Carving Tools

In this section I will start by listing and describing the Carving Tools’ accessories and then move on to the Tools per se.


The first Carver’s Mallet that I can find [below] is in the 1897 Catalogue, but I must assume that it was available before then, so I shall say c.1893.  [They are not mentioned in the 1888 Catalogue].

You can see that at that time there were many different styles and woods to be had.

The 1909 Catalogue shows different numbers, but #2131A Hickory has been deleted, although #2131B Hardwood has been replaced by #206 Boxwood with a slightly different shape:

1928 sees these changes: #201 Boxwood and #203 Boxwood are no longer available:

The 1938 Catalogue shows no changes from 1928.

By 1959 things have changed:

And by 1965:

Then until 1977 there were no changes but in 1977 #200 seems to have been changed to #M204 and with a different profile. That is if we are to believe the accuracy of the images!  This situation lasted until at least 1984.

In March 1986 we find that there are now 2 options, one being a #M205 Lignum Vitae head:

Both of these mallets were available up to 1992, but were not seen after 1994.
[There may have been a short time between Summer 1987 and Summer 1988 when only #M204 was available]

Below is a M205 with Lignum Vitae head:

And here is a M204 with a Beech head:

Carving or Buhl Punches:

First introduced around 1895, these decorative punches were available into the 1959 Catalogue, but no further. In 1897 they were numbered #2130 but this changed to #246 in 1909 and this number existed until the end of production. They are about 3.1/2” long with a 1/4″ square section. No.14, [Anchor], is shown below:


Bench Holdfast & Clip:

The Bench Holdfast was introduced around 1885 as #2139, but this changed in 1909 to a different tool # 279 named a ‘Clip‘. This was a cheaper tool that did not standup to the passage of time in that the Holdfast [now numbered # 278] was re-introduced in the 1928 Catalogue. This tool endured into the 1959 Catalogue [#4688] where 2 different sizes may be found. The last listing I can find is November 1963. It is not listed in March 1964.

Wood Carvers Vice:

This was a new addition to the Carver’s tools in 1996 #RPCV130 and was very short lived as I cannot find it listed in 1998.

Carver’s Screw:

This long standing Carver’s helper was introduced in c.1895 as #1212. In 1909 it was available in a few different sizes and also as a Black finish [#277 ] and a Bright finish #276.  It was only available as #276 in 1921. But reverted to #277 up to the end of manufacture in 1994, when it was only available in 1 size.  Judging from the photo below of 2 sizes, it would appear that the length did not include the tapered nose portion

Wood Carver’s Router:

Once again this tool was introduced c.1895 as a Beech router #895 and as a Boxwood router #895A. In 1909 these numbers had been changed to #260 [Beech] and #261 [Boxwood]. But the Beech router only was available from c.1921 to the end of manufacture in the Summer of 1964

Here is the only example of this tool that I have ever found, so I must assume that this tool is quite rare. This one is from c.1960 but I am not sure that the wedge is original:


The first indication that MARPLES got into the manufacture of Carving Tools is when they are shown in the 1873 Catalogue. [Again you will note that the description page and the image page are both given the same number.] But noting the different scripts, the description page may be later.
These excerpts were gathered from the Hawley Museum copy.

You will note that at this time there was no #47 Veiner. Instead #11 small width was used.

The 1888 Catalogue entries are below:

Ladies Carving Tools had been introduced in Sets and individually.

Next listed here are the entries for 1897:
#47 Veiner is introduced as well as Buhl punches and Wood Carver’s Screw.

1909 Catalogue listings are below:

1921 listings:

The first page of this issue is ‘Sizes and Sweeps’ and is the same as in 1909

1928 Catalogue listings:

The first page of this issue is ‘Sizes and Sweeps’ and is the same as in 1909.

1938 Catalogue issues:

The first page of this issue is ‘Sizes and Sweeps’ and is the same as in 1909.

1959 is the next set of catalogue pages:

And then we come to the last of the MARPLES hard-backed Catalogues 1965:

The small paper back 1971 catalogue shows these:


1972 Catalogue:
Is the same as 1971 but quite a few styles and sizes show as being no longer supplied
3-11          3/16 & 5/16 not supplied
14,16           ”     ”    ”      ”          ”
20,22,23,27,29,36       All sizes no longer supplied
39              3/16 & 5/16  not supplied
40       1/8, 3/16 & 5/16  ”         ”

The London Pattern Carving Tools adhered to a very old standard of sweeps and styles as shown in the 1909 Catalogue.

These tools first appear in the 1873 Catalogue in which every tool numbered 1-46 was manufactured.  In the 1888 Catalogue tools #47 & #48 are added.  In 1909 and 1921 number 47 was omitted and replaced with #11 as a substitute.  But #47 reappears in 1928 and is resident until the 1959 Catalogue.  No 49 does not appear in ANY catalogue, ever.

In the 1959 Catalogue the following tools do not appear as being available: #12;31;32;33;34;35;37;41;42;44;46 and #50

In 1965 these tools are shown as only being available in sets.
But in 1971 individual tools had been re-introduced, but each style was limited in widths avialable. It is beyond the scope of this study to list the individual widths of each style so I will merely show the Carving tool numbers then still available:  1,2,3,5-8, 11,14,16,20,27,29,36,39,40, 47.
In 1972 Numbers 20,27,29 and 36 have been dropped and #21 has been added to the line.
By November 1977 #40 is missing from the item list and the tools thus offered did not change until May 2000, when, under the ownership of the American Tool Co. RECORD, M18-3/8″ and M27- 3/4″ were added.
By January 2006 no London Pattern Carving tools were offered for sale.
[I am hoping to narrow this discontinuation down to a more accurate date.]

Dates of the Carving Tool sets being available:

#60            1971-1999
#60A         1977-1999
#60B         1984-1987
#60C         1984-1987
#150          1999-2000
#150A       1999-2000
#152           1971-1999
#152A        1996
#152B        1996
#152C        1996-1999
#153           1971-2000
#153A        1984-1999
#153B        1984-1999
#156          1996-1999
#260         1977-2000
#270         1982

During the RECORD TOOLS era c.1996 there was a set M152LE of Ash handled carving tools available that does not appear in any UK catalogue. I am suggesting that this was an Export Only item containing only 6 tools and that LE may stand for Light Export. I have only seen these sets in wooden boxes and as Bilingual.

Below are the 1988/9 sets:

Below are the ‘sets’ available in 1972:

These show the handle descriptions and pictures:

Above right are the 2 sets M153A and M153B, available 1984-1999.

