Centre, Pays de la Loire, Île-de-France and Paris
Centre, Pays de la Loire, Île de France, Paris, the region stretches from the Atlantic along the Loire with its famous castles to Paris, capital and center of France, once the seat of kings in ... know more
Centre, Pays de la Loire, Île de France, Paris, the region stretches from the Atlantic along the Loire with its famous castles to Paris, capital and center of France, once the seat of kings in the Louvre and Versailles.
Paris itself does not play a significant role in the art of cutlers, even if there were cutlers here, in Paris more was traded than produced. To supply the shops and markets, a network of "routiers" and street vendors had established themselves, who sold the products from the forging centers such as Thiers, Laguiole, Châtellerault and Nogent.
Folding knives with a spring in the back, pocket knives as we know them today, only gained acceptance after the French Revolution of 1786. There were two basic types. Some are knives of the rural population, which they used both in their daily work and for meals and their preparation. In the various regions of France, therefore, knives with different blade and handle shapes were created, which were adapted to the particularities of the respective regions. Understandable when you consider that a fisherman in Brittany uses his knife for other activities than a winemaker in Burgundy, a shepherd in the Pyrenees or an Alpine farmer in the Savoy and that a single blade geometry or handle shape meets the different requirements a knife cannot meet.
The second basic type is free from the demands that one has on an everyday object. These knives were made for the bourgeois and the nobility. Lawyers, doctors and business people could use it to cut open their books and bundles of papers or to sharpen quills. Women also normally carried pocket knives with them. Her granddaughter even knows about George Sande that she sat down at the kitchen table, took out her LAGUIOLE and explained to the children and servants how to carve a duck properly. Often ladies' knives had small corkscrews, which were not intended for wine bottles, but to open the corks of perfume bottles. The knives of the aristocracy also had a representative or defensive character.
The knives of this region speak an eloquent language because, on the one hand, they were knives for everyday use by the rural population and, on the other hand, like the CHATELLERAULT, they belonged to a knife family that was reserved for the nobility. Anyone who did not belong to the nobility was forbidden to carry, even as a penalty.
In general, fixed knives were mainly used until the revolution. Even simple folding knives without a spring, like the STEPHANOIS, were rare. They were unaffordable for most of the population.
Basically, everyone carried a knife with them for all sorts of occasions and it was only that one needed it for the casse-croûte or when one was invited to dinner, because at that time it was not customary to reveal a cutlery to the guest. The guest brought it himself.
The materials of the handles are also important. The most precious materials were reserved for the nobility, precious metals, ivory and tortoiseshell, which were imported from the colonies. For the bourgeoisie and the rural population, one fell back on the treasures of the local nature. Buffalo bone and cow horn replaced ivory and tortoise shell, giving the knife a cool elegance or a dazzling wealth of colours. For the rural population, knives were made from the typical materials of their region.
The knives speak a telling language, because they are part of their region and a mirror of culture and tradition.
Find more information with the knives below.