Film ID:
YFA 5248



Visitor Tabs


This film, made in two parts, shows the extensive process of making handmade cutlery by the men and women at the small Sheffield workshop of C. J. & Co. Cutlery.  The film is accompanied by intertitles which explain in detail the production process.

Opening Titles:
The C and H Commercial Film Service
Established 1836 Western Works Christopher Johnson and Co. Sheffield England
Christopher Johnson & Co. manufacturers of fine cutlery since the year 1836.  Their trade mark is well known throughout the British Empire.  (C&H)

Title card with trade mark C.J on white flag.

Title– C.J. & Co. have pleasure in presenting to you a series of pictures depicting a few of the lines they manufacture in the actual processes of development from the raw material to the finished article.
Title– The work being done in their own workshops at Western Works Sheffield England C.J. & Co.
Title– For demonstration purposes many of the operations have been slowed down, the pictures therefore do not represent the workers actual speed.
Title– To the making of a table knife many processes have to be performed.  
Title– From a bar of steel heated in a glass furnace the blade is beaten out under power hammer.  This is the mooding of the blade.

Lengths of steel are lined up in a furnace and one is hammered under a machine whilst red hot, and the hammered end is chopped off.  The man places the rod back in the furnace and repeats the process.  

Title– The bolster is then formed in dies and the tang drawn out.

The red hot blades arte placed under a different mechanical hammer and made into a finished shape.  A man then puts the handle part under a rotating grinder.

Title– The steel bar is now in the rough form of a blade & ready for the finishing operations.  
Title– The blade is carefully flattened or plated to thickness & bevelled to an edge & is then ready for cutting out to true shape.

Another man places the blade under a different mechanical hammer, carefully moving the blade back and forth.  

Title– Cutting out table knives.

One of the workers passes each blade through a cutter.

Title– Cutting out bread knives.

A workman puts each knife under a stamping machine which cuts the knife to the required shape.  He places the excess metal to one side.  

Title– Cutting out butcher knives.

Another man operates this different machine which cuts the knives in the same process as previously shown.  

Title– Hand grinding.  The method used from the beginning of cutlery development in Sheffield during the 14th century.

Four workmen grind knives on large rotating grinding wheels.  Sparks fly as they do so.  The film then focuses on one man closer up as he demonstrates the process.  

Title– Machine grinding.  The machines shewn [sic] representing the latest advance.  The machines being the production of the British Research Association who hold the patent rights. 
Title– This machine is built for precision grinding.  18 blades are placed in position in the magnetic chuck & the action of the machine re-volves [sic] this against the face of the stone.

A workman inserts the blades and sets the machine to revolve.  After which, he removes the blades.  .

Title– Double headed glazing machines.

A woman glazes a blade between two large rotating wheels and examines each blade when finished.

Title– Tang annealing.

There is a line of several gas burning flames, each with a blade held over them.  A woman takes knives from the burners and places them into a large pile.

Title– Side glazing.

Two younger workmen straddle large rotating wheels used to glaze the knives.  A row of women are seated along a workbench where they do the same.  

Title– Etching.  Rubber stamp process.

A woman works on a small machine which stamps each knife individually.

Title– Etching.  Washing, varnishing, applying the etching acid & washing off.

One woman wipes each blade with a cloth.  Other women apply the varnish with a paintbrush.  Finally another woman washes the knives by submerging them in a boiling liquid.  Once removed, she cleans them with a cloth.

Title– Table knife cutlers shop.  In which upward of 27 operations in the advancement of the knife are carried out.  Amongst others are:-  
Title– Measuring & straightening tangs.

A man hammers at a tang {the part that is inserted into the handle}.  Other knives sit over burning flames in the background to keep the metal pliable.   

Title– Bolster grinding.

A woman works at a small grinding machine.  Here too, sparks fly.  

Title– Handle boring machine.

Two boys, possibly only teenagers, bore holes into the handles.

Title– Cutlers shop.  Producing from 6 to 800 dozen knives per week. 
Title– Handles being knocked on.

Two workmen hammer the handles onto the blades.

Title– Handle scraping & filing.

