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Joseph Marples - Sheffield Toolmakers

In the 1840’s Joseph Marples was one of several ‘Marples’ in Sheffield manufacturing joiners tools including brass inlaid rosewood & ebony braces, boxwood spokeshaves, beech planes, gauges and squares.

The business has remained within the family to this date, and has been based in Sheffield since those early days. Although modern technology has been used in some instances, many of the traditions of manufacturing fine hand tools has remained the same using selected materials and hand finishing, indeed the same threads are used in the gauges as were used over 100 years ago.

It is evident that many Sheffield-made tools are stamped with brand names of commercial companies from elsewhere. This practice tends to obscure the fact that Sheffield in general - and Joseph Marples in particular - still plays a major part in the manufacture of high quality joiners tools.

The earliest recorded mention of ‘Marples’ is about the 1540’s, in Baslow, Derbyshire. There the family stayed until about 1750, when they moved to Sheffield. The years 1772 & 1774 saw the birth of two sons, William & Robert, both of whom were listed as Joiners tool makers. William’s son, William (b. 1809) was most likely the founder of the firm William Marples & Sons (also joined by George Marples), later becoming Record Marples. The other son Robert (b. 1801), produced the first of the long line of Joseph Marples (b. 1801). This Joseph being the founder of the company in 1840. During this period there were no less than seven Marples’ companies operating out of Sheffield, all somehow being related, very confusing!

The earliest of the Marples factories was called York Works, and produced principally framed braces, one design was called the ‘Trial 1 Brace’ referring to the firms corporate mark. Since then a succession of Joseph’s have owned the company: Joseph (b. 1834), Jos.Cooper (b. 1864), Jos. Edward (b. 1894), Jos. Ronald (b. 1924) and currently Jos. Anthony (b. 1956), whether his son Jos. Samuel (b.1996) takes on the company remains to be seen!

In October 2001, Marples relocated the company to a new purpose built factory (called York Works), and have reintroduced the old Corporate mark, ‘Trial 1’ on a special, superb quality selection of tools.

Joseph Marples Trial 1 Layout Tools
Ref: JM-T

TRIAL 1 - The mark of highest quality

This small selection of Rosewood tools represents the very best quality that Marples produce. They are based on designs of the tools last made over 70 years ago, which carried the ‘TRIAL 1’ brand, or Corporate Mark. The squares have 1/8th inch thick machined brass on both the inside and outside faces, thus ensuring accuracy on the inside and outside edges. They have a chemically blacked spring steel blade, secured to the stock with brass diamond washers and steel rivets. The accuracy of the try squares is well within that required by BS3322.

The Screwslide Mortice and Marking gauge has a full 1/8th inch. thick brass face. The stock is locked on to the stem by brass knurled thumbscrew and protective pressure pad. The locking screw is set within a traditional brass protective shield. A screw slide gives fine and precise adjustment of the mortise pins and on the back of the stem is a single marking gauge pin.

Trial 1 Presentation Set - Mortise Gauge, Marking Knife, Sliding Bevel & the 9" Try and 10" Mitre Squares.

Price incl VAT 

Joseph Marples Trial 1 Layout Tools


Trial 1 6" Try Square, Double Brass Faces T06  21.00
Trial 1 9" Try Square, Double Brass Faces T09  24.50
Trial 1 12" Try Square, Double Brass Faces T12  30.50
Trial 1 Combined Marking & Mortice Gauge T14  48.50
Trial 1 10" Mitre Square, Double Brass Faces T15  34.00
Trial 1 9" Sliding Bevel T20  27.00
Trial 1 Presentation Set Tbox  139.00


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