The earliest reference to MARPLES manufacturing Wooden Braces is to be found in the 1846 List wherein are listed ‘Best Braces‘ (9/- ea.) and ‘Improved Plated Braces‘. (13/- ea.) The latter being exactly the same as the ‘Best‘ but with the added strength of brass plates inlet and screwed to the sides of the arms [which were the Achilles Heel of these braces being made of short grain timber and easily fractured under stress.] The ‘Improved Plated Braces‘ could also be had with an Improved Brass Neck Head for 2/- extra and were also available in Ebony, Box or Rosewood at 12/- extra to the standard Plated Beech.
A giant step in technology and quality was the introduction of the ‘Ultimatum’ Brace, patented by MARPLES in 1849.
A superb analysis of the MARPLES Ultimatum Brace was published by Author and ‘Ultimatum’ Expert Reg Eaton, called ‘THE ULTIMATE BRACE‘. As such I will not attempt to give any details here, but will thoroughly recommend you to read that book. [ISBN 0 9514695 0 9]
In the 1861 catalogue we have this listing:
The 1868 Catalogue shows this:
I am sorry about the quality of the 2 above pictures, but they are copies of copies etc!!
Although not shown here the ‘Best’ and ‘Improved Plated’ braces were still manufactured.
BUT, what is new information is that the 1868 catalogue shows that an item numbering system was in place at that time, when previously I had thought that this started in c.1873!
The 1873 Catalogue shows this picture [I only have a picture of the text as the actual picture of the brace is missing from the Hawley Museum files].
Although not shown here the ‘Best’ and ‘Improved Plated’ braces were still manufactured at this time.
The 1897 Catalogue shows that a wooden ‘Coopers’ Brace’ is manufactured [I do not know when this started] as well as the normal braces:
The above brace #458 is described as ‘with Brass Neck Head‘ added to #454
The 1909 Catalogue issues are noted below [note the Item number changes]:
I do not know for sure when the Wooden Braces were discontinued, but their demise was totally due to the emergence of the American Style steel brace and by 1921 there is nothing about the wooden braces to be seen!