William Whiteley & Sons

Scissors and Shears

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Rother Valley Way, Holbrook, England, S20 3RW 4401142514999

William Whiteley & Sons (Sheffield) Ltd specialises in the highest quality of handmade scissors, for cutting anything from textiles to rubber, kevlar to grass, wire to carpet. In fact we make over 250 different types of scissor and shear for cutting almost every material! We started making scissors as early as 1760, and our business has passed in direct descent through eleven generations to the current day. William Whiteley's has also developed a reputation for working alongside high tech companies developing cutting solutions to match the very latest manufacturing materials being introduced in automotive, aerospace, ballistic protection and many other markets.

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Scissors and shears

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Story and ethos

The oldest scissor-makers in the Western world, Whiteley’s began life on the outskirts of Sheffield, in an area called ‘White Lea’. Water power harnessed from a forging dam was used to power the forging and grinding wheels, until the turn of the Industrial Revolution, where Whiteley’s moved into town – freed from the water wheels by the development of steam engines. In 1875, Whiteley’s incorporated Thomas Wilkinson & Son; another scissor-maker who was appointed ‘Manufacturers of Scissors in Ordinary to her Majesty Queen Victoria and Cutlers to H.R.H. Prince Albert’. A Master Cutler, Wilkinson invented and patented the ‘sidebent’ scissor. With cranked handles to tilt upwards, allowing for smoother cutting of cloth as the lower blade could run flat along the fabric, Wilkinson invented the blueprint for every pair of dressmaking and tailors’ shears you see today.

Our scissors begin their life at a drop forge, where ‘blanks’ are stamped out of a bar of carbon steel. Blanks are the scissor halves in their raw form. We have different tooling moulds for each style of scissor. The edges are trimmed removing excess steel, as well as the inside of the handle – these are then sent to our factory where we turn them into a comfortable scissor capable of holding an edge to cut!

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