From Anvils to Table Knives - Who Made What in Sheffield

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From Anvils to Table Knives - Who Made What in Sheffield A Directory of Sheffield Including the Manufacturers of the adjacent Villages: With the several Marks of the Cutlers, Scissor & Filesmiths, Edgetool, & Sickle Makers with an introduction by Jane Rees. Bath, U. K: Tool and Trade History Society, 2004. 97 pp. $21.75.

One of the most valuable things an historical association such as TATHS or EAIA can do is to publish important primary source material. Such publications are not always commercially viable in today's market, so they are done ever less frequently. Nevertheless, primary source material, whether manuscript or printed matter, contains information gathered and recorded by people who were present in a certain place and time-recorded facts that are very difficult to track down two centuries later.

Directories were first published as a means for those working in the various trades or needing their services and products to know where to find one another. By the end of the eighteenth century, most manufacturing cities in England had their own. This volume is a reprint of the 1787 Directory of Sheffield and adjacent villages. Reflecting the primary purpose of the original publication, the directory begins with an alphabetical list of trades showing practitioners of the mechanical arts from anvilmakers to makers of table knives. The listings are grouped first by those within Sheffield and then by those in the neighborhood of Sheffield, again reflecting the need for convenient communication.

The second part of the directory is an alphabetical list of the principal tradesmen and inhabitants of Sheffield giving their name, occupation, and street. If one seeks a particular person, these lists are invaluable. Moreover, a browse through the list affords one a glimpse into the composition of the people of Sheffield and the kinds of things they did. …