The premier site for William Marples & Son's Tools.
Stainless Steel Saws
STAINLESS STEEL SAWS
Although Stainless Steel [SS] was not discovered/invented/stumbled upon until 1913, it was much later in September 1931 pocket cat. that we find SSMARPLES saws were introduced as Item #2515 a Skew Back, Carved English Beech handled Hand, Panel and RipSaw. These were initially available in 22″ x 10 pts and 26″ x 6, 6.5 or 7pts, but sometime later [before1938] a 24″ x 8 pts saw was added to the line. In Sept1931 there is no mention that these saws were a new addition, from which we may assume that they were probably introduced a little earlier. They are not mentioned in the June 1930 pocket catalogue, and I do not possess the March? 1931 pocket catalogue. These Panel saws were offered for sale up to around March 1940. A similar situation exists with Item #2528, an SS Tenon Saw, which is again first seen in September1931 pocket cat. in sizes 10, 12, and 14″ and it available until at least September 1961. As with all other MARPLES saws the handle medallion is ‘generic’ in nature. The medallion and screws were nickel plated:
Below is a rare #2515 Hand Panel and Rip Saw:
Below are photos of the Tenon Saws
‘Later’ 12″ saw has 2.1/2″ blade depth. [shown above]
‘Early’ 10″ Open Handled SS Tenon saw with 2.1/2″ blade depth. [Above]
Above is an ‘Early'[ pre-war?] 12″ saw which has 3.1/4″ blade depth. Things to note: The earlierSS saws did not have a ‘wheat’ pattern carving on the handle [<c.1937], had SHEFFIELD ENGLAND on the ‘Back’ and ‘Warranted Superior’ on the blade. The Open handle Tenon saw is presumed to be ‘Early’ as it does not appear in the 1938 cat. nor can I find it listed in any small catalogues before 1938!!. The ‘Early’ Tenon saws had deeper blades than ‘Later’. Saws after c.1937 show a ‘wheat’ pattern handle and were marked ‘SHEFFIELD‘ only on the ‘Back’ and ‘Warranted Cast Steel‘ on the blade. Immediately below are Catalogue entries dated 1931:
From the above Catalogue entry you will see that the Beech handles are said to be ‘Polished all over’ i.e. they had a clear varnish finish and were NOT painted Black. From the photo below I note that the Medallion is different and, as with the screws, is Brass coloured. So I assume that this is how the SS saws were first introduced, but for how long is not known only that the handles were described as being painted Black in 1938. It can be seen that both saws below have the Wheat Pattern carving in the handles.
Catalogue 1938: You will note that the 1938 Cat. does not show a Cat. # for 2528! [as shown above]
The first listing that appears for Saw Sets in MARPLES Catalogues is in 1862:
The 1873 listings shows the same tools as in 1862, but they are now numbered:
1909: Since c.1903 you will find that the item numbers have been changed.
You may be able find most of these Saw Sets today, except that I have yet to see Item numbers 2475[with Gauge]; 2506 & 08 Saw setting hammer & Anvil; 2500 Punch Saw Set and 2502 Punch Saw Set. It is possible that the last two listed here suffered a hard life and did not survive for us to view any good examples.
In May 1966 Hand Saw Set #2470 was listed as being available at 8/- each, but the Price List of November1969 shows this item as having been ‘Withdrawn‘. I therefore suggest that this tool was available until c.1968.
Below are some photos of Saw Sets:
Item #743 is seen in the 1888 Catalogue as ‘Black American Pattern Punch Saw Set’ and may have been made since c.1880. In 1909 the number becomes #2501 ‘Best Black Punch Saw Set’. The last entry I can find is in the 1928 Catalogue so it may have been dropped around 1930:
Below is Item#2478 ‘Bright Solid Steel Hand Saw Set (15-20 W.G.) which seems to have been only available from c.1925 to c.1940
Below is [Top] Item#2494 Strong Circular Saw Set with 8 ‘Gates‘ (8-15 W.G.). First found c.1897 as item#746 this changed c.1903 to #2494 supplied with a Rosewood Handle. In 1928 the handle was changed to ‘Hardwood‘ and this persisted to c.1963 when it was discontinued.
