Sally’s Scissors

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21 Sep: Snips and off-cuts

Well, it’s been a long Summer(for me, anyway!) and time to get back on the horse. We left off last-time discussing scissors for cutting difficult stuff and now I think it would be a good time to mention some people, too.  We have twelve people who work in the factory and warehouse, making and packing and despatching. All the jobs have their own special sounds which make up the tapestry of the dayand if one…

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03 Jul: Cutting the Uncuttable…

We left the previous blog at a point where I was discussing the uselessness of cheap scissors, with those attempting to cut Kevlar being a case in point! In the early 1990’s, we were approached by a company supplying tools into the manufacturers of Kevlar. Kevlar is bullet and stab resistant material and poses a singular problem for most scissors, in that it is designed to resist attempts to penetrate it. This substance is produced...
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04 May: Whiteleys gets with it!

Whiteleys had been situated in Garden St. (not a green leaf or blade of grass insight…) for 12 years when I started, knowing nothing, in September 1987. There was a black, Bakelite, platted cotton coated cord, rotary dial telephone with a slider switch to the one extension. There was a wet photocopier (what??) and foreign communications were made through a telex office 2 miles away. Invoices were typed by hand, statements were hand written, accounts…

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04 May: Whiteleys on the move

Last week we  were still at old Whiteleys  – I should really be calling it old, old Whiteleys, as we occupied other premises from 1975 to 2006, which are, strictly speaking, old Whiteleys.   Old, old Whiteleys was: The Phoenix works, 29 Rockingham Street, Sheffield. Rockingham Street was full of cutlers, tool manfacturers and drop forgers, back then. My maternal grandfather, William Seago, was a cutlery engineer  and large-kitchen-knife designer at a factory across the…

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04 Apr: Women in Charge

This week, I want to wind back a bit, to the mid 1800’s. In 1838, Thomas Wilkinsons made and presented Queen Victoria with a pair of beautiful, elaborately produced, scissors. It is recorded that 67 files were used in their manufacture. They were, obviously, entirely man-made from a piece of crucible steel. See Pic 1. If any tiny part had snapped off, then the horrified maker would have had to have started again from scratch –…

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03 Apr: Wine, women and song

I promised you more about old Whiteleys last time, so here it is. During the Victorian era my great-grandfather was in charge of Whiteley’s; always resplendent in suit, pocket watch, whiskers etc (see pic 1). However, he eventually tired of scissor-making and moved down to London, installing himself in Claridge’s and promptly divesting himself of all the company’s money indulging in wine, women and song. Luckily my grandfather stepped in to put things to rights, and…

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02 Apr: From humble beginnings…

I started life as Sally Whiteley; the Xth Whiteley since my great-great-great (etc) grandfather William Whiteley began manufacturing scissors in the 18th century. I now go by Sally Ward, and work as director of the company alongside my husband and co-director, Jeremy Ward. Our company has officially been making scissors for 257 years, but unofficially longer than that. The story passed down the family is that an ancestor of mine began making scissors in an...