Joseph Rodgers & Sons - The Samuel Setian Collection 
by Abel Domenech

BOOK REVIEW
Reviewed by Knife World staff

Ask several experienced collectors "Who produced the finest knives ever made?" and the near-universal answer will be a resounding "Joseph Rodgers & Sons!" The Sheffield-based firm who stamped their wares "Cutlers to Their Majesties" represent cutlery royalty in every sense of the word. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Rodgers' reputation stretched even beyond the fabled British empire, and in some cultures the firm's name was even assimilated into the native language as a phrase meaning 'the very best.'

Argentinian Samuel Setian is a man with an eye for the very best. Armed with that understanding, it's no surprise that he focused his collecting eye on Rodgers' wares, that he managed to assemble the most complete and unique collection in private hands, and that he has launched the world's first travelling cutlery exhibition, presently touring museums in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santiago City, and Sao Paolo, with a U.S. exhibition still a possibility (see the April, 1999 Knife World, p.3). It should also come as no surprise that well-known Argentinian cutlery author Abel Domenech was commissioned to pen a groundbreaking volume for those of us unable to attend the showings. The exhibitions have been a great success to date, and this book is a more-than-worthy companion.

Showcasing the collection in breathtaking color, this brand-new addition to the cutlery literature contains over 270 exhibition and luxury knives, bowie knives, pocketknives, and gaucho knives. Rodgers' worldwide reputation for 'only the best' is fully matched by this book's glorious photography and layout, fine enough to be the envy of The Antique Bowie Knife Book and Sheffield Exhibition Knives, the books it will inevitably be compared to.

These knives, testimony of a long departed golden era, represent some of the most refined pieces ever produced by the world renowned cutlery firm. Many were specially made as exhibition pieces to be displayed in Rodgers' world famous "show room," in demonstration of the very high level of skill and craftsmanship attained by their master cutlers as well as the high quality of finish and materials employed. Others represent the very finest in working knives; from pocket companions for the well-to-do, to the best in specialized folders for specialized trades, to jacks, pruners, and penknives for the working man who believed second-best to be second-rate.

A feast for the mind as well as the eyes, Exhibition Knives of Joseph Rodgers & Sons also presents a complete history of Rodgers, illustrated with period pictures and filled with interesting facts and information about the Sheffield background of the firm. Each of the knives from the collection is described in detail complete with dimensions. Many feature closeup photographs of their most distinctive features.

Collectors will love this book for the exceptional photography and wealth of historical information, while custom knifemakers will find it a treasure trove of inspiration for their own work. It will be interesting to see what turns up in the handmade knife field after the word gets out about this book.

Exhibition Knives of Joseph Rodgers & Sons - The Samuel Setian Collection is a luxurious book on luxurious knives, and at a price less than half that of the ($345) Antique Bowie Book (in fact, less than that of a plain-jane Rodgers knife!) No matter what it is that excites you most about knives - history, beauty, variety, or craftsmanship, for example - you'll find it in this book. Consider it highly recommended.

Joseph Rodgers & Sons - The Samuel Setian Collection
by Abel Domenech
Hardcover, 300 pp.



Availability: Usually ships the next business day

Joseph Rodgers & Sons - The Setian Collection 987-97660-0-8$139.95

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