Below is set M60B available 1984-87.

Below is a set of M260 Carving tools representing the last of its’ kind. Made by Record Tools Ltd in Sheffield under American Tool Co. Note the wooden handles, not now polypropylene:

Below is a 12 set of M150 [available 1999-2000] Again note the hexagonal handles.


First introduced [and based upon the London Pattern ‘sweeps‘] in 1897 and having ‘Fancy Hardwood’ [Ebony;Rosewood and Boxwood] or Beech handles. They were described as having a ‘straw colour’ which was a treatment applied to the blades to render them more resistant to rust and gave them a straw colour.
The 1897 Item #s were: 5020-5033
The 1909 Catalogue shows a number change to L1-L46.
In 1921 only L1-L39 are listed, but in 1928 these Carving chisels were only sold in ‘sets’ of either 6,12,18 or 24 tools.
This continued through the 1938 Catalogue but they are not shown as being available in 1959. I suspect they they were dropped from the line c.1939, another casualty of Mr. Hilter.

Unshouldered Spade Carving Tools:

I am unsure as to why these tools were ever introduced, except that they may have been less expensive thatn the London Pattern Carving tools. This because they had no ‘shoulders’ to but up against the handle at the ferrule.
But again they were introduced in the 1897 Catalogue [maybe before] having the item #s: 01;02;03;03.1/2;04;04.1/2;05;06;07;08
But again all these numbers changed in 1909 to:
S1-S11; S21-S32; S39; S43; and S52.
This continued the same through the 1921 Catalogue until in 1928 it is shown that they were only sold in ‘sets’ of 6,12,18 or 24 tools.
The 1938 Catalogue shows the same listings, but the 1959 Catalogue would indicate that these tools were no longer available, and probably since c.1940.

Below is a 3/8″ skew Spade Carving tool S2, measuring 4″ from edge to ferrule:


Chip Carving Tools:

These are first shown in the MARPLES catalogue of 1897 as being ‘Wood Carving Knives‘ and other pages refer to them as being ‘Chip Carving Knives‘ .
They initially were only made in 4 styles numbered 906;907;908 and 909.
In the 1909 re-numbering system these became #182;183;185; and 187.
The 1909 listings show these numbers: 179-185;186A;187 & 188
By 1921 the following numbers had been dropped: 181;186A and 188. But #186 had been added.
By 1928 only these numbers were available: 182-187.
1938 saw the introduction of numbers 179 and 180.
Only in 1959 were all these numbers still featured except #187.
The Price List of November 1963 shows all are still listed except that #185 and 186 had been withdrawn.  [Leaving #179;180;182;183 & 184 still in production]
By March 1964 all had been withdrawn from sale.

Below is a rare early Chip Carving Tool #183:

And here are a few of the later Chip Carving tools c.1990:



Other Chisels


The first reference to these chisels that I can find is in the 1897 catalogue, but they were probably introduced earlier, unfortunately I am unable to locate any earlier catalogues. They are not listed in the 1873 catalogue.  They are called ‘Double-ended draw lock chisels’ because they have 2 cutting ends which are at right angles to each other. The cutter which is at right angles to the shaft is 5/8″ wide.
The other chisel end is in line with the shaft and is 5/16″ wide.   The whole tool is 5 inches long.  The 1897 Item number is 836A and that is because at the same time MARPLES produced Single-end draw lock chisels which had Boxwood handles and were numbered 836B and 836C, sold individually…..see below:

In 1909 the item numbers were changed to #886 for the Double ended and to #887 for the Boxwood handled pair. At this time #886 was sold for 8/6d per dozen. 1909 catalogue entry is below:

By 1921 the boxwood pair #887 is no longer listed and #886 is still 8/6d per dozen.
The 1928 listing is below:

By 1938 item #886 is listed at 12/9d per dozen, and by December 1959 they cost 4/6d each, after that date they are discontinued.

The later chisel [above] looks as though it has been sharpened many times!

Socket Chisels

                                                                                               SOCKET CHISELS



These may be the best chisels available, but they have one detraction, and that is the difference in humidity between Summer and Winter makes these chisels either loose on the handle or tight on the handle. It is difficult to come to a steady state.

Wm.MARPLES were certainly not the first manufacturers to have these items for sale, but they do appear in the 1861 Catalogue, wherein are listed a Cast Steel Socket Mortice Chisel; a Cast Steel Socket Chisel and a Socket Stalking Chisel. [The latter of which I have yet to know of a specific use]. The 1873 Catalogue lists, for the first time, chisels by an Item number.  The chart below has been compiled from catalogues of 1873 – 1959.  The 1965 Catalogue only lists #801 Strong Socket Chisel, #835 Bevel Edge Socket Chisel and a set of 4 #845 B/E Socket Cabinet Chisel with a Leather Tipped Beech handle.   By 1971 , no Socket chisels are listed.


The 1862 Cat. page is below: [1873 Cat. page is the same cut]

The 1897 Cat. Page is below:

The next 2 images are from the 1909 Cat.:

The next 2 images are from 1921:

The next 4 images are from 1928:

The next 4 images are from 1938:

The 1959 Cat. shows the next 2 images:

The last entry for Socket Chisels is found in 1965:


A Gallery of Socket Chisels:

The boxed example below is a set of 6 of #845..B/E Socket Cabinet Chisels,  Beech handled with  Leather Tip.   Presently I cannot locate the No. 2032 shown on the label!

Item #801 , below, is a great set of Cast Steel Chisels, Black Socket, Steel Hooped, Ash handled.

Below are shown No.834 B/E Socket Firmer, Ash handled and No.835 B/E Socket Firmer, Ash handled with Leather Tip. The larger chisel [also a #835] is a later example having no markings on the blade.

 Again, an almost complete set of #845.


Mortice Chisels


​I really should address this important section to deal with the chisels that shaped our country, and many more, namely the much abused Mortise Chisel. This style of chisel is rarely used today, outside teaching schools, having been supplanted by Drill press style Morticing Machines or other wood joints that rely on modern adhesives.
So I will expand this section based upon history.
Even in 1861 the following MortiCe Chisels were listed in the MARPLES catalogue:
Common Mortice Chisels.  1/8″ – 1″
Best Joiners’ and Cabinet Mortice Chisels.  1/8″ – 1″
Cast Steel ditto ditto   1/8″ – 1″
Improved Sash Mortice Chisels, all steel.  3/8″ – 5/8″
Socket ditto ditto ditto    1/4″ – 1″
Cast Steel Socket ditto ditto   1/8″ – 1″
Lock ditto ditto   1/2″ – 5/8″
Improved Lock ditto Tang or Socket.   1/2″ – 5/8″

By 1897 the following entries are made in that catalogue, and the name has been changed to MortiSe:

Below you will find a table that shows the Mortise chisels that were produced from 1909 onwards arranged according to item number. You will see that sometime between 1909 and by the 1928 Catalogue many styles were discontinued, leaving a bare minimum to soldier on.  The backbones of these survivors were certainly #601, #706, #736, #737
Immediately below is the 1909 page showing the handled blades.

