Wooden Planes

​Looking at the photo above [c.1909] it would seem that MARPLES employed at least 10 skilled craftsmen to produce by hand the Wooden planes that they sold.
What you see here may be the remaining workers of John Moseley and Son, which was taken over by MARPLES in 1892 and the workers etc. removed from London to Sheffield.
I note the worker in the second booth [left] seems to only produce 24″? large planes, and the chap, [second up from the right], seems engaged in the production of some larger Rabbet Planes?  But just look at the tools that they each needed to use to produce their wares!  These guys are to be admired and revered for their skill and beautiful work, but what a shame it is that they never were recognised for such.   They died in relative obscurity and may never be known. But we are searching!

William Marples started to produce/sell wooden planes [the only sort then available] after 1846, since the 1846 Sheet makes no mention of ‘Planes’.
The 1861/2 catalogue does indeed list this sort of plane, but it is doubtful that MARPLES produced these articles.   It is not known at what date MARPLES formed a relationship with the firm of John MOSELEY & Son, but it seems likely that this was the only firm with which Marples cemented a deal to produce Wooden Planes for him and under his name.  For William Marples Jnr. to have ventured so far afield as to London before 1860 shows his remarkable skills at sourcing out reliable manufacturers for his business.
The planemaking firm of John MOSELEY & Son was formed in 1730 and the 1883 MARPLES Catalogue states that MARPLES is the ‘sole wholesale agent for ‘John Moseley & Son‘.  But it was not until January 1st 1888 that ‘Moseley & Son‘ was registered as a Trade Mark of Wm. Marples & Sons.
After this time it is stated that the Wooden Planes could be had with either the ‘ ‘John Moseley & Son‘ mark or the ‘Wm. Marples & Sons‘ mark, at your discretion’.  There was obviously more to this than meets the eye and though  we will never know, we can keep searching for further information.. 

Below here are the pages from the 1861/2 Catalogue , the first catalogue listing Wooden planes, and these would have been made for MARPLES by Moseley & Son at that time.

Below are shown the 1873 Catalogue entries for Wooden planes, showing that a numbering system has now been employed.

Below are the 1897 entries:

The 1909 Catalogue [below] shows an increase in the number of wooden planes available, but showing a different numbering system!

As would be expected, after the Great War there was a reduction in available styles of wooden planes as shown below in the 1921 Catalogue.

And here are the 1928 listings:

The 1938 listings below show some differences in that the first 2 pages are devoted to the newly introduced machine made ‘BB‘ Planes and then are listed the traditional hand made wooden planes [see the ‘BB‘ planes section for more detailed information]:

The 1959 Catalogue listings are shown below:

And thus by the 1965 catalogue we see the demise of the Marples wooden plane:


So there above has been a good overview of the Wooden planes that MARPLES ‘made’ over time.  If you wish for more detail about any one sub-category [i.e. Bench planes; Moulding planes etc.]  please seek out those specialised sections in the Index.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email