Brief History of Scissors

Scissors are hand-operated shearing tools. A set of scissors comprises a pair of metal blades rotated so that the sharpened ends slide against each other when the handles (bows) opposite to the shaft are closed. Scissors are used for cutting various materials, such as cardboard, paper, cardboard, cloth, metal foil, wire, and rope.

History of Scissors

Oldest Scissors appeared in Mesopotamia around 3,000 years ago. These were of the ‘spring scissor’ type containing two bronze blades joined at the handles by a thin, elastic strip of curved bronze, which served to hold the edges to allow them to be pressed together to pull them apart when released.

The earliest known scissors in medicine are recorded from India’s Sushruta Samhita:(Ancient Indian Surgery). This is recorded from 1000 BCE. It represents more than 200 different medical procedures, and over a hundred surgical instruments (20 sharp kinds and 101 accessories) such as tongs, scalpels, forceps, syringes, catheters, speculums, needles, probes, saws, and scissors.

Spring scissors continued to be adopted in Europe until the 16th Century. However, rotated scissors of bronze or the iron in which the blades were pivoted at a point between the handles and the tip, the direct predecessor of modern scissors, were invented by the Romans around 100 AD. They entered everyday use in ancient Rome and China, Japan, and Korea, and the idea is still utilized in almost all modern scissors.

Early manufacture

During the Renaissance and Middle Ages, spring scissors were made by heating a bar of steel or iron, then shaping and flattening its ends into edges on an anvil. The center of the bar was cooked, bent to form the spring, then cooled and heated to make it pliable.

The Hangzhou Zhang Xiaoquan Company in Hangzhou in present day China, has been producing scissors since the mid 16th Century.

William Whiteley & Sons Ltd. was manufacturing scissors by 1760, although it is considered that the business began trading even earlier. The first trademark, 332, was granted in 1791. Today, the firm is still manufacturing scissors and is the earliest company in the West to do so.

Pivoted scissors were not produced in large numbers until 1761, when Robert Hinchliffe of Sheffield manufactured the first pair of modern-day scissors comprising of polished and hardened cast steel. His major hurdle was to form the bows; first, he made them robust, then drilled a hole, and later filed away metal to make this large enough to allow the user’s fingers. This process was complicated, and apparently, Hinchliffe improved upon it to increase production. Hinchliffe lived in Cheney Square, and set up a sign recognizing himself as a “fine scissor manufacturer.” He achieved strong sales in London and other cities.

In 1649, in Swedish-ruled Finland, an ironworks was established in the village of Fiskars between Turku and Helsinki. In 1830, a new landlord started the first cutlery works in Finland, making scissors with the Fiskars trademark.

During the 19th Century, scissors were hand-forged with beautifully decorated handles. They were made by hammering steel on organized surfaces known as ‘bosses’ to form the edges. The rings in the stems, known as bows, were made by piercing a hole in the steel and stretching it with the pointed end.

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