Downloadable Information

All these documents are in pdf format and require Adobe or an equivalent pdf reader.

How It Was Made

Augers

Where would we be without holes? Augers and gimlets have been used through time to make holes in wood. Although a simple looking tool their manufacture was incredibly complex with the finishing of just the nose needing up to 50 separate operations.

Boxwood Rules

Although an everyday tool, boxwood rules were the pre-cursor to the modern calculator, being used by many different trades to carry out complex calculations. The assembly and marking of the rule with the lines of measurement and tables for these calculations was a skilled task.

Hand Files

Sheffield was a major centre for the manufacture of hand files. Before the introduction of precision engineering of machine parts, files were important in putting together mechanisms in heavy engineering machinery.  Files were used by engineers and in all the metalworking trades, e.g. cutlers, silversmiths, clock and watchmakers, to file parts to fit one another perfectly.

Handles

Every tool has a handle of some description. Many new trades were established in Sheffield in the late 1700s and 1800s with the expansion of the cutlery trade including those making or decorating handles or scales for knives, razors etc.  In 1855 William Fisher (of William Fisher & Sons, horn merchants and suppliers of handles) estimated that 350 tons of buffalo horn, and 450 tons of stag and deer horn were being used annually in Sheffield to make handles.

Scissors

One of the major parts of the Sheffield cutlery industry, scissor making was a large part of the expansion that took place in the late 1700s and 1800s. In the scissor trade, numbers employed grew from 887 in 1830 to 1,200 in 1851 with many manufacturers exhibiting at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace 1851. High quality scissors are still made in Sheffield today using these traditional methods.

Short Guides to Sheffield Trades

Button Making


Pearl button & handle trade.
Pearl button-making often went hand in hand with the making of handles or slabs for table cutlery and flatware, and the making of scales (handle coverings) for razors and pen and pocket knives.


Trades: Pearl Button-maker, Pearl Fluter, Pearl Cutter

Coopering


A cooper is a maker and repairer of casks made from wood.  Today most wooden casks are made with the aid of machines but until the 1950s hand making and repairing casks was a highly skilled, physically demanding job and had a seven year apprenticeship.


Trades: White Cooper, Dry Cooper, Bobber, Wet Cooper, Tight Cooper, Dry-tight Cooper, Master Cooper, Hooper, Rush Gatherer

File trade


File Makers created files (metal cutting tools) which were used to remove excess material from metal, wood and other materials.


Trades: File Cutter, File Forger, File Hardener, File Maker, File Manager, File Smith

Pen & Pocket Knife trade


Pen knives originally had fixed blades mounted on a straight handle and were used for shaping the shaft of a feather to be used for writing. Spring or pocket knives were made to be carried in a pocket, and were sprung in order to close them and protect the blades (and the user!).


Trades: Cutler, Forger, Grinder, Maker, Mooder, Smither, Striker, Tanger, Scale Cutter

Silver trade


A Silversmith makes objects from precious metals, turning sheet metal into hollowware  e.g. dishes, bowls, cups, vases, candlesticks, trays and other articles of household silver.


Trades: Silversmith, Brazier, Engraver, Chaser, Saw-piercer, Spinner
Associated trades: Die Sinker, Silver Wire Drawer, Burnisher, Buffer, Silver Caster, Model Maker, Designer

 


Stainless Steel

A Short History of R. F. Mosley and Company Limited

Jeff W. Warner This short history is about the man and the company that was the first to manufacture and market stainless steel cutlery

Harry Brearley and the History of Stainless Steel

Geoff Preece A brief summary of the life and work of Harry Brearley

Table Knives

Geoff Preece Stay Bright - Keep Bright: The impact of Stainless Steel on everyday life.

 

Other papers

Wiredrawing at Wortley


An early eighteenth century tally was found in Spring 2010 in a field in Somerset.  The lead tally indicated wire of the size 18 gauge which could have been used in the manufacture of cloth, and originated from the old wire mill at Wortley near Sheffield.

The Princess and the Saw

 

An illustrated history of an Exhibition Saw made by Taylor Brothers, Saw Manufacturers, Adelaide Works, Sheffield, as a wedding present for Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Princess Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa on the occasion of her marriage to Friedrich Willhelm, Crown Prince of Prussia.

 

 

Pen knives originally had fixed blades mounted on a straight handle and were used for shaping the shaft of a feather to be used for writing. Spring or pocket knives were made to be carried in a pocket, and were sprung in order to close them and protect the blades (and the user!).

Trades: Cutler, Forger, Grinder, Maker, Mooder, Smither, Striker, Tanger, Scale Cutter