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
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
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.