Awls and Tool Pads

This section has been the most time consuming that I have ever done on this site.  This because MARPLES chose, in the 1800s to not only change item numbers a few times but also to change the description of the tool. [Pricker Pads were synonymous with Hand Pads!]
The shear volume of slight variations in the introduction and then deleting of certain lines has led to total confusion today . Such that it is virtually impossible to write any form of table that is understandable.   So therefore, I will merely insert the various pages below on a year by year format until we get to an time [1928?] when the volume of products and the cataloguing thereof has decreased to an understandable level!  After that I have constructed a table for you to follow.

We can start with the listings shown in the 1846 sheet:

We can then proceed to the listings shown in the rare 1861 Catalogue:

Then to 1873:

1888 is next:

Above is a perfect example of number AND description change.

1897 is next:


1921 Awls, reduced in nature after the War:

Then we go to the increased 1928 Catalogue:


After the War the next real catalogue was 1959:

The next real catalogue issued was in 1965, after  C&H Hampton had taken over the company and many items were now dropped from production:

In 1972 we see even more items lost:

Below is a table constructed from 1928 onwards of the Awls that Marples produced until no longer produced.

I had to use shortcuts for words to be able to construct this chart and here are the shortcuts:

Bch  =  Beech
Box  =  Boxwood
Brad = Bradawl
Imp  =  Improved
Ll      =  Last listed
Rnm =  Re-numbered
Wd  =  withdrawn
Wgnt =  Wing Nut

Next I will show some examples of these Awls and Pads:

The Tri Grip Bradawl [No. 1828] was introduced in September 1968 and there were 3 different coloured handles to denote length of bradawl.  Small was Blue [1.3/8″]; Medium was Red [1.5/8″] and Large Yellow [1.7/8″].

Here is a photo of these 3 Tri-Grip bradwals, but please note that the literature does not mention that the diameter of the bradawl shaft  increases in size as the length increases.

Below are 2 Mint #1826 Ash handled Bradawls. They were not ‘pinned’, this  variety being numbered with a ‘P‘ after the number. This was the very basic and first Bradawl to be produced by MARPLES and they were made in many different sizes [#1-6 representing 1″ – 2″ lengths] They started out not being numbered in 1862 [or before] and we numbered as #602 in 1873. They remained Beech handled through 1888 when they were #840 but this changed to Ash handled and re-numbered #1826 in 1909. In 1928 they were in either Beech or Ash but switched to all Ash after 1965.  Lasted listed in 1977.

Below are 3 different ages of Peg Top Awl.
#1834.1/2 until 1972 then re-numbered #1834A [hardwood handled]
The Left one is Boxwood c.1960
The Middle one is c.1965 Boxwood
The one on the Right is Ash and so marked c.1980
‘Peg Top Awls’ are very similar to ‘Trimmers’ Awls but the latter have stronger blades.

Below here are 3 different ages of Birdcage Awl.
This Square bladed awl started life in 1909 as #1838 ‘Round Beech handled’
and was last listed in 1/2008 [Marples]
The examples below show :
On the left a c.1960’s example
Middle is c late 1980/90’s
Right is c.late 1960’s


Below is a’Marking Knife with Awl’  #1877

And at last we have a selection of Tool Pads [called Pricker Pads up to 1897 Cat!!]. The 3 ‘Wingnut’ tightened on the left are [ 1888 Cat.] #805;  In 1909 the number changed to #1870 and they did not last through the war.
The middle Wingnut Rosewood handled pad #1873 with 8 tools appears in 1909-1938
The Thumbscrew operated tool pad second right only is seen in 1888 as #807
The extreme right pad #1864 is only seen in 1938 Cat.






Above is ‘Best Improved Hollow Boxwood Pricker Pad’ with Wing Nut #805 in the 1897 Cat. and it came with 8,10,12,15 or 18 tools. By 1909 it had been renamed as a ‘Tool Pad’ and Item #1870   It appears in the 1928 and 1938 Cats. and was probably de-listed around 1940.


Item# M1838 is correctly described as a’BirdcageAwl’ and it always had a triangular cross section.   First introduced c.1900 as Item #1825.1/2 until c.1928 and then from 1938< until at least 1974 as Item #1838. Listed as Round Beech until c.1960 then as Round Ash Handled. They had assorted
sizes Nos. 1-6







Below is an Awl that I can find nowhere in the catalogues!

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