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Une tradition coutelière vieille de plus d’un siècle
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 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
The creation of the straight Laguiole dates from around 1800 or shortly after the appearance of the first Laguiole cutlers.
The “straight laguiole” will be fitted with a punch used to pierce the bellies of herbivores swollen from having eaten too tender grass (bloat).
This period 1850-1860 will see the knife refining. But he still won’t be wearing a decor.
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.
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.