Catalogue Inserts 1928

The following inserts were all found in a pristine 1928 Catalogue and must have been maintained by an individual who was a stickler for correctness.  There are no pages listed under which to ‘stick’ the inserts, but direction must have been given at that time as to where to paste the new material.  As far as I can deduce, most of the inserts are from c.1933.  These inserts are exceedingly rare and I am very pleased to show them to you here on this site.
They are listed here according to the page numbers of Cat. 1928:

Page 18:

Page 46:

Page 50:

Page 52:

Page 54:

Page 58:

Page 60.  These next 2 inserts were back to back:

Page 68:

Page 70:

Page 72:

Page 78.  These next 3 inserts were to announce the introduction of the ‘M’ series of iron planes:

Page 84:

Page 122:

Page 124:

Page 150:

Page 164:

Page 206:

Page 217:



I have recently discovered what may be the very first William Marples catalogue ever issued. But you will note that the name is stated [as shown below] as William Marples, Jun. and that there are no images to help describe the products.  I suspect that this would have been a single sided broadsheet around 1846.   The Ultimatum Brace was introduced c. 1854 and there is no mention of this brace here.  Also ‘William Marples & Sons’ was announced in c.1861 and this sheet shows nothing alluding to the ‘Sons‘.
The original is held by the Hawley Museum in Sheffield to whom I am indebted for this copy and permission to publish it.  

I have used the short form ‘Cat.’ to denote ‘Catalogue’ in this section and throughout this site and my new kitten,[Finnegan] above, thinks this is quite funny!   Jump to 2020Finnegan has grown into being  a wonderful boy [above right] and I love him dearly!

1861/2 Catalogue:

In 1861/2 William Marples published his first real hard backed catalogue [above] illustrating his wares and prices. Very few of these catalogues survived the ravages of time and simple wear, until there existed only but one example. This solitary survivor was housed in the William Marples Head Office in Westfield Terrace, Sheffield for very many years.
During the 1972 removal  [when the factory was totally removed to its’ new location in Dronfield, close to Sheffield], the catalogue disappeared, whether by accident or design is not presently known.  But about 20 years ago it surfaced in the USA, but remained unidentified as being the 1861/2 Catalogue.  An amateur tool dealer in Ontario, Canada bought the catalogue and it remained, still unidentified, in his possession until 2016, when I purchased it off him, suspecting that this slim volume may well have been the missing 1861/2 catalogue.

I travelled to ‘The Hawley Museum‘ in Sheffield and there, with the aid of staff members, I compared my catalogue with a known 1873 catalogue (which had been authenticated by Ken Hawley himself). This comparison reconfirmed my suspicions that my catalogue was indeed the only copy of the 1861/2 William Marples & Sons catalogue still in existence.

EVIDENCE:  Since MARPLES became ‘& Sons‘ around 1860/1 and in 1862 they registered the 3 leaf shamrock Clover Leaf Trade Mark, this information confirms that this catalogue is closer to 1861/2.  There is no 3 leaf shamrock Clover Leaf Trade mark shown anywhere in this catalogue, and it is marked ‘& Sons‘.

Working with photographers and printers in Ottawa and Kitchener,Ontario, I eventually obtained 29 absolutely faithful copies of this original catalogue.  The work involved to clean up the pages was intensive and expensive, as there were many water marked and damaged pages on the original that needed to be addressed.  I then had the printed Catalogue pages bound together as per the original, with cord, by a local experienced Antique book restoration specialist.
I had only 29 copies of these made and they are as close a copy of the original as can be done. [Same colour and weight paper and as shown above.]   I am selling the 13 presently left (as of May 2021) for $150CAN + shipping.   {I make but a little profit on this price}
If you wish for more information or want to purchase one, please contact me at ………          When they are gone, they are gone.

1868 Catalogue:

There is now growing evidence that there could have been an 1868 catalogue issued, but concrete evidence has yet to appear. The only evidence I have is that Mr. P. S. Marples signed a letter [below] in October 1971 that indicated that there was an 1868 catalogue showing the MARPLES ‘Ultimatum’ brace as being available in that 1868 Catalogue.  But the picture shown of that Ultimatum Brace is not the same as that which appears in the 1861/2 catalogue.  Also the page numbers do not line up with the 1873 catalogue pages [where, unfortunately the Ultimatum brace sections aremissingin the Hawley catalogue] . Which is why I have had to assign these pages to a later edition than 1861/2, and probably to the missing 1868 edition.

