George Wostenholm

Along with Joseph Rodgers, George Wostenholm is possibly the most famous name in cutlery. Formed in 1785,  the company made one of the most significant marks in cutlery history. Originally the family name was spelt ‘Wolstenholme’ but, George Wostenholm II found this name too long for smaller knives, so he omitted the letters ‘l’ and ‘e’. The name has been Wostenholm ever since. The second George Wostenholm also built the Rockingham Works (also known as the Rockingham Wheel) around 1810. Knives made in this factory and marked “Rockingham Works” are highly prized by knife collectors to this day. In 1831, the famous I*XL trademark, which had first been registered in 1787, was assigned to Wostenholm. It was the third George Wostenholm who ensured that this trademark became the world’s most illustrious and best loved knife brand.

Trade flourished, and in 1848 a new factory, the fabled Washington Works on Sheffield’s Wellington Street, was opened. The firm quadrupled in size and employed over 800 skilled craftsmen making knives in a volume never witnessed before.

George Wostenholm, after having reportedly declined the position on many previous occasions, finally became “Master Cutler of the Guild” in 1856. His influence on the city of Sheffield was considerable. He purchased an entire suburb of 150 acres and designing the streets to be laid out to reflect the leafy residential roads of the villages he had visited in New York State; an area which would later develop its own identity as a cutlery manufacturing center; no doubt due to seeds planted in the men Wostenholm met on his American sales trips.

Olde Towne Cutlery has brought back to the states the traditional pocket knives made by these two incredible brands. You can now own a piece of history with your own Wostenholm I*XL Barlow or Joseph Rodgers Swayback.  The quality is the same as it has always been; simply superb!

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