''Wm.MARPLES & SONS' water transfer.  These 1" diameter water transfers were put on ' Round' chisel handles over the incised circumferential lines towards the middle of the handle and on many other tools. c1936-1965?

I am presently working on when electro-etching was introduced to MARPLES tools. 

Maybe 1968 onwards? [speculation at the moment , but I think that I am close here].   I have also observed that many of the later [late 1990s onwards?] chisels and gouges had no makers mark at all on the metal, only on the wooden handle.

The next mark used by MARPLES appears shortly after his move to 67/69 Spring Lane in 1838 [Broomspring lane; Broom Spring Lane) and takes the form of an 'Anchor'   This mark was used until 1859 while he was at Spring Lane  [named Hibernian Works] .  It may also be seen combined with  'W. MARPLES, SHEFFIELD ' or 'HIBERNIAN '.

 This water transfer was used on all hand-made wooden planes (marked MARPLES  and not on those marked MOSELEY1938< 1965 and other tools [e.g. hammer handles].

They were not applied to the 'BB' wooden planes as those had their own paper applied label as shown below.

I have in my collection a 15mm in diameter transfer and it has only the words  MARPLES   SHEFFIELD around the perimeter.  This transfer may be a c.1890

These water transfers may have been used earlier than would have been otherwise suspected.

Presently I am confused as to when these stick onadhesive1 inch diameter  'MARPLES' only labels were used [top left], because I have both examples of the 'MARPLES' only  adhesive sticker label [shown middle left] and the 'Wm.MARPLES &Sons' adhesive sticker label.[ as exampled below left] 

The MARPLES, ENG only 18mm diameter water transfer (middle left) was used at least 1958-1962-65? and was placed on boxwood chisel handles downclose to the ferrule., and being only 18mm in diameter shows ENGLAND truncated to ENG. It is possible that this transferand the larger 1" water transfer [shown below this] co-existed and were used according to the space allowed on the tool.   They appear in cat .No. P62 1964/5 edition.  This would explain why the water transfers were used first and were replaced later by matching Adhesive stickers.  I am still working on dates for this transition from water transfer to adhesive sticker.

What follows here may or may not necessarily be in date chronological order.    Please note that these drawings are not to scale  nor are sized relative to each other.​ This is a tremendous amount of research, so what I post here first will be further modified according to my future information. My recent research [3/17] has shown that the marks employed were all probably used at variousmagnifications to suit the width/size of the tools and it is therefore now superfluous to state the size of the marks, since these would vary according to the availability of space on the tool. [ BM2; BM3 and BM4 are all the same mark but of different sizes. ]

 The marks found below must therefore be considered to be 'base' marks and are to be found occurring in various dimensions. These drawings and suppositions were made before this latest finding.   But they still seem to pertain to the Studies that I made years ago. Obviously the marks placed on steel parts were slightly different to those stamped into wood pieces as different stamps would be required.

From the example [LEFT] showing the single 'SHAMROCK' , it would appear that the word HIBERNIA was used as a 'mark' before it was officially registered as such in 1875

MARPLES within a double  'oval' window   1991-1999? ​ This mark, shown left, is from the Jan 1st 1994 Price List. The example on the right is off a Marking Gauge

This early stamp may well have had slightly larger brothers but THIS one is 1/2"across the 'SHEFFIELD' base-line.   Obviously pre-1861  [because of no  '& SONS']

By October 1963 the SEOVAL mark seems to have been modernised with the lines within the letters having been removed.

This Green and Gold emblem was found on a 1992 Carving ToolCatalogue.

A variation on the Double Oval window MARPLES, but using exactly the same script.

An old mark, with barely discernible Triple Shamrock . Probably early 1890s? { No ENGLAND noted}  Also note that it is now 'Wm.'

This water transfer was used when C&J Hampton had control over the MARPLES empire.

1962 onwards.  Distinctly unimpressive and shouts...'Please be advised that this is not a Quality Tool'.  It is almost as if RECORD wanted to drive the MARPLES name into the mud.   

You will find this mark on most of the later Boxwood handled Carver style chisels and screwdrivers.  BUT you will find 2 sorts of this mark. The earlier one has the 'M' in MARPLES with vertical legs to the 2 outside edges. The later one has those legs splayed outwards.

William Marples Jnr. started his venture into Tool Making history [but unknown to him at this time.] around 1830, [when he became 21 years old] and his VERY first markis recorded on a Marking gauge of mine as   W. MARPLES JUNI have also found a 12" square at 'Winterthur Portfolia II' that shows the same mark ascribed to c1834. 