The #730 Sash Mortice blade [Beech handled #731 or Boxwood handled #732 from the 1909 Catalogue.]

Note the differences in the necks of #730 Sash Mortise Chisel [#731/#732 handled] and the London-Pattern Sash Mortise Chisel [#736/#737 handled]. The older style of Sash Mortice Chisel was phased out after 1909 and before 1921 in favour of the London Pattern Sash Mortice Chisel.
Below is the real survivor, the Iron Hooped Registered Round Neck Mortise Chisel #601 here with a c.1980s example.

Below you will see a great example of the #706Best Mortise Chisel,Oval Beech Handled‘.

Throughout this treatise please note the variation in spelling: ‘Mortise’ and ‘Mortice’. Which do you think is ‘correct’?

Above is a fine example of a #737 London Pattern Sash Mortise Chisel.

Above is a set of recent #773 Splitproof Sash Mortice Chisels, spelt with a C again!!  Note here that the handles are rotated 90 degrees for ease of Morticing[Mortising?], differentiating these from Regular Firmer Chisels, where the names on the handle are in line with the top/bottom chisel surfaces. Just a small point that is missed by many. Available 1986-1998.

The one below is going to need some investigation, because it is a wooden handled Sash Mortice Chisel with a steel ring supporting the striking end of the handle, BUT it is numbered M773! As far as I can tell this chisel may have been introduced around 1982 and was switched to a Splitproof handle in 1986, as shown above.

But to add to this mystery is the following chisel.  Same handle construction and packaging, but this one is labelled as M603 Mortice Chisel. On the back of the packaging is indicated that it was made in Holland! [ And also that it was made in UK.]  If only a date had been stamped!

Both of the above ‘Made in Holland’ chisels have a solid steel striking cap.

Below is an example of C.S. Registered Chisel, Handled, as listed in the 1897 Catalogue #115 and the 1909 Catalogue as #600. This example seems to be missing the leather washer that should be between the bolster and the steel ferrule. Discontinued before 1921.

Note the Square neck.

The following photos are of Item#600 showing a complete set of those tools and with the leather washers. These seem to be the for-runners of the Registered Mortice chisel, with which we are more familiar today.

Note the very thick steel top ferrule.

Sash Pocket Chisels

A great Sash Pocket Chisel

These are specialised chisels designed to cut the ‘pocket piece’ in the side of the frame of a Sash sliding window. The pocket piece is a removeable wooden ‘window’ to enable access into the space at each side of sash windows in which run the sash cords to raise/lower the window. These cords, over time, wear out and need to be replaced. Without this ‘pocket’ to access the cord and ‘weights’, that would not be possible.

Do not confuse these with Sash Mortice Chisels which have nothing to do with Sash windows but are themselves merely lighter duty Mortice Chisels.

As shown in the 1938 Catalogue.

The first reference that I can find to the availability of Sash Mortice Chisels is in the 1897 Catalogue, but they may have been available before then. They seem always to have been offered for sale ‘Handled’. In 1897 the variety of wood handle is not stated, but would probably have been Beech. Listed there is Item# 1980 Sash Pocket Chisel [SPC] in widths of 1.1/2-2.1/2″. Item#1980A is the Improved Sash Pocket Chisel [ISPC] in the same widths.

The 1909 Catalogue shows an item# change; SPC becomes #880 and ISPC becomes #881. Both with Beech handles and the same widths available as before.

The 1921 Catalogue shows a reduced output [as found in most of the MARPLES line] in that only #881 is listed, in Beech and the same widths as before.

By 1928 both lines have been listed [#880 and #881] and in the same Beech handles and the same widths. The 1938 Catalogue shows exactly the same details.

The 1959 Catalogue only lists the Improved Sash Pocket Chisel [#881] and in the 2″ size with an Ash handle.

The last listing I can find is in the March 1962 Price List as a 2″ width at 13/6d.

Sash Pocket chisels shold only be sharpened on one side, like a normal chisel. This is important in this guise because it is required that the chisel maintain its’ line and not deviate, as may be possible if it were sharpened on 2 sides. You may often find these chisels wrongly sharpened. Of the 2 styles of chisel here, the Improved variety is less commonly found. At this stage [4/20] I am unsure that the handle style denotes either a Common SMC or an ISMC, as I have both handle styles with SMC blades. Therefore I must now assume that at some time, MARPLES interchanged the handle styles, and it is therefore only the metal forging which dictates the style.

Here above are 2 that have the Improved Sash Mortice handle on a Common Sash Mortice blade.

Lock Mortice Chisels

The first reference to the manufacture [selling] of Lock Mortice Chisels (LMC) is found in the early 1861 Catalogue wherein the [Common] LMC [CLMC] is listed as being available in sizes 1/2″ ; 9/16″; and 5/8″. At this time they were only offered without handles. Also is listed an Improved LMC [ILMC], again with no handle and again in the same widths. The CLMC was a lighter-duty socketed chisel, whereas the ILMC was more heavy duty. It is probable that these chisels were manufactured for MARPLES, as the firm had no facilities, at that time, for such manufacturing.

Improved Lock Mortice Chisel

By the year 1873 [the next catalogue available] the chisels had been assigned numbers. The CLMC being named #134 and the ILMC as #135. All widths available being unchanged from before.

By 1897 the numbers had been changed, but the option of buying with handles had been added. I will only list hereon the ‘handled’ numbers. The CLMC had become Item#134B and the ILMC became #135A

1909 Catalogue extract.

In 1909 there appear to be number changes..again. And also introduced is a lighter chisel named ‘London-Pattern‘. [This may have appeared prior to 1909, but I have no catalogues to show that.] This chisel was a tanged chisel, not socketed. CLMC Item #134B became #743 and ILMC Item #135A became #746. The new London Pattern LMC [LPLMC] in Boxwood was called #740 and available in Beech was #739.

