Sheffield knives not only have a reputation for being of high-quality, but also have an historic "flavour" that has made them a favorite with collectors.
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Sheffield is in the North of England a few kilometers below Manchester. It is comprised of 7 distinct hills divided by several rivers.
In the 12th century, William de Lovetot, a Norman Baron, constructed a wooden castle where the Rivers Don and Sheaf meet. It was around this castle that the city of Sheffield grew.
Because the area had an abundance of iron ore, thick oak forests for charcoal and fast flowing rivers for water power it naturally developed as a center for the metal trades.
The manufacture of cutlery began as early as the middle ages. In the early 17th century Hallamshire was founded, an important land mark cutler. As the years passed Sheffield gained prominence as the world's capital of industrial metal work.
Alloy steels were developed in the city in the 19th century. With the advent of stainless steel in the early 1900's the city had another boon in the manufacture of high quality cutlery.
There are still several fine cutler's operating in Sheffield as well as a host of talented independent craftsman called "little mesters".
There are several points of quality that make a knife produced in this part of England special. Paul Iseard is a knife dealer in Sheffield and outlines some of the common elements:
"Sheffield Pocket knife manufacture is to my mind a testament to the hand skills of factory based craftsmen. There are many different processes involved in making a pocket knife and companies have different approaches to organizing their production. The common elements however, are as follows.
Steel bar, made locally to produce the best blades in the world, is bought in, heated, and forged into the basic blade shape using metal dies and hammers. The blades are then ground by hand in small batches, after which they will be buffed and polished to a beautiful lustrous finish.
The maker's mark will usually be imprinted onto the heel of the blade and a fingernail "notch" (nail nick) cut into the blade to make it easy to open the knife. Many ornate embellishments can be cut into the metal to provide pleasing decorative effects.
It is the cutler's job to assemble the finished blades into the whole knife by bringing together the components including the bolsters, the linings and the handles, known as coverings.
Coverings may be made from a variety of materials including stainless steel, buffalo, staghorn, mother of pearl and various hardwoods. All have their own feel and the natural materials used mean that each knife will be slightly different in appearance and texture.
Especially important is the way the knife is sprung so that the blade closes in to the lining when not in use making a pleasing "clip" noise."
World Knives has several high quality knives from this part of the world. We have knives from A. Wright, Joseph Rodgers, George Ibberson, Wostenholm, Reg Cooper, Little Mester's and other fine English cutlers. We are happy to represent thes fine companies and will continue to offer several fine Sheffield knives.
If you have any questions please contact us at:
WORLD KNIVES, LTD.
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OLYMPIA WA 98502-2607
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