Q & A

A Short History of Scissors

Most of us don’t even give scissors a second thought because we use them so frequently in our daily lives. Scissors are a tool that everyone uses, from electricians to people who cut Kevlar. In light of this, I’ve compiled a brief overview on the evolution of scissors.

Scissors have been around for much longer than the last century, if not the last thousand years. While Leonardo Da Vinci may get credit for popularising them, the modest pair of scissors has been around for a lot longer than that.

Our earliest examples of scissors are from the Middle East, where they were used as far back as 4,000 years ago. They were made up of two bronze blades joined at the end opposite the blade tips by a thin, curved bronze strip. Putting pressure on the blades drew them closer together, while releasing the pressure spread them apart.

Archaeologists have uncovered ancient Egyptian scissors that date back to 1500 BC. These scissors were fashioned from two wheat scythes linked together, similar to earlier types of scissors. But it was the ancient Romans who created the scissors most of us are familiar with; these ancestors of current shears were built specifically for making precise cuts. These iron or bronze bladed scissors were pivoted at a “central” point between the handles and the tips, and were also utilised in ancient China, Japan, and Korea. These patterns were utilised virtually unchanged until the European Renaissance.

Robert Hinchcliffe, an Englishman, created the first pivoting scissors in 1761. Cast steel with a high polish was employed; it was strong, lightweight, and efficient. He established a company whose sole focus is the production of what he calls “fine scissors.”

Hand-forged scissors in the 1800s were beautifully adorned at the handle and were used for anything from cutting cigars to stitching. For instance, here are some examples of specialised, high-end scissors:

Traditional French egg-cutting shears were first produced in the 1930s.

A pair of midwife-style umbilical cord-cutting scissors in the shape of a stork, c. 1800s (Pinterest image)

However, scissors returned to their original, simply practical state after the Industrial Revolution, and to this day, they are typically straight and made of stainless steel.

The only more prevalent instrument than scissors in the average home is a knife. Vampire Tools offers the finest cutting tools of the modern era.




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