History of Cutlery and Tools with Geoffrey Tweedale


Geoffrey Tweedale




I first visited Sheffield in 1978, when I was a student. I stayed with friends and visited the local studies library, hunting for a likely subject for a thesis on economic history. In those days, the first sight that greeted visitors outside the railway station was blackened forges and streets of ramshackle workshops.

Sheffield seemed like any other dreary northern industrial town that had seen better days. I’d never taken much interest in cutlery or tools, either. But slowly I became captivated by the skills and artistry of Sheffield’s craftsmen (and women). I began to appreciate the impact of those skills around the world, especially in America.

I wrote books and articles on the Sheffield steel and cutlery industry (and on other subjects), while pursuing a university career as a business historian. In that time, Sheffield has been transformed. Many of the old factories have been demolished or renovated. Sadly, the number of traditional craftsmen can now be counted on one hand.

But not all Sheffield’s industrial past has been effaced. And its history continues to fascinate me. My most recent project has involved the compilation of the individual histories of over a thousand Sheffield cutlery and tool makers.

These profiles are intended to foster an appreciation of craft skills and a way of life that has almost disappeared. I am delighted that Wiktor has given me the opportunity to publish a selection on his site.  Last Solo Pocket


Eye Witness Works

Tweedale’s Directory of Sheffield Cutlery Manufacturers

2nd Edition

Taylor's Eye Witness factory in Milton Street, Sheffield – yesterday and today. The factory was built in Victorian times to supply domestic and overseas markets with pocket-knives, table cutlery, and razors. The firm is still in production. It is one of hundreds profiled and illustrated in Tweedale's Directory.

Find more in the Directory.

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