Braces Metal

I have only included information here on the Braces that relate to Woodworking Tools. Many other Engineers’ and other braces may be found in the catalogues.

I can trace MARPLES involvement in the production of the Iron based braces back to the 1846 List and they were probably made slightly before that time especially since it is shown there as an ‘Improved’ version! Only a Scotch Improved Iron Brace is mentioned at this time which is the same tool as advertised below in the 1861 Catalogue.

The 1873 Catalogue has this entry:

By 1897 products have drastically increased with the introduction of the ‘American Pattern’ brace with all of its’ refinements:

The 1909 Catalogue [below] has all the usual Item number changes to confuse us.
[I have tried for hours to compose a composite Table to illustrate the various numbers, re-numbering, new additions and the deletions that occurred over time, but there are just simply too many variables and I failed to accomplish a useable table. So you will just have to peruse the years of Iron Brace  information that is presented here in order to positively identify your MARPLES Iron brace.]

The 1921 Catalogue, shortly after WW1, shows the usual reduction in commodities
[which rebounded by 1928]  :

The 1928 Catalogue:

By 1938 we see this detail:

By 1959 things were completely different:

And by 1965 [below] the bottom of the barrel has been reached, since nobody then wanted to actually turn a handle to bore a hole, it had to be electric, hence the demise of the Brace and Bit.

In the Price List of May 1966 here are the prices, followed by those of Nov 1969:

1440        28/3d                                  33/6d.
1445        34/-                                     40/-
1452        47/6d                                  withdrawn
1475        19/6d                                   24/-

By c.1970 they are all no longer manufactured!

I hope to have some real examples up here recently, but I am still working on them. [October 2022]  A Brace is the hardest tool to restore adequately and takes many hours of work on each one.  Most are found in a very bad state of repair and though cheap to buy, cost much  in hours of work, and then some are totally not restorable!!
Below is a later example #1440 that I have just placed here so as to not lose it!

The Wagon Builders’ Brace:

This is one of the oldest Braces produced by MARPLES since 1873 when it was numbered #365 [Waggon Iron Brace]. No size is stated there. By 1897 the production increased to include #472 as the 14″ ‘usual size’ and #472A available in sizes 10,11,12,13,16 and 18 inch sweeps. By 1909 the name had changed forever to ‘Wagon Builders’ Brace’, was renumbered to #1420 and now was only available in 10,12,14 and 16 inch sweeps. The 1921 Catalogue shows the same details but in 1928 the 16 inch sweep was dropped from the line.  In 1938 although the same sweeps [10,12 and 14 inches] are listed there had been a slight design change in that the bulbous steel centre handle had been changed to the now standard revolving wooden handle. Below is the 1928 Cat. entry followed by 1938, showing the different handles.

The 1959 Catalogue shows that only the 14″ sweep was available and by April 1961 the Price List shows ‘withdrawn’.




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