1931

"FANCY" BACK SAWS.

Judging by the Font and Style I would think that this is a very early saw, perhaps c.1870 ?

The above estimations of both number and availability are only rudimentary at best.  The documentation to support good estimations is just not available now.  Much of this was destroyed by 'Philistines' during the destruction/demolition of the Factory and even the great Ken Hawley was not given the chance to rescue all the documents that were then available. Therefore today we can only guestimate the facts.

It is only too late in life that the Youth of today realise the implications of their youthful desire to 'start afresh'.

Going through the old catalogues it would appear that MARPLES  made or were made for them,  Turning Saws and Frames and Saw pads as early as 1846, if not earlier.

But the earliest reference that we have is the 1846  'List of Prices',  an excerpt from which is shown here right.

Below is from the M2 Catalogue of August 1973

The Brass back saws here show a gradual degradation in the letters of the stamp, starting with the 'D' in SHEFFIELD and progressing to the 'L' in LTD, the 'L' in QUALITY and the 'N' in ENG.

I am unable to find reference anywhere to these 'Late' Open Handled saws and so believe that ALL the saws here are #2527A  Joiner's Brass Back "Special" quality. The smaller saws may have always been Open Handled in this line. Note they all have Steel fixing bolts

Below is the culmination of about 30 hours of work analysing the catalogues in order to produce a composite table depicting the Marples saws as listed against time.

As I worked I eventually decided that I would only make a starting point of the 1897 Catalogue, as the previous item# changes were just too horrendous to work through.

There were 3 different number changes with Marples Tools between 1873 and 1909 and these are very difficult to follow as Item descriptions also changed over time.

I carried the study through using just the hard copy Catalogues. [1897, 1909, 1928, 1938, 1959 and 1965.]  On each line where there is a number, this denotes a number change at that time.  Of necessity I have had to truncate the descriptions given in the catalogues to the saws and their individual components, otherwise I would never have space in WORD to include all of the Catalogue Columns.   Here to the right is a list of the short forms used.

Later examples of #2527.

Left: Shows a Two-Tone Polished Beech Handle.

These later handles show a lack of design and no thought as to usability.

The 1959 Catalogue entries:

'Early' 12" saw has 3.1/4" blade depth.

The 1861 Catalogue shows us some more details:

Below is where you will find additional info on the saws and as many photos of the different types as I can muster.


The very best book that could have been written on British Saws & Makers is by Simon Barley, and I have been given his permission to quote here from his book:

British Saws & Saw Makers from c1660   SIMON BARLEY    ISBN  978-1-909300-74-3 Published 2014

This information represents a huge amount of time, effort and money and I am therefore indebted to Simon for allowing this publication.


" From his earliest days Marples sold saws, but it is not likely that the firm ever made their own.  In 1825 the Beardshaw records show sales to him; the catalogues of 1878 show only Disston and Boynton makes (both American), and those of 1883 and 1892 only Disston's.  In the 1920's Marples were one of the few firms to sell saws in the new stainless steel, although it is not known who they were made by.  Later evidence is that their saws were made by Garlick and Francis Wood.  "


I can only comment here that in 1825 Wm. Marples Jnr. was only 16 years old and was maybe merely purchasing saws for his personal use.

The earliest Marples catalogue reference to Stainless Steel saws is in September 1931, so it is possible that Marples was selling these saws before they were catalogue introduced.

PAD SAWS

The 1965 Catalogue entries:​    

'Early' 10" Open Handled saw with 2.1/2" blade depth.

Above: Two examples of #2527 Joiner's Brass Back Best Quality.

Above: Joiner's Bright Steel Back #2526

BACK SAWS

I am sorry for the poor images, they are not my photos!

Again a later saw with no Lamb's tongue.

I bought this saw and will receive it soon from the UK. THEN I can give you more/better info.

Wm. Marples & Sons Ltd. Sheffield England in raised lettering on Hammered Gold painted pot metal cast 'ferrule'   Ash  7.5/8"  #2421

The 1897 Catalogue entries are shown here:

But it should be noted that 'Saws' were now included in almost all of the higher priced  'Tool Chests' offered by MARPLES  going back to 1861.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:

The above charts are very accurate, but at the same time very confusing to follow for a particular saw and confusing to obtain any meaningful data.

So I have decided to produce a composite chart which will give the saw number and the dates on which it was available.  Below​.

Ebony Handled with no discernible makers mark  8.3/8" 

#700, RN#2427 in 1909.  1897-1928

The 1873 entries are shown below:

From Feb 1968

The Beechwood 'Fancy Brass Back' saws were available 1909-c.1971 and numbered 2620A, 2530 and 2640 according to date

[see Master List].    4"-8".

The older saws had a longer brass Ferrule and fancier turning.

The oldest saws did not have the blade inserted a small distance into the Brass Ferrule.[see #2620 below]

STAINLESS STEEL SAWS


Although Stainless Steel [SS] was not discovered/invented/stumbled upon until 1913 it was much later in September 1931 that we find SS Marples saws.

Item# 2515 is a Skew Back, Carved English Beech handled Hand, Panel and Rip Saw. These were available in 22" x 10 pts and 26" x 6, 6.5 or 7pts. There is no mention here that these were a NEW addition to the line, from which we may assume that they were introduced a little earlier. They are not mentioned in the June 1930 pocket catalogue, and I do not possess the March? 1931 catalogue. They were offered to around March 1940.

A similar situation exists with Item# 2528 which is first seen in September 1931. This was an SS Tenon Saw in 10, 12, and 14". They were available until at least September 1961.

