Index of European drill manufactures to and including 1800.

The following list is a work in progress to help identify makers and merchants names stamped on drill bits. The bits are generally the following type: Center bits, Spoon bits, Shell bits, Nose bits, etc. There were many early manufacturers that included edge tools in their range of products and only some of those made augers or drill bits.

Many bits were also blacksmith made and un-marked. These tend to be more rudimental in finish.

The names included in this compendium are those that have been found on drill bits.

Augers with square and round shanks were sometimes advertised and sold, “for welding”, that is, sold without the tang so the user could fashion any length of bit and tang he wanted.

I have included the archaic spelling of Gimlets taken from original trade listings (Gimblets).

Many edge tool makers and those that also manufactured bits also made skates (ice Skates) and skates were often included in their list of products.
“As skating popularity grew across Europe, royal toolmaker John Wilson was commissioned to make a pair of figure skating blades for King William III in 1696. The Sheffield engineer was famed throughout England for the quality of his tools, his crafting skills and his unparalleled reputation for excellence. The royal seal of approval ensured that John Wilson’s business continued to bloom, while the strong connection to British royalty carried on and inspired Queen Victoria to commission a pair of skates for herself and Prince Albert in the 1840’s.”

Great Britain
Abbey, H. London

Aird, William. Brighton, England (W.A.R. AIRD- William Albert Richard Aird)

Allan, Arthur. Glasgow. Edge tool makers.

Anderson, R. J. Seacombe, England. (R.J.Anderson, Seacombe, ENG) on the bit.

Arthur, David. St. Pauls Works, Edinburgh. (1804?- ) His business was at Leith in the 1820s.

Ash, William & Co. Norfolk Lane, Sheffield. (1825- )

Atkins & Sons. Birmingham. Est. 1760 Saw, file, plane and tool makers.

Baker, John. Monmouth Works, Harmer Lane, Sheffield. (1837-1972 ) Edge tools and joiner tools.

Baker, William. London. William Baker appeared in the 1881 UK census, listed as a tool maker born c. 1837, in London.

Bee, James. ( Listed in the Sheffield Directory in 1814). ( See Henry Brown “Sole manufacturers of James Bee’s Tools”). In the 1814 Sheffield Directory, James Bee is the first listed brace maker. He is listed as working 1814 to 1828. it is thought that Brown and Flather purchased the purchase of James Bee in 1828. It is also thought that James Bee was the first one to plate a brace. There is also a William Bee that may or may not be related.

Bligh ?

Bloomer & Philipps. Albert Works, Sheffield. Joiners and edge tools. Circa 1852

Booth, William. Dronfield in 1871. Edge tool manufacturer.

Bower. (Unknown)

Bradbury & Taylor. Furnival Street, Sheffield in 1825 (Edge tools and gimblet manufacturers)

Brades. Birmingham & London. William Hunt & Sons, The Brades Ltd. Brades Steel Works, near Birmingham. (1809- )

Brittain, Frederick. St George’s Works, Shoreham Street, Sheffield. (1876-1887) Merchant, and manufacturer of steel, saws, files and tools.

Brown,Henry. (Brown & Sons) Western Works, Rockingham Street, Sheffield. Manufactured joiners tools as well as augers, gimlets, braces and bits.

Brown, J. S. ? Brown & Son.

Brown, T.

Brown & Wells.

Brufton, J. T. & Co. Sheffield. Made braces and bits.

Buck, Joseph. Newgate Street and Waterloo Road, London. Edge tool makers. (Also possibly after the family moved to the USA.

Burley, Bennet, B. Also appears to have retailed tools. “Burley, Bennet B. manufacturer of planes, mechanical, engineering, and edge tools, importer of American and Continental tools and hardware, 9 Watson Street, off Gallowgate then Barrowfield Tool Works, Glasgow. (see also Robert Heys)

Burton, William. Birmingham. Brace and bit makers. (late B. Freeth & Co.)

Burkinshaw, John & Sons. Described himself as a brace bit manufacturer. Later possibly partnered Samuel Smith in Smith & Burkinshaw, Broomhall Works, Broomhall Street, Sheffield which ended in 1880. From then on John Burkinshaw & Sons advertised as a maker of braces, bits and borers.

