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History

[1829]
The folding Laguiole knife with forced notch is born.
This model is very close to the current version which we all know.
Aubrac is a vast plateau with insulated farms where several families live. The elder ones left to Catalonia for the winter season and worked as sawyers. Some of them returned with a Spanish knife in their pocket : the navaja. The Laguiole knife slender handle and the yatagan shaped blade are inspired from this knife.



1829 - 1880
The local production is ensured by some craftsmen (often blacksmiths) and makes it possible to satisfy the request of the peasants of l’Aubrac.
The knife has a very single circuit line. It's a practical and useful tool. It evolves according to the need of its users.
- the punch appears around 1840. This tool is intended for the breeders. The cows having the paunch which inflates resulting from the fermentation of wet grass. The punch is used to perforate the paunch.
- the corkscrew was added in 1880: following the rise in Paris of Rouergats to be a coal merchant or a bar keeper.


[1880 - 1920/30]
This period correspond to the height of the fame of the cutlers of Laguiole (workshops with twenty and more workers) who produce quality crafted knives. Calmels and Pagès receive many rewards at the national contests. With the end of the century, in Thiers, industrial processes appear, but Laguiole preserves of any modernization

[1930 - 1987]
The fame of the knife having exceeded Aubrac, the demand increases. As the cutlers of the village cannot fullfill the orders (they are not willing to invest in machines), Thiers gradually ensure the whole manufacturing of the Laguiole knife.
A handcraft prestige manufacture is maintained in Laguiole, but on a very weak scale compared with the massive industrial production of Thiers.


[1987 - 2004]
The local cutlery starts again, initiated by local representatives (mainly by Mr Pierre Malet).
From 1985, assembly workshops appear again.
In 1988, in the Laguiole production zone (northern of Aveyron), two forging mills manufacture the separate parts of the knife. The success is incredible (in 1981, in the village only 2 points of sale remained which resold manufactured knives from Thiers).
From 1997, in the Laguiole production zone, approximately 400 000 Laguiole knifes are manufactured annually.

A few legends, rumours and traditions

What means the cross on the Laguiole knife handle?
It is called the shepherd's cross
It appeared quite recently : end of the XIXth century. Twice a year the bovine transhumance occurs on the vast basaltic Aubrac plateau where the Laguiole village is located in May, the Sunday closest to the 20 and in October on Saint Géraud Day). In the old days, the distance was covered by foot on the paths called drailles and thus the transhumance was a sever l days expedition.
In our region were the catholic religion had a great importance, the transhumant shepherds used to stick their knife's blade into the bread. The cross was standing for an oratory for prayer (one says it is the shepherd's rosary). That is why this decoration appears on one side of the handle only.
The ancient Laguiole knives bear this decoration most of the time but other patterns adorned the knives on the customers demand.


What insect is represented on the string?
It is the bee, symbol of the Laguiole knife.
Our local legend says it is Napoleon Bonaparte's imperial seal that was offered to the Laguiole town for token of his gratitude for the men's courage during the battles.
The bee is a technical term used by manufacturers to designate the springhead. On our famous knife the springhead is a bee.
Beware, a bee on a knife does not guaranty the quality or origin of the knife!


Is the bee the only pattern on the spring ?
Still a reference to the ancient Laguiole knives 100 or 150 years old, the bee is not the only pattern you can have on your Laguiole knife string. We offer a variety of choices : a human face, a four-leaf clover (a token of lucky charm), a scallop shell (a reference to the path to Santiago de Compostela which goes across the Aubrac region), a smooth bee, without a pattern, very stylized,...
We resumed the traditional manufacturing which was realized on the clients' demand. We offer to customize entirely your Laguiole knife with whatever pattern you wish.

Why a Laguiole knife has to be sold and cannot be given ?
Superstition is the reason.
The custom says that a cutting object cannot be given in order to avoid the risk of cutting the love or friendship existing between the person who gives the present and the one who receives it.
To ward off misfortune or to maintain tradition, the person who receives a knife as a gift has to give a coin to the the one who offers the knife, the present becomes a trade.


A few popular rumors about the Laguiole knives
- If you watch the knife horizontally with the bee downwards when the blade is folded, you will see that the top bolster looks like a whale head.
- In a laguiole knife, the blade symbolizes water, the handle earth and the brass bolsters stands for fire.
- The blunt edge of the knife blade represents the days of the week.
- A 2 pieces laguiole knife handle composed of a blade and corkscrew is called a handle woman leg because if the bottom bolster is concave, then it looks like stiletto heels with the female calf above.
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France : 15, Allée de l'Amicale - 12210 Laguiole - Tel. +33 (0)5.65.51.50.14
Québec : 59 des Patriotes, Beauharnois, 514-605-1733