 This 3/4" semi-circular mark [across the baseline here], may have persisted until at least c1838.  I have recently found a possibly slightly later variation to this mark wherein it states W.MARPLES JUNR , shown right below. The small R is elevated with a line underneath.

This paper label [Left]was used on all BB [Best Beechwood] planes.    c1938- c1968.

But a later label [Right] at 2.1/4" wide and 1" high came after this one. 1965<?Research need here.

This mark from a screwdriver is 1/2" high and 13/16"wide. Guestimate is 1960's?

This slightly larger stamp [on a larger square] at 21/32"across the 'SHEFFIELD' base-line shows a second stamp was used to indicate '& SONS'.  This latter stamp was obviously added after1861 and probably the square was double stamped like this until c.1863.  [when a new combined stamp would most likely have been introduced.]

In 1862 the Trade mark of a single 'Shamrock' was announced,  [not to be confused with the later 'Triple' Shamrock].  The single 'Shamrock' mark was carried until the advent of two new Trade Marks in 1875.....the 'Triple' Shamrock and 'HIBERNIA' .

This mark may have been used for only a short time [mid 80s] before reverting to the Seoval MARPLES again.  Under investigation...


The  transfer [left] [GREEN Shamrock] was used on many items (including chisels) BEFORE the RED styled variety.  The Sept/1959 brochure shows the green shamrock on a chisel set.

This is VERY hard to pin down to an exact date. The GREEN Shamrock is noted in the 9/67Cat. M1

Therefore it was probably used 1958-1967.   [It may have replaced the 'MARPLES only' 18mm transfer. ] 

I think that both GREEN and RED labels were only used on Boxwood Carver chisel handles, until I find out otherwise!   NOTE:  This transfer says:  SHEFFIELD  ENG

On an old Boxwood Marking Gauge.

Probably c1862-1875. No Triple Shamrock mark.

​This could possibly be a mark from 1861-2, as there is no single 3 leaf clover trade mark either.

Note: That as with all the earlier marks it is 'W. MARPLES' not 'Wm. MARPLES'.

The "Triple' Shamrock Trade Mark  (along with HIBERNIA) was in place from 1875.   [ I am researching as to when the word 'HIBERNIA'ceased to be used on tools and so far I have it shown until 1942 ​]

Presently this RED Shamrock mark [left] may be associated with MARPLES tools produced between 1967-1973 and havingonly Boxwood handles.

But the switch over from GREEN to RED marks is presently under study, and for a while may have  co-existed. 

NOTE:  This transfer says:  SHEFFIELD  ENGLAND

This mark was impressed (stamped gold filled) and mainly used on Marking Gauges c.1960-1973   

A very similar mark is found on a 1958 catalogue about 'Tool Chests'. [shown below] and this appears again in a trade advert of October 1960.

Very recent info from research indicates that there was a GREEN Marples transfer that was applied to Boxwood handled [chisels] and pre-dates the next issue. This transfer had the usual MARPLESGREEN trefoil, but had the word 'SHAMROCK' in GREEN as shown Left

Later varieties had ' SHEFFIELD  ENG'. instead of 'SHAMROCK'     As discussed below.

Present research indicates that this mark may have been used from  1959-1991.

I will call this the SEOVAL mark  (Semi-Oval)    

MARPLES, in Gold, within an outlined rectangle was used 1953-1960 and was pressed into and on top of the previous finish.


To be investigated.

On moving premises to Westfield Terrace [Hibernia Works] in 1859 the mark was changed to the 'Lyre' or Irish Harp, and this mark persisted until 1862.  Sorry but I have no pictures of this mark at the moment!!

This stamped on Gold filled marking was used on wooden tools by C&J Hampton after they took over MARPLES     1962 -1991?

This section is devoted to the marks that were both impressed into William MARPLES tools and used in literature but I can only report those marks for which I have good evidence   It is a work in progress.  Which means that 'Marks' were so variable and hard to date.

I have given some marks names according to my having discovered them years ago and they are not therefore in date order. These 'marks' appear in my earlier Plane studies and this would be a huge task to go into each Plane study and amend these issues.  I hope you understand the problems.  However since that time I have found that the exact same marks [but different sized stamps] were used on tools according to the space available on that tool and therefore sizes would not be a good gauge of the age of a tool.

 { Originally BM stood for 'Blade Markings', but many MARPLES tools have the mark on other areas of the tool, so I will now use BM as short form of Brand Mark}   Please appreciate that there would have been so many 'stamps' produced by and for MARPLES that it is impossible to list and collate then all.