Vintage Marbles Cleaning Kit

Gather around children and I will show you something from a world long past.  During it’s day it was one of the best of it’s type.   Sold in a metal container that had a place for all its items.   A place for everything and everything in it’s place . It was made in a time when things were meant to last and look good. To give you a little pride of ownership.

I am a known fancier of vintage  target gun,. gun  and shooting accessories and various  related  paraphernalia.  One of those items that falls within my interest is the older vintage cleaning tools.  In particular the Marbles brand cleaning kits.   Anytime I get a chance to  buy one I will.    They are a treasure in my opinion.  They are well made  and I love the tin they rod and various items it contains.   They  were considered pretty highly in the day and the USMC even provided a Marbles cleaning rod as  the cleaning kit with m40/M40A1 rifles for a time.   So lets have a look.

Getting a complete kit in good shape with all or most of its accessories is already hard enough.  getting one with the cardboard outer wrap is almost a miracle.  Luckily a miracle happened for me.

Below is a picture of the kit with the outer wrap as it would have been sold.

 

Taking out out of the slip cover you see the  tin  that holds the rod and other parts.

For something that was made to be sold in general stores or sears and gun stores, the metal box is impressive.  There is  no  way something like it would even be sold as a mass market item now a days.  Maybe a reissue to cash in on an anniversary maybe, but  that is it.

Opening it up and first thing you see is another miracle.  Maybe one even bigger than the slip case.  The little paper sheet giving a few tips about the kit , why it does not come with brushes and how to apply the gun bluing on the back side.

As you can see , the kit contains  a rod that will work on 22 caliber rifles up to 10 ga shotguns.  It has a clever rotating tip that allows the brush and patches to follow the lands and grooves.  You can see the  adapter for shotgun brushes and mops and as well as a loop jag. The rod itself is  a sectional rod.  Not idea for cleaning a rifle bore especially if it is a precision barrel. As I have mentioned before a sectional rod will  wear the  bore and scratch it at the sectioned breaks.  The gap between each section will also retain small particles or dirt, sand  or other things that will scratch the bore as you move it  to the muzzle and back to the chamber.  It is  best to use a coated single, solid rod with a bore guide.   But back then, few people knew or cared about such things and others likely couldn’t afford or find a solid rod.     All that aside, the Marbles rod is well made . It has an attractive wooden handle  pinned to the rod that is sturdy enough.  As I said above the end of the road that the brush or jag attaches to  rotates easily and freely to allow brushes and patches to follow the groves of the bore.

To the upper right you can see the Marbles brand oil and bottle. Something  very hard to find.  The oil is advertised as an all purpose type and it smells like no other weapon lube I have  encountered.

To the left is the small bottle of blueing . I have a few other Marbles kits that are not complete, but the all did come with a bottle of the blueing.   Out of curiosity I have tried it on  some of my training guns with worn finish and to my surprise it does work and it works great.  It was pretty impressive how well it worked to me.   It is way more effective and better looking than anything you can buy  now.

Beside the blue in the tin you can see the box of cotton flannel Marbles cleaning patches.   The box is still full with the original patches.

The box has the Marbles logo and artwork. Clearly from  a time when companies had more pride in the art design of their products.

To give an idea just how old this stuff is,  take a look at the printing on something as small as this box.

The inside lid of the tin has various tips and info.  It looks very well done.  Also of course it has the company logo and info about various things.  For those new to guns and maybe buying their first cleaning kit,  it gives instructions on how to clean the bore of  your rifle or shotgun, pistol etc.  Not my preferred method but..    It also has  tips for cold and hot weather.

The lid folds down and secures nicely.  It makes a nice compact  little rig.

One of the trickest parts of the kit is the insert inside of the tin box. It can be removed if you want  to do away with it.   If you do remove the fitted insert you could store considerable more items in the box if you need to.     Leaving it  in place gives you a fitted insert with  sections made exactly for each cleaning item and secure them with metal tabs made as part of the insert.   They are strong and sturdy and with a little effort can be squeezed to hold tightly against the various parts.  It holds it all secure and keeps the rod etc from rolling around inside it or coming loose when moving it around.

 

These old vintage  cleaning kits are real beauties from a time long past.  It may be silly to use the word craftsmanship for a mass market item but I can not help but use it.   It is well made and clearly was meant to be something that you used for many years once you bought it.  Not  use once and toss away  chinese made walmart junk  you will see in modern times from the likes of Hoppes and outers.

A nice relic from  days gone by.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Vintage Marbles Cleaning Kit

  1. Thanks mate, that was actually kinda heart warming. So many gun folks have an appreciation for craftsmanship and fine engineering that non-shooters don’t have.

    I have a 1960 build S&W Model 14 revolver that’s almost as new, and every time I pick it up I marvel at the craftsmanship and I feel the spirits of the long gone men who made it, and the whispers of the other men who’ve pressed its trigger and felt it jump over nearly 6 decades.

    Keep up the fine work, it’s much appreciated.

    Cheers from Australia.

  2. I caught up with a Marbles rod and OD canvas pouch set like that issued with the transitional M40/M40A1s some years back. Had I not seen it in Senich’s book I would’ve skipped right over it. I don’t think I’d call it a unique piece of esoteric but I think you’re definitely correct in saying most modern implements are meant to be disposable and consumable. It’s a shame.

    • it is still possible to find the rod with the canvas pouch( white) on ebay at times. I think the rod and canvas pouch combo was probably the cheaper option for people at the time who didnt want to pay for the tin with all the bells and whistles.

      The first place I was the issued kit was in pictures of the Chandler Death From Afar books. I don’t recall which volume off my head.

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