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Laguiole knife history: from origins to nowadays





Pierre-Jean Calmels, inhabitant of Laguiole town, was the founder of Laguiole knife in 1829. He was inspired by two models: the “Capuchadou”, knife of Aubrac farmers with a fixed blade and Spanish Navaja, pocket knife coming from Catalonia. During harsh winters, Aubrac farmers were going to Catalonia to work. Back into France, these seasonal workers brought with them the well-known Navaja.

In 1840, as an artist, Pierre-Jean Calmels improved Laguiole knife adding a hallmark. This latter was regularly used by shepherd to pierce bovines’ rumen.

In 1880, Laguiole added a third piece: the corkscrew. Thanks to the appearance of this new thing, Laguiole knife began to spread in Paris, by means of locals, gone to conquest parisian cafés.

The laguiole, although it had a good reputation, couldn’t be improved because of the lack of materials and human means.

As Thiers was French industry capital cutlery, craftsmen from Thiers and their counterparts from Laguiole worked in collaboration at the beginning of the 20th century to develop Laguiole knife. Since then, laguiole is produced near Thiers territory, fortified by its 7 centuries of experience and know-how of hand-crafted cutlery. Thus, Laguiole knife wasn’t made in limited quantity in Laguiole village, until the end of the 20th century.

In 1930, M. Genès David began to develop a close relationship with Laguiole knife, making the model from Aveyron (Laguiole without bee). Then, in 1950, Genès David played a key role in the take-off of Laguiole, making close bonds with the descendants of Laguiole knife creator. Genès David’s sons, Jean-Louis and René David, have carried on this incredible project.

Today in 2011, ARBALETE GENES DAVID is the reference for the Laguiole made by hand.

The pieces which constitute the hand-crafted Laguiole Arbalète from the left to the right: blade/forged spring/ tang of the right with nickel silver bolster/fake piece/tang of the right with nickel silver bolster/sides made with buffalo solid horn/corkscrew/hallmark. BE CAREFUL: every pieces are made in our workshops, except the corkscrew which has a special process in Thiers.

Ivory handle, shaped with file and cold chisel, pieces made with metal engraving with file and cold chisel.

Ivory Laguiole Arbalète