Upholsterers’ Tools


The first catalogue entries that are geared to ‘Upholsterers’ tools can be first found in the 1873 Catalogue, wherein are listed these pages:

Then in the 1888 Catalogue we have these pages listed:

Followed by the issue of 1897:

After that followed the 1909 Catalogue files:

The next pages are from the 1928 Catalogue:

The 1938 Catalogue images follow:

1959 Catalogue:

The 1965 images are below:



The following is a brief description of the Upholstery tools that were manufactured by MARPLES over time, but you will please note that I have restricted this list to only the major tools, having not described needles, skewers and regulators etc.:


Upholsterers’ Common Hammer:  Started in the 1873 Cat as #969, #1100A in the 1888 Cat. and eventually #3900 in 1909 and until delisted after 1938. [Pre-War]
Upholsterers’ London Pattern Hammer:  Started in the 1873 Cat. as #970, #1101 in the 1888 Cat. and eventually #3901 in 1909 and until delisted after 1938 [Prewar]
Benwell’s Upholstery Hammer:  Started life in 1873 as #971, #1102 in the 1888 Cat. and eventually #3902 in 1909. This is the most long lived of the MARPLES Upholsterers’ hammers as it was eventually delisted shortly after Nov. 1969.
Coach Trimmers’ Hammer: Another long lived hammer that started in 1873 as #972, #1104 in the 1888 Cat. and eventually as #3908 in 1909 and until its’ demise shortly after Nov. 1963.
Cabriolet Common Uph. Hammer:  Is first seen in 1888 as #1103A and eventually #3903 in 1909, when it was de-listed shortly thereafter.
Cabriolet ‘London’ pattern Uph. hammer: Introduced in 1873 Cat. as #973, #1103 in the 1888 Cat. and #3904 in the 1909 Cat. and until de-listed shortly after Nov. 1963.
Scale Tanged Uph. hammer: First seen in 1909 as #3904A, changed to #3904.1/2 in 1928 and last seen in the 1938 Cat.
Double faced Uph. Hammer: This hammer can only be found #3903 in the 1938 Cat. and again was a casualty of war.  Thanks again to Mr. Hilter.
Magnetic Uph. Hammer: A great idea for a hammer and continued today by other manufacturers, but MARPLES introduced their version #3890 in 1938 and surprisingly it lasted until November 1963.

Upholsterers’ Pincers:   #1134 are only seen in the 1873 Cat. as they were supplanted by a better design shortly thereafter….. ‘Best Uph. Pincers’.
See the pictures to note the design differences.
‘Best’ Upholsterers’ pincers:
Again introduced in the 1873 Cat. as #1135 with widths of 7″;8″;9″ and 10″.
In 1888 the number changed to #1143, but in the same sizes available. In 1897 the number remained as #1143 but the 10″ width was not available.
The 1909 Cat. #3924 lists all four sizes again, although only the 8″ size is listed in 1921. All four sizes are again shown up to the 1938 Cat. [Pre-War] but only 7″; 8″ and 9″ were available post war in the 1959 Cat. and then again only the 8″ was shown in 1965 and until Nov. 1969.

Ripping Chisel: Introduced as #3920 in 1909 and last seen in Nov. 1963.
Web Strainers:   The 1909 Cat. introduced these tools as #3922 and they were available until Nov.1963.






Above is an ‘Upholsterers’ Polished Beechwood Bat Web Strainer‘ Item #3922

Toothed Web Strainers:  For some reason these did not last as long as the plain type in that with #3923 of 1909 they existed as such until the 1938 Catalogue, a consequence of WW!!

This item above is described as ‘UpholsterersPolished Beechwood Toothed Web Strainer’   Item #3923  . 3 teeth at one end and 2 at the other

Upholsterers’ Scissors: Introduced as #3928 in 1938 and lasted until November 1963.
Leather cutting scissors: were first seen in 1928 as #3919 changed to #3929 in 1938 and this number and product endured until Nov 1963.
Tack Claws:  Over time these tools have been moved by MARPLES in and out of the category ‘Upholsterers’ Tools, but I will include them here briefly, although more detail may be found under ‘TACK CLAWS‘ in the index.

