Until the 1990's they were still made by Record Tools in England, with solid beechwood frames.
|The Splendid Book for Boys. London & Glasgow: Collins, c. 1950's.|
This adds to my very small collection of tools from this firm--an awl, a scraper and a wood chisel:
I also have a rose bit with their name on it:
And a lovely hand-forged spatula which I use very frequently:
Their trademark was a shamrock, which appeared on some of their tools (like the badge on my awl, pictured earlier above).
In 1961, they had about 400 employees. In 1962, the Record Tool Company and William Ridgway acquired a 50 percent interest in the company and in 1972 the companies merged with several others to form Record Ridgway Tools Ltd. After 116 years at its Hibernia Works, the company was moved to Dronfield. A 1982 takeover by A.B. Bahco of Sweden was short-lived, and in 1985 Record returned to British ownership, first as Record Marples Woodworking Tools Ltd. in 1988 then as Record Holdings plc. In 1993. In 1998, the company accepted a bid from American Tool Corporation, subsequently trading as Record Irwin. Irwin itself was acquired by Newell Rubbermaid in 2002, and was renamed Irwin Industrial Tool Co. Both the Marples and Record names were rebranded “Irwin.” However, the name has since been resurrected as Irwin/Marples and applied to wood chisels and table saw blades reportedly now made at Irwin's new facility in Udine, Italy (although some claim that the chisels are made in China). I had a look at one of the saw blades in Lowes, and noticed that the package has a paragraph providing a very brief history of Marples. As the original Marples firm never made circular saw blades, and is long gone now and so had nothing to do with the production of these ones which are not even made in England, I guess the use of their name is sort of a tribute on the part of Newell Rubbermaid. "Hey, we bought your company and closed it down, but some people remember that you made good tools, so we'll stick your name on another tool made somewhere else by someone else." As the old saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
As an aside, William Marples was the uncle of Robert Marples and Joseph Marples, both of whom established competing tool-making business in Sheffield. The Robert Maples firm disappeared early in the last century, but Joseph Marples Ltd. continues as one of the last old family-owned tool-making firms in Britain.