1909
The spine on this catalogue reads: 'TOOLS FOR ALL TRADES' with the 3-leaf clover Trademark of MARPLES and the 'Horseshoe' type trademark of Thomas Ibbotson & Co.   This latter company was acquired by MARPLESc1905-9.   It contains 273 pages. You will note that it now states '& SONS LIMITED' (only pertinent since 1897/8).

This issue is stated as being the 13th catalogue, which leads me to suspect that there were catalogues issued about which we have no information, as chronologically I count this issue as number 7!!    There must be at least 5-6 catalogues of which presently we have no knowledge.

                                                                                                                                         CATALOGUES.


I have recently discovered what maybe thevery first William Marples catalogue  ever issued.    But you will note that the name is stated [below] as William Marples, Jun. and that there are no images to helpdescribe the products.   I suspect that this would have been a single sided broadsheet around 1846.   The Ultimatum Brace was introduced c. 1854 and there is no mention of this brace here.   Also William Marples & Sons was announced in 1860 and this sheet shows nothing alluding to the 'Sons'. 

The original is held by the Hawley Museum in Sheffield to whom I am indebted for this copy and permission to publish it.   The Hawley Museum in Sheffield is a must visit for anybody who is interested in seeing the methods employed by Sheffield Craftsmen to produce the great products that were made in Sheffield and the surrounding districts in England.  I thoroughly recommend a visit here should you be in the area.

This next 'Chisels Gouges Carving & Turning Tools [below] is from approx January 1992, or so the included Price List states.  Front and Back sides shown out of 20 sides.  8.25" x 11.6".

M2 Catalogue 1/73 and 8/73

These 2 catalogues are almost exactly the same except the M2369 BB Spokeshave is excluded from the 8/73 edition.     16 pages   8.5" x 11"

1888

I have received these pictures of the 1888 catalogue  from the Hawley Museum in Sheffield, to whom I am indebted. From the Preface it is assumed to have been introduced January 1st 1888.

1928
This catalogue is labelled as the Centenary Edition, but really they should have waited until 1930 to announce that  (see the History section here).

There are now only 237 pages.  The spine reads:  'MARPLES "Shamrock Brand" TOOLS'  with the Triple Shamrock Trade Mark emblem.

 This must therefore be the 15th catalogue.

1965

MARPLES catalogue No.15 was published in October 1965 and was issued as a hard back cover and a soft back cover, both having 103 pages. I am lucky enough to have the actual 'Directors' copy of this hard back issue, in which it is indicated that the 'large' edition was printed with 5015 copies and the 'pocket' edition printed at 3000 copies.    [Total cost then was 8,833 GBP.]

But we must wonder why after all these years suddenly a catalogue number was printed up front! 

If the 1959 catalogue is designated as the 17th catalogue, why then is this 1965 edition numbered No. 15

Hard back = 8.25" x 11.5"    

 Soft back  = 5.75" x 8" 

There may now be growing evidence that there could have been an 1868 catalogue issued, but concrete evidence has yet to appear.  The only evidence I have is that Mr. P. S. Marples signed a letter in October 1971 that indicated that there was an 1868 catalogue showing the MARPLES Ultimatum brace as being available in that 1868 Catalogue, as shown below.  But the picture of the Ultimatum Brace is not the same as that which appears in the 1861/2 catalogue.  Also the page numbers do not line up with the 1872 catalogue pages [where, unfortunatley, the Ultimatum brace sections are 'missing' in the Hawley catalogue] . Which is why I have assigned these pages to a later edition than 1861/2, probably the missing 1868 edition.

10/38-3/40

​These Pocket catalogues had all the same front page format as shown here:  10/38; 3/40 and maybe more

3/36-3/38

These catalogues had all the same front page as shown here

 i.e. 3/36; 9/36; 3/37; 9/37; 3/38

A RECORD-MARPLES catalogue from about 1995/6   

1971 and Supplementary Catalogue

These later catalogues were issued sporadically as the company may then have known that they were on their last legs, but these catalogues are hard to find. This is a soft back 1971 edition with the Supplementary addition [and again the month is not stated] .  This 1971 catalogue is numbered No.16 .  

