Yesterday at our company’s end of year dinner, Frank presented us all with the story of the Putter-togetherers of Ernest Wright in Sheffield.
The last remaining scissors factory in Sheffield, founded in 1902, had a rough time in the past years. It ran a Kickstarter campaign in 2016 which succeeded in getting funded, but then failed in delivering. On top of that the owner of the company passed away. As a result the company went bankrupt last spring.
Then the story takes an amazing turn: two of the Kickstarter backers decided to step in, and in June at auction bought the brand and remaining assets from the Receiver. They then bought back the machines that had already been sold for scrap, and reinstated part of the staff, including two ageing Putters, or as their full trade titles are, the Master Scissor Putter-togetherers.
That in itself is already an amazing story, that two Kickstarter backers seeing a project they backed fail stepped in and bought the company to right things. What’s more amazing is that one of those two backers, Paul, is a friend of my colleague Frank. For years Frank has been mentioning “my friend Paul”, to distinguish between that Paul, and our colleague Paul. So his friend Paul bought a scissors company in Sheffield UK. Trying to keep this brand of hand made Sheffield steel scissors alive. They’ve restarted production this fall, very slowly at 2 units per week, as to improve and finetune the machinery and bring the workshop up to modern day safety standards. Also they have new ‘putter-togetherers’ in training.
Yesterday Frank presented us all with a hand made pair of scissors. The Turton kitchen scissors. It’s sturdy, and it actually works well for me, being left-handed. The scissors we have in the kitchen don’t fit my left-hand grip well and as a result the knives often don’t cut properly, with the material getting stuck. The Turton and my left hand work very well together, and so has claimed its proper place as the default pair of kitchen scissors. For decades to come, as its sturdiness and its story promise.