The History of Industries and Toolmaking in United Kingdom


 
 

Tweedale’s Day in Albuquerque… by Wiktor Kuc

Tweedale’s Directory of Sheffield Cutlery Manufacturers 1740 – 2010

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My last week's Wednesday was a long day and I arrived home rather late. I glanced through my mail quickly and found a package from LULU.com. I was waiting for this package for a week or so and now it was here. I knew what was inside – it was a book by Geoffrey Tweedale, Tweedale’s Directory of Sheffield Cutlery Manufacturers 1740 – 2010.

As I was thumbing through the book, I was also scanning my email and one sender quickly caught my eye - Geoffrey Tweedale.

Wow… It was a Tweedale’s Day!

Anyway, back to the book. I found info about it somewhere on the Net and immediately placed an order with Lulu.com. I was a bit surprised that only Lulu.com carried it, but it became clearer after a few emails exchanged with Geoffrey.

Here are a few email excerpts:

“Dear Editor, I am a historian based at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School in Britain. I have recently published a historical directory of the Sheffield cutlery trades, 1740-2010.

It's quite comprehensive -- over 900 makers. As you will know, many Sheffield cutlery firms (and merchants) also sold tools, so the directory will be useful to tool collectors and historians, too.

I published it myself on a print-on-demand site: lulu.com, where it can be purchased for £30 (plus post and package). It is a paperback, b&w, pp. 478.

I thought you might be interested in having these details for your home page. If so, I attach a copy of the cover, so you can see what it looks like. If you need any further details, please let me know.”


And my response:

“Dear Geoffrey,

I should call today a "Tweedale Day". Not only I received an email from you but also your book arrived today. I ordered it from Lulu about a week ago and it arrived today.

Of course I do know about you and your work. I also have one of your books - Sheffield Steel and America. Actually, it is permanently on my desk and I use it as a reference in all the research that I do for the website. All other books are out of print and the last time I checked for prices on Steel City, I found them prohibitive.

I am very excited about your new work and tonight will be a long night for me. I have to at least briefly go through the book tonight.”

“Dear Wiktor,

Glad that the book is of interest. No publisher would touch it, because of its size, so I ended up self-publishing - so I am dependent on enthusiasts such as yourself to publicize it, to a certain extent.

Simon Barley, who you may know (if not, he's an expert on Sheffield saws), mentioned your website. It looks great, with many interesting downloads -- which would have saved me a lot of time when I did Sheffield and America.”

Geoffrey Tweedale, Professor of Business History

Geoffrey Tweedale studied history at Queen Mary College, University of London, and then enrolled at the London School of Economics. At the LSE, he developed an interest in American economic history under the supervision of two dedicated Americanists, Jim Potter and the late Charlotte J. Erickson. His PhD thesis in 1983 looked at the transfer of Sheffield steel and tool technologies to the USA in the 19th century.

He has since researched and taught in the history of business, technology, and medicine. His book, Steel City, was awarded the Wadsworth Prize by the Business Archives Council in 1995. More recent interests include the history of industrial hazards, such as asbestos.

Among books and articles published by Geoffrey Tweedale, three are of special interest to tools and cutlery collectors, historians and researchers.

  1. Sheffield Steel and America: A Century of Commercial and Technological Interdependence 1830-1930 – (Cambridge, 1987).

  2. Steel City: Entrepreneurship, Strategy, and Technology in Sheffield 1743-1993, (Oxford, 1995).

  3. The Sheffield Knife Book: A History & Collectors’ Guide, (Sheffield, 1996).

And now we have the newest creation - Tweedale’s Directory of Sheffield Cutlery Manufacturers, 1740 – 2010 (The author, 2010).


 
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