Burntisland. Burntisland West Dock, Fife, Scotland.

Burys & Co., Regent Works, Sheffield. Steel, file and tool manufacturers. Edge tools etc. 1864-1970. Founded in the 1830s by John Bedford and after 2 years passed to Messrs. Burys & Co.

Cam, James. Edge tool maker, Sheffield. First listed as a file maker in 1787. (see Marshes & Shepherd, They continued to use the James Cam mark on edge tools until about 1849, as did their successor, Marsh Brothers & Company.

Carter, Charles. Industry Works,Olivant Road, Sheffield. Listed as a manufacturer of scotch,carpenters and ship augersbesides screw bits (1861-1890s)

Carr, John & Riley. Bailey Lane Works, Sheffield. Edge tool makers. (1810- )

Chapman, J. A. Industry Tool Works, Woodside Lane, Sheffield. (extremely rare bits)

Clegg, George Dennis. 15 Uxbridge Road, London. 1910- Wooden Planemaker. On bit- “ CLEGG 15 UXBRIDGE Rd W”

Colquhoun & Cadman. Douglas Works, Arundel Street, Sheffield. (1881-1980) Edge and Joiners tools.

Cooper & Sons. Fuluse Works, Hermitage Street, Sheffield. (usually on bit: FULUSE SHEFFIELD, ENG).

Craig. Probably of Craig & Donald of Johnson near Glasgow. (1815-1851) then (1853- ) Iron working machinery and drilling machines.

Craven, P. Whetly Grove, Manningham, Bradford.

Deanes. Denette Works, Peckham Rye, London. Made perambulators. Has “Deane’s London Bridge” on the drill bit.

Dixon, R.M. The R.M. stands for Robert Marples. Dixon is one of Robert Marples Trademarks: “Robert Marples” “Henry Dixon” “Henry Greaves”

Duro. Has (DURO SHEFFIELD) on the bit…….? (Duro Metal Products was an American company Est. 1917 in Chicago)

Eadon, Moses. President Works, Saville Street, Sheffield. Also various other locations. Manufacturer of spiral cutters etc. (1823-1918 )

Easterbrook & Allcard. Albert Tool Works, Sheffield. (1843- )

Ellin, Thomas. Footprint Works, Sheffield. (1866-

Ellis, John. Sheffield. Edge tool maker. (Probably John Ellis and Co. , became Spurr and Cadman)

Eyre. Either, Edward Eyre of “Eyre, Ibbotson & Henzell “ or “Eyre, Ward & Co.” 1850

Firth, Thomas & Sons..Norfolk Works, Sheffield. Founded in 1837 (THOS.FIRTH)

Fellows, William. 54 Campo Lane, Sheffield. Auger, brace and bit maker. (1846- )

Fenton & Marsden. Bridge Street Works, Sheffield. (1852-1895) Manufactured braces and bits.

Flather, David. Solly Works, Solly Street, Sheffield. Manufactured joiners tools. At some point the partnership of Brown and Flather was formed at the Solly Street address. In 1850 The partnership between Henry Brown and David Flather expired. (1817-1902)

Foreign. Possibly made in Germany for export. “C.K.” (Carl Kammerling) a German Company, marked their bits with “Foreign”.

Freeth, Benjamin. Birmingham. Listed in 1770 as a Gimlet and auger maker.

Galloway, D & ….. Edinburgh. (Possibly Thomson & Co., Albert Engine Works, Leith) 1880

Garrick & Craig. Glasgow. Tool maker.

Gardner, Thomas. J. No. 6 Pithay 1880-1889. Narrow Vine St. 1899-1939. Manufactured woodworking tools. They had their own foundry and engineering works for a short period.

Gilpin, William. Churchbridge Works and Wedges Mills, Cannock, North Birmingham. (1834-1946)

Greaves, Isaac. Park Works, Broad Street Lane Sheffield. (1825 to early 1900’s)

Graham & Norton. Stirling, Stirlingshire. Possibly James Norton from Stirling and W. Graham from Perth.

