Sally’s Blog: ‘The Tailor’ by Moroni
This painting of The Tailor by Giovanni Battista Moroni, was painted between 1565 and 1570. Of interest to us, apart from his beautiful clothes, are the scissors he is using. These would have been hand forged from a piece of steel, using hammers and pile of glowing coals with air pumped through, rather like a blacksmith’s. Whiteley’s has a pair of scissors very similar to these (you can see the design hadn’t changed much in 251 years!), rather heavier and with a long, handmade bolt (so the scissors would stand up). The bolt was hand-made to fit the pivot hole through the scissors. See picture.
This pattern was widespread in the 1800’s, and we are reliably informed that this pattern was used for cutting whalebone for corsets and frameworks for crinolines. You will see that they had equal, oval shaped handles; it wasn’t until 1800 that the sidebent handle was designed and patented by Thomas Wilkinson, but there was a large market for this type of scissor.
The steel for the Sheffield-made pair is so good that they don’t rust.