As noted above, it was probably in 1873 that MARPLES  issued their next(?) catalogue, a much larger affair at 42 pages. [Well, that is the number of ‘Description’ pages, but the same page ‘number’ was also assigned to the page showing pictures of the items described.  So, in essence, there are actually 84 sides, all very confusing]. But this is the same format as adopted in the 1861 Catalogue.   In this catalogue MARPLES also dropped the method used in the 1861/2 cat. of having folding out pages and of note is that this ‘catalogue’ is not actually called a catalogue, but is named as a ‘Joiners’ Tool list of Prices‘ and on the cover, simply as a ‘Price List‘.

Something else new is that the tools are now assigned an item number, but according to the letter above about the 1868 Catalogue, this may have been in effect since 1868. ​ The letter shown here indicates that the Tool Prices shown in the latest catalogue have been adjusted according to the latest meeting of the ‘Trade’ dated 7th July 1873.  It does not state that the catalogue shown here is from 1873, but obviously the catalogue to which the letter refers must have already been issued.

​This catalogue is of  IMPORTED AMERICAN TOOLS and is dated 1878, just after the introduction in 1875 of the Trademarks ‘HIBERNIA‘ and the ‘Triple Shamrock‘.

It is Edition No.1 of these Imported Tools Catalogue types.


1881/2 or 1883
Since the 1888 UK catalogue states that it was the first catalogue to be issued in 6 years it stands to reason that there must have been an 1881/2 catalogue.  I have heard that there was indeed an 1883 General UK Catalogue, so maybe that is the more correct date for this issue, for which I do not have an example picture or any other information.

This catalogue, labelled No. 2 List, is devoted to Imported American Tools and is dated January 1st 1883.
It has 144 pages.


From the Preface it is shown to have been introduced January 1st 1888 and other information indicates that it had 186 pages.


I have discovered that there was an 1891 MARPLES Catalogue   It has 192 pages and had a Black Linen cover and Gold Lettering on the cover. It appeared in a 2020 Auction in the UK and I was outbid.


1895? Carving Tools Catalogue
This must surely be the only remaining copy of this catalogue which shows all the Carving Tools and accessories available around 1895. This small catalogue belonged to Charles Elcock, a renowned microscopist and Curator of the Belfast museum. [His son, Charles E. Elcock went on to be a great Architect, designing many wonderful buildings in London,UK.]
It is so rare that I feel I should publish it entirely. It has 7 pages in total and a blank rear outside page.


This catalogue was again devoted to Imported Tools [from USA] but now has only 42 pages.

This catalogue has 222 pages and again it is stated on the front page that it was a PRICE LIST.  This hard back format was again obviously  intended for the Ironmongers’ shop and measures approx 9″ x 11“.
The spine reads: ‘WILLIAM MARPLES & SONS‘ in Gold lettering and the outside has a Black linen covering.  The inside pages state that this is the 11th edition catalogue and since no ‘Ltd’ is mentioned and the catalogue is dated 1st March 1897, we can assume that the Company became ‘Ltd’ shortly after that date. [1897/8]

This catalogue probably followed the lines of the 1897 catalogue in colour and size, since the next catalogue [1909] was the same, but unfortunately I have been unable to locate an original full copy .   This would be the 12th edition catalogue and it had 242 pages.

The spine on this catalogue reads: ‘TOOLS FOR ALL TRADES‘ with the 3-leaf clover  Trademark of MARPLES and the ‘Horseshoe‘ type trademark of Thomas Ibbotson & Co.  the latter company being acquired by MARPLES c.1905-9.   It contains 273 pages and is stated as being the 13th catalogue.   You will note that it now shows  ‘& SONS LIMITED‘ (only pertinent since 1897/8),

This catalogue was hard back bound with a Black cloth exterior and the printed words in Red lettering.   It had 123 pages and is stated to be the Fourteenth Edition.   The spine reads  ‘ MARPLES’ TOOLS ‘ with the 3-Leaf Clover Mark and the Ibbotson ‘Horseshoe’.

North American Issue.

This next issue may be the first small catalogue issued specifically for the North American market.               It shows B/E Firmer chisels and mentions the ‘SHAMROCK‘ Trade Mark, plus ‘Ltd‘ and it must therefore be after 1897/8.  But as the ‘Radius Shaves’ were produced c.1925<  I must assume that this ‘catalogue is later than previously assumed.    In any event, this was a USA issued advertisement to try to entice the Americans to buy BRITISH, but I do not think that it worked!   It is a 6.25″ x 14″   3 fold document.