I have no photos of the #2515 Hand, Panel and Rip Saws.  Below are photos of The Tenon Saws.

W. MARPLES & SONS  SHEFFIELD    Boxwood.  8.5/8"

Either #698/99 [#2425/6 after 1909]

Things to note:  The earlier saws did not have a 'wheat' pattern carving on the handle [<1937] , had SHEFFIELD  ENGLAND on the 'Back' and WarrantedSuperior on the blade.  The Open handle Tenon saw is presumed to be 'Early' as it does not appear in 1938<.  The 'Early' Tenon saws had deeper blades than 'Later' ( e.g. above)

                           Later saws [1938<] show a 'wheat' pattern handle and were marked  SHEFFIELD only on the 'Back' and Warranted Cast Steel on the blade.

​The top saw [above] is 'Later'.

Below are some marks found on Marples' saws, as shown in Simon's book.

Below is another chart that I have produced from Price Lists between 1955 and 1973.

BUT please note that the 1955 data was extracted from the Price List of Sept. 1955 which referred to the "Abridged Pocket Catalogue" dated January 1955.  Therefore this small catalogue did not include all of the products available at that time and represents items included in this Catalogue, but not all items [saws] available.  Hence the blank spaces.

1938 

It is amazing to see just how many different types of Brass 'Ferrules' were designed and used on the MARPLES Pad Saws over time. Below are some examples, but Dating is difficult

1909 Catalogue entries:

The 1938 Catalogue entries:

The 1921 entries:

SAWS

I think that this is the earliest Pad saw mark I have seen..merely a script of W.Marples. Boxwood handle.  Length from Brass to handle end is 8.1/2"

Either # 698/99 [#2425/6 after 1909]

From  Aug 1973

The 1938 Cat. does not show a

Cat. # for 2528!

W. MARPLES & SONS SHEFFIELD  Triple Shamrock in a rectangle marked on the Brass 'Ferrule'. Beech  7.1/4"  #2421

The 1928 Catalogue entries:

A really beautiful later saw [no Lamb's tongue, 2-tone handle and Wheatsheaf design.]  Probably c.1968

#2521 Joiner's Handsaw, best quality. Swaged Skew Back, Beech two-toned Handle polished all over.

Available in  22", 24", and 26".

Above is from the M1 Catalogue Feb 1968.  So Pad Saw 2421, absent from the 1965 Cat. re-appears by 1968 and was carried through until at least 1973.

W. MARPLES & SONS  HIBERNIA  Triple Shamrock  Boxwood   8.3/8" Either #698/99 [#2425/6 after 1909]

The chart below was produced by scrutiny of the MARPLES Mini Catalogues between the dates listed.  The exclusion of certain Item numbers therefore does not mean that the Item number was not available at that time.  These mini-catalogues could not include ALL of the Woodworking Items that were then available.  This chart should therefore be used in conjunction with the above charts so as to form a more accurate picture of the saws that MARPLES produced [sold] over the years

At this stage I am still unsure whether MARPLES manufactured the saws in their own factory or whether they were made outside at other saw maker facilities and given the MARPLES mark. 

Below is another earlier #2521

W. MARPLES & SONS  SHEFFIELD   Boxwood  8.3/4" Either #698/99 [#2425/6 after 1909]

The Rosewood  'Fancy Brass Back' saws were available for a short time  1909-c.1914?  They do not show in the 1921 catalogue and probably were dropped shortly after the beginning of WW1.  4"-8"  #2620.

Again, note the long Ferrule.

W. MARPLES & SONS  HIBERNIA Triple Shamrock  Boxwood  8.7/8" Either #698/99 [#2425/6 after 1909]

'Later' 12" saw has 2.1/2" blade depth.

Item# 8320-Pocket Pruning Saw [above] had scales of Rosewood in the 1909 Catalogue, whereas previously they were of Boxwood. [Item #394H]

Above:  The 1909 Catalogue shows #2610 Special Iron Back Saw with an Open Handle.

Wm. Marples & Sons Ltd. Sheffield  England in raised lettering on Gold painted cast pot metal 'ferrule'.  Beech  7.3/8" 

#2421

Below is the composite chart that has taken me weeks to produce.  It shows the Saw Item# against the years of production. But it must be understood that I have started the chart at the 1897 catalogue and continued it as far as I can given the catalogues that I have as far as 1971.  There are many small catalogues that obviously cannot give information on all the products that MARPLES produced at that time, but give some good minor input.  Also remember that the production dates shown are but evidence based catalogue entries and therefore the product may have been introduced/discontinued before/after these dates.

I chose to start the chart at catalogue 1897 because I do not have any reliable catalogue entries between 1873 and 1897.

Please note that:   RN denotes 'Re-numbered'    There were a lot of saws that were Re-numbered between initial introduction [before 1897] and the first Re-numbering date of 1909.  The second Re-numbering occurs in 1938.    This can all be very confusing which is why I have tried to give you the composite chart below.

RIP, CROSSCUT and PANEL SAWS

To the Left here is from the New Products leaflet of Sept 1968.

This then shows that Coping Saw 2677 [absent from the 1965 Cat.] has had its' number re-assigned in 1968 to the newly introduced Junior Hacksaw.

The Dovetail Saw 2641 was a totally new number and I doubt that any maker of saws could have fitted a more ugly, more ill-fitting handle that also showed a disgusting nod to design. How could they have allowed this??  Such was this age of austerity.  Hopefully very few survive!

Obviously this is an extremely late saw and disgusting it is! Profit could be the only motive for distributing a 'saw' such as this.  Probably c.1975 ​or later.