Below [Bottom] is Item #2484 Single Handed Pit saw Set available with 4,5 or 6 ‘Gates’. [6 Gate shown]
This item number was available back to c.1903 but before that it was numbered #744.
In 1873 the number is #542 [5 Gate] or #543 [6 Gate], and in 1862 both 5 and 6 Gates are listed, but with no item number.
Above is Item#2486 ‘6 Gate Strong Black Pit Saw Set’ c.1910
Below are some photos of Item#2497 ‘Bright Plier Saw Set’. Under this number it was available c.1903-c1930. In 1897 it is listed as #739 and I can find no listings before this date.
Below are 2 of the more commonly available Saw Sets available today:
The Top one is described as having a ‘Turnscrew End’ and is listed in 1862. A number 539 was assigned to this tool in 1873. In 1897 the Beechwood handled set was #735 and Boxwood Set was #736, but both ofthese tools did not have an accompanying Brass Gauge. Around c.1903 the numbers changed so in the 1909 Catalogue we see #2471 with a Beech handle and #2473 with a Boxwood handle. This stayed in effect until c.1938 when only a Beech handle was offered for Item #2471. As we jump to the 1959 Catalogue we find that #2471 is offered with a Beech handle and #2471A is the same, but with an included Brass Gauge.
This Saw Set was discontinued c.1963.
The Bottom example is listed as a ‘Hand Saw Set with Plain end’ [14-20 W.G.]. In 1862 it is shown with no number but is described as “Patent Saw Set with Brass Guard“. In 1873 it is given the number 541 and although the wood type is not stated, it would probably be Boxwood. In the 1897 Catalogue #738 is of Boxwood with #738A being in Beech. The numbers changed around 1903, so in 1909 we see #2477 in Boxwood and #2476 in Beech. In the 1921 Catalogue we only see #2477 with a Boxwood Handle listed and still with a Brass gauge. In 1928 Beech handled saw sets reappear as #2476 with the option to still purchase a Boxwood variety #2477. But by 1938 the Boxwood option is not offered, only the Beech #2476. [still with Brass gauge]
From Price Lists it would appear that this Saw Set [#2476] was not offered for sale post War and I therefore assume it was delisted c.1940.
Below are 2 different examples of Morell’s Patent Saw Set. This style appears first in the 1897 Catalogue as Item #749. Around 1903 this number was changed to #2498 and under this number it survived until 1959.
It appears to have been offered for sale by MARPLES until the Price List of April 1962 when it is shown as 17/- each. By the March 1964 PL it has been delisted. Therefore we can assume that this Saw Set was not available after c.1963.
BOW SAWS [TURNING SAWS]:
Details on this type of saw can also be found in the year by year catalogues under ‘SAWS‘.
These saws were always called ‘Turning Saws‘ in all MARPLES catalogues up to 1965, when the term ‘Bow Saws‘ was first shown.
The 1846 List shows these ‘Turning Saws’ as being available in a Beech wood frame in 1o”-20″sizes and as being quite fancy in their design. They had Boxwood handles and Brass Collars. The front handle was introduced as being quite rounded and the rear handle as being elongated Round. This handle shape [if we are to believe the catalogue pictures] endured up to 1965+. As was usual at this early time , no numbers were associated with the saw.
The saws are now listed with item #523 and #524….the latter having Boxwood handles. At this time the name ‘Bow Saw‘ was reserved for an Iron Framed ‘Lancashire Style’ hacksaw Item # B1345 for cutting metal.
By 1897 the numbers had changed from #523 to #691; #524 to #692 and #693 being a London Pattern Octagonal Boxwood handle variety.in sizes 10″-22″ [The listing states ‘sizes up to 10″ but those sizes are not stated]. The Bow Saw for cutting metal was re-numbered to #1460.
At this time the Wire stretched Turning Saw is first seen. #691 became #2400 , #2400A was the wire stretched variety. #692 became #2401 , #2401A was the wire stretched variety. #693 became #2402 and #2402A was the wire stretched variety.
