CUTLERY (from en-tler. AF. coteller, OF. cotellier, Fr. Twitcher, from ML. cultellarins, knife-maker, from Lat. eultellus, little knife).
A term broadly applied to cutting instruments in general, but as more commonly employed its use is limited to stall cutting utensils as pocket, pen, and table knives, razors, shears, and scis sors. Shells and sharp-edged stones the rudest and most ancient putting- instruments. These were followed by broit.e weapons and in struments which were used by the Romans as late as the beginning of the Christian Era. In the remains of Pompeii, however. knives, shears, and lancets were found made of iron or steel as well as bronze, During the Middle Ages, when the chivalry of the period sought the best equip ment, certain cities of Spain and Italy acquired a high reputation for the manufacture of cut ting instruments, especially of swords. The knives used by the Anglo-Saxons resembled in appearance the modern razor-blade. Forks were used only for serving, as the custom of eating with forks, which was introduced from Italy, was not known in England until the time of James 1. Knives were not placed on the table until about the close of the fifteenth century, and each person carried a knife with him fur use whenever the exigencies of dining, required other instruments than his fingers. As early as the reign of Richard I. Sheffield had gained a reputation for the excellence of its whittles, and in 1417 the cutlers of London obtained a char ter from Henry V. In the seventeenth century, when England had acquired a reputation throughout Europe for the quality of its cutlery, Birmingham was regarded as the centre of the industry; but during the nineteenth century Sheffield regained its old prOminenee.
The manufacture of table cutlery in the Unit ed States began in 1832, when a factory was built at Saccarappa, Maine. With the improve ment of the quality and lowering of the price of American steel, the industry has steadily devel oped. The annual product now- amounts in value to between 83,000,000 and 84,000,000, of which less than 5 per cent. is exported. America excels in the production of 'medium' goods that is, goods of tasteful design amid good qual ity at a moderate price; but in the manufacture of other branches of cutlery it has not been so successful. Although it is claimed that an
equally good quality is produced at home, still the United States imports from England large quantities of the finest grades. In the very cheap grades, such as vegetable and other kitchen knives which retail in this country for a few cents apiece, America cannot eompete with Germany. The first pocket knives were made in a Connecticut factory in 1842, and many English workmen, attracted by high prices and steady employment, came over from Sheffield to work in the Connecticut shops. Some of these afterwards migrated to Walden, N. Y.. where they built a factory, and since that time. over fifty factories, ninny of them cooperative. have 'been a number of which have failed, while others have sold out, or have been reorganized as corporations. The piece system of paying the operative still prevails to a large extent in cut lery shops. All the early cutlery was hand forged, and this practice is still general in Eng land and in the United States for the manufae tune of sonic of the best pocket and pen knives. In the latter country to-day. however, large quantities of pocket and pen knives and appar ently all table knives and most earring and butcher knives are machine-forged. 'Machinery is used for driving the various grinding- stones, emery and huffing wheels fur finishing blades and handles. In some instances, also, the blades are placed in holders and manipulated by automatic machinery for the rough grinding. The evil ef fects from the grinding dust are now obviated, as far as possible, by wet grinding and by exhaust fans and duets for removing the dust. The hand and machine processes for making different kinds and grades of cutlery vary greatly in detail. But a fair general idea of the industry may be gained by first describing the actual operations of an American pocket and pen knife factory where hand-forged goods are made, and then in dieating in a more general way some points of difference in the manufacture of other kinds of cutlery.