1921 only sees Items 739; 740 and 746 as listed. The first two as available in 1/2″;9/16″ and 5/8″. And the ILMC #746 in Beech available in an expanded variety: 3/8″;7/16″;1/2″;9/16″ and 5/8″.

1928 lists the same chisels as in 1921. Although #746 is shown as being now available with an Ash handle.

1938 lists exactly the same as 1928

By 1959 there are only listed #739 and #740. And by 1965 there are no Lock Mortice Chisels listed at all. I must guess that plunge routers or other tools took over?


Eventually I will get to writing this separate section, but presently the information is intertwined with the CHISEL section! So much work to do here!

I will put photos here and explain later…OK?

What a great set of Firmer Gouges. 1920’s?
Everything that you always wanted in a Firmer Gouge.




This section has been my on my mind for a long time, because I have collected and restored MARPLES chisels (gouges) for so many years. It is also a very difficult subject to address, since there were so many chisels/gouges produced by MARPLES, but all had very slight differences (handles).  To list ALL of these chisels may be difficult, so stick with this site as nobody else is able or even willing to try to do this!!  As I have said all along, this site is where you should look for those elusive details as to all MARPLES woodwork tools.  [and some other non Woodwork Tools as well!]

The first question on your mind is…..’When did MARPLES start making Chisels/Gouges ‘ ?
And this started my catalogue research, so I hope that you will join me and enjoy the path that we can briefly explore in this field, since these tools shaped Great Britain 1840-1900?  [and even beyond these parameters]

Very early chisels, like any older tools, are so extremely rare to find, let alone to own and photograph.  At least we know that chisels marked HIBERNIA [the word of which was used before being patented in 1875]  and with the Trefoil are from 1875 onwards.  But to find no marks, or at least to find the marks HIBERNIA and with a single Shamrock is very hard to date.[Possibly pre-1875?]
The earliest ‘catalogue’ [more a double sided product issue/broadsheet] of c.1846 makes no mention of any chisels/Gouges being for sale (see the catalogue section), but recent information indicates that MARPLES started to have these very important basic tools for the ‘Woodworking trade’ made for them around 1860 when it was considered a viable financial proposition.
Remember, William was not a man to take risks on a venture that could not be profitable because by all accounts he was an astute businessman and at this time he would have been competing against the likes of James CAM and other fine edge tool makers who were by then well established in these lines.

The 1862 catalogue [2 pages shown below] does indeed show and list Cast Steel Firmer Chisels [not made on site], but not bevelled edged chisels [see later].  At this time they were sold ranging from 1/16″ to 3″ wide, and were also offered ‘handled’. [although the shape of handle is not specified]    Ditto here for the Gouges(<2.5″).  Strong Firmer Chisels and Gouges are shown, as well as ‘Sets of chisels and gouges’.  CAST STEEL Coach Makers Chisels and long thin Paring chisels are shown as well as CAST STEEL Millright’s Chisels and Gouges. From that time onwards the list offered of chisels gets ever larger and more complex.

The 1873 [below] catalogue lists ‘Bevelled Edge’ chisels both in Firmer and Paring style but again with the option of being supplied handled or not.  But there are still no details as to what shape/style of handle could be supplied.  I can therefore conclude that the move to a ‘Bevelled Edge ‘ manufactured chisel started around 1870, but this is a hard date to positively establish.
Prior to this time you may well find many firmer chisels that have been owner modified by grinding a small ‘bevel’ back from each side of the cutting edge. It is probably that these workmen may have suggested to the manufacturers that ‘Bevelled Edge chisels’ may be good practical items to produce.

The next text which I have available is the 1897 catalogue, and here are shown about 10 pages of bench chisels and gouges that could be supplied with/without Round Ash / Beech / Boxwood Handles; Boxwood Carving Pattern Handles; London Pattern Octagon Boxwood Handles or Taper Handles.   Taper Octagon Boxwood Handles (see below [7555]  were only offered for a short period of time). There are simply just too many varieties and combinations of chisels and gouges to show them all here.

Below, is a page from the 1903 Catalogue which shows the choice of chisel handles that were available at that time.  The Common Octagon Chisel Handle in Boxwood [7540] is a new addition, but again only lasted for a few years. Please study this picture well, as many are never seen today and they may have existed for only a brief period in time. Obviously this would have been due to either the design being uncomfortable to use or maybe just too expensive to produce and therefore to buy.  The chisel handle styles I cannot find readily today are:  7536 – Plain Octagon, Hooped;  7540-Common Octagon; 7555– Taper |Octagon; 7515 Taper Round; 7530– Kensington Pattern and 7535– Plain Octagon Chisel Handle.
Personally, I have never seen the 7530Kensington Pattern Chisel Handle but it looks to be a very comfortable handle.

By 1909 there are 21 pages devoted to chisels and gouges.  Page 8 shows the styles of handles then available and curiously lists a blade that I have never seen..#330Round Back Cabinet Firmer Chisel.and therefore it must have been very short lived.  Naturally these chisels and gouges were also available in ‘Paring‘ style and also available as a cranked variety of ‘Paring‘. The shear volume of different tools, each engineered for different trades, is utterly overwhelming and you can only really grasp this fact by looking through the actual catalogues. What I can present here is but a very thin slice of pertinent information.

By 1928 there are 16 pages, but they are now organised to be more easily read and understood.  Mostly everything seems to have been available either handled [with many different types of wood handles.] or without handles.
There are:
Firmer Chisels; Bevel Edge Firmer Chisels; Strong Firmer Chisels; Firmer Gouges; Firmer Gouges In-Cannel; Sash or Scribing Gouges; Long Thin Paring Chisels; Bevel Edge Long Thin Paring Chisels; Long Thin Paring Gouges; Round Neck Registered Chisels; Round Neck Registered Gouges; Millwrights’ Chisels; Coachmakers’ Chisels; Coachmakers’ Bevel-Edge Chisels; Wagon Builders’ Chisels; Mortise Chisels; Sash Mortise Chisels; Lock Mortise Chisels; Machine Mortise Chisels; Socket Chisels; Socket Gouges; Solid-Steel-Blade Socket Chisels; Bright Socket Firmer Chisels; Strong Socket Firmer Chisels; Bright Socket Firmer Gouges; Wheelers’ Bruzzes; Butt Chisels; Sash Pocket Chisels; Roller Coverers’ Chisels; Floor Cutting Chisels and Drawer Lock Chisels.
Only the 1928 first 2 pages of Common Chisels and Gouges are shown below:

The 1938 Catalogue [below] shows 15 pages devoted to chisels and gouges. There are some additions to the line and some deletions [too numerous to mention here] but in essence the listings follow the 1928 catalogue, only with some price increases. The only ‘Round’ neck chisels and gouges are the ‘Registered’ pattern Mortice, the London Pattern Sash Mortise Chisels and the Tanged Butt Chisels.  All the rest, except for the Socket style, are ‘Square’ necked. All the handles are made of either Ash, Beech or Boxwood with no Plastic yet in evidence.  This situation was in effect until at least the March 1940 pocket catalogue.

