Fly or bee bolster ? This could have been the topic of your dissertation once upon a time. It is in fact one of the many hotly-debated topics in our Laguiole Club of passionate knife enthusiasts.
The history of the Laguiole knife has known many changes, evolutions, creative leaps… French cutlery-making tradition has progressively changed the shape the Laguiole knives of yore. The bolster itself has known some changes, like the rest of our famous knives.
Thanks to the knowledge shared in Club Laguiole by our friendly group of passionate knife enthusiasts, master craftsmen and former knife makers, you no longer need to turn to books to discover everything about the evolution of the Laguiole knives bolsters.
Fly or bee, I wonder which insect will sting your curiosity !
The bee shape decoration on spring only became the symbol of these knives after the 1930s.
The first Laguiole knives have neither design on the spring, nor pattern on the fly. They were very similar to the models of Yssingeaux knives.
Legend has it that Napoleon would have allowed Aveyron cutlers to use the bee as a sign of their bravery in battle. But in reality it's merely because of an aesthetic reason.
Although bee is an insect much more sympathetic than fly, "fly" is a technical term of cutlery denoting the crushed part during forging of the spring. It's the extreme front of a spring. This part can also be something other than a bee.
For example, a horseshoe, a clover, a lily flower , a St Jacques shell or your badge (we can also customize that part at your request).
Prior to 1930 the extreme of the spring has always been forged but this date marks the appearance of the welded fly.
Moreover, it is also an element of distinction between Laguiole basic models and prestigious Laguiole.
As you can see in our creative models of Laguiole knives, it costs less than ten euros to have a forged fly but not a welded.
Below a welded bee
and below a forged bee