjusting screw on my plane is original, as there seems to be no reason to have such a large diameter hole surrounding it.


Under this title may be found the tools that ‘Masons’ used.
There is an overlap between  a Mason and a Bricklayer. The latter being primarily involved in laying courses of bricks for a building whereas a Mason was able to integrate/lay other building stones such as granite or limestone, and not necessarily in a uniform measure. There are therefore overlaps in the tools employed and I have tried to extricate just the tools used primarily by a ‘Mason‘.

The 1873 Catalogue seems to list the earliest Masons’ Tools:

Next are the listings from 1888:

The 1897 Catalogue sees these things:

From there we progress to the 1909 Catalogue:


1928 Catalogue:



This is a page wherein I will show MARPLES tools of which I am unable to identify the tool or its’ use.

These may be tools that only appeared between major Catalogues and are therefore untraceable by the usual routes!

The singular posts will be removed when I have found [or been so advised!] of the identity of the tool. But until then they will remain a MYSTERY!!.

The first one here is this probable 1950’s type of Awl.  Or could it be another tool that has been modified to be an Awl?  The handle definitely states  MARPLES and I had initially thought that it was a sail makers tool.

Please help me!!!


This class of Woodworking tool was a very early, if not initial, addition to the William Marples company.  Gimlets first appear [in printed format] in the 1846 Trade sheet and were then called…GIMBLETS….  But this name had changed by 1861 to the more usual name of GIMLETS.

Here is the 1844 list :

Then the 1861 list: [No price increase!]

The 1873 entry follows:

Then the 1888 entries:

And here are the 1897 pages:

And then the 1909 listings:

The 1921 listings, as with all tools, was truncated after the war:

The 1928 listings show a return to production:

The 1938 listings may be very close to those of 1928:

1959 Catalogue shows the expected reduction in styles:

And the 1965 Catalogue shows an even more drastic reduction in styles available:

The last catalogue to show a Gimlet [#1762] is the mini catalogue of 1971. The exact same catalogue of 1972 shows that this tool was no longer manufactured:

Below is a table showing the availability of Gimlets starting with the 1909 Catalogue. This Catalogue was the last one to generally have  new Item numbers assigned.  Before that there were too many changes to realistically track the items [see the pages of catalogues above].
In this table;   G= Gimlets
Box = Boxwood
not 21 = not found in the 1921 Catalogue.

Special Note:  Item #s 1806;1807 and 1808 Bellhangers’ Gimlets  were all numbered in 1928, but after that the 5/16″ and 3/8″ sizes were not item numbered in the catalogues, all being shown as #1806 and they were  discontinued around 1/65.


Below Left is #1752 Shell Gimlet with Square Tang.
Below Right is #1790 Brewer’s London Pattern Shell Gimlet.

Below are #1791 Brewer’s London Pattern Twist Gimlets.

Below is #1793  Cooper’s or Wine Frets Boixwood head.

Below are #1762 Square Tang Twist Gimlets. Probably the most common found today.

Below is #1806 Bell Hangers’ Long Shell Gimlet 12″.

Below is #1782 Spout, Gutter or Cabinet Twist Gimlet. 9″
#1782.1/2 was the 12″ version.





Hand Drills

MARPLES Hand Drills were not really introduced into the line-up until 1984 and then they were only a ‘RECORD Tools‘ extension of their #423 and  labelled M423.  This drill had a  Jacobs 5/16″ chuck and key,  Black enamelled wooden handles and a Blue Malleable iron frame and parts.

Around July 1989 I find that there are now 3 drills offered, M423; M422 and M421.  The M423 has a keyed chuck whereas the M422 was like the M423 but had a keyless chuck.   The lightweight for DIY M421 had a 3/16″ hand tightened chuck, was constructed of an Alloy and had plastic handles. The handles were highlighted with different colours [Blue and Green have so far been identified] and the handle had a screw fitted round end cap and could house drill bits in the hollow centre. It was nevertheless still double pinioned  and these were enclosed [see photos] The only identification that this was a MARPLES was the transfer name on the side of the gear wheel. The M421 also was not furnished with a side handle. It really was ‘cheap and nasty‘.

By January 1994 only the M423 and M422 are offered for sale. and by 1996 even these are not to be found listed anymore.

Below is the entry for Feb 1984 along with a catalogue photo.

