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old laguiole calmels
old laguiole knives

Une tradition coutelière vieille de plus d’un siècle

History of the Laguiole

It was 1829 when a modest peasant knife was born in Laguiole, small mountain village in Aveyron (southwestern France). Its renowned bee, a symbol of prestige and quality adorning its spring, made it the most famous knife in France.

Cutlery in Espalion Village

Cutlery in Espalion is quite an old activity as there were already 2 cutlers in the 17th century. The knife production matched the needs of local people: straight knives also called “capujadou”, scissors to mark cattle, bread slicer, pruning knives and wine grower tools, hatchets for forestage. At the end of the 17th century, Espalion had become one of the fifth clandestine centers dedicated to the assembling of cheap pocket knives with nail from St Etienne, also called “jambettes stephanoises”. The Canel family, from Chambon (commune close to St Etienne) was assembling knives. These knives were sold in the area by hawkers during fairs. The Canel’s sonn who was also a cutler was “Bayle” of the” Confrérie Saint Eloi d’Espalion”. This very old and active brotherhood was composed of all taks linked to forge and metal.

Christian Lemasson – Ethnographe

In the middle of the 19th century, around 1850, Casimir Moulin, who was the first cutler based in Laguiole in 1828, left Aubrac plateau to settle with his son (cutler himself) St Come d’Olt. That’s where they created their own forge and cutlery, which closed in 1911.
Around 1874, Antoine Auguste Martin settled in Espalion as a cutler, he will be quickly joined by his brother Charles. The Salettes family is closely related to Aubrac cutlery and to the Belmon, Pagès and calmels families. Auguste Salettes’ brother married the daughter of the cutler Delrieu from Espalion. Salettes forged his own blades in his big forge chere he also worked as a maker of edge-tools.

1800 – The straight Laguiole

The creation of the straight Laguiole dates from around 1800 or shortly after the appearance of the first Laguiole cutlers.


Several cutlery set up:
The Moulin cutlery, quickly followed by the Glaize cutlery.
Then a young 16-year-old cutler began his cutlery business in 1829.
He set up his forge and workshop in rue du Valat in 1836.
It was Pierre Jean Calmels who was the first Laguiole cutler to receive a “Silver Medal” for the quality of his “Laguiole knives” in 1868. The Mas cutlery opened in 1850 followed in 1860 by the Pagès cutlery.


The “straight laguiole” will be fitted with a punch used to pierce the bellies of herbivores swollen from having eaten too tender grass (bloat).

1860 – 1868

This period 1850-1860 will see the knife refining. But he still won’t be wearing a decor.


– Appearance of the corkscrew demanded by the North Aveyron people who left to work in Paris as waiters.
– The first laguiole decorated with a fly were produced by cutlers. In its beginnings its fly was smooth, either spatula, rhombus, square, or oval. The springs are smooth, at best decorated with two lines with a knife file and a cross of Saint Andrew, itself sometimes present on the blade.


The cutlers Calmels, Pagès and Salettes jointly produce a large knife, one of which forges the blade, the second sculpts ivory, the third decorates the spring. This masterpiece is awarded with a silver medal. The cutlers Mas, Pagès and Calmels de Laguiole come together to exhibit together at the Universal Exhibition in Paris 1900. Pagès and Calmels will be awarded a Gold Medal which reinforces their reputation. The Laguiole knife has acquired its letters of nobility.

1908/1909 & First World War

The bee will now be the emblem of the Laguiole knife. We gradually got into the habit of shaping a pattern on it (clover in the 1880s, bee, fleur-de-lis, sage leaf, etc.)
The First World War sounded the death knell for Laguiole cutlery. After the conflict, the workforce practically disappeared.


Only two cutlery shops will maintain the memory and fame of the Laguiole knife. At this period appears the cross of the shepherds which appears on the handle. It is the miniaturization and the symbol of the Holy Cross. The Laguiole was planted in bread, it thus performed its office for the prayer of those who left for several months in transhumance far from the churches.


Creation of the Laguiole en Aubrac® factory


In association with three other craftsmen from Laguiole, the Montézic forge was created.


The Laguiole en Aubrac team

Discover the people and the faces that make up the Artisanal company, as well as Aveyron, with its breathtaking landscapes.

Christian Valat

The artisanal manufacture of Laguiole en Aubrac® was born from the impetus of Christian Valat, an Aveyronnais in love with his region and local know-how.

All about the company

Laguiole en Aubrac is an Aveyronnaise factory which manufactures knives according to a tradition dating back to 1829.