Griffis, William. Brace and bit maker, Birmingham

Groves, Richard & Sons. Beehive Work, Snow Lane, Sheffield. (1770- ) Edge tool makers and well known for their saws.

Hale, John Thomas. Hale Bros Ltd. of Moorfield Works, Sheffield. (1842- )

Hall, G. Moorhead Works, Sheffield. (1871 Trades Directory) made braces, wrenches drilling machines etc.

Harrison, John & Sons. Unstone Mills, Dronfield. (1865- ) (Manufacturers of edge tools).

Haywood, Thomas. 51 Coalpit Lane, in 1833. (Rockingham Lane?) (Edge tool & auger manufacturer)

Hawksworth, Henry. 31 Earl Street, Sheffield. Manufacturer of tools, braces, bits etc. ( H. H.) stamped on bits

Henderson. (possibly James Henderson) Glasgow.

Herring, John. (& Sons) Navigation Works, Broad Street, Sheffield.

Heys, Robert. Glasgow? (Mackay, Burley & Heys) (1875- ) They are listed as ironmongers, as well as plane and edge tool makers. Peter Mackay was no longer associated with the firm by 1879, and the firm’s name was changed to Burley & Heys in 1880.

Hearnshaw Bros. Sorby Works, Sheffield. (1876…. ) Edge Tool Manufacturer.

Holmes, John. (Holmes & Sons) Prospect Place Works, Castle Hill, Norwich. (1827-1907)

Horton, Thomas. Edgbaston Street, Birmingham. Auger, gimblet and bracebit maker.

Howarth, James. Broomspring Works, Sheffield. Manufactured edge tools and joiners tools (1835- )

Hill. (Sherpherd, Hill & Co.) Leeds, England. In 1844 John Shepherd (1816-1902) went into business on his own account, presumably as Shepherd, Wilkinson, and Co.

Ibbotson, Thomas. Paternoster Row, Charles Street, Sheffield. Edge tool manufacturer. (1825-1905)

Jameson ?

J. T. B. N. (Letters are encased in a square.) unknown…

Johnson, C. Western Works, Sheffield? ((1836- )

Johnson, Christopher. Trade Mark ”C.J.” within a flag. (JOHNSON CAST STEEL). Works at Howard Street, Sheffield. (1879- )

Jinkinson, Amos. Cadoghan Works, Eldon Street, Sheffield. manufacturers of augers, gimblets , braces, bits & joiners tools. Kaye & Sons. Patent Lock Works, Leeds. (1884-1959) The Trademark was “Cardigan”

Kaye & Sons. Patent Lock Works, Leeds. (1884-1959

Kent, William. Hibernia Works, Sheffield.

Kirk, Peter. 150 Pond Street, Sheffield. Manufacturers of patent augers, brace bits,edge tools etc. (1839- )

Lewis & Co. Sheffield

Lather, D.E. & Co.

Lawson & Heaton. Birmingham. Bricklayers trowels and also made wall drill bits? Late 1800’s.

Long, H. G. Ecclesall Works, Sheffield

Mackay, Burley & Hey. Glasgow (See Heys, Robert)

Marples, Joseph. Hibernia Works, Sheffield. (1840’s- )

Marples, William.

Marples, Robert. Hermit brand

Marshes & Shepherd. Pond Works, Sheffield. Manufacturers of augers, edge tool makers. Sole manufacturers of James Cam edge tools. (1828-1852) By 1852 they had become Marsh Bros. & Co.

Marples, Robert. Hermitage Works, Hermitage Street, Sheffield. “Trade-mark, Hermit,” showing a hermit within a circle. (1828- )

Marsden Brothers. Trafalgar Street, Sheffield. (1696-1895) The logo is a racing greyhound.

In 1895 John Wilson purchased the business of Marsden Brothers. Made braces, bits, augers etc.

