1) The 'edge' of a knife is the thin, sharpened side of the blade, contrasted with its broad surface and the back or blunt side.

In an Act of 1624 workmen in the Sheffield region were said to have made Knives of the best Edge and subsequent by-laws sought to maintain that reputation for quality. In 1662, for example, any cutler who made and exposed to sale knives, etc not putting steel into the edges was to be fined 40 shillings. That did not deter some dishonest cutlers and a further by-law in 1780 stressed that blades should not be made of ‘cast or pig-iron’: these were compared adversely with knives and forks of steel properly forged or hammered or tempered of the best edge. The Act of 1548 against false forging referred to edged tools, weapons and other necessary things having edges but the term was actually in use from the middle of the fourteenth century. That is much earlier than the first examples recorded in Yorkshire: 1493 all blaksmythz wurkyng ony axes or egetoile pay yerly amongst tham to ther pageant silver xvjd for that cause, York. Edge-tools for carpenters are mentioned in the Rev. Edward Goodwin’s account of Sheffield in 1764, and the trade directory of 1822 listed 49 Edge Tool Makers: they were a separate group under the general heading ‘Cutlery’. Note: 1493 ony axes or other egelome, York: ‘loom’ was an implement of any kind.

spellings edge tool
places York Sheffield
dates 1493 1624 1662 1780

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