3rd June 2024 – The Year Knife – Nick Duggan

Nick told us that the 200th birthday of the Joseph Rodgers’ “Year Knife” took place recently. 

In 1724 the Company of Cutlers ‘let’ a mark to John Rodgers – a Star and Maltese Cross, which the company made world famous.

 In 1822 King George IV awarded a first Royal Warrant to the Joseph Rogers Company.

The Rodgers family business had a reputation for quality, putting quality first and price second. It also had a strong trade mark and went out on the road selling. It had exhibition pieces and royal patronage as its ingredients to success.


An exhibition knife, now known as the ‘Year Knife’, was made, probably to celebrate the opening of their Norfolk Street showroom. The Year Knife is a multi-bladed knife based on ‘cubes’ of springs and blades, referred to as ‘quadrangular’.

There was a story that a new blade was added to the knife every year or perhaps every five years. 

In 1851 Rodgers created another multi-bladed knife, called the Norfolk Knife (possibly named after their showroom), for the Great Exhibition. Joseph Rogers’ business closed in 1968 and both the Year Knife and the Norfolk Knife were put up for sale.

The Norfolk Knife is on show at the Cutlers Hall, but the Year Knife was bought by Stanley Tools to keep it in Sheffield, because neither the Council nor the Museum could afford it.

In 2013, after its restoration by Stan Shaw, the Year Knife was put on show when Ken Hawley opened the new Hawley Gallery in the Kelham Island Museum, It was entrusted to the Gallery. Blades have been added every year and in 1966 one was added to celebrate the World Cup.

In 2010 Ken Hawley and Stan Shaw cleaned and analysed the structure of the Year Knife and discovered it had 2,071 Blades! 

Nick told us many other things, but the Knife tale was fascinating!