Date Made/Found: 1920-1939
Material and Medium: Stainless steel, composite
Dimensions: Overall: 22 x 10 x 250mm (7/8 x 3/8 x 9 13/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 1975.239
This knife is made with early stainless steel by Barrow and dates from around 1920 - 1939.
In 1913 the Sheffield chemist, Harry Brearley, discovered that steel with a high chromium content did not rust or deteriorate in the same way as carbon steels. He worked with the firm Thomas Firth & Sons to develop it into a commercially viable product. The creation of this new material, known as stainless steel, assisted the process of mechanisation in the cutlery industry. It could not be handled using traditional techniques and blades had to be stamped out from sheets of stainless steel. From 1940, table cutlery and other items were increasingly made from stainless steel, though pocket knives and some trade knives were made using traditional methods and materials.