       Beech Tack Claws: #935 in 1897,#3947 in 1909 and #3541 in 1928 lasted as such until Sept. 1972.
      Rosewood Tack Claws: #935A in 1897 and #3948 in 1909, after which they do not appear anywhere.
      Beech Strong Tack Claws #3949 of Cat. 1909 became #3546 in 1928 and          no further.
     Ash handled Tack Claw #3542 was only shown in the 1938 Catalogue.
     Short shank Beech Tack Claw: #3543 introduced in 1938 and lasted until                                    November 1963
Awls:    So many Awls were made by MARPLES , the following are just those such described as ‘Upholstereres”:
Pritch Awls:  #3936 was first shown in 1909 and last shown in 1928.
Garnish Awls: the catalogue of 1897 first shows this as #1143E but it is     numbered #3935 in  1909 and until delisted in November 1963.
Garnish Awl Boxwood: Was available as #3935.1/2 from the 1928 Catalogue and was last listed in the November 1963 PL.
Square Awls: These square shaped awls were introduced by MARPLES in the 1909 Catalogue as Item #3937 and they lasted as such until the War [1938], but no further.
Trimmers’s Awls Boxwood…:Introduced c.1928 as #3938 and continued on as far as the PL of November 1963.
Trimmers’ Awl c. Egg handle box handle: Again a 1938 introduction #3939 which last in manufacture by MARPLES until November 1963 PL
Trimmers’ Awl Solid all thru : Probably the best Awl produced by MARPLES as it had a solid steel shaft from point to top of handle. #3941 endured from introduction in 1938 until de-listed shortly after November 1969.


Ice Skates

Although not exactly conforming to the parameters of this Woodworking Tools site, was a commodity that supported MARPLES through some lean years and enabled the firm to survive, the manufacture of Ice Skates.  The first item below is the cover page from the 1881 Skate Catalogue

To disassemble the wood/steel skates:  The steel insert around the heel screw has to be removed [judicious use of a small screwdriver coaxed gently with a hammer!]. Then the point of the screw can be tapped down so that the whole screw assembly [which fits into a slot in the top of the steel skate] is free of the wooden base. Remove the screw. Then gently tap the rear of the steel skate to dislodge it forward such that a backward facing steel spike [on the front of the steel skate] is loosened from its’ hole in the front of the wooden base. The whole steel skate can then be inched out of its’ groove in the base. 

The above is admirably demonstrated by my disassembly of a pair of skates as shown:

These skates [below] are quite rare and are shown in the 1897 Catalogue where they are listed as item #875 described as: Best polished Walnut, brass toeplates, iron and steel Rocker blades, for broad toe straps, all sizes, 11/6 per pair. Straps for ditto, 2/4 per set. [That is 2 shillings and four pence for the uninitiated]  The Brass Toe Plates may have varied with time and operator, as the ones shown here do not conform exactly to the picture.


Another picture from the same page of the 1897 Catalogue showing Ice skates:

And here is a wonderful #864 with a number changed in the 1909 Cat to #9507, obviously missing the rear ankle straps:

Below is a great set of ‘Runner Skates’ as shown in the 1909 Catalogue.  From the pictures we can see that these were Item# 9524..the very best


The skates below are from c.1875 and in the 1888 Catalogue are described as ‘Racing & Hockey Skates Made to the National Skating Associations Approved patterns.  They look to be the same as the ‘Runner’ skates of 1897 [above], but have a more ornate brass toe and no brass heel attachments.
Below is the 1888 page:


‘Mount Charles Skates’ [below]   These skates are first seen in the 1909 Catalogue but are listed then as #9556.1/2 Nickeled blades and Aluminium tops.

They are missing from the 1921 Cat. but re-appear as #9557 in the 1928 Cat and again in 1938. They did not survive Mr. Hilter.  Shown here is the #12 size, as can be seen on the middle picture below.

This next set is first seen in 1897 under the General Heading of ‘Skeleton Skates’…which meant that they had no wood filler above the raw skate but were meant to be affixed directly to a ‘boot’ or similar. In 1897 they are numbered # 857.1/2  :

In the 1909 Catalogue they are listed as Item # 9560  ‘St. Moritiz‘ Brass tops, Iron and Steel Blades, but by 1921 and onwards they are not to be seen.   Therefore 1895-1914? is a good estimate of this skate being available.  The photos below may show a later example towards 1914, having no fancy cutout on the front brass fixture.

Also found in the 1909 Catalogue is this page devoted to the tools available to fix/repair the Ice Skates: