About this project
Dear Madam or Sir,
Thank you for your kind interest in our Kickstarter project.
My name is Nick Wright, and I represent our family business Ernest Wright and Son Limited. We are a small yet established scissors manufacturing company; based in our workshops in the heart of Sheffield, England, UK.
We have actually been here for rather a long time. We have been hand-making our finest quality, lifetime-guaranteed, Made in Sheffield scissors and shears for well over a hundred years.
The aim of our Kickstarter project is to re-introduce our elegant yet practical 'Kutrite' pattern of all-purpose stainless steel 'kitchen scissors'.
This is a pattern we originally produced throughout the 1960s, '70s and '80s. A contemporary design that was retired far too early - and a pair of scissors we think more people should be able to get hold of again, and love!
Maybe you have seen 'The Putter' (a beautiful short by local film-maker Shaun Bloodworth on what we do and how we do it) that went internet viral in 2014. It documents our Cliff in our factory, putting-together a traditional or 'Turton' pattern pair of kitchen scissors that we still make to this day. Hopefully you found it quite fascinating, or at least a little mesmerizing, to watch:
Alternatively, you may have seen a BBC Magazine documentary (with millions of worldwide views) called ‘Disappearing Art’ - indeed an artistic interview with our Eric whilst he’s also in our workshop, making 'Antique Stork' embroidery scissors:
Meanwhile we are highly noted around the world to this day for our time-honoured (and occasionally colourful!) hand-made dressmaking and tailors scissors and shears.
So where does Kickstarter meet an already classic design?
Well, let's start with what makes a "classic" design in the first place?
Amongst our most revered products ever have always been the two patterns of our 7 inch (19cm, total length) ‘Kitchen Scissors’.
Our Kickstarter video-intro is a short adaptation of the original 'Putter’ film, yet this time showcasing the contemporary 'Kutrite' design of kitchen scissors that we wish to bring back via this crowdfunding campaign.
Our 'Kutrite' pattern of 'flat' kitchen scissors was designed by Philip Wright in the early 1960s, in close homage to the brilliant 'Turton' pattern that emerged from Sheffield in the 1920s. You can put one pair on top of the other and see that they are the same essential tool – yet both beautifully individual in aesthetic appeal.
Our kitchen scissors are often kept in your kitchen drawer - hence their name. They will obviously (again by name) cut most types of food, even reasonable bones if you ask them to. They will also open some pretty tough packaging. They will trim card, cut fat, snap twigs and part pizza. They will help you with wrapping your Christmas presents. They will fly through foils and hard plastic casings. They will probably end up ‘de-foliaging’ some type of plant or tree (or even animal fur) for you at least at one point - we’ve heard lots about those sorts of capabilities too. And then they will just go straight through the dishwasher, and get all cleaned up, and be ready again for you waiting for their next adventure.
Yet still the name 'kitchen scissors' belies the multi-purpose role of these designs. They are tough all-stainless-steel scissors that can also end up being used in the workshop, garden, garage, even forest (we have customers who could testify) - and then back through a dishwasher (or some-such) and nicely into the drawer again until next time.
That toothed gap between the shanks is a twist-lid bottle opener, and that hook (or 'shark's fin') is a cap-opener or 'priser'. These scissors particularly feature one serrated blade to grip those more slippery items you'd ever wish to cut. And they honestly cut very well indeed. With a little occasional care, you may consider these your lifetime-lasting 'household' multi-tool.
Which is the best pair to reward yourself with?
Simple - just choose your preferred look!
Either way our kitchen scissors are *that* pair of all-purpose scissors; those you can probably forget about until the next time you need... well... scissors that really will do the job nothing else will! All over again. And again. And again.
And - with a little occasional care by you or our servicing - they will keep doing that for the rest of their lifetime, and yours; and probably your children’s too. We really do know that that happens with all our types of scissors by now.
A Little of Our History:
So I am Nick Wright, and my great-great-grandfather Walter Wright was a respected self-employed scissor-maker and 'little mester' in Sheffield in the 1800s. Walter’s son, Ernest Wright (senior) formalised our family company as scissor-manufacturers in 1902. Since then successive generations of Wrights have run our business; and we have passed down our traditional scissor-making skills and knowledge from father to son and from master to apprentice for well over a century.
By the 1960’s and 70’s we were a very large manufacturer of scissors supplying much of the world - from Sheffield, England (the birthplace of stainless steel).
Since those days we have much reduced in size and demand again, due to the globalization of manufacturing (including scissor-making) in general. We can fully appreciate how and why that has happened. However, we have maintained our reputation - and especially our skill - as being a world-class maker of lifetime-guarantee products.
By now, we know quite a lot about how to make a really good long-lasting pair of scissors or shears.
So why a Kickstarter then?
So if we’re that established, and our scissors are that good, and we’ve been here this long; why a crowdfund you may ask?
Ok: to begin making this design of scissors again, we need to completely renew the 'tooling' and dies that enable the hot-drop-forge to produce the raw ‘forgings’ or "blanks" from the highest quality stainless steel. These instruments, and that class of steel, are not at all cheap - but that’s also why they stand the test of time. Bear in mind the last Kutrite pattern tooling lasted us through some thirty (very, very busy) years!
We also wish to utilise the skills of some of Sheffield's finest design graduates to 3D scan, analyse, and subtly 'micro-renew' the original design for the new tooling set and dies. (You might not initially spot the difference in the finished scissors, but we will know and feel the improvement in their making for the long-run).
After that we need to obtain the minimum supplied quantity of these "blanks" from the forge: and the minimum number from the top quality stainless steel ingot required is in the region of 3,000 pairs (i.e. 3,000 top blades, 3,000 bottom blades). Any smaller quantity and these become significantly and prohibitively more expensive per item.
Whilst those blanks are being produced, we need to purchase a new snow-grinding machine for our workshop, specifically used to dress the flat design of these forged blades, before we can hand-finish them and ‘put-together’ these scissors in the time-honoured old-fashioned perfect way. In a sense it is old-meets-new, but we actually have done it before, and hopefully we will now do it again!
Then of course we have our apprentices; Jamie, Dan and Sam. These really are super young folk and are proving themselves better and better the more they learn from our experienced masters. They are the next generation. But it is a five year apprenticeship, and we need to keep paying them reasonable wages for them to be able to learn more as they come along.
We have totalled the above risk on this one pattern alone to be a minimum £60,000 initial investment in order to make this project a viable success. If we don’t attain that figure of investment, we simply cannot hand-make these lovely 'old/new' Kutrite kitchen scissors at a remotely reasonable retail price. But if enough of you insightful people DO want our fantastic scissors and therefore pledge above that - we can! It really is a 'more-the-merrier' situation all around.
So if you would like to see us making these superlative Kutrite Kitchen Scissors again, please pledge for a pair of kitchen scissors from Ernest Wright and Son Limited! Or even just a lovely Sheffield mug and pin-badge, t-shirt, or a thank you. It all contributes to the project. And then do us all one more favour and tell ALL of your friends about this project too!
FINALLY, we do have two points to make (and pardon that dreadful pun):
One: if (plenteous) enough of you choose to invest, these scissors may take a little time for us to individually hand-make. We hope you understand this. We won't (and never should) compromise quality in spite of demand, so please pay attention to the worst case scenarios in the dates in our 'rewards' options!
However, two: if you have paid us, we will always make sure you receive your scissors. We have been through interesting times before and we have learned some lessons every time. Regardless, we've been told far, far more often than not that these scissors are genuinely #wellworththewait.
If we hit target here, you will get your scissors - and we can continue to make them again, our way, for a long time to come. Cool, right? We may be 'old-fashioned' by trade, but we embrace the Kickstarter concept and era as well.
Please help to make this happen; we’d really, sincerely appreciate your support. And you will honestly love using these scissors for life. I'll guarantee it.
Thank you again for your interest.
Risks and challenges
We really have been making scissors for a very long time, so we feel we know what we're doing by now. The only risk we can foresee, should this Kickstarter campaign over-subscribe, is that some of you may have to wait a little longer for your product. However, we'll keep the project fully updated, and we certainly do promise that your life-time lasting, super sharp Hand Made in Sheffield scissors will be well worth the wait.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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