Swan Chisels


The History of Industrial Development and Toolmaking in US

  The Cutlery Story by Lewis D. Bement, 1950    


Have you ever stopped to consider what life would be like if we had no knives?

Even a casual glance at the history of man reveals that the invention and perfection of the knife, which is in effect to say all cutting tools, freed man from endless toil, made possible his thousand and one uses of natural resources, and thereby his evolution from savage to contemporary man.

Modern industry, which makes the things with which we work and live, uses knives every hour of the day. The individual workman would be helpless without cutting tools. The housewife, without whom the home would have little meaning, uses a knife on the average of 32 times a day.

It is not surprising that cutlery, which we take for granted almost without second thought, is indispensable!

Some 175,000 years ago the uncouth, hairy Dawn Man made his knives and axes of stone. For perhaps 15,000 years he developed and improved his crude stone implements.

Then he substituted flint for other coarser stone and employed great skill in chipping, grinding, and polishing this material into knives, axes, spear points, and many other articles that made living easier and better.

Just when the art of cookery became common practice is not dead y established, but evidence of cooking fires has been found among the ruins of the Acheulian era, roughly 75,000 years ago. The transition from raw to cooked food set up a chain of events which advanced civilization. A fire once started had to be kept burning, which meant the establishment of more or less headquarters; the women were assigned the task of keeping the fire- which no doubt gave rise to the idea that woman's place is in the home, and certainly to the beginning of community life.




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