Copper Plate Engravings

This page is complete as to March 2023, but more engravings may be found





Above is an Old copper engraved  advertisement. Apparently these engravings were copied many times to keep up with the wear that they received during the printing process.  Therefore any one engraving will not necessarily be the ‘original’ engraving.  As to how these detailed engravings were actually reproduced accurately 100 years ago is a mystery.  Below is the engraving used to print a ‘Gentlemen’s Registered Tool Cabinet‘, and the same cut is shown 1897-1928. [In 1897 the item# is 918…I have no information before this time as the present ‘Directors’ of the Hawley Museum in Sheffield seems to refuse to help me in my quest for copies of earlier catalogue images, which they possess.]

I have secured FOUR copper plate engravings that MARPLES used in their Catalogues, as shown here:

1897 Engineer’s Solid Steel Hammer No.8


The above Copper Plate is from the 1928 Catalogue.


1897. #1994A Handled Joiners’ Hammer

1897.  #1990 Handled Exeter Hammer.[left]

Below here are some more Copper Engraving printers Blocks, one is of a Splitproof B/E chisel [#373]  and the other a ‘BB‘plane.




Glass Cutters

This is a page that is presently under construction  March 2023

A Glass cutter #2077 called ‘Plate Diamonds for Glass 1/4″- 1/2″ thick‘ is found in the 1888 Catalogue and was re-numbered to #6689 in 1903.  It was re-numbered again in 1909 to #6617 and appears as such in 1921.  In 1928 it is shown as being available with 3 sizes of diamond;  R, S and T [the largest] and this continued through catalogues 1938 and 1959, but not in the 1965 catalogue. The example shown here is ‘S‘.  The inscription reads ‘LONDON‘ so the cutters were probably made by a London firm for MARPLES.  The handle is Rosewood.



Mincing Knives


                                        MINCING KNIVES

These tools, which were designed for Kitchen use, are what I suppose were used before ‘Minced Meat’ was available from our local butcher. They would have been used to ‘mince’ or shred meat or other foods into small pieces.
From the catalogues I can deduce that these Knives were available in 1888 and probably a good few years before then.

Below are the 1888 entries:


Here are the 1897 entries;

The #273 Strong Cast Steel Double-Tang Square Mincing Knife was available at this time. [See below for a  new 1909 number for this knife Item #6856]

The 1903 Catalogue shows no differences with the 1897 Catalogue.

Here are the 1909 Catalogue entries:

You will see that the 5.1/2″size Square Mincing Knife is no longer available and the 1903 Catalogue also shows this. [otherwise everything else is the same]

The 1921 catalogue shows a reduction in styles [post war] with only a Square and Half-Round knife shown as being available:

And by 1928 these are shown:

1938 sees the last mention of these kitchen utensils and you will note that the 6.1/2″ has been omitted  then these Kitchen Utensils disappeared forever..

So there is no mention of these knives in the 1959 Catalogue and we must assume that their function was overtaken by more modern technology shortly after the War.
Some examples:
This is a fairly early Square Mincing Knife, probably pre-1909 and therefore numbered 269.

Below is a great ‘Half Round‘ knife with a mark suggesting c.1870 . These knives were numbered 270 in 1897 and changed to #6851 in 1909 and until produced no more.

This is a rare one, it can be seen only in the 1888 Catalogue. #273A
Although described as ‘Bronzed Frame‘ it appears that the steel frame was merely coated with Bronze coloured paint.





Sheep Shears


                                       SHEEP SHEARS

I have found ‘Sheep Shears ‘ listed in the Catalogues as far back as 1873 [below]:

Those in 1897 are shown below:

Those of 1909 are shown below:

Those of 1928 are shown below:

Those of 1938 [below] are virtually the same as 1928 although just a little more expensive:

1959 Shears available are below:

The April 1961 PL shows the same item#s and sizes as in the 1959 Catalogue. The 1962 PL shows the presence of #7079 and #7080, but the numbers 7083; 7087 and 7088 were still available, but not in the 5.1/2″ size. By the 1964 PL only #7083 was available and then only in the 6.1/2″ size, and this was echoed in the May 1966 PL.

