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Pierre-Jean Calmels, blacksmith in the village of Laguiole, conceived the first Laguiole knife in 1829. Calmels built two models, the capuchadou, knife of the ordinary peasants of the Aubrac and the Spanish Navaja, brought back from Catalogne by seasonal workers.
The hardest steel tempered in Laguiole purest natural spring, a spring to close the blade, a handle fashioned from the local Aubrac Oax's horn... a exceptional knife was born. Over the years, Pierre-Jean Calmels perfected his art by adding a Trocar in 1840 to meet the needs of herders and farmers.
|"During the off season our workers left the village to find work in Catalogne. Back in the village they proudly showed off their slick Navaja from Spain; object of desires and inspirations."|
In 1880, the Laguiole the 3 piece Laguiole is born with the addition of the corkscrew. The need to add a corkscrew to the knife is directly linked with the appearance of bottled wine in urban society. Requests by the Aveyronnais that immigrated to Paris to open cafes and bistros added to the need for such tool. Patrons and waiters remained faithful to their traditions and toke pride in pulling the 3 piece knife from their vest.
By the late nineteenth century, this rustic knife became very popular with the city bourgeoisie and was, as a result, adorned with precious materials such as ivory.
The decorative detail of the handle and the spring start to diversified in 1910.
The sculpture that adorned the head spring of the first models underwent various stylistic changes and included diamond, Fleur de Lys, four-leaf clover, leaf tree or even the profile of a man wearing a Phrygian hat before adopting what became the symbol of the Laguiole knife: the bee.
The “Laguiole” as it was called became a successful object beloved by people from all background and societies.
Unfortunately success was short lived, wars, rural exudes and the increasing and unbearable competition from the industrial cutleries of Thiers all contributed to the decline of the village’s traditional cutleries. Today, two cutleries remain and produce knives; they are the most famous of all called “The Forge de Laguiole” and the much smaller, local “La Coutellerie de Laguiole".
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