Where does the world famous Laguiole knife come from ?

Published : 2019-06-22 17:09:38
Categories : The making of a Laguiole

Where does the world famous Laguiole knife come from ?

At first, it looked like this knife Yssingeaux. Jean Calmel, an Aveyron inhabitant, is the one who came up in 1909 with the idea to add a bee.

However, he did not patent his genius idea. If only he’d had a crystal ball!
Indeed, it was such a success that the city of Laguiole was unable to meet demand.
At that time, Laguiole cutlery makers were craftsmen, but also very good tradesmen. In Thiers however, cutlery making was already turning into an industry, and they were for instance the first to have a steam hammer. Soon, Thiers, capital of cutlery making for 5 centuries, was enlisted to help and Laguiole abandoned cutlery making for 50 years.

Only in 1987, thanks to the help of some Thiers inhabitants, did a knife making factory come back to Laguiole : it was the rebirth of a legend. Aveyron inhabitants tried to claim the exclusive right to manufacture this knife in their city.
Obviously, Thiers was against the idea. They’d been developing this model for almost 200 years : it was out of the question !
So started the feud between both cities..
However, a common ennemy would soon unite them against him : Gilbert Szajner
The history of the laguiole knife does not stop here. In 1993, this Val de Marne entrepreneur patented the Laguiole brand and started importing knives made in China.
A legal drama began and the law finally came to a decision :


Laguiole is not a brand. The name of a city cannot be legally patented.
From then on, Laguiole became a common noun. You can now say either ‘give me the knife please’ or ‘give me the laguiole please’.
There is nothing which prevents knives made in China from being imported into France, but it is possible to check their provenance.
So make sure that you receive a certificate of origin or a warranty when you buy your Laguiole knife !
These days, 85 % of French Laguiole knives are made in Thiers, 15 % in Laguiole but 0 % in China !!

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