10-15-2013, 07:26 AM
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I saw this on Huckberry today and know you all will enjoy it.

"City of Blades," Solingen, Germany

History shows us that knife production is tied to locations that possess the raw materials for steel production and the power to forge and work steel into products. Solingen, Germany has had the good fortune to have all of these. Add to those factors a robust economy, government support, and a thriving export trade and it’s easy to understand how it became known as “The City of Blades.”

Located in Western Germany near Dusseldorf, Solingen has been home to blacksmiths for over 2000 years. The Wupper river runs just south of the town, and its many creeks and spillways were perfectly suited to provide power to the many ‘grind houses’ found along the banks throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The river also provided power to the trip hammers used to forge knife blades; a piece of technology invented in Solingen.

The land surrounding the Wupper river valley was rich with the mineral ore needed to create iron, the nearby town of Wetzlar supplied sandstone for grinding wheels, and the adjacent forests provided the coal for the furnaces and forges. A better location could hardly be found for the knife and cutlery industry.

Industry developments had to meet strict government regulation, sanitary standards, apprentice training schedules, and fixed price lists, all of which contributed to the growth of the industry. By the turn of the 20th century half of all cutlery exported worldwide came from Solingen. Blade makers such as Otter, Mercator, Henckels, Wustof, Boker, Merkur, and Dovo all grew with the industry and the town.

Prior to World War II 80% of all cutlery shops employed fewer than 25 people. After the war much of Europe experience a large drop in production capacity due to a lack of skilled workers, many of whom were killed in the war. As larger and larger post-war orders began coming in, smaller companies were required to either execute hasty and lesser quality work, or go out of business all together.

In recent years the companies that did survive have returned to making the high quality knives and cutlery that typified Solingen at its peak, much of it by hand.

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 10-15-2013, 01:58 PM
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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Very interesting, thank you for sharing.

45 3,955
 10-15-2013, 03:39 PM
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I think a shaving history vacation must include two cities. Sheffield and Solingen!

And then a trip to London for a proper shave at Trumpets and/or Truefitt!

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

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 10-15-2013, 06:30 PM
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Thanks for sharing the information!

93 21,373
 10-23-2013, 06:58 PM
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History is my favorite subject. I recently got a Wester Bros. 6/8" straight that was made in Solingen. The shave was amazing! It doesn't get much better than taking an old piece of quality steel to your face.

2 395
 10-26-2013, 03:52 PM
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Thank you so much for the history lesson. One of only a handful of places that make great cutlery.

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