We are the oldest scissor maker in the western world and the last industrial scissor maker in sheffield
Sheffield was the centre of blade production from the 14th century and by 1600 became the biggest producer of cutlerY across the whole country except for London
The birth of crucible steel in Sheffield around 1740 led to a substantial industrial growth and Sheffield was a major industrial city until the early 1970s.
Anyone with roots in Sheffield will have some connection to scissor, knife or cutlery manufacture as this was a fairly common practice within the city throughout the industrial revolution and continuing into the early 70s.
Officially, William Whiteley & Sons have been making scissors since 1760 however, unofficially longer than that. We incorporated Thomas Wilkinson & Son in the 1800s; Thomas Wilkinson was Sheffield’s Master Cutler, who invented the ‘sidebent’ scissor – he cranked the handles so that they tilted upwards, which allowed for smoother cutting of cloth as the lower blade could run flat along the fabric.
The story passed down the family is that an ancestor began making scissors in an area called White Lea, with a small river running through it which was dammed to make a forging pond. (Forging ponds were bodies of water whose pressure drove a water wheel & also a forging hammer or two, or three….. and some grinding wheels.) [Read More]
Over our lifespan we have been commissioned to make scissors for both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth [read more] and our scissors are used by professionals all over the world from Savile Row tailors to luxury car and yacht manufacturers.
Although scissor and cutlery firms slowly began to sadly cease trading, we were always an advocate of quality. When China began to export to Britain a lot of scissor makers misguidedly dropped their quality and prices to compete. Our scissors remained the premier on the market for both cutting prowess and lifespan and were sought for unparalleled quality.