Although noted as December 1928 in the Preface, this catalogue [labelled as the Centenary Edition], should really have waited until 1930 to announce that (see the History section here).   There are now only 237 pages and the spine reads: ‘MARPLES “Shamrock Brand” TOOLS‘ with the ‘Triple Shamrock‘ Trade Mark emblem .  Black Cloth with Gold Lettering.   This must therefore be the 15th catalogue.

This catalogue was issued just before WWII and is the same size and colour as before, but now has 245 pages because of the inclusion of some pages selling John Rabone & Sons Rules and Tapes.  Otherwise it still had 237 pages like the 1928 edition.. The spine also reads the same as the 1928 catalogue. This must therefore be the 16th catalogue, but I have heard that there may have been a full Catalogue issue around 1932, so this may be the 17th catalogue.     I have yet to find this 1932 Catalogue.

This catalogue has 194 pages and is still in the same format as before, with the same spine imprint. This may then be the 18th catalogue, but at least now it is called a ‘catalogue’, but it really was the very last issue of these beautiful cloth hard backed catalogues.


MARPLES catalogue marked No.15 [which is strange!] was published in October 1965 and was the last issued as a hard back cover. It was also issued in Soft Back but both have 103 pages.  I am lucky enough to have the real and  actual ‘Directors’ copy of this hard back issue, in which it is indicated that the ‘large’ edition was printed with 5015 copies and the ‘pocket’ edition [softback] printed at 3000 copies. [Total cost then was £8,833 ]
But we must wonder why after all these years suddenly a catalogue number was printed up front!   If the 1959 catalogue is designated as the 17th catalogue, why then is this 1965 edition numbered No.15?    My brain hurts .                        Hard back = 8.25″ x 11.5″   Soft back = 5.75″ x 8″


I will now explore the soft cover editions of ‘Pocket Catalogues’:
It would appear that from about June 1930 onwards to maybe September 1940, MARPLES issued ‘Pocket Catalogues’ [5.5 x 8.5 ins] as an advert to the trade and to the public. These issues were seemingly issued twice a year, around March and September (see below) and they thus continued sporadically thereafter, but of necessity they could only contain truncated samples of the whole MARPLES tool range.  All of the pre-war catalogues were issued with a hole at the top corner and with an included thin cord to enable the hanging up of the catalogue behind the shop counter. This obviously was when Hardware stores only sold real Hardware!
These soft backed stapled catalogues, that I have, were issued as follows: 6/30; 9/31; 3/32; 2/33; 1/34; 12/34; 4/35; 9/35; 3/36; 9/36; 3/37; 9/37; 3/38; 10/38; 7/39; 3/40.

There were probably issues in 9/30; 3/31; 9/32; 9/33; 3/39;  and 9/40 but I have yet to see them and therefore cannot substantiate their existence. There may also be other issues that I have not seen or collected and that is why this is an ongoing study and report.  All of these catalogues had prices listed in them, whereas the post-war catalogues relied on Price Lists being issued with reference to the specific catalogue. This was possible because pre-war prices were stable, but post-war prices were prone to materials suddenly costing more and instead of issuing another catalogue it was much easier to print just a separate updated price list, voiding all those previously issued.  The catalogue dates are to be found at the bottom of the first page of each catalogue e.g. 6/30

Here is some information about those catalogues that I have;

These catalogues all had the same front page as shown here: i.e 6/30; 3/31; 9/31; 3/32; 9/32; 2/33; 9/33; 1/34; 12/34; 4/35; 9/35

These catalogues all had the same front page, as shown here.
i.e. 3/36; 9/36; 3/37; 9/37; 3/38

These Pocket catalogues all had the same front page format as shown here: 10/38; 7/39; 3/40 and maybe more.


This 15 page brochure about  ‘planes, vices and spokeshaves’ [shown below] is from December 1949   See the price list section for the price list that is associated with this very rare catalogue.                                                                 Front and Back pages only are shown here.     4.75″ x 7″.
Fortunately my copy has a Revised price list with it dated 1st Nov 1951 [and overprinted 8 Apr 1952]  which has given me just wonderful information about the availability of products immediately post-war.