By 1921 the listing of both #2402 and #2402A had been removed. [These were the London Pattern Octagon Boxwood handled variety]
Only now is the term ‘Turning and Bow Saws‘ listed. Listed are #2400; #2400A; #2401 and # 2401A
Listed are #2400; #2400A; #2403 and #2403A The listings of #2403 and #2403A are noted as now being made of just ‘Beech’, not of ‘Best Beech’, [i.e a lesser quality and price] . Item #2401 [Boxwood handle] is no longer available.
Listed are Items #2400; #2400A; #2303 and #2403A . The picture [below] still shows a totally round and short front handle and this was certainly in effect in 1952 as I have a WD↑ 1952 marked example. Item #2400 and #2400A [Best Beech] are shown as being available in 8″-24″ lengths. Item #2403 and #2403A are shown as being available in 8″-16″ lengths.
By 1965 the only listing is for #2400 ‘Best Beech throughout‘ and only available in 10″ and 12″ sizes. They are now only called ‘BOW SAWS‘ and no wire stretcher option was available, only ‘twine strained’. The picture also still shows the front handle as being totally rounded, not elongated rounded.
The M2400 ‘Best Beech’ twine strained is the only offering in 10″ and 12″ sizes. The picture now shows both handles as being elongated round.
Price changes over time: Best Beech 12″ size frame.
This would be the first issue noted in the 1844 price sheet and shown as being quite fancy in the 1861 catalogue. The same cut is shown in 1873, but is now first numbered 523. It is doubtful that you will ever come across an example of this early form. The front handle is only slightly shorter than the rear handle.
This is the shape and figure generally seen and it has a small rounded front handle pinned through to the front brass blade holder. The rear pinned handle is an elongated round handle. The handles do not, at this stage, have brass rings separating them from the frame. The impressed mark is to be found at both ends of the middle Beechwood stretcher on the side frames. The short Beechwood tightening arm, through the twine, may be straight sided as shown. It is not a good idea to drill a hang hole in the frame at the point of maximum stress , as you will see here!
This saw differs from Type 2 in that the handles are not ‘pinned’ in place, but are only joined to the brass blade holders via a brass dowel portion of that casting. You can now see that part of that casting contains a round brass plate that forms a contact point between handle and frame. The frame is again marked on both ends of the middle Beechwood stretcher, with a different MARPLES mark. The short Beechwood tightening arm may be slightly tapered as shown.
This is the last style manufactured and it has a white nylon washer in each handle assembly as shown. The middle stretcher shows the only MARPLES mark in Black .
Below is a #2400A showing the thick wire in place of the usual twine.
Below is a 10″ London Pattern Boxwood Handled Turning saw. These appeared around the 1890s in sizes less than10″and up to 22″ as Item #693 and changed to #2402 in 1909. They are not listed in 1921.
As you can see, a Compass saw blade was included with the ‘Nest of Interchangeable Saws‘. However, you will usually find only the Table saw blade attached to the handle as this was the most popular and the other blades were ‘lost’. The blades were inserted by loosening the 2 handle bolts and slipping in the saw blade, which had a slot cut as shown below:
These ‘Nest of Saws’ were available starting c.1909 and were produced up to c.1970. In 1909 they were numbered as #2630 Best Quality with #2631 being Medium Quality. There was a number change in 1928 with only best quality being available as #2525.1/2 . In 1938 the best quality is #2595 with a Cheaper quality to be had in #2595C, and this was echoed in 1959. But in 1965 only #2595 was available and nothing is shown in the 1971 Catalogue. In the 1965 Catalogue below it is noted that the edges only of the handle are polished.
Below is the 1928 Catalogue entry for #2440 Beechwood handled Keyhole saw with a saw from that era:
It is amazing to see just how many different types of Brass ‘Ferrules’ were designed and used on the MARPLESPad Saws over time. Below are some examples, but dating them is very difficult.