The next catalogue that I have [below] is just post-war 1954 and this shows that a ‘Splitproof’ Amber Plastic handle had been introduced, and was also offered on the Round neck B/E Butt chisel. [This handle was all Amber, not the later Red/Orange.]  At this age you will see that the ‘Round’ neck B/E chisel has arrived, but the ‘Square’ neck Firmer chisel is still available…if we can believe the Cat. images to be correct. Yet, in the same cat. there is shown a Chisel Display Stand that depicts B/E Firmer chisels with Square necks!
I therefore suggest that the Round Neck Chisel/Gouge was probably the only variety produced after c.1952/3 and that the Square neck [Drop Hammer forged?] had been replaced by the Drop Forged Round Neck because of lower production costs. [But see later for a MARPLES contradiction]

Below you will see the amended page, dated March 1957, showing all Round Neck chisels.  {Compared with the square necked chisels of pre 1953 }

Here [below] is the ‘Continental’ pattern wood handle [#326] that had been introduced into the line. [1954] along with the shorter Butt ‘Continental’ [#336] They were described as having a ‘Narrow Bevel’.

But in the 10/79 E3 Catalogue [below] they are no longer called ‘Continental’, just ‘Hooped Beechwood’ and are now numbered #M371    So #326 turned into #371?   Very Confusing!.

By 1954 the ‘Round’ [Amber] Splitproof handled B/E Butt chisels [#876] had made an entrance although the page below is dated Sept 1958.

Also shown is the Red/Yellow Oval “Splitproof Handle” chisels in sets of 5 Firmer [#313] and 5 B/E Firmer [#373]

Below is a set of Splitproof Butt chisels, Item #876 with Round handles. Item #876 endured 1954-1958 and then the Item # was changed to #386 in 1959 and these were themselves eventually discontinued in 1969. The chisels below may be from c.1958.  These chisels should not be confused with the heavier more robust OVAL handled #373    The box that they came in is also shown below.

But here below is a picture from the 1959 MARPLES Catalogue, showing a different handle marking on the #876. It was probably an older picture but still used in 1959. The other image here is of 3 of those chisels to show the mark better. The older #876 had a Red colour to the plastic close to the blade.

Below is the illustration of Item#386 in the 1959 Cat. and these chisels had an all amber plastic handle.

It would appear that the Splitproof Butt chisels with round handles came in 4 different coats…earliest to latest.
a]  A Diamond shape impression on an amber handle with a red neck
b] A white Oval applied coating to an amber handle with red neck
c] A MARPLES impression mark on an amber handle with a red neck
d] A MARPLES impression mark on an amber handle with no red neck.

Below is a great set of M371/S4.  Late 1970s?

In the March 1957 Pocket Cat. these 2 adverts [below] appear advising that MARPLES chisels are good to the last inch as they have been “Hardened and Tempered from edge to trademark.”  And this was also advertized on the chisel boxes of that era.

In the 1959 Cat. there are advertised sets of chisels contained in ‘ colourful’ P.V.C Wallets:

The picture below shows set 377/W5 but the handles have an impression later than that shown in the Catalogue.  I am unsure as to how long these plastic wallets were available, but a guestimate is 1956-1965?

The following is taken from a September 1961 catalogue issued by MARPLES for USA consumption.  So, up to this date MARPLES were stating that ALL gouges and chisels are ‘hand-forged.'[see below]
BUT hand-forged can include the handling of red hot steel into a drop hammer, as opposed to the automatic systems employed later, [wherein no ‘hand’ is actually employed].  ‘Hand-Forged’ could then be legally used, but it is stretching the use of the English Language somewhat!
I also note that ‘Good to the last inch’ or ‘edge to trademark’ has been sacrificed for a larger description that the ‘entire length of the tool can be honed’.    

At this time (9/61) the Paring Gouges and Paring Chisels are shown as having Square necks. [Could these have been old ‘cuts’?]

In 1968 the ‘BLUE CHIP‘ handled B/E Firmer chisels #444 and gouges had been introduced, followed in 1971 by the #333 Blue Chip Firmer chisel. It is shown here that  ‘In co-operation with the European Tool Committee, Marples Wood Chisels are marked in inches and millimetres’.
Metrication‘ was introduced across many walks of life in Britain on 15 Feb 1971,  and the image below is from 1971.

The Oval ‘Splitproof’ Handles [#373] were in full swing as well as the smaller Harlequin Handled B/E chisel [#388] as found here [below], which was introduced in 1968.

Below is a photo of some HARLEQUIN chisels #388  [shown are 2 x 1/2″ sizes with different coloured handles, which proves that the handle colour did not indicate chisel width.]   But I can confirm now that Harlequins were always provided with Orange coloured edge keepers.

And below [and above advert] you will see a Mint example of ‘Compact’ chisel #382 which was introduced at the same time as the ‘Harlequin’ [9/68]. This chisel may be much more rare than the ‘Harlequin’ because it had a wooden handle and as these chisels were low cost and aimed at the Amateur market, they would have been prone to the abuse afforded such items, [housed in a damp shed at the bottom of the UK garden, used to open paint cans and used as a substitute screwdriver! etc.] and therefore to find one in mint condition [below] is rare. And add to that the fact that they were only offered 1968-69.

A beautiful set [below] of 6 B/E Oval Split-proof Handled chisels. 373/S6

The photo above is from the RECORD RIDGWAY MARPLES Woodcrafting Tools Catalogue dated October 1979.

Above is the introduction page of the 1993 Wm. Marples Chisels/Gouges catalogue.

Below here is a set of Leather tipped B/E firmer chisels in a plastic pouch that I seem not to be able to yet identify!   They must be from the 1970s<? and had applied sticky MARPLES labels on the handles, all of which are now missing .

What follows is the table form of the chisels and gouges that MARPLES made, starting with the 1909 Catalogue and progressing as far as 1998.     The catalogue dates are across the top.  There are some assumptions that I have had to make, the most important being that should an item appear in [for e.g.] the 1928 catalogue and in the 1938 catalogue, but nowhere in between [in the pocket catalogues], I have concluded that the item was indeed available in between but did not appear in the Pocket Catalogues due to space limitations and popularity of the item.


