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A note on Camillus Cutlery from C. E. Sherwood

Discussion in 'Camillus Collector's Forum' started by Codger_64, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    This is a transcription of a note from the Camillus Archives handwritten by Mr. Sherwood. It is not dated, but perhaps Tom WIlliams knows approximately when it was written. I would have just posted the letter itself, but it would be difficult to present here in a readable format. I have transcribed it verbatum.

    There are a few minor conflicts of dates with other written accounts, but by and large this is accurate. In it, Mr. Sherwood gives his recollections of the beginnigs of Camillus Cutlery and events leading up to the aquisition of the company by Adolph Kastor.

    Camillus Cutlery by C. E. Sherwood

    First wheels turned in the Knife Factory July 14, 1894 by Chas. E. Sherwood. The First shipment of pocket knives was made to Hamilton & Matthews. Rochester, N.Y. in October 1894.

    Mr. Sherwood had for his superintendent his brother-in-law Denton E. Bingham, who had had an extensive experience in cutlery manufacturing at Southhampton, Conn.

    Mr. Sherwood had operated the factory for some time when Robeson Cutlery Co. of Rochester, who were among his customers, desired to lease the plant which they did in August of 1986. Mr. Sherwood acted as their manager during their occupancy, about two years. The town of Perry offered them a plant free of charge and because it was nearer Rochester the offer was accepted.

    For a brief period at this time the factory was closed. Later Mr. Sherwood started it again and continued with varying success for some time.

    Among his customers were Adolph Kastor & Bros., New York, cutlery jobbers and after a time Mr. Kastor, senior member of the firm, came to Camillus (about 1901) and desired to lease the plant and he negotiated with Mr. Sherwood to that end, buying the stock of material on hand, paying the amount of inventory. Mr. Kastor desired the privilege of putting up buildings in the rear of the present plant. Mr. Sherwood was asked to remain and take charge of the office and plant. The plan continued for some time and finally Mr. Kastor bought the business.

    The original building was one story & basement. This was raised another story by Mr. Sherwood and has been enlarged several times since.

    In the early days the manufacture of pocket knives was quite different from now. Then, a cutler would take the material for a dozen or two of knives and do practically all the work on them except grinding and finishing blades. Now this work is divided, hafting is done separately as are many other items.

    Previously a cutler did about all the work on a knife and when a cutler like Mr. Primrose finished a knife, it was certainly a nice job. Many of the blades were forged.

  2. CAMCO

    CAMCO Moderator Moderator

    Dec 29, 1999
    This article about Sherwood Cutlery was written by Mrs. Maxwell, who was the author of AMONG THE HILLS OF CAMILLUS. Even though the article appears to have been written by Mr. Sherwood, Mrs. Maxwell was the author. I found this document in the Camillus Historical Society files. Most of the papers that Mrs. Maxwell wrote were from the 1940's and 1950's and her book was published in 1952.

    Tom Williams
  3. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    Thankyou! So the header notation "By C.E. Sherwood" refered to the creation of the cutlery by him and not the authorship?

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