It can be noted here that the early Pad Saws had a strip of steel inserted and held in the mouth by 2 small ‘Ferrule’ holding screws. This strip was so placed to be between the actual blade and the 2 blade securing screws. I have yet to determine when this strip was omitted from the formula, but the later saws do not have it and the saw blade is directly held by the 2 securing screws which could lead to saw blade damage, which could be significant at the narrower/shorter end of the blade.
Below is from the M1 Catalogue Feb 1968. Pad Saw #2421 was available in the 1965 Cat. and carried through until at least November 1982.
Above is from Aug 1973.
Around 1985 the number 2421 was changed to #2430 and this Pad Saw was produced until c.1991. I can find no Pad Saws listed after that date. Example of #2430 is below.
This next example of M2430 was produced at ‘Oscar Works‘ under the RECORDMARPLES name.
I think that the Pad Saw above is the earliest Pad saw mark I have seen…. merely a script of W.Marples. With a Boxwood handle it has a length from Brass to handle end of 8.1/2″ Either #698/99 [#2425/6 after 1909].
Above are 2 photos showing W. MARPLES & SONS SHEFFIELD Boxwood. 8.5/8″ Either #698/99 [#2425/6 after 1909].
Above is a rare Ebony Handled Padsaw with no discernible makers mark 8.3/8″ [but it is almost certainly by MARPLES] #700, RN#2427 in 1909. 1897-1928. Below is a rare Rosewood Pad Saw numbered 698A in 1897 but changed to #2425 in 1909. This saw is stamped W. MARPLES & SONS SHEFFIELD. . It is probable that Rosewood was available from about 1890 onwards but the last listing was in c.1928 .
The above 2 photos are of anotherW. MARPLES & SONS SHEFFIELD Boxwood 8.3/4″ Either #698/99 [#2425/6 after 1909].
[Above 2 photos] W. MARPLES & SONS HIBERNIATriple Shamrock Boxwood 8.3/8″ Either #698/99 [#2425/6 after 1909].
[Above 2 photos] W. MARPLES & SONS HIBERNIA Triple Shamrock Boxwood 8.7/8″ Either #698/99 [#2425/6 after 1909].
[Above ] W. MARPLES & SONS SHEFFIELD Triple Shamrock in a rectangle mark on the Brass ‘Ferrule’. Beech 7.1/4” #2421. c.1940-50?
[Above 2 photos] Wm. Marples & Sons Ltd. Sheffield England in raised lettering on a Gold painted cast pot metal ‘ferrule’. Beech 7.3/8″ #2421. ‘RED’ MARPLES Shamrock transfer denotes early 1970’s?
[Above 2 photos] Wm. Marples & Sons Ltd. Sheffield England in raised lettering on Hammered Gold painted pot metal cast ‘ferrule’ Ash 7.5/8″#2421. ‘Seoval’ mark denotes c.1980’s? The M2421 below is from c.1973 and of RECORD RIDGWAY Tools Ltd.<
The above estimations of both number and availability are only rudimentary at best because the documentation to support good estimations is just not available now. Much of this documentation was destroyed by ‘Philistines’ during the destruction/demolition of the Factory and even the great Ken Hawley was not given the chance to rescue all the documents that were available then before they bulldozed 200 years of History into the dust.. Therefore, today, we can only guestimate the facts, but it will be forever true that the youth of any age will only regret their decisions too late in their life to realise the implications of their youthful desire to ‘start afresh’.
RIP, CROSSCUT and PANEL SAWS:
Below is the chart of Item# v. date 1897; 1909; 1921; 1928; 1938; 1959; 1965
Above is a really beautiful later saw [no Lamb’s tongue, 2-tone handle and Wheatsheaf design.(only on one side!)] Probably c.1968.#2521 Joiner’s Handsaw, best quality. Swaged Skew Back, Beech two-toned Handle polished all over. Available in 22″, 24″, and 26″blade lengths.
Below is another #2521, but again a later saw with no Lamb’s tongue, but not with a 2-toned handle.
Below is a 4 screw panel saw, swaged skew back with 2 tone beech handle which I believe may be a later than 1965 #2521. I cannot find any other description that would fit to this saw.
Obviously this example [2 photos above] is an extremely late saw [c.1975<] and shows a disgusting display of greed and avarice by a renowned Company. Profit could be the only motive for distributing a ‘saw’ such as this. The saw below is certainly from around 2004 and displays an even worse handle to the one above! And I did not think it possible to trump that!
The Beechwood handled ‘Fancy Brass Back’ saws [also called Gents’ Saws] were available 1909-c.1971 and numbered 2620A, 2530 and 2640 according to date [see Master List]. 4″-8″.
The Fancy Back or Gent’s Saw above is towards the 1971 date. A short brass ferrule and thick handle varnish. The older saws had a longer brass Ferrule and fancier turning.
The Rosewood ‘Fancy Brass Back’ saws [above] were available for a short time 1909-c.1914? They do not show in the 1921 catalogue and probably were dropped shortly after the beginning of WW1.4″-8″#2620. Again, note the long brass Ferrule.
MARPLES also issued a 6″ [M2433] and 8″ [M2434] Steel backed ‘Cabinet Maker’s Saw’ between 1985 & 2000. But from c.1994 only the 6″ was listed
The next 2 photos may show that 6″ Steel backed saw #M2433 c.1994
The M2434 below is obviously later:
And a still later edition is shown below:
From approximately 2006 to 2008 [and maybe also after manufacturing was exported out of UK] Irwin-MARPLES produced a ‘Dovetail Saw withreversible handle 250mm‘. Numbered T13-250 .
Here is one that I can find listed nowhere. I think it was called an ‘Inlay‘ Saw and it has a 2.1/2″ long blade, very fine. The handle looks to be a later issue, but the mark on the brass back shows only ‘Sheffield‘ with no ‘England‘ impression. A bit of a mystery this far.
Above: Two examples of #2527 Joiner’s Brass Back Best Quality.
The Brass back saws above and below show a gradual degradation in the letters of the stamp, starting with the ‘D‘ in SHEFFIELD and progressing to the ‘L‘ in SHEFFIELD then to ‘L‘ in LTD, the ‘L‘ in QUALITY and the ‘N‘ in ENG. These degradations can also be found in the Steel backed saws. I am unable to find reference anywhere to these ‘Late’ Open Handled Back saws and so believe that ALL the saws here are #2527A [Joiner’s Brass Back “Special” quality.] The smaller saws may have always been Open Handled in this line and you should note that they all have Steel fixing bolts.
Above: Joiner’s Bright Steel Back #2526.
Above: The 1909 Catalogue shows #2610 Special Iron Back Saw with an Open Handle.
Judging by the Font and Style [above] I would think that this is a very early saw, perhaps c.1860 [no ‘& SONS‘]
Later examples of #2527 shown above with a Two-Tone Polished Beech handle, and below with a Mahogany handle.. These later handles show a lack of design and little thought as to comfort.
Below is a Brass back saw with a distinctive curved handle, but I am unable to find it in the Catalogues that I possess.
Below is a later #2526A Steel Back closed handle.
Below is what I believe to be a #1315 Back Saw with a unique ‘VR’ mark and because there is no ‘Ltd‘ it must be <1897.
Below is another mystery saw that is Open handled Beech, brass backed and having the rarely seen ‘VR‘ mark . c.1895?
Below is a #2526 from c.1900
Going through the old catalogues, it would appear that MARPLES made or were made for them, Turning Saws and Frames and Saw pads as early as 1846, if not earlier. But the earliest reference that we have is the 1846 ‘List of Prices’, an excerpt from which is shown here below.
The 1861 Catalogue shows us some more details:
The 1873 entries are shown below:
The 1897 Catalogue entries are shown here: But it should be noted that ‘Saws’ were now included in almost all of the higher priced ‘Tool Chests’ offered by MARPLES going back to 1861.
1909 Catalogue entries:
Item #8320-Pocket Pruning Saw [above] had scales of Rosewood in the 1909 Catalogue, whereas previously they were of Boxwood. [Item #394H]
The 1921 entries:
The 1928 Catalogue entries:
The 1938 Catalogue entries:
The 1959 Catalogue entries:
The 1965 Catalogue entries:
Below is the culmination of much work analysing the catalogues in order to produce a composite table depicting the MARPLES saws as listed against time. As I worked I eventually decided that I would only make a starting point at the 1897 Catalogue, as the previous item # changes were just too horrendous to work through. There were 3 different number changes with MARPLES Tools between 1873 and 1909 and these are very difficult to follow because Item descriptions also changed over time. I carried the study through using just the hard copy Catalogues. [1897, 1909, 1928, 1938, 1959 and 1965.] On each line where there is a number, this denotes a number change at that time. Of necessity I have had to truncate the descriptions given in the catalogues to the saws and their individual components, otherwise I would never have space in the table to include all of the Catalogue details. Therefore below is a list of the short forms used:
Below is a table to show the Types of saws sold, with a description and dates that they were available.
Below here is a large table showing the Saws sold by Item number, with a description and dates they were manufactured. You will find that as the saws were re-numbered I have noted the new number as RN#, or as ‘from’ a number previously given. This chart shows the Saw Item # against the years of production. But it must be understood that I have started the chart at the 1897 catalogue and continued it as far as I can given the catalogues that I have [< 1971]. There are many small catalogues that obviously cannot give information on all the products that MARPLES produced at that time, but give some good minor input. Also remember that the production dates shown are but evidence based catalogue entries and therefore the product may have been introduced/discontinued before/after these dates.
There were a lot of saws that were re-numbered between initial introduction [before 1897] and the first re-numbering date of 1909. The second re-numbering occurs in 1938. This can all be very confusing which is why I have tried to give you the composite chart below.
Below is an excerpt from the M2 Catalogue of August 1973:
Below is from the M1 Catalogue Feb 1968. Pad Saw #2421 was carried through until at least November 1977.
Above is from the New Products leaflet of Sept 1968. This shows that Coping Saw #2677 [absent from the 1965 Cat.] has had its’ number re-assigned in 1968 to the newly introduced Junior Hacksaw. The Dovetail Saw #2641 was a totally new number and I doubt that any maker of saws could have fitted a more ugly, more uncomfortable handle that also showed a disgusting nod to design. How could they have ever allowed this to be marketed?? Such was this age of austerity, and hopefully very few survive, so if you have one, please burn it!!
At this stage I am sure that MARPLES did not manufacture the saws in their own factory as they were made outside at other saw maker facilities and given the MARPLES mark. [Simon Barley informs us that they were in fact manufactured either by ‘Garlick‘ or ‘Francis Wood‘]
Below is where you will find additional info on the saws and as many photos of the different types as I can muster.
The very best book that could have been written on British Saws & Makers is by Simon Barley, and I have been given his permission to quote here from his book: British Saws & Saw Makers from c1660 SIMON BARLEY ISBN 978-1-909300-74-3 Published 2014 This information in his book represents a huge amount of time, effort and money and I am therefore much indebted to Simon for his allowing this publication.
” From his earliest days Marples sold saws, but it is not likely that the firm ever made their own. In 1825 the Beardshaw records show sales to him; the catalogues of 1878 show only Disston and Boynton makes (both American), and those of 1883 and 1892 only Disston’s. In the 1920’s Marples were one of the few firms to sell saws in the new stainless steel, although it is not known who they were made by. Later evidence is that their saws were made by Garlick and Francis Wood. “
I can only comment here that in 1825 Wm. Marples Jnr. was only 16 years old and was maybe merely purchasing saws for his own personal use. The earliest MARPLES catalogue reference to Stainless Steel saws is in September 1931, so it is possible that MARPLES was selling these saws before they were catalogue introduced.
Below are some marks found on MARPLES‘ saws, as shown in Simon’s book.
A mark that has recently been found is not shown in Simon’s book, because it is so rare. It simply states on the brass back: WILLIAM MARPLESLONDON This brass backed Tenon Saw was from an era when it was commercially productive to mark tools as having been produced in London, as Sheffield produced tools were still considered to be inferior. I suggest that this saw is c. 1865. Below is a photo of the brass back and a handle that may not be original [no blade as it was not recoverable] :