The catalogue entry for 1965 is below:

The last catalogue entry [ for #7083] that I can find is  November 1969 priced at 25/6d. It is hard to judge the age of this good example:



Tinmen’s Tools

A page that is in construction  March 202


Shown below is Item #6703….’Tinmen’s ‘Safety’ Snips’. I have first found  these in the 1938 Catalogue, but they were probably introduced before then, and they endured until the 1965 Catalogue and beyond. This pair shown here is pre-1965, because the handles are gloss paint Black, not a Crackle finish.  This c.1940? MARPLES tool only states ‘Sheffield’ !! And surely there is an ‘S’ missing at the end of ‘SON’ !

Above is the 1938 listing.
Below is the 1959 listing and below that is the 1965 listing.
Note the differences in size availability between the years.

Item #6702 Tinmen’s ‘Safety Snips with Curved Blades’ c.1950? Hand forged. Available 6-12″. This example [above] may have been modified as the handle ends seem bent outwards. Non-Safety snips [<1940?] had the 2 handle ends meet, and caused pinched palms.
The snips below are Item# 6705.1/2 ‘Jeweller’s Snips with Curved blades’. Only sold in a 7 inch length they were available 1938 -1965 [although the 1965 entry shows the handles to be not closed at the ends.]



Spirit Levels


It appears that MARPLES were involved in the manufacture of Spirit Levels very early on, since the first reference I can find is in the broadsheet of 1846:

By 1861 the range has expanded a little:

And has increased substantially by 1873:

Next are the 1888 catalogue entries:

The 1897 Catalogue entries are here:

Next is the 1909 Catalogue:

Next are the 1921 truncated catalogue offerings:

And then to the again expanded 1928 listings:

Those 1938 listings are here:

The 1959 issue catalogue shows a slight decrease in availability:

But by the time the 1965 Catalogue was issued, things have changed:

The 1972 and Supplemental Catalogue show these levels:


Below is a table that I have constructed to show the Levels available from 1909 and of necessity I have had to use short forms. Please understand that when, for example,  a date of 38  [1938] is shown and nothing else, this indicates that the level is seen in the 1938 Catalogue but I have no information as to when it was introduced or discontinued as it obviously does not show in the 1928 or 1959 Catalogues.

Short Forms:
Adj.         =   Adjustable
Al             =  Aluminium
Box         =  Boxwood
Br            =  Brass
c               =  with
Hdwd     =  Hardwood
Mahog   =  Mahogany
N21          =  Not listed in the 1921 Catalogue
P               =  Plated
Pl              =  Plumb
Rswd       =  Rosewood
S                =  Shockproof
SE             =  Straight Edge
TE             =  Tipped Ends

Here I can present to you some good examples of Spirit Levels:

It should be noted that the ‘Plate’ is the Brass plate affixed to the top of the Spirit Level and that the ‘Tips’ are the Brass plates affixed to the bottom of the Level at the ends.

#442 . You have to go back to 1873 to find this rarity. It is described as ‘End and Side view Spirit Level’, but clearly has an Early Field sight. I cannot find it in 1888, so cannot even guestimate start and end production dates. This level came as 8″; 9″; 10″ and 12 “. This one is 10″. A similar Level is shown in 1861 but that one is plated on the bottom as well.  Rosewood and is Heavy plated:

#453 [1873]  Ebony Spirit Level with raised tube. Later renumbered in 1888 to #605. Not seen in the 1897 Cat.[ Listed as 10″ but actually 9.1/2″]:


#2270 Narrow Hardwood ‘Shockproof’:

#2277  Narrow Ebony plated Spirit Level was available up to c.1930.  It was introduced in 1873 as #450, became #602 in 1888 and #2277 in 1909. It is seen with a thick plate and tips:

#2280 Best Rosewood, Strong Plated [but not ‘tipped’]  Noted for its’ square ends it is first seen in the 1862 catalogue, became #440 in 1873, #591 in 1888 and finally #2280 in 1909 and lasted up to c.1928. The rounded side porthole would indicate a very early issue.

The two shown below are both 10″ and the earliest one is at the front:

#2286 Ebony Scotch Pattern with Brass Mounts, this one is 8″ :

#2301 Walnut  with Plumb tube and end tipped.  Was available as 8;9;10;12;14;16 and 18 inch lengths. 1″ wide and 1.1/2″ deep this one is 8″ long:

#2306 Best Walnut with Plumb and Field Sight:

#2317 Thin Mahogany Boat shaped level.  Quite a common level which became ‘Shockproof‘  c.1935. First seen and numbered #620 in 1888  it became forever #2317 in 1909 and until 1972.[ The ‘Shockproof‘ Patent was numbered 423896 and was stamped on the plate on all levels so equipped and they all had coloured liquid {1928<}  in the vials.]  In the photo below both the front and back levels are not Shockproof and the front level is the oldest of the group. Presently I am unable to explain why some levels have a brass cross-piece in the plate , whereas others do not!! 

#2318 Narrow Hardwood with Plumb Tube, Brass Tipped, Shockproof:

#2321 Cast Aluminium ‘Boatshape’ with Plumb and Mitre Tubes:

#2327 Narrow Boxwood [3/4″] Rule marked and available in 8;9;10 and 12 inch lengths. Later issues were ‘Shockproof’. The 1959 Cat. indicates that these had tipped ends but not in the 1938 Cat., but judging from the 12″ late example below, this may be inaccurate. Available 09-12/63:

#2328 Masons’ Boxwood, Rule-Marked with Plumb:

#2329 ‘Roadmakers’ Brass Level’ [shown is a later example]. They were listed 1909-1938 and therefore may have been available c.1902-1940




#2331 Engineers’ Adjustable Brass Tube with Revolving Tube protectors. The second photo is of a later less fancy design:

#2332 Builders’ Hardwood with Plumb. Tubes protected by glass’ Windows’:

#2336H  Builders’ Shockproof with ‘Handy-Hold’:

#2338 Tube levels 2.1/2″ Assorted colours:

#2346 Builders’ ‘Magnesium Alloy Girder section:





Wire Gauges

A page still under construction  March 202

This next object [above] is from the Machinists line really, but it is unusual to find it in this fine condition today.  It is in the 1928 Catalogue as Item #6290 and described as a Double Circular Imperial Standard Wire gauge Sized 1-26.



Plumbers’ Tools

This is another page undergoing construction  March 2023Below  is a

‘Plumber’s Strong Lead Cutting knife’ c.1910 Item #6556. Beechwood scale handles.
This article has had a tough life as the blade appears shorter than illustrated, as shown below.
[Alternatively, it may be a Linoleum Knife [#3921], but these always had a LONGER blade, the handle did not turn up at the heel and was 3-pinned towards the blade end only. In other words, was not as robust.]

The above is the 1909 Catalogue entry for #3921 and below that is the 1928 Listing….note the different design.

Leather Washer Cutter #6561.1/2  is first seen in the 1928 MARPLES Catalogue, [as shown below] and remained in production until the 1959 Catalogue and maybe beyond.  It is not listed in 1965.



The research I did on these tools surprised me as I had always thought that they we ‘Paint Scrapers’ for mouldings. That is what my Dad used them for anyway!  But apparently they can only be found in the MARPLES Catalogues under ‘Plumbers’ Tools.  I have yet to discover how or where they were used in this trade and I am willing to be educated!   Here are the 2 examples that I have bought:

My earliest reliable catalogue  of 1897 lists these 2 Shaves as #1900..Heart Shaped with Beech handles and #1902 as being a Triangular Shave.  There was also a #1901 which was listed as a Heart Shaped shave with a Bent Shank:.

By 1903 the numbers had changed and #6520 was Heart Shaped, #6521 was the Triangular shape  and a new shave #6525 was an Improved Shave Hook having 6 interchangeable blades of different sorts:

1909 saw further changes in that #6525 was now available with either 4 or 6 blades:

1921 Catalogue only shows [post war] Items #6520 and 6521.
But the 1928 Catalogue lists a few more shapes:

In the 1938 Catalogue the only difference is that the Item #6522 Combination Heart Shave Hook has been discontinued.
The next hard backed catalogue of 1959 shows an expected diminution of available shaves:

The 1965 is again reduced in availability, but these tools are listed under ‘Decorators Tools’.
It would therefore appear that my Dad was right, they were then re-purposed and used as Paint Stripping Tools!

And in 1971 only this is shown:


These leather washer punches are first to appear in the 1909 Catlogue listed as ‘#6558 Single Washer Punches‘ and listed as such under ‘Plumbers‘ Tools.  They were to be had in sizes 3/4″ to 3″ diameter.  Although made from ‘SOLID STEEL‘ they were never sold/advertised as such.   The 1909 listings are shown below:

In the 1921 Catalogue they are listed as above with 3/4″ -3″ as ‘Single Wad Punches’  being available.

In the 1928 Catalogue they are shown as  now being available as  5/8″-3″ diameter sizes. Still #6558.
They are listed under Plumbers’ Tools as Washer Punches.

1938 sees little change, just the price:

By 1959Single Washer or Wad Punches #6558 have been reduced in size availability.  Now only  1/4″ – 1″.

The last listing that I can find is in the price list of November 1969 when they are still shown as being available 1/4″-1″.
But by 1971 they are not shown as being available.

The following example must be [at 3/8″ diameter] an example from at least 1959 onwards.







Saddlers’ Tools

A page under construction   March 2023


Here is a Leather workers tool [above] that was given to me by Robert Isdale from Brisbane, Australia.
It is a Shoe or Saddlers’ Oval Cutting Punch that I see in the 1862 Catalogue with no number but sized 0-20
In the 1873 Cat. it is item #1154 and numbered 1-16. [these were round punches]
In the 1897 Cat. it is item #1167 and numbered 1-16 [Round] and item#1167A numbered 17-30 [Oval]
In the 1909 Cat. it is item #3780 and numbered 0-16 + larger [All Round] and item #3782 numbered 17-31 [Oval]. Both shape punches were available up to c.1959
I deduce that the Oval Punch was introduced around 1880 as the punch shown here has the number 30, HIBERNIA and single Shamrock.
Number 30 is listed as being 9/16″ measured on the larger width of an oval.

Above is a Solid Steel Saddlers’ Punch and I have found it as listed:
#3781 in Cat 1909 1/8″-3/4″.
#3780B in Cat 1928 3/64″-3/4″.
#3780B in Cat 1938 3/64″- 3/4″.
#3780B in Cat 1959 3/64″-1″
#3780B in Cat 1965 1/16″- 1/2″




Garden Tools

Presently under Construction  March 2023

Below you will find Item #8366 in the 1959 Catalogue described as ‘ Best Solid Steel Pruning Shears, Double Cut with Wirecutter.  Available as 6,7 & 8″ sizes.  Around this time  MARPLES seemed to have adopted a preference for ‘Green’.  Research has shown that these pruners may have been available back in 1909 or before as Item#8356 in 6,7,8&9″ models. They are not listed in 1921 but re-appear in 1928 as      6-9″,  but there is a ‘Cheaper Quality’ shown [#8367] which had ‘rivetted Blades’ in 7 or 8 inch sizes.  This option is again shown in 1938.  But in 1959 only the ‘best’ is shown #8366.

A recent find of which I have no information just now…a Garden Spray tool: