Some time ago, TATHS published a DVD of scans of the 1919 Register of Trade marks of the Cutlers' Company of Sheffield.

This register is a tremendously useful reference source for identifying makers of tools by their marks, which can be punning, allusive and downright  cryptic.

We are pleased to announce that pdf versions of the directory can now be downloaded, as a members' benefit, by any TATHS member who has registered as a user of this site.

Many thanks to Brian Read for his sterling work in finding, buying and sharing this resource.

THE Ken Hawley Collection Trust receives many queries from the public concerning hand tools.  To answer these, they call on the specialist knowledge of their Volunteer Curators (currently there are 25+ volunteers) and anyone else they feel might have suitable knowledge.   Of course, with the sad loss of Ken Hawley last year, his massive source of knowledge is no longer available. With the closer relationship that is developing between our two organisations, the idea has developed of TATHS members with particular fields of knowledge becoming External Curators for the Hawley.

Do you have specialist knowledge of a particular subject?  Would you like to become an External Curator?

The way it will work is that you let me have your name, preferred contact arrangements, and specialist subject; I’ll pass these to the Hawley for adding to their register.  Queries will be passed to you from the Hawley; and you’ll reply to the Hawley.  Your name will not be passed to the public unless you wish it to be.

What, me, an expert? 

You don’t have to be the No 1 World Expert on the subject, just reasonably knowledgeable.  You can resign at any time.  It’s an honorary role (i.e. you don’t get paid)  The information you provide will be passed to the person enquiring with the proviso “this is opinion” and your name will not be given unless you wish it to be.

Already David Blagg has agreed to offer his knowledge of Spiers planes; and Richard Arnold his expertise on early wooden planes.   (Two excellent choices, you’ll agree).  I can think of several more; you will no doubt have names that will come to mind. 

So, as they say up here, “think on it” and if you think you might possibly be able to help, or would like to know more, please get in touch with me (Hugh Thompson,  e-mail: or with Judith Smith (  tel 0114 201 0770)

Hugh Thompson, TATHS/KHCT Link Trustee.

At next year's AGM and conference, one of the highlights for many members will be the seventh biennial Mark Rees Memorial Lecture.

In 2016 the subject will be some aspects of historical practice in making sash windows, presented by well-known TATHS member Richard Arnold. Richard's explorations in this area combine historical research and practical experience.

 A few of Richard's wonderful collection of tools are shown below and you can expect to see some of them demonstrated in his talk.

Richard's tools

The tool shop in the village at the Black Country Museum


The 2016 Conference will be held over the weekend of 1-3 April, Friday through to Sunday. (This is the week immediately following Easter, which falls on 27 March.)

The conference hotel will be the Holiday Inn at Walsall and the focus for the conference visits will be the superb Black Country Living Museum. The museum covers a huge site and includes a coal mine, Newcomen steam engine, lime kiln, canal dock, an iron works, historic transport, a fairground, a village street, and many other exhibits, including a rather nice tool shop.

The conference will also include the seventh biennial Mark Rees Memorial Lecture.

Keep these dates free and watch for further news about activities and booking arrangements.

We are delighted to announce that we have recently received a significant donation from the Salaman Family.

Myer Salaman together with other members of the extended family of the late Raphael Salaman have made a generous donation to ensure the longevity of this awards scheme. We can now be confident that research into historic tools and trades will be supported by the society far into the future.

More please!

We would like to invite you too to make a donation to add further to this fund. All donations will be gratefully received, irrespective of how much your budget allows. Research into the history of tools and trades is still offering many opportunities that are yet to be explored and published. Supporting amateur and professional individuals to research and publish material about this wide and fascinating aspect of our heritage is at the core of the Tools and Trades History Society. It is the intention of TATHS, via the Salaman Awards, to publish the results of the research findings of all future recipients of a grant thus making it available to the wider public.

Your donation will help ensure that any successful applicant in future will have all the support that is required for the completion of their intended research. Past recipients have fully used their grants to support study trips, gain photographic material or access specialist advice, equipment etc. Your support will assist in elevating the research of historic tools and trades into the higher position that it deserves.

We look forward to hearing from you - please contact me using the email address below. I will be happy to discuss this proposal further and to receive any donation.

Many thanks,

Jonathan Green-Plumb

TATHS display

Throughout the year, TATHS members get out and about at some very enjoyable events - country shows, steam fairs, woodland celebrations, that sort of thing. We generally erect a tent and display an assortment of old tools, alongside some of our publications for sale. They are listed on this site, under Future Events.

It's a way of saying to visitors, "These old tools are interesting. Come and have a look and have a natter about them." Many visitors will have a story about a trade their father or grandfather followed. Few can resist the challenge of picking up an intriguing 'watsit' and trying to work out what it was for and how it was used.

If you are thinking of going to any of these events, why not come along as a volunteer on the TATHS stand? You will get in to the event free of charge, you can spend the day chatting about old tools, and you might even learn something yourself, while supporting our charitable objective of educating the general public.

There is always an experienced crew who have enjoyed these events before, but it would be great to get to know some of our newer or shyer members.

So, pick an event near you and contact the organiser mentioned, or email Events Coordinator Mike Rogers on Maybe you have spotted an event near you where a TATHS display would go down well - why not contact Mike and see if we can expand our coverage?