Friday, September 4, 2015

Thrift Shop Find- Joseph Rodgers and Sons Carving Knife set

Found this beautiful gem today at the Thrift shop.  It was sitting on a shelf, all innocuous and innocent.  I had to snatch it up. It is a beautiful reminder of years gone by.  I don't know the exact age on it, but I do know it is at least 60 years old.
(The stamp on it says "cutlers to his majesty", with the initials G R, which to me says one of the King Georges. )

This is a Joseph Rodgers and Sons Stag Horn Handled Carving Knife Set. 3 pieces, includes a carving knife, a sharpening stick and a meat fork(?) with a grasping arm.

These were made in Sheffield England, which is renown for its high quality cutlery and knives.

Joseph Rodgers and Sons, a brief history: (Taken from the Egginton Group Website): " . It is claimed that a cutler called Joseph or John Rodgers operated out of a building in Hawley Croft close to location of Sheffield’s present day cathedral. In 1730 what are claimed to be his two sons Maurice and Joseph took over.
The mark of The Star and Maltese Cross was originally registered in March 1682 by a Benjamin Rich. However, it is with Rodgers that this mark will forever by associated and they registered it in 1764.
With increasing business in what is thought to have been exclusively Pocket Knives, in around 1780, the firm moved to larger premises at No. 6 Norfolk Street. Eventually, as Rodgers expanded, it would acquire surrounding property until the famous Norfolk Street Works occupied the entire plot. (The property was sold in 1929...)
Around 1800, Rodgers’ product range broadened into razors, table cutlery and scissors and in 1821 the firm was appointed cutlers to The Royal Family for the first time...Around this period and inspired this prestigious title, Rodgers opened their first celebrated showroom in which they proudly exhibited their wares...Rodgers focused on producing the finest quality knives and looked for the best in every aspect of knife production from materials to workmanship. Each knife was branded with the Star and Cross as a guarantee of its superb quality. It has been claimed that so great was Rodgers reputation for producing only the finest products that the word “Rujjus”, a variation on “Rodgers” entered into the Sinhalese dialect as a general expression of superlative quality. Joseph Rodgers’ success is evident in the firm’s appointment to five successive sovereigns - George IV, William IV, Queen Victoria, Edward II and George V.
Despite Royal recognition and overseas trade, the company could not escape the decline of Sheffield's cutlery industry. In the late 1900’s the firm endured a tumultuous time. There were a number of changes in ownership, one of which in 1971 even brought it together with its once fierce competitor, George Wostenholm. The Egginton Group bought the rights to the name and trademarks in 1986 which meant that fine Joseph Rodgers knives would continue to be produced in Sheffield, the home of cutlery.


Original wooden box (some sources say walnut wood)

Original lining and velvet .

Close ups of the makers marks:
Star and Maltese Cross. G (crown) R, Cutlers to His Majesty

G R- Obviously King George. (so is it IV or V?)

The Lining on the inside of the box:
according to sources the address used in the stamps indicate this was made before 1930.

You can see how much use the carving knife has had. At one time it filled the entire mold, but had been used and sharpened to much it is a shadow of its former glory:

The handles are stag horn. They have been worn from years of use

If anyone knows anything about this carving set, please comment. I haven't found anything definitive on them.
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