 A Gallery of some of the more common MARPLES chisels that can be found today:

Round Ash Firmer [#310] 1909-1994 or B/E Firmer [#370] 1909-1986.
This chisel endured as the backbone of MARPLES chisel production and was probably around prior to 1909. You will find them from good quality early chisels to the later less exciting offerings…see below.
Some chisels you may find have a steel ferrule [see example below] and these may come from the latter parts of WWII.  I have ONE example that is fitted with an Aluminium ferrule.   [And that is the way that it is spelt in Britain!]

Photos above are of #310 Firmer Chisels, but are of very different years and quality. All are Ash handled.

The 2 photos below are of #370 Ash handled B/E chisels from around 1986, showing short non-brass ferrules, tapered necks and the same size handles throughout the range.

The #370 Chisels shown below are higher quality and obviously from an earlier time:

Carver Boxwood Firmer [#317] 1909-1994 or B/E Firmer [#377] 1909-1998
Found quite often today on a famous Auction site, these chisels can be had once again in various quality states according to the year of production.
The very best were the square necked chisel, probably <1952.  These would have had a small round MARPLES water transfer applied close down to the brass ferrule. But around this time we can find these square necked chisels having a ‘Green Shamrock‘ transfer [See the section on Marks] similar to the red ones shown below.  I have found this Green transfer on both these ‘Square neck’ and ‘Round neck’ chisels.  To me this indicates a date c.1952/3 since I have deduced that the Round neck chisels phased out Square neck around that time.   Below is a fine set showing a Round neck and a ‘Red’ Shamrock transfer in the middle of the handle.

Below you will see the degradation that this fine chisel suffered over time, showing  here disgusting ferrules, ‘tapered’ necks, all the same sized handles and no Makers mark on the blade]

The tapered neck appeared on these chisels around 1985.

Below here is a photo of some late [c.1995] B/E Boxwood handled [#377] chisels. Note the short brass ferrules, a white plastic ‘washer’ and the same size handle for each chisel.

BUT… you may find [ shown below] some MARPLES  Boxwood Carver handled B/E chisels with a full brass ferrule  [i.e. before they truncated the ferrule to a brass plated steel..c.1990?] which literally have no MARPLES identification on either the handle or the blade.  See below.  Presently I cannot explain why this should have occurred.  Definitely MARPLES.

The above chisels also show a change in blade design in that previously the bevelled edges were of equal size along the length of the blade, whereas at some time [to be determined c.1980?] the design changed to give a splayed  look to the central portion.  I have seen this on chisels with a SEOVAL Boxwood Carver style handle and etched blade; on a SEOVAL handle with no blade marking and on chisels [as above] with no markings at all.  Below is a comparison of the 2 designs…

This design was carried through to other styles at different times and may have been used only on the larger sizes of chisels.  For instance I have catalogue pictures showing Blue Chip chisels as having this played out design around 1971!  It is presently not possible to collate and report on when all these chisels started to have this new blade design, the information simply is not available.

Also noted is the fact that these ‘splayed out’ [and maybe others] design of #377 chisels can be found with 2 different electro-etched marks. The earlier mark has the word ‘Sheffield‘ and also is a narrower necked chisel displaying  a finer designed shoulder [top in pictures]:

At the moment I do not know whether these different etchings occurred in other chisels.

Ash Carver Handled Firmer chisel #M111

This style of chisel was introduced in 1986 [Marples/Ridgway MR111] and was available 1986-7 in these sizes: 1/4″; 3/8″; 1/2″; 5/8″; 3/4″; 1″; 1.1/4″. It was dropped from the line in 1988-90 and was available again 1991-4 as M111 but only as 1/4″; 1/2″; 3/4″; 1″. See 1986 excerpt below:

The M 111/S4 set below shows a short brass coloured pressed steel ferrule and same sized handles for each chisel c.1994.

Blue Ribbon #M555 Blue Handle B/E Firmer chisel

This was introduced in as an Amateur household chisel and therefore less expensive chisel in c.1986 and until 1991.  Only produced as 1/4″; 1/2″; 3/4″ and 1″. Also called ‘Hobby 1’.  Available individually or as a boxed Set.
M555 was changed to a Green Polypropylene handle in Mid 1991.

‘Blue Chip’ Polypropylene handled  Firmer [#333] 1971-1998 or B/E Firmer [#444] 1968-2006+
​A much abused chisel because of the bad advertising that propelled this item to fame. [In essence, it is OK to whack it with a hammer!]
This is why you will find them usually very soiled and scuffed due to the fact that this ideology appealed to the ‘whack it and get the job done’ tradesman, who would then consign the poor creature to its’ storage space with an errant toss.
Of note here is that the 1/8″ B/E #M444 was introduced into the line in September 1978

They always had a ‘tapered’ neck and are now still manufactured by Irwin-Marples but you must be careful to only purchase those made in Sheffield, and this is hit or miss. The very first Irwin-Marples still had ‘MADE IN SHEFFIELD‘ electro etched onto the top of the blade. and the B/E were still produced in Sheffield until 2008.   Very soon after that, the whole system was transferred either to Italy or more probably CHINA.


The earlier chisels made by MARPLES have the electro-etching shown below on the blade and the SEOVAL  {semi-oval} MARPLES mark in the handle.

Chisels made by RECORD RIDGWAY TOOLS LTD. looked like this below and  with Blue Edge protectors.

Initially chisels made by Record-Marples Woodworking Tools Ltd had SHEFFIELD ENGLAND etched on the blade and the seoval MARPLES Mark on the handle.  Or may have the Oval MARPLES on the handle with SHEFFIELD ENGLAND etched on the blade. Grey chisel end protectors.   All as shown below.

But of course I have now bought a Blue Chip chisel that has a handle marking that I can only try to slot into the dating order.  The blade marks are as shown immediately above except the mm. size is in line with the wording.    My example is too feint to photograph.
It also has a Grey plastic edge keeper. As you can see the mark on the handle  is a surface application, not pressed into the handle.

The Later Marples [Made by RECORD] Firmer and B/E Firmer chisels seem to have MADE IN SHEFFIELD ENGLAND or HAND FORGED SHEFFIELD ENGLAND etched on the blade, and the Oval ‘Marples’ emblem was on the handle and may also be etched on the blade,[Later]  (as seen below).