Marshall, Alex. Glasgow

Mathieson, Alex. Saracen Tool Works, Glasgow. Manufacturers of planes, mechanical, engineering and edge-tools. (1821-1953)

Maw, Kirjart & Staley, William. Rockingham Street, Sheffield. (1825-1833)

Mawhood, John Parkinson. Palm Tree Works, Sheffield. Mawhood Bros. Edge tool manufacturers. (1863-1978)

Mottram, Thomas. Eyre Lane, Sheffield, England. (1825-1846) Merchant and manufacturer of edge tools.

Moulson, Joseph & John. Union Works, Division Street, Sheffield. Manufacturers of saws, edge tools and joiners tools. (1830’s-1875)

Moreton, J.

Morrison, J. E. Granville Works, Tenter Street, Sheffield. Auger and auger bits for hand and brace bits. (1850- ) Sometimes found with MOD mark, early forties.

Mutter, George. London. William Thomas Newey (1825-1890).

Newey & Son. William Thomas Newey (1825-1890) in Birmingham. William made gimlets, braces and bits.

Nurse & Co. Charles Nurse. Invicta Tool Works, Walworth Road, London.

Osborn, Samual. Clyde Works, Broad Lane and Brookhill Works, Sheffield. (1851-1874)

Parkin, Charles & Son. Carver Street Works, West Street Lane, Sheffield. Braces and cast steel bits.

Peace, Charles. ( W.K.& C. Peace Ltd.) Eagle Works, Sheffield. Edge tools etc.

Pearson, F. G. Hope Works, Sheffield. Joiners tools, augers, files, gimlets etc. (1854- )

Pit, Robert. Burntisland, Fife, Scotland

Pool, C. Possibly Luke Pool & Sons (a son) of Lion Screw and Bolt Works, Leeds. Est. 1838

Popple, W. George. Sheffield (1879-1922)

Preston, Edward. The Whittall Works, Birmingham. Manufacturer of woodworking tools. (1825-1905?)

Ridge, Alfred. “Alfrid “ Alfred Ridge & Sons is established suppliers of wood boring tools to the Royal Navy. The company in 1875 changed to the FOOTPRINT brand.

Ridge, William. (also George) Sheffield Lane, Ecclefield. (near Sheffield) also in Carver Lane, Sheffield. Gimlets,braces, bits and augers.

Ridge, J.B. Sheffield. Originally in partnership with George Sansome trading as Joiners Tool Manufacturers, then in 1887 on his own as J.B. Ridge Ltd.

Ridgway, William. Oscar Works,Edward Street, Sheffield. (1878- until merger with Hampton/Marples/Record)

Round, Eliz. 103 Allen Street, Sheffield. (1837- )

Rudiforth, Alfred. 12 Bailey Street, 50 Rockingham Street. (Auger & Edge Tool Mfr.)

Ryan, George.

Ruston, Joseph. 1859 Joseph Ruston of the Sheaf Iron Works, Lincoln, founder of Ruston, Proctor and Co. (The drill bit I have seen also has “SAINT IVES” on the shaft) ??

Robson, J. Sheffield.

Sanderson, William. 88 Pea croft, Sheffield. Brace bit and auger maker. (1832- )

Saville, Charles. 16 Rockingham Lane & 6 South Street, in 1833.

Skelton, C. T. Sheafbank Works, Sheffield. (1855-1962)

Slater, George. 22 Hollis Croft, Sheffield. Brace, bit, joiners tool and auger manufacturer.

Shearer, A. E. Broomhall Street, Sheffield. It’s principle product was sheep shearing equipment but it also made auger bits. Although predecessor firms under the Shearer name operated in Sheffield from the 1860’s, A.E. Shearer itself did business from the 1920’s through the 1950’s.

Smith. (Smith & Sons) My example has J. Andersons patent, Seacombe, England

Smith. Could be either John & Son or Joseph. Both of Sheffield. Cica 1830s.

Sorby, John. Spittal Hill, Sheffield. Edge tool manufacturer. (1854-1887)

Sorby, I. (See Addendum below)

Sorby, Robert. Sheffield

Spear & Jackson. Aetna Works, Sheffield. They also spell the Works “Etna” Founded in 1830

Straw, W. & Co.

Stones, Frederick. Albion Works, Arundel Lane/Broomhill, Sheffield in 1837. Manufacturer and Merchant. (1817- )

Snell. Possibly Snell & Brown of Skinner Lane, Birmingham. (18** – 1889)

Stubs, Peter. (1756-1806) then by his sons, John, William & Joseph. (1890-1958) Warrington and then later Rotherham in Yorkshire. Was known to have made Jewelers reamers that have a tang to fit a brace. Generally five sided and and these were also used in the clock making trade.

Timmins, R & Sons. Hurst Street, Birmingham. (1790- ) Manufacturer of Braces and bits etc…

Tozer, James H. & Sons. Of Birkenhead and London. (1887- ) Edge tools also made continuous woven wire fencing and later mesh for concrete.

The Billy Unknown (also found on hand drills)

Turner, Thomas. Suffolk Works, Sheffield. Manufactured saws, files and edge tools (1802- )

Taylor, Charles. 47 Eyre Lane, Sheffield. Edge tool maker. Working dates thought to be (1905-1911)

Thomson, H. Broomhall Works, Broomhall Street, Sheffield. An edge tool manufacturer. (1871- )

Timperley, Walter. Prospect Works, Prospect Road, Heely. Auger & edge tool manufacturer.

Tyzac, Joseph & Son. Meersbrook Works, Sheffield (1781-1858) Their name is found “wraparound” on the shank of the bit. Also sometimes found is “Railway Arch” on the bit.

Varvill, Summers. Ebor Works, York. Manufacturer of Planes, Edge Tools, Joiners’ Tools, Files, Rasps etc.

Wales, Thomas. Midland Tool Works, Queens Road, Sheffield. s (Edge & joiners tools & auger manufacturers). (1881-1911). Sometimes stamped on the bits “ TO BORE” followed by the size of the bit.

Walker Bros. Don Tool Works, Sheffield. (1869- )

Walter, F. Was a mark of Flather & Sons.

W.A.R.AIRD “ Aird & Anderson. No. 12 Whitechapel, Liverpool. Listed as making woodworking tools.

Ward, W. H. Victoria Works, Eccleshall Road, Sheffield. They were the first makers of the celebrated miners’ twist drills. Also known for ship, Scotch, and carpenters’ augers, tap and bung borers. (1820-1884)

Ward & Payne. (W.P.) Limbrick Works. Wards Works, Westr Street, Sheffield. Edge tools, carving tools… (1803- )

Wheatcroft, John. 47 Broad St, Park, Sheffield. Joiners tool and skate manufacturer. 1825….

Whitehouse, Cornelius. Globe Tube Works, Wednesbury. (1845-1877) Listed in in 1849 as tool makers.


Wilson, H. Newcastle?

Wilson, John. Sheffield. In 1895 John Wilson purchased the business of Marsden Brothers. 1898 H. J. and R. Haynes bought the combined businesses of John Wilson and Marsden Brothers and Co. Manufacturers of skates, edge tools, saws. (Sometimes their greyhound logo is shown on bits).

Wilkinson, S. William. Burley Works, Metcalf Street, Leeds. Machine and Tool Maker. (1870 Directory of Leeds)

Willey, F. Leeds, West Yorkshire

Wingfield & Rowbotham & Co. (late 1700s/early 1800s the partnership began) The business was bought by Thos. Turner, which re-registered Wingfield, Rowbotham’s silver mark. In the 1920s, Turner’s continued to use the Wingfield, Rowbotham name from Suffolk Road, Sheffield.

York, K. ?

Zachariah and R. Parkes. Digbeth, Birmingham. Established 1779. In 1847 the business was known as Zachariah Parkes. Makers of malt/bean/coffee/wheat etc ., Mills. At some stage they made augers maybe to help construct the different mills.

Bits that have Ironmongers/Merchants name on them.

Origins, Statutes and Ordinances. In 1455 Articles were granted to the Ironmongers by 23 Henry VI and in 1464 the Gild obtained its parent charter from Edward IV granting them perpetual succession and a common seal.

Archer. (Possibly Frederick Archer a Tool Dealer in London (1899- )

Buck & Hickman. Matthew Buck, a sawmaker, set up a company in London 1830. His daughter Ann married John Roe Hickman, a saw and tool maker. After her husband’s death, Ann opened a tool shop called Buck & Co. The business continued in the family, becoming Buck & Hickman.

Buck & Hickman. Began with a tool shop in Backchurch Lane, Whitechaple in 1840 called “Buck & Co.” Then expanded in the 1860’s when they bought an Ironmongery business.

Cutts, J. H. Ironmonger of Maccesfield.

Henderson, A.R. & Co. Ltd. Just off Gallowgate, Glascow. 1903-1971

Hindley, Joseph. Sheffield. Tool merchant and importer. (1896- )

Long, H. G. Ecclesall Works, Sheffield.Sheffield Also listed as a manufacturer. (1834-1841)

Lewis & Co. Bailey Lane, Sheffield. Edge Tool Merchants

Melhuish, Richard. (Richard Melhuish & Sons) Fetter Lane, Holbone, London. (1828-1910)

Millard ? (Possibly Thomas Millard of K. Millard & Co. (1870-1939) Guernsey

Moser & Son. London. Of Dowgate Iron Wharf, London. (1861)
Of No. 165, High Street, Southwark, London (1885)

Moser & Son. Dowgate Iron Warf, London. Ironmongers and iron merchants.

Nurse, Charles. London and Sheffield (18__-1937)

They began in Maidstone where they were plane makers moving to London in 1887.

Ryan, George. Euston Road. (of Buck & Ryan, founded 1824) In 1870 George Ryan joined the firm and some years later was made manager. In 1898 George Henry Buck died and George Ryan bought the business.

Osborn, Henry. 96 Weatgate Road, Newcastle-Upon -Tyne.

Other European countries
Ahrem. Germany.

Bleckmann, J. E. Of Solingen, Germany. They were German blade makers. (1871-1918)i

Bodman. Germany.

Boker, Henry. Remscheid, Germany. Henry Boker Tools dates back to 1786. Manydrill bits have their distinctive arrow trademark.

Esser, Ferd. Ferd Esser & Co. Germany. Late 1800’s.

Freduard, Engles & Co. Germany

Hilger & Sons. Remscheid, Germany. Manufactured braces and bits and other tools. (1798- )

Hoff, J. M. & Lange. Germany

Kurbel Bohrer. Germany

Victor Leloup. Of Toucy, Yonne, France

Zimmermann. Germany

A few since the 1800’s commonly seen
WILFIN. William Findlay (Wil-Fin) and Son were tool dealers with retail premises at 69 The Side, Newcastle.

It might be that they were made for Findlay by A. Fielding & Co. (Keighley) Ltd. a once well-known if not famous machine-tool manufacturer.

Bits have “WILFIN Trademark” within a circle on the shank.

Sorby, I.

The mark “I SORBY” is a trademark , there is no Issac Sorby. Also according to the Britannica Dictionary… J, tenth letter of the alphabet. It was not differentiated from the letter I until comparatively modern times.

Extract from Geoffrey Tweedale – Tweedale’s Directory of Sheffield Cutlery Manufacturers 1740-2013 [2nd edition]


Advertisements show a start date of 1810. The partners were John Sorby (1780-1829) – who was related to the Sorbys of Attercliffe – John Turner (bapt.1778-1857) from Eckington, and Henry Skidmore (c.1766-1822). They made edge tools, cutlasses, and machetes in the Wicker. After 1822, the firm became Sorby & Turner.

In 1876, it was styled Turner, Naylor & Marples and re-registered ‘PUNCH’ and ‘I. SORBY’, claiming that they had been used since 1810.

The firm (which acquired the ‘I. & H. SORBY’ mark in 1932) traded until 1963.

And from the British Museum…

The trademark I Sorby and the Mr Punch image have been used by several makers over the years, making it hard to pin down. It is connected to John Sorby, his sons John and Henry (trademark I & H Sorby). However it seems likely that this mark is related to Sorby & Tuner or Turner Naylor & C, both known to have used ‘I Sorby’ trademark.

Possibly the Naylor is J Naylor, edge tool maker from Sheffield?