From the author of “The Sheffield Knife Book: A History & Collectors Guide” comes this new book, the most comprehensive directory of the Sheffield cutlery industry ever compiled. Over 900 histories are provided of knife, razor, scissors, silver-plate, and surgical instrument manufacturers active between 1740 and the present day. Each illustrated profile has detailed product, trademark, and genealogical information. A brief history of Sheffield cutlery manufacture provides the context.
Created in the spirit of "Goins' Encyclopedia of Cutlery Markings," this nearly 500-page volume is a major resource for historians, collectors, and anyone with an interest in traditional crafts.
Reviewed by Knife World Staff
From the author of 1996’s groundbreaking The Sheffield Knife Book: A History & Collectors Guide comes this brand new reference, a comprehensive directory of cutlery manufacturers from what was once the world’s greatest cutlery center. It instantly becomes the go-to book on the subject.
Created in the spirit of Goins’ Encyclopedia of Cutlery Markings, the heart of this nearly 500-page volume are the entries that make up the vast majority of the text – over 900(!) different histories of knife, razor, scissors, silver-plate, and surgical instrument manufacturers, dealers, and related businesses active between 1740 and the present. The list also includes members of ancillary trades such as horn and pearl cutting, but not those that dealt only in edge tools beyond the realm of cutlery (saws, for example).
Each entry presents the known history of the firm, trademarks, information about their products, and often a period advertisement or an old factory illustration. Genealogical information on a firm’s principals is usually included as well. Appropriately, additional space is devoted to the firms of greatest importance, so Joseph Rodgers & Sons and George Wostenholm & Son each receive several pages of coverage, firms like Thomas Turner & Co. and Unwin & Rodgers get a couple of pages each, and literally hundreds of individuals and smaller companies receive a paragraph or two. Many of these smaller firms are identified here for the very first time.
All of this fabulous material is set up with a series of chapters that put the directory into context, from the origins of Sheffield’s cutlery trade to its peak, decline, and finally to those few who have maintained the heritage even in its twilight. The book also includes an impressive list of sources for anyone who dares to dig deeper into the source material.
Obviously, an great deal of new research has gone into this book and no one could be more qualified for the job than its author, Geoffrey Tweedale, who for many years has been the foremost authority on the historic Sheffield cutlery industry. Tweedale is a Professor of Business History at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School in Great Britain, and in addition to this new volume and the aforementioned Sheffield Knife Book, has also written Stan Shaw, Master Cutler (1993), Giants of Sheffield Steel (1986), Sheffield Steel and America (1987), and Steel City (1995), all on different aspects of Sheffield’s cutlery and steelmaking history. Of these, the new Tweedale’s Directory is clearly the reference book, while The Sheffield Knife Book presents the best overall look at the cutlery industry in Sheffield while illustrating many fine knives, and Stan Shaw is a revealing look at one of Sheffield’s last ‘little mesters.’ The others are all equally good, but focused more on steelmaking than cutlery.
Tweedale’s Directory of Sheffield Cutlery Manufacturers 1740-2010 is so extensive and well researched that it immediately supercedes all others as the single most reliable resource on Sheffield cutlery firms of the past. Collectors with an interest in English cutlery, whether it be pocket knives, bowies, table cutlery, fruit knives, razors, scissors or what-have-you, will find it an absolutely necessary reference, and it will likely prove useful to those interested in related fields as well. If this sounds like you, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy for the bookshelf – you’ll be glad you did.
Tweedale's Directory of Sheffield Cutlery Manufacturers
by Geoffrey Tweedale
Softcover, 486 pp.