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Thread: Taylor's Eyewitness

  1. #41
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    Jack-My friend, Steve Billard and his father Harry Billard both worked at Stephenson and Wilson. They worked for the owner of that company, but I don't know the name of that gentleman (and would be interested to know if you have any insight). Harry Billard had the firm bring in American style blanking machines not long after the company started in the 1940's and they mostly made cheap and cheerful advert knives, as well as some of the Army clasp knives marked Wade and Butcher and the lock back all stainless Army knife for Engineering Control Systems back in 2000.
    Last edited by Bartleby; 03-15-2017 at 10:36 AM.

  2. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Black View Post
    You're very welcome, thanks for the extra pics and information It would be helpful to see some better close-up pics of the handle scales

    My mother and grandparents lived very close to the Eye Witness Works for many years, and my parents spent their first year of married life living in that area also. As a teenager, I lived nearby myself, and used to walk past the works every morning on my way to work, back in the day where TEW was still an employer of some size. Here's a photo from a few years ago.





    Do you mean in the past, or in more recent times? In the past, like all the big Sheffield cutlery firms, TEW would have supplemented their own workforce by sub-contracting work to smaller cutlery firms and Little Mesters. In more recent times, they have imported knives from China (the packaging is stamped discreetly). It has been some time since TEW were a manufacturer in the sense that most people would interpret that word. You might care to share the information below with your friend (from an old thread) - something of a smoking gun, which I found on a Chinese website - but if he checks the packaging on any of the TEW kitchen knives, he will see where they are made.
    Ask and you shall receive! And I was able to find the place on Google maps, that's pretty incredible that even though I'm across the pond! I talked to my grandfather he really doesn't know any more about it, but he was really interested in all the history you have us!

  3. #43
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    Thanks for the extra pics I had thought it most looked like wood in your previous pics, but checkered buffalo horn can look similar, and was used in that period. Nice knife

    I'm in the process of uploading some more photos of the TEW factory

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobenn7 View Post
    Ask and you shall receive! And I was able to find the place on Google maps, that's pretty incredible that even though I'm across the pond! I talked to my grandfather he really doesn't know any more about it, but he was really interested in all the history you have us!
    Cobenn7, that tapered tang looks like a forged blade rather than a stamping, and the checkering has been hand cut (that was a lot of work going around those complex curves!), both signs of an earlier knife in original condition. A very nice example!

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Bartleby View Post
    Cobenn7, that tapered tang looks like a forged blade rather than a stamping, and the checkering has been hand cut (that was a lot of work going around those complex curves!), both signs of an earlier knife in original condition. A very nice example!
    Awesome! Thats what I was thinking! Do you have a ballpark date by chance?

    Sent from my LG-H831 using Tapatalk

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartleby View Post
    Jack-My friend, Steve Billard and his father Harry Billard both worked at Stephenson and Wilson. They worked for the owner of that company, but I don't know the name of that gentleman (and would be interested to know if you have any insight). Harry Billard had the firm bring in American style blanking machines not long after the company started in the 1940's and they mostly made cheap and cheerful advert knives, as well as some of the Army clasp knives marked Wade and Butcher and the lock back all stainless Army knife for Engineering Control Systems back in 2000.

    I think that would have been Derek Stephenson my friend The firm was bought by Arthur Price in 1979. Your pal's name rings a bell, does he make knives for Eggington's now by any chance, perhaps I am confusing him with someone else?

    Arthur Price's involvement in Stephenson & Wilson is a coincidence, considering what we were just discussing. Price was involved in a big public row with Ruben Viner in the late 70's, over Viner's importing cheap foreign cutlery.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobenn7 View Post
    Awesome! Thats what I was thinking! Do you have a ballpark date by chance?
    My guess would be late 19th century

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Black View Post
    I'm in the process of uploading some more photos of the TEW factory
    Unfortunately, my internet connection is proving very slow today, but they'll be something else to show your granddad

  9. #49
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  10. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Black View Post




































    Thats awesome! He is going to love theese pictures! Thanks again for all this Incredible info! Its way more then I ever figured I'd find! If you ever find yourself in this side of the pond you'll have to stop by for a pint!