Each knife is placed into a vice and hand filed.  A man wearing glasses demonstrates this process.  At another workstation, a woman uses a knife to scrape the handle.

Title– Handle polishing.

A line of women, each with their hair wrapped in scarves, polish the handles on polishing wheels.  

Title– Buffing. Final blade process.  
Title– Buffing shop.

A line of women, this time without headscarves, buff the knives on buffing wheels.

Title– Shaping & Whetting points.  Hence our keen edges.

A woman edges each knife on a rotating wheel.
Title– All forging operations & many other small processes are necessary for the production of a knife truly made.  
Title– Warehouse wiping & wrapping.

A line of women check, wipe, and polish each knife individually.  They are seated along a workbench, and some of the different knives made can be seen.  Other women carefully wrap the finished product.    

Title– Warehouse.  Wrapping, boxing & labelling.

Women wrap the boxes of knives and tie them with string.  One fully wrapped box is held up and displayed for the camera.    

Title– Packing for export in tin lined cases.

Two men carefully pack the boxes into a case and add packaging material.  

Title– Packing room.  Soldering cases & sealing.

A man solders the tin case covering, and the wooded lid is nailed to the box.  The box is labelled AM&S A Adelaide   label for Adelaide.  

Title– These films are on Kodak Safety Film, and are taken by Christie & Hodgson Ltd 246 West St. Sheffield.

Part two of the film begins with the C.J trademark.

Title– Forging.  Hand forging of pocket knife blades in old time forging hearth.

A man hammers a piece of metal he has heated in a forge.  He inspects the final shape.

Title– Pocket knife cutler.  At the various processes that go to putting together of a popular pattern.
Title– Shielding the buffalo covering or scale.

A man works a sharp tool, which he has wedged against his chest, on a piece of metal held in a vice.  He rotates the tool using a bow and string to make a hole.  He then knocks a rivet (?) into it with a small hammer, files it down, and holds up the finished blade.

Title– Pinning together the scales, linings, springs & blades.

The man then knocks a pin through the blade and the other pieces of the knife.

Title– Knife ready for finishing – polishing, whetting etc.

He holds up the pocket knife showing three blades.

Title– Hafting scout sheath knives.

Using a large mallet, a young man knocks the handle onto the end of the blade of a sheaf knife.

Title– Shaping & dressing handles.

Men then finish off the handles using rotating round grinders.  Once completed, they swap the grinder wheels for polishers.

Title– Polishing handles.

The same man polishes the handles.  

Title– Whetting & wiping.

A man sharpens the blades on a stone.  Women then polish the blades with cloths.

Title– Carding Pocket Knives.

A woman makes a box for the knives using a card, first drilling holes in the cards with a hand drill, and then sewing them together with string.  She holds up a complete set of knives for the camera.

Title– Scissors.  Hardening & grinding.

Using tongs, a man immerses the scissors into a vat of liquid, causing flames to jump up.  The scissors are then sharpened on a grinding wheel.  A few men are shown carrying out this process.

Title– Scissors.  Filing & burnishing bows.

A woman files the handle of a pair of scissors, while another woman smooths it further using a special scraping implement.

Title– Scissors.  Boring & putting together.

A man uses a machine to bore a hole into the scissors, and a piece of metal is screwed into the hole to hold them together.

Title– Scissors. Finishing the bows & shanks called mopping.  The wheels are made up of linen layers tightly sewn together.  The speed at which they are run giving the necessary solidity to stand the pressure of the operations.

Women polish the scissors on rotating polishers.  They were protective hats to cover their hair.

Title– Wiping off in the warehouse preparatory to wrapping & boxing.

A line of very young women, or girls, polish scissors.

Title– Razor blade forging.

A man takes a piece of metal heated in the forge and hammers it into shape.  

Title– Spoon & fork manufacture. Bending the blank to shape.

A man bends a fork into shape using a vice and a hammer.  He holds the fork up for the camera.

Title– Buffing by means of sand and oil.

Women in headscarves buff the finished cutlery on rotating polishing wheels.

Title– A few finished products.

Full sets of cutlery and knives are on display.

Title– These films are on Kodak Safety Film, and are taken by Christie and Hodgson Ltd 246 West St. Sheffield.