In France, "SUJET" [sy.ʒɛ] refers to little pocketknives whose handles are decorated with reliefs of very different motifs. They are also called COUTEAUX-SWISS sometimes because they can ... know more
In France, "SUJET" [sy.ʒɛ] refers to little pocketknives whose handles are decorated with reliefs of very different motifs. They are also called COUTEAUX-SWISS sometimes because they can contain several blades or small tools. Some call it COURSOLLE after the knife maker who invented the brass handles.
It all began in the 17th century when SUJETS were made individually. Artists carved motifs of rural life or famous personalities in the handle scales made of ivory or bone. They were costly and as popular in the courts of the aristocracy as among wealthy citizens. Society women used them just like men did. There is almost a tiny corkscrew on them, which was not intended for wine bottles, but for opening bottles with perfume that were closed with small corks.
The people coveted the SUJETS, but could not afford them because of the elaborate, artistic unique production. That is why the groundbreaking idea in the 19th century was to use a new technique to manufacture in series by imprinting scales of brass. The cutlery of the inventor COURSOLLE still exists today and his descendants still use the original bronze models with enchanting motifs from the rural life cycle, Botticelli's motif of Venus rising from the sea, hunting motifs, maritime scenes, including a rare motif with the Titanic. With the social changes in the 1920s, motifs from the world of sports were added: tennis, rugby, soccer, boxing and the famous "TORPEDO" racing car.
The artists who engraved the motifs are not all known, but many of the masterful motifs come from a Monsieur Okinsburger, who engraved the dies of the coin on the mint in Paris.
There is an extraordinary story about the so-called NAPOLÉON knife. It shows the empereur in uniform with a three-cornered hat along with the coat of arms and the insignia of his power. After his fall, all objects that bore his insignia or reminded of his rule had to be destroyed, including the pocket knives with his likeness and the bronze models on which it was made. For this reason, the NAPOLÉON knife was thought to be lost, apart from a few accidentally preserved specimens. But obviously the blacksmiths were not sure at the time whether the empereur would remain in his exile or not come back after all and just buried the models in the garden instead of completely destroying them. But fate played differently, Bonaparte stayed on Elba and the models in the garden were forgotten.
When Pierre Cognet, a great-great-great-grandson of the inventor, was digging up his garden a few years ago, to his surprise he found precisely these bronze models that had survived the time unscathed. From there it was a small step to use the original models to manufacture a limited number of replicas of the famous knife that was once made for the man who rewrote the history of Europe.
SUJETS are often copied. Our SUJETS were made by the cutlery COUPÉRIER-COURSOLLE in the original workshop and based on the old fittings. Blades, ressources and parts are, as always, forged from traditional carbon steels. So they can corrode if they are not cared for. As a sign of their authenticity, they have the old blacksmith's mark of the atelier, a wrench, on the blade.
- SUJET NAVETTE
- SUJET YATAGAN
- SUJET COUTEAU DROIT
- Key chains
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