May 1958

This 'American catalog edition ' was issued around  May 1958 and includes a Price List effective May 1, 1958

Another 8.25" x 11.6" single paper 6 paged catalogue of Carving Tools, dated 1999. 

This catalogue is from an age when all these tools were reduced in total quality compared with the real tools of 30 years earlier.  Cheap handles, cheap ferrules and poor quality steel.  But by then they were owned by RECORD, and that in itself was now a Division of AMERICANTOOL Companies Inc, [IRWIN] 


1881/2 or 1883

Since the 1888 UK catalogue states that it was the first catalogue to be issued in 6 years it stands to reason that there must have been an 1881/2 catalogue.   I have heard that there was indeed an 1883 General UK Catalogue, so maybe that is the correct date for this issue.  I do not have an example picture.

1953 and 1954
The next pocket catalogue that I have seen is dated 1953  [87 pages] and is Export Catalogue #2.  Apparently there must have been a previous Export catalogue[#1] but I have yet to see it. The third Export Catalogue was labelled Export Catalogue #3 and dated simply 1954 with 110 pages with the same format of 5.5" x 8.5".

I have just received an IRWIN Industrial Tools Catalogue dated Jan 1st 2006 and in it are listed Chisels M750; M373; MS500 and M444.  The illustrations show MADE IN SHEFFIELD ENGLAND  on the blades and I must therefore infer that IRWIN still produced tools in Sheffield up to 2006.  They were located at Parkway Works, Sheffield S9 3BL.

This next picture [Left] is a similar style, but I believe to be a later issue and thus to be researched.

I have used the short form 'Cat.' to denote 'Catalogue' in this section and throughout the site.

My new Kitten, below, thinks this is quite funny!

September 1961 
This 'American catalog edition' was issued around September 1961, or at least the included Price List states that it is effective September 30, 1961.

1883
This catalogue, labelled No. 2 List, is devoted to Imported American Tools and is dated January 1st 1883.

This next offering is stated to be a MAY 1991 Price List, it has few illustrations and may be aptly named, but I have included it here because it has 24 sides . {This is confusing because sometimes MARPLES included the front and back cover in the page numbering system and sometimes not}. This catalogue however did not include front and back, but I will always list as total sides.  Front and Back sides shown below

In 1861/2 William Marples & Sons published a real hard backed catalogue [above left] illustrating their wares and prices.  Very few of these catalogues survived the ravages of time and simple wear,  until there existed only but one example.  This solitary survivor was housed in the William Marples Head Office in Westfield Terrace, Sheffield for many years.

In 1972, [when the factory was removed to its' new location in Dronfield close to Sheffield], the catalogue disappearedwhether by accident or design is not known.  But about 20 years ago it surfaced in the USA,  but remained unidentified as being the 1861/2 Catalogue. An amateur tool dealer in Ontario, Canada bought the catalogue and it remained, still unidentified, in his possession until 2016, when I purchased it off him, suspecting that this slim volume may well be the missing 1861/2 catalogue.  


I travelled to 'The Hawley Museum' in Sheffield and there, with the aid of staff members, I compared my catalogue with a known 1873 catalogue (which had been authenticated by Ken Hawley himself).  This comparison reconfirmed my suspicions that my catalogue was indeed the onlycopy of the 1861/2 William Marples & Sons catalogue still in existence.

EVIDENCE:  Since MARPLES became '& Sons' after 1860/1 and in 1862 they registered the 3 leaf shamrock Clover Leaf Trade Mark, this information confirms that this catalogue is NOT what was previously thought to be an 1864 catalogue but closer to 1861/2.   There is no trade mark shown anywhere in this catalogue and it is marked '& Sons'.