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobenn7 View Post
    Thats awesome! He is going to love theese pictures! Thanks again for all this Incredible info! Its way more then I ever figured I'd find! If you ever find yourself in this side of the pond you'll have to stop by for a pint!
    Thanks for the invitation

    The carved stone on the corner of the building is one of the stones taken from the nearby debtor's prison, when it was demolished sometime before the Eye Witness Works was built. It appears to have originally come from a cell wall at the jail. There's a thread about it somewhere

    There are a couple of old TEW catalogues, which you can download from the TEW website, though one of them is incorrectly dated, and if you search online, you should be able to find other information about the old factory

  12. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Black View Post
    Thanks for the invitation

    The carved stone on the corner of the building is one of the stones taken from the nearby debtor's prison, when it was demolished sometime before the Eye Witness Works was built. It appears to have originally come from a cell wall at the jail. There's a thread about it somewhere

    There are a couple of old TEW catalogues, which you can download from the TEW website, though one of them is incorrectly dated, and if you search online, you should be able to find other information about the old factory
    Thats pretty cool! I love When people save the past like that! And sweet I'll definitely keep researching!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Black View Post
    Thanks for the invitation

    The carved stone on the corner of the building is one of the stones taken from the nearby debtor's prison, when it was demolished sometime before the Eye Witness Works was built. It appears to have originally come from a cell wall at the jail. There's a thread about it somewhere

    There are a couple of old TEW catalogues, which you can download from the TEW website, though one of them is incorrectly dated, and if you search online, you should be able to find other information about the old factory

    Sent from my LG-H831 using Tapatalk

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobenn7 View Post
    Thats pretty cool! I love When people save the past like that! And sweet I'll definitely keep researching!
    Sadly, the last time I spoke to TEW about the stone, they knew nothing of its original provenance, and described it as "a fake" Their sole concern was just to get rid of the old works. I can understand how a small company would struggle to maintain the factory, but it's a real shame that it's been allowed to fall into wrack and ruin, and that the carved stone is not protected in some way (it's now covered in graffiti

    I carried a pair of TEW knives today, made in better times




  14. #54
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    The photos are no longer hosted, but here's a link to an old thread about the TEW cornerstone

    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...46-Eye-Witness

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Black View Post
    I think that would have been Derek Stephenson my friend The firm was bought by Arthur Price in 1979. Your pal's name rings a bell, does he make knives for Eggington's now by any chance, perhaps I am confusing him with someone else?

    Arthur Price's involvement in Stephenson & Wilson is a coincidence, considering what we were just discussing. Price was involved in a big public row with Ruben Viner in the late 70's, over Viner's importing cheap foreign cutlery.
    Stephenson owned the factory, originally built in 1939 for a furniture maker who never occupied it. Harry Billard was the manager from the time they started until not long before they closed. He retired in his 90's, at which time he continued to assemble from home! Steve was still the Managing Director when S&W closed down, shortly after Harry's death. The equipment was sold to Egginton's, and the remaining stock on hand was divided to help settle the company's debts. Steve has been a really generous person in sharing his experiences with me, and has been a good source of NOS items. He still works in Sheffield, but no longer in the cutlery industry.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobenn7 View Post
    Awesome! Thats what I was thinking! Do you have a ballpark date by chance?

    Sent from my LG-H831 using Tapatalk
    I agree with Jack, as he really knows his stuff! It looks to have been carried, used often and well cared for. Are you aware of any military connections to the knife?

  17. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Bartleby View Post
    I agree with Jack, as he really knows his stuff! It looks to have been carried, used often and well cared for. Are you aware of any military connections to the knife?
    No, all I know about it is on this thread really! Why do you ask?

    Sent from my LG-H831 using Tapatalk

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobenn7 View Post
    No, all I know about it is on this thread really! Why do you ask?

    Sent from my LG-H831 using Tapatalk
    Knives of this type were often carried by Scottish regiments as general utility knives. It may well have been a private purchase for such use.

  19. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Bartleby View Post
    Knives of this type were often carried by Scottish regiments as general utility knives. It may well have been a private purchase for such use.
    That does make quite a of sense because my most family was originally from Scotland and that neck of the woods in the mid 1800's Ish, but I'm not aware of anyone who served but it is very possible! Thats something to think about! Interesting!

    Sent from my LG-H831 using Tapatalk

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartleby View Post
    Stephenson owned the factory, originally built in 1939 for a furniture maker who never occupied it. Harry Billard was the manager from the time they started until not long before they closed. He retired in his 90's, at which time he continued to assemble from home! Steve was still the Managing Director when S&W closed down, shortly after Harry's death. The equipment was sold to Egginton's, and the remaining stock on hand was divided to help settle the company's debts. Steve has been a really generous person in sharing his experiences with me, and has been a good source of NOS items. He still works in Sheffield, but no longer in the cutlery industry.
    That's great information my friend Do you know if Eggington's acquired the mark too? It sounds like you have a good friend there, and an invaluable source of information

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