This pocket catalogue, with a Dealers’ stamp of 8 APR 1952, has 8 sides of 5.5″ x 8.75″.

1953 and 1954
The next pocket catalogue that I have seen is dated 1953 [87 pages] and is Export Catalogue #2.  Apparently there must have been a previous Export catalogue[#1] but I have yet to see it.   The third Export Catalogue was labelled Export Catalogue #3 [shown below] and dated simply 1954 with 110 pages with the same format of 5.5″ x 8.5″.

A new ‘Abridged Pocket Catalogue’ was issued in January 1955 having 112 pages and sized  5.1/2″ x 8.1/2″ .  A second issue was forthcoming in March 1957 and a third in September 1958 with both being the same size.  I do not know whether there were any others issued after this time.

May 1958
This ‘American catalog edition ‘ was issued around May 1958 and included a Price List effective May 1, 1958

September 1961
This ‘American catalog edition’ was issued around September 1961, or at least the included Price List states that it is effective September 30, 1961.

In September 1961 in the UK there was issued a slim 13 page ‘brochure’ entitled  ‘Make the most of your skill with MARPLES Tools‘.  Labelled as Catalogue P61, a second edition was issued in March 1964 with the same cover, but with a slightly different layout and tools.


Catalogue No. P62  from 1st October 1962 until at least 1965 has pages  8.25″ x 10.5″ with 12 sides. It shows a good cross section of the quality tools that MARPLES had for sale.  And ‘quality‘ was still in existence at that time, but drawing ever closer to its total demise.   Shown immediately below is the First edition.   This 1962 edition had Price Lists issued of October 1962; October 1963 and October 1964     The RED issue [below again] is the P62 edition dated 1964/5
Note the change in the graphics of the word ‘MARPLES‘ between 1962 and 1964.


Althoughonly printed as a ‘catalogue’, this 4 page 8.5″x11″ Combined Catalogue is only a 1 fold sheet.     Dated 1966.

1967 and 1968

M1 Catalogue. 9/67​  was a slim 8.5″ x 11″ 11 page mini-catalogue sales pitch.  It was also reprinted in Feb 1968.

1971 and Supplementary Catalogue​

These later catalogues were issued sporadically as the company may then have known that they were on their last legs, but these catalogues are very hard to find.   This is a soft back 1971 edition [numbered ‘catalogue No.16‘] with a Supplementary addition also issued. [the month is not stated] .

M2 Catalogue 1/73 and 8/73
These 2 catalogues are almost exactly the same except the M2360 Best Beech Spokeshave is excluded [delisted?] from the 8/73 edition. 16 pages 8.5″ x 11″


Inserted here [only as a catalogue because it is an 8 sided document of 7″ x 5″]. is an issue devoted to Woodturning tools and hints of 1976.  Record Ridgeway Tools Ltd.     Front and back sides are shown here .


This often seen MARPLES Turning and Carving catalogue was issued in Canada July 1984.   It has pages 4″ x 6″ with 24 sides and printed in the legislated French and English with the Front and Back pages both shown here.


This next offering is stated to be a MAY 1991 Price List, it has few illustrations and may be aptly named, but I have included it here because it has 24 sides . {This is confusing because sometimes MARPLES included the front and back cover in the page numbering system and sometimes not}. This catalogue however did not include those front and back, but I will always list as total sides. The Front and Back sides are shown below.


This next ‘Chisels Gouges Carving & Turning Tools’  is from approx January 1992, or so the included Price List states.   Front and Back sides are shown out of 20 sides. 8.25″ x 11.6″.


A RECORD-MARPLES catalogue [below] from about 1995/6


Another 8.25″ x 11.6″ single paper 6 page catalogue of Carving Tools [below], dated 1999.
This catalogue is from an age when all these tools were visually reduced in quality compared with the real tools of 30 years earlier.    Cheap handles, cheap ferrules and poorer quality steel were all due to the fact that they were owned by RECORD, and that in itself was now a Division of AMERICAN TOOL Companies Inc, [IRWIN]

In an IRWIN Industrial Tools Catalogue dated Jan 1st 2006 are listed Chisels M750; M373; MS500 and M444. and the illustrations show MADE IN SHEFFIELD ENGLAND on the blades.   IRWIN may still have produced tools in Sheffield up to February 2007 at  Parkway Works, Sheffield S9 3BL  But that may be the very last of real Sheffield Steel used in MARPLES chisels.