Working with photographers and printers in Ottawa and Kitchener, I eventually obtained 29 absolute faithful copies of this original catalogue. The work involved to clean up the pages was intensive  [$$] as there were many water marked and damaged pages on the original that needed to be addressed.   I had the Catalogues bound together as per the original, with cord.

I have had only 29 copies of these made and they are as close a copy of the original as can be done. [Same colour and weight paper and as shown above right.]       

I am selling the 22 presently left (as of March 2018) for $160CAN + shipping.  {I make but a little profit on this price}  I always ship in a totally protected envelope bolsted by cardboard sides.

If you wish for more information or want to purchase one, please contact me at  .........     edgeman@rogers.com                   When they are gone, they are gone.

This 15 page brochure from December 1949 is devoted just to planes, vices, and spokeshaves.  See the price list section for the price list associated with this very rare catalogue.   Front and Back pages are shown here.  4.75" x 7".

Fortunately my copy has a Revised price list in the front dated 1st Nov 1951 [and overprinted 8 Apr 1952]

which has given me wonderful information about availability of products immediately post-war

1878

This catalogue is of  IMPORTED AMERICAN TOOLS and is dated 1878,  just after the introduction in 1875 of the Trademarks   'HIBERNIA'  and the  'Triple Shamrock'.  

 It is Edition No.1 of this Imported Catalogue type.

6/30-9/35
These catalogues had all the same front page as shown here: i.e  6/30; 3/31; 9/31; 3/32; 9/32; 2/33; 9/33; 1/34; 12/34; 4/35; 9/35

This next issue may be the first catalogue issued specifically for the North American market.   It shows B/E Firmer chisels and mentions the 'SHAMROCK' Trade Mark, plus  'Ltd' and it must therefore be after 1897/8.   But being that the 'Radius Shaves' were produced c.1925<  I must assume that this 'catalogue is later than previously assumed.

It is a  6.25" x 14" 3 fold document.  In any event, this was a USA issued advertisement to try to entice the colonists to buy BRITISH.  

But they didn't, they stuck to their good old STANLEY USA products.  So the International trade went downhill from here.  Who can blame them?

Though printed as a 'catalogue'[Left], this 4 page  8.5"x11" Combined Catalogue is only a 1 fold sheet.     Dated 1966.

I will now explore the soft cover editions  'Pocket Catalogues':
It would appear that from about June 1930 onwards to maybe September 1940, MARPLES issued 'Pocket Catalogues' [5.5 x 8.5 ins] as an advertisement to the trade and to the public. These issues were twice a year, around March and September (see below) and they continued sporadically thereafter, but of necessity only contained truncated samples of the whole MARPLES tool range. All of the pre-war catalogues were issued with a hole at the top corner and with an included thin cord to enable hanging up behind the counter.
These soft backed stapled catalogues, that I have, were issued as follows:    6/30; 9/31; 3/32; 2/33; 1/34; 12/34; 4/35; 9/35; 3/36; 9/36; 3/37; 9/37; 3/38; 10/38; 3/40.

There were probably issues in 9/30; 3/31; 9/32; 9/33; 9/38; 3/39; 9/39 and 9/40 but I have yet to see them and therefore cannot substantiate their existence.  There may also be other issues that I have not seen or collected...that is why this is an ongoing study and report.  All of these catalogues had prices listed in them, whereas the post-war catalogues relied on Price Lists being issued with reference to the specific catalogue. This was possible because pre-war prices were stable, but post-war prices were prone to materials suddenly costing more and instead of issuing another catalogue it was much easier to print just a separate updated price list, voiding all those previously.  The catalogue dates are to be found at the bottom of the first page of each catalogue e.g.  6/30

Here is some information about those catalogues that I have;

This pocket catalogue with a Dealers' stamp of 8 APR 1952 has 8 sides of 5.5" x 8.75".