These Later chisels may also have the ‘Man in Safety Goggles‘ emblem impressed into the top of the handle.

A quite late example [below] c.2007 has an open toed black plastic edge keeper,  a silver surface applied MARPLES name on the handle and an impressed  ‘Man with Safety Goggles‘   at the top of the handle.        The font is exactly the same as the chisel above here.

Can you now see how utterly confusing these takeovers have on dating etc.?!
This chisel [below] has definitely an older style marking, but is contained in a later style plastic wallet.

It would appear {info from Mr.A.Niven} that the very last of the IRWIN-MARPLES Blue-Chip chisels that were produced in Sheffield [c.2008] looked like this:

And that the very first IRWIN-MARPLES Blue-Chip chisels that were produced [c.2009] in China looked like this:


Green Polypropylene handled Chisels and gouges:

The above B/E chisels were Item #555 and were introduced [along with the other Green handled chisels/gouges] in November 1991 and were made in sizes 1/4; 1/2; 3/4; 1; 1.1/4; and 1.1/2″. They were available individually and in sets of 4 or sets of 6 {M555/S6}.  But in 1996 the set of 6 was changed to then include 1/4; 3/8; 1/2; 3/4; 1; and 1.1/4″. All the chisels were still available individually, including the 1.1/2″ size, but the 3/8″ size remained only available in the set.  Today this may be the rarest of these chisels to locate. Therefore M555 was available November 1991 until 1998. I should be noted that up to Nov 1991 M555 had a blue handle and was called ‘Blue Ribbon’.  See above info on Blue Ribbon.
In 1998 they are Item M555 with a Green handle, but M555 has a Black handle in 1999.
The plain Firmer chisels #666  were only made in 1991 to 1994 as 1/4; 1/2; 3/4 and 1″
Gouge #415 was available until 1998 but as M415 in 1999. It was made as 1/4; 3/8; 1/2; 5/8; 3/4; and 1″.
Gouge #435 was available until 1998 but as M435 in 1999, and in the same sizes as the Outcannel.

‘Splitproof’ Firmer [313] 1954-1998 or B/E Firmer [373] 1954-2006+

This is the famous Red/Yellow plastic [Cellulose acetate butyrate] handled chisel that we all love to own, except that all points noted above on the ‘Blue-Chip‘ apply here.   Some of these offerings, that you may find on the internet, look like they have been rolled in a Cement mixer!  I believe that Irwin manufactured the B/E chisels in Sheffield after their takeover of RECORD in 1998 until at least 2008, and these were marked on the blade ‘MADE IN SHEFFIELD ENGLAND‘, but soon after, the manufacture was exported away to cheaper manufacturing countries. Be aware that the Irwin Marples Chinese offerings may have but a light electro-etching of their name on the blade which can be easily rubbed out to make the chisel appear like a real MARPLES.    [The handle is still simply marked MARPLES inside an Oval.]
Neither these or the Blue Chip chisels were intended to be ‘Fine Woodwork’ chisels. They are every day ‘user’ chisels intended for the Trades or home use because they have little ‘feel’ or balance.  The 1965 Catalogue indicates [below] that there were 4 different sized handles for these Splitproof chisels [numbered on the handles 1-4], but for how long this may have been in operation is not presently known.

You also can see below that with every change of ‘Ownership’ the packaging also had to be changed.  Most confusing!   By 1986  the ‘tapered’ neck had also been introduced into this line.

THE BEST [above photo] ….had the earlier round neck.                                                                                                                   Below are images of a beautiful set of #313 Firmer Chisels c.1968:

I have noted that the handle could have the following impressions in the plastic:
A) ‘Record Marples‘ on both sides and had Electro etched SHEFFIELD ENGLAND on the top of the blade, with a Tapered neck.
B) ‘MARPLES‘ on one side and the Oval Marples [‘WM. MARPLES & SONS‘ and SHEFFIELD. ENG with Trefoil’ ] on the reverse side showed a ‘Bahco Record Tools Ltd‘. [Tapered neck] or RECORD RIDGEWAY Tools Ltd. [round neck]                                                                                                                                                                        C) ‘Marples‘ on both sides indicates a tool made by Record Hand Tools  and Electro etched HAND FORGED SHEFFIELD ENGLAND on the top of the blade with a Tapered neck.[bottom photo]

The page  below (October 1979) shows the ‘tapered’ neck of the Blue Chip chisels as well as the Round Neck of the Splitproof chisels.
So basically if you have a MARPLES Splitproof handled chisel in your possession with a Round Neck, you have an original MARPLES tool, no questions asked.   These are the best of the Splitproof ever made.
As the Catalogue picture [see below] shows, the Hefty Oval handle allows a large striking surface

And this is what a Late Canadian M373 issue looked like:

This following item is rarely seen. It is an M373 set by Irwin-Marples c.2003 [Made in England] that is in a plastic box and with an Oilstone!
Item # M373/S5+OS

Below is shown one of the last ‘MADE IN SHEFFIELD ENGLANDM373 chisel sets. Made by IRWIN, it is housed in a garrish wooden box and the chisel tips are protected by open-toed black ribbed protectors.

The #373 Splitproof handled chisel was available in the UK 1954-2008.  This was a standard length B/E Firmer chisel.  However in 1962 a ‘Continental‘ Style B/E almost paring chisel was introduced as Item #327 and I believe was renumbered around 1964/5 to Item #323.  I had always thought that the ‘Continental’ style name was applied to chisels [such as #326] because of the pattern of Beech handle having a top steel thin hoop [see 1965 Catalogue picture]. Apparently this may not be so, as the Item #327 [later #323] was introduced and with an Oval “Splitproof” handle and still listed on page 10 of the 1965  Cat.  as ‘Continental’.  These longer chisels do not show up too often in the UK, as they were produced for ‘Export Only’ [WHY?] and may therefore be rare to find in UK , and I can find no listing in any of my catalogues of a ‘Splitproof’ handled Paring chisel.

Some ‘MODERN’ Chisels​… the ones that you will mostly find today.

After around 2008 Irwin Marples moved chisel production to China and produced chisels that look nice only.     

The set below with RED handles is named as M555R, [R for Red?] clearly made by RECORD MARPLES  but I have yet to find out when they were produced and then discontinued.  The #555 number was used for so many chisel types in the 80s and 90s , but this set with Grey plastic edge protectors is probably around 2001 or earlier, ​as these protectors were phased out around 2002 in favour of unmarked Black plastic guards and then unmarked Black plastic guards with an open-toe on the top surface.

The set above is numbered M500 S6 and was made by Record Marples probably c.2002.  Note the word ‘Record‘ in the flimsy plastic tray. [You will always find the tray cracked/split]. This set was boxed, as above and you can see that storage has produced a ‘bloom’ on the rubber handles.
They were also issued to the Tradesman as a ‘PROTOUCH‘ chisel having a polypropylene? scabbard to be attached to the belt:


Around 2006 the same chisels were issued with Steel Caps as Item#MS500 and were still marked as being made in Sheffield.  The M500 chisel was short lived as it does not appear in the 2006 IRWIN Marples catalogue, probably replaced by the Steel Capped variety.

This chisel [below] is marked Irwin-Marples and was produced outside of Sheffield around 2008<.   Look at and learn the blade markings​, they will never indicate ‘Made in Sheffield‘, because they were not.

The M500B [‘B‘ for Blue?] had Blue polypropylene handle inserts, whereas M500 chisels had Ivory polypropylene handle inserts] The ProTouch set shown [below] is marked MADE IN SHEFFIELD ENGLAND and came in widths up to 2″.  Another set [MS500B] is essentially the same but with a Steel cap on the handle. They both had Impact-Resistant polypropylene core handles. The edge protectors indicate this set was made around 2004,  as up to 2002 the protectors were of the fully enclosed variety as shown below on the 2″ MS500B and dated ‘2002‘.

This photo [below] is to show you that from at least 2008 MARPLES  chisels were made in CHINA. [“to MARPLES product specifications”]
This is the MS500B chisel which was indeed ‘Made in Sheffield’  [if so marked] until c.2008   ​Also see immediately above.

Made in China to Marples product specifications’ indicated on the left above.

Below are extracts from the IRWIN Tools 2006 Catalogue indicating Made in England:


Above are examples of M750, Splitproof Pro Bevel Edge Chisels with Soft Grip Handle. The name on the handles is ‘Marples‘  but the 2006 catalogue above shows the name as ‘IRWIN Marples‘, so these chisels may be c.2004

Below is a boxed set of Irwin Marples c.2010  MS750, a chisel that replaced the M750 because it had a steel cap.

Here below is where I will try to show as a variety of the unusual chisels that were offered by MARPLES over the years:

In the 1861/2 and 1873 Catalogues is listed [but not shown] a #115 Cast Steel Millrights’ chisel available 1/4″- 3″wide. [Although it is not numbered in 1861.]
But in the 1897 Catalogue it is available as # 115  1/8″-2.1/2″ wide and is then named ‘Cast Steel Registered Chisel‘ with ‘two Bright Iron Ferrules‘.   By the 1909 Catalogue the number has been changed to #600 and still showed the same sizes and each still having TWO steel ferrules, but the neck looks thicker.   It is not shown or listed in the 1921 Catalogue, having being discontinued in favour of other similar chisels,or the WW1, but this chisel was the only one having a short thick neck and a square Bolster. [Most other chisels had either a round Bolster or an 8 sided hand-forged Bolster.]

This image below is from the 1897 Catalogue.

This same slightly different image [neck looks thicker]  below is from the 1909 Catalogue.

The image below, is of a 2″ #115   c.1890.

The chisel below is a #133 Cast Steel Socket Mortice chisel c. 1873

In 1986 MARPLES decided that they would draw enthusiasts back to the fold by introducing a throwback chisel. This was the #777 Rosewood handled B/E chisel. [ 1/8″-1.1/2″]
Note the truncated brass ferrules, MARPLES would thereby have saved at least 5p each ferrule over installing a real good old length one!   They lasted until c. May 1991.

Above is from the Record Marples Price List of 1st. March 1986.


The above images are of the M777/S5.
An M777/S6 set was introduced in 1988 with the 1.1/4″ chisel included.

MARPLES Chisel Points to consider:

I have observed that the older chisels c.1900 tended to have longer brass ferrules than were later used and were more accurately fitted to the wood handle such that they did not require a punched indentation in the brass to hold the ferrule in place.
The older chisels did not indicate ENGLAND only that they were made in SHEFFIELD. which was deemed, at that time, to be quite adequate.  I believe that Legislation was introduced around 1900 that required that all tools manufactured or sold in the UK had to have the country of Origin impressed on the tool.

I have found that many later [after 1980?] boxwood handled chisels tend to have split ferrules and I can only surmise that this may have something do with over drying the boxwood, as the boxwood must have expanded with moisture after manufacture.

Just when the chisel neck was changed from a square profile to a round is hard to discern but I estimate that this might have been around 1952-4.  The round neck was then changed to a tapered one around 1985. [but gradually phased in on different models].

The plastic edge guards may indicate whether the chisels are  real Marples . The earlier guards were totally rectangular in section and were marked ‘Wm.Marples & Sons Sheffield‘ on one side. They came in many different colours: Light blue; Pink/grey; Salmon;  Translucent; Red; Black; Creamy green; Sky blue;  Translucent red + others.  The later versions were sloped down to the cutting edge and marked ‘marples england‘ on one side and the sides were ribbed.  These guards seem to be Blue until c.1993  and then Grey thereafter until  c.2002.  A Black plastic open toed variety was then used until at least c.2008, and when Irwin took over a totally different [generic] guard was used.
The pictures below show the Chisel Edge Guards that were for sale around 1965:

Ferrules were gradually cheapened by making them shorter and then not even from brass..see below ….these #222 Carver Ash handled B/E Firmers were made 1986-1994.  They all have the same size handles for the many different widths, shortened non-brass [light brass coloured steel] ferrules and no makers mark inscribed on the blade.

This Rare Blue Chip Set [above], with included Mallet, probably dates around 2004
​but I do not understand the quote ‘Since 1898‘!!

And then we arrive in the bottom basement section where anything goes to sell a tool. This must surely be the lowest level to which a MARPLES name was attached in order to sell a tool.   For the Professional Woodworker, are you kidding me!!??   Disgusting!!!  But then again the owner of the company, at this time, was ‘American Tool Co.’  so what can you expect?

Manufacturing for Tool Merchants?

Below is the first instance that I have found whereby it is obvious that MARPLES did indeed manufacture tools for specific Tool Merchants and placed the Merchant’s name on the tool at the factory.  In this case the Common Octagon Boxwood handled B/E chisel was made for Louis Henry TURTLE of Croydon and has the MARPLES trefoil impressed alongside Turtle‘s name. [TURTLE was a Saw maker, Cutler and Tool Merchant [info from Simon Barley]  This chisel would be from around the year 1900.