The Collections’ archive material includes company records such as day books, order books, production records, outworker records and technical and design drawings from the tool manufacturing, cutlery and silversmithing industries. This has mostly been acquired at the same time as objects in the collection and adds to our knowledge and understanding of the trades.

Notable among the archive collections are the surviving records of the employer organisations formed to oversee the Sheffield tool making trades (where else would you find the Scythe, Sickle and Hook Manufacturers' Association?), the drawings of Wallace Smyth, a noted in-house designer for Mappin and Webb, and a number of albums of labels and transfers used by the saw manufacturers Taylor Brothers.

The library contains reference books and background literature relating to the collections. There are extensive files of material on individual firms, including published and unpublished histories, house journals and press cuttings, and a collection of printed ephemera. Of particular note are the trade union ‘statements’ or price lists for work done by many trades in the tool and cutlery industries.