1897
This catalogue has 222 pages and again it is stated on the front page that it was a PRICE LIST.  This hard back format was again intended for the Ironmongers' shop and measures approx  9" x 11". 

The spine reads: 'WILLIAM MARPLES & SONS' in gold leaf.  The inside pages state that this is the 11th edition catalogue and since no 'Ltd' is mentioned and the catalogue is dated 1st March 1897, we can assume that the Company became 'Ltd' after that date.

1872    

As noted above, it was in 1872 that Marplesmay have issued their next(?) catalogue, a much larger affair at 42 pages.  Well, that is the number of  'Description' pages, but the same page 'number' was also assigned to the page showing pictures of the items described.   So, in essence, there are actually 84 sides, all veryconfusing.  In this catalogue Marples also dropped the method used in the 1861/2 cat. of having folding out pages.  Of note also is that this 'catalogue' is not actually called a catalogue, but is named as a 'Joiners'Tool list of Prices' and on the cover, simply as a 'Price List'.   Something else new is that the tools are now assigned a 'number'. ​  The letter shown here indicates that the Tool Prices shown in the latest catalogue have been adjusted according to the latest meeting of the 'Trade' dated 7th July 1873.  It does not state that the catalogue shown here is from 1873, but obviously the catalogue to which the letter refers must have already been issued.

Catalogue No. P62 is from 1st October 1960 until at least 1965 and at 8.25" x 10.5" has 12 sides. It shows a good cross section of the quality tools that MARPLES had for sale.  And 'quality' was still in existence at this time, but drawing ever closer to its total demise. Shown Right is the 1964/5 edition.

 The 1962 edition [on the Left] had Price Lists issued of October 1962; October 1963 and October 1964

Note the change in the graphics of the word 'MARPLES' between 1962 and 1964

1921

This catalogue would have been bound exactly like the previous and next editions.....hard backed with a dark blue cloth exterior and the printed words in Gold lettering.  It had 123 pages and is stated to be the Fourteenth edition.    I do not yet have an example to show.

1903
This catalogue probably followed the lines of the 1897 catalogue in colour and size, since the next catalogue [1909] was the same, but unfortunately I have been unable to locate an original  full copy, .   This would be the 12th edition catalogue.  

1959
This catalogue shows 194 pages and still is in the same format as before, with the same spine imprint. This must surely then be the 17th catalogue, but at least now it is called a 'catalogue', but is what I believe is to be the last issue of these beautiful cloth hard backed catalogues.

1961
In September 1961 in the UK there was issued a slim 13 page 'brochure' entitled ' Make the most of your skill with MARPLES Tools'.  Labelled as Catalogue P61,  a second edition was issued in March 1964 with the same cover, but with a slightly different layout and tools.

Inserted here only as a catalogue because it is an 8 sided document of 7" x 5". ..devoted to Woodturning tools and hints of 1976.  Record Ridgeway Tools Ltd.     Front and back sides shown here right.

This often seen MARPLES Turning and Carving catalogue was issued in Canada July 1984.    It is 4" x 6" and has 24 sides.  Printed with integrated French and English, the Front and Back pages are shown here.

M1 Catalogue.  9/67​   [Right]

A slim 8.5" x 11"  11 page mini-catalogue sales pitch.  

Reprinted Feb 1968

1938
This catalogue was issued just before WWII and is the same size as before, but now has 245 pages because of the inclusion of some pages selling John Rabone & Sons Rules and Tapes.  Otherwise it was still 237 pages like the 1928 edition..  The spine also reads the same as the 1928 catalogue.  This must therefore be the 16th catalogue.

1955-57
A new 'Abridged Pocket Catalogue'  was issued in January 1955.  

5.1/2" x 8.1/2" with 112 pages.

A second was forthcoming in March 1957 and a third in September 1958. and both the same size.  I do not know whether there were any others issued after this time.

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