Below is shown the 1988 entry showing just an M423 for sale:

The entry below is from July 1989 showing the introduction of M422 and M421:

Here is a breakdown diagram from 1991:


I have yet to find a picture of an M422.


And then the M421 showing the enclosed gears and no side handle provision:

Note the 2 different colours.

Cooper’s Tools

I started on this project and within weeks discovered that this subject cannot be totally dealt with on this page. There were simply too many tools, too many slightly different tools and too many entries in the catalogues to be able to actually put everything down on paper and keep all the tools in line and subjected together.

Therefore the best that I can do with this subject is show all the pages that dealt with Coopers’ Tools over the years and let you sort it all out as to whether your tool fits this description.  Sorry!!

So we start with the first indication that Wm. MARPLES made tools for the Cooper Trade in the 1846 Price List:

From there we go to the 1862 Catalogue entries:

Then to the 1873 entries:

The 1888 Catalogue entries are next:


1897 Catalogue entries:

I am sorry that I cannot make these images larger to make them more easily read…I am restricted in the width by the programme.

1909 Catalogue entries:


The 1921 issues follow: 

The 1928 Catalogue entries are here:

1938 entries:

The 1959 Catalogue sees a drastic reduction in tools offered:

ALL of the tools above shown in the 1959 Catalogue were still available up to the November 1963 Price List.  The April 1964 Price List shows that none were then available, so when C&J Hampton [RECORD] took over, all the old non-profitable tools were abandoned as per the wishes of the bean-counters.

Coopers’ Straight Spokeshave:

Coopers’ Handled Tap Borer:

Gimlets…Shell and Twist:

1201 Belfast-Pattern Crum Knife:




Coachmakers’ Other Tools & Wheelwrights’ Tools

It was not until the publication of the 1888 Catalogue do we see that MARPLES got into the manufacture of specialised Coachmakers’ Tools.
Also included on this page will be Wheelwrights’ tools, as they are listed together by MARPLES.
There we see a Coach Side Axe:

Strong Wrought Iron Cramps 5″-12″:

Draw Borers:

T-Plane irons up to 2″ in 1/8th increments, but no plane bodies:

Also listed, but with no images, are ‘Iron Stock Squares‘ in sizes 6″;8″ and 10″, and a Trimmers Hammer in #2 size.

The 1897 Catalogue shows the following:

Please note that Side Axe; Cramps; Draw Bore pins; Trimmers’ Hammers and Squares are as per 1888 listings. The T plane irons #194 are only listed as being available 1″-2″. New listings are for Coachmakers’ chisels; 14″ Iron Stock T bevels; Solid Cast Steel Framing hammers [#1126 @ 10 pence per lb!!]  ; Routers  and  ‘Spider Mortice Bevels‘ [no image]. With other Wheelers’ tools.

Available 1/8″ -2″


1909 Catalogue sees these entries:

Available 1/8″-2″


The Side Axe is now #1274
The Cast Steel chisel is now #650; the B/E chisel is #655 and the Incannel gouge is #660. The Bent Iron G cramp is now #4724 and a new item Welded Iron G  cramp 8″-18″is #4725. The Trimmers’ hammer is now #3908. Many other tools have been listed as shown above, but I do not see a listing for the T plane irons. The Framing hammers, now #3390, are available in 2.1/2-4lbs.

The 1928 Catalogue shows these pictures:

The above extract shows us, for the first time, an actual image of the Squares and Bevels. It also introduces Wheelers’ or Coach Shaves and 18″ Panel Gauges.

I do note that the Trimmers’ hammer is still available, but it has been moved by MARPLES to be listed under ‘Upholsterers’ Tools‘!
They did this just to confuse me 55 years later!!

Next are the 1938 tools:

As seen above the B/E chisel is no longer offered.

The Side Axe and Cramps are the same as 1928 and Trimmers’ Awls and Hammer are still to be found under Upholstery Tools.

The 1959 Catalogue listings show a drastic reduction in the availability of these specialised tools:

And then all three of these tools were discontinued at the end of 1963.

Wheelers’ Rounder:

The early version was cut from one solid piece of wood, whereas the later [time unknown] Rounders were made utilising inserted ‘dowel’  handles.

Fork Shaft Rounder…Brass Bushed:




This subject must be dedicated to just those hammers that were/are used in the woodworking trade, since MARPLES manufactured literally dozens of different sorts of hammers geared to the various trades it is beyond the scope of this site to describe and analyse ALL of the hammers so made.
Back before 1909 things get a little hazy as item numbers were ever changing; descriptions of the tools changed from catalogue to catalogue and the names ascribed to the hammers also differed. [ e.g.  Warrington hammers are not so described initially, but are listed under ‘Joiners’ hammers and then later under that Warrington name …see below]
It may be that ‘Joiner’s hammers and ‘Warrington’ style hammers co-existed before 1900,  but eventually the two forms were amalgamated into being a ‘Warrington Joiner’s ‘ hammer. [The initial joiners’ hammer looks like a smaller version of a Warrington with only slight differences in the face depth and profile.]   MARPLES also re-used Catalogue numbers, for e.g:
Tack hammer #3534 existed in one form up until 1909 and was then de-listed. But the #3534 was re-introduced as a Tack hammer of a different style in c.1935!!
You will see that I have tried to blank out the information that does not pertain to this specific Hammer file, but you will find other trades’ hammers listed under those different trades, as they are published here.

First to list are the 1861 entries:

And the 1873 entries:

1888 entries follow:

The 1897 catalogue lists these hammers:

1909 listings:

1928 listings:

The 1938 listings are below:

The first hard catalogue post war of 1959 shows these:

1965 listings:

So as far as I can research, the following are the beginning/end dates of manufacture by MARPLES of the following Hammer ‘styles’:

Adze-Eye Claw……………………………1888-1965
Bench/Farmer’s Claw…………………1897-1965
Patternmakers’ cross pein………….1888-1965
Patternmakers’ ball pein…………… 1888-1962
Saw Setting………………………………….1897-Jan 1964
Scotch Claw………………………………….1888-1928

But when C&J Hampton [RECORD] took over MARPLES they eventually re-introduced  RECORD-MARPLES hammers as Adze-Eye Claw; Warrington and Pin.  These were purely RECORD hammers and I do not consider them in this study as being a MARPLES product.

Tack Hammers:
MARPLES manufactured many different sorts of Tack Hammer and some went out of favour while others were introduced.  It is a confusing study because of the lack of uniformity of the numbering system and the descriptions ascribed to the tools.  Combine this with the fact that not all hammers were pictured!   So I have done my best to list the Tack hammers and their descriptions, but starting with the year 1897.

#3527   Black ‘Warrington’ style…………   1921-1959
#3528   Black Exeter…………………………….   1897[#941] – 1959
#3529   Black Exeter Claw…………………….  1897[#936] -1965
#3531    Best Bright Claw…………………………1928
#3534   Bright Tack Hammer………………….1897[#937] – 1909
#3534   Best ‘Warrington’ style ……………. 1938-1965
#3535    Tack     ………………………………………..1897[#938] -1909
#3536    Tack with handle claw ………………1909
#3537    Magnetic ……………………………………1909

The following products are to be considered pure MARPLES hammers, except where noted. To find good clean examples of everyday hammers is very difficult, since, being hammers, generally they were ‘hammered’ to death. [Sorry!].  So here is a small selection of hammers that I have, along with their description.

Adze Eye Claw hammers…2 sizes:

Canterbury Pattern Claw hammer:

Exeter Pattern Hammer and Exeter Pattern Tack hammer:

Bench/Farmer’s Hammer:

Warrington Hammers:

In the above photo at the top is shown a standard Record/Marples H667 Warrington hammer.

Warrington Pattern Tack Hammer and Patternmaker’s Cross Pein:

The cross pein Patternmaker’s hammer differs in the fact that it does not have a central circular polished poll.

Below is a mystery hammer which I have been unable to find either a description or a picture in all my catalogues.  It may have been that it existed briefly in the years between 2 major catalogues and therefore missed inclusion in both!  It looks like an Upholsterer’s hammer to me!


Tack Claws


[These tools are also dealt with briefly under ‘Upholsterers’ Tools].

These tools, used to remove Tacks or small nails are first to found in the 1897 Catalogue, and probably were introduced before this time:

The 1909 Catalogue shows these entries:

As you can see this is a mirror image reversal of the 1897 Catalogue entry but with a newly assigned number, see also below showing 3 options of this tool:

These tools are not mentioned in the 1921 Catalogue, probably having still been dropped from the line due to financial constraints resulting from fighting the Germans. But the 1921 Catalogue does indicate that a full list of Upholstery tools may be had on application, indicating that the Catalogue was not a complete list.
They are re-introduced by the time the 1928 Catalogue was published but it looks as though old #3947 has been now numbered #3541 and old #3949 becomes new number #3546 and the Rosewood variety has been de-listed.:

The listing in 1938 follows and shows that #3542 with an Ash handle is a new addition, that a short Beech Ball handled variety #3543 is in production but that the Strong Pattern #3546 has been dropped from the line:

We have to wait until 1959 to see the next catalogue entry showing that the   Ash handled #3542 is no longer present:

In the 1965 Catalogue only the #3541 is mentioned and showing a Brown painted cap to the now Ash handle:

This #3541 continued through to August 1973 when it is shown in the M2 MARPLES Catalogue having a ‘Hardwood‘ handle:

By July 1979 there is no mention that this tool was available, but suddenly in May 1985 a ‘New Item’ was introduced…M180 Tack Lifter costing £3.16.          I can find no pictures of this item and surmise that it may well have been a plastic handled tool, as was common at that time. But by August 1987 even this M180 is no longer listed although having been still shown available in March 1986 .
This #3541 shown below is probably from early 1960s?





Carpet Stretchers


I feel sure that these tools were available slightly before 1873, but that is the first catalogue in which I can find them being for sale. At that time and for many years they were called ‘Carpet Strainers‘ and the name only changed to ‘Stretchers c.1938. These tools were used to catch the edge of a carpet with the teeth {of the tool!} and with a thump from the artisan’s knee [ouch!!] the carpet would be knudged slightly further toward the perimeter of the room where a fixed line of teeth, embedded in a wooden strip, would grab hold of the underside of the carpet. In this way a carpet could be stretched taut in a room, avoiding any ripples  on the carpet surface. This tool would have been used more by professional carpet fitters rather than by Joe Public!

The 1873 listing is shown here:

At this stage it is not stated that the Tools came with a handle and of note is that the teeth are single primary teeth only, with no secondary teeth in between…see later.

Below is a #1153 with 8 teeth and a handle, c.1873.

The 1897 Catalogue shows some changes in that the item numbers have changed, that a ‘handled’ option is available and a cheaper ‘Japanned’ variety could be had instead of the Nickel plated items. By this time only the ‘Bent Socket’ variety was offered.  Judging from the drawing, it appears as though by 1897 a set of secondary teeth now is interspersed with the primary teeth.:

Moving on to 1909 we see this:

In 1909 we see that the numbers have again been changed , a ‘jointed’ handle could be had  for 3/6d extra each and that the illustration now does not show the ‘secondary’ teeth!!   I put this down to incorrect artist’s interpretation!! It would appear that the tool was primarily available without the Mushroom top [Item #3916], so maybe it was intended to be used by shoulder power?  The Mushroom top variety was also offered [Item #3917] but at 6 shillings more per dozen.

The 1921 catalogue shows this:

It appears that the #3918 Common Japanned stretcher is now not listed, nor is the option to have a jointed 2 piece handle. [It is  a common theme that the 1921 Catalogue shows only a reduced list of tools that were available before the 1914-18 War.]

The 1928 listings are shown below:

And there you can see that the Jointed handle to the Mushroom topped #3917 has been reinstated as Item#3917.1/2 and the Common Japanned variety has re-appeared. The Mushroom top also appears to be larger.

The 1938 Catalogue entries are offered here:

It seems that Item#3917 automatically comes with a Mushroom handle and no other handle style is offered. This is also the first time that the prices quoted are ‘each‘.

The 1959 Catalogue shows that the 8 tooth stretcher is no longer listed:

Again here is another case of MARPLES using old pictures years after the product has been updated. Above shows  a Mushroom head picture which appeared in 1921 but which was updated to the modern fuller form in 1928!!    Maybe nobody was taking sufficient care of their catalogues at this time.   I wonder how more ‘mistakes’ show up in this 1959 Catalogue?
The last listing thjat I can find for these tools is in the Price List of November 1963.
Here is an early #3915 unhandled stretcher showing 10 teeth and being 3.3/4″ across:

And here is a 3917.1/2 Jointed handle stretcher with 12 teeth and being 4.5/8″ across:

Below is a 10 teeth #3917: