The knives of Kings: symbolizing French cutlery

The historian Christian Lemasson recently discovered the existence of two knife makers from Thiers that served at the King’s court in the 17th century, proving that the capital of French cutlery’s historic roots run deeper than previously thought!

The knives of Kings: symbolizing French cutlery

The royal family used Knives from Thiers!

Christian Lemasson is passionate about history and specifically that of the French cutlery industry.

Lemasson’s research shows that the cutlery industry in Thiers had already garnered a positive reputation throughout France well before the French Revolution. Thiers has always been cited as an exemplary city, known for its artisanal savoir-faire and the unrivalled quality of its cutlery items.

A passionate historian turning back the pages of time

His research recently led him to identify two cutlers from Thiers who served the royal family during the 17th century!

While visiting the National Archives to gather information about the History of French cutlery, Christian Lemasson discovered that Jean Vignol, a cutler from Thiers, had served King Louis XV’s Dauphin.

From Vignol to Pouzet

Jean Vignol was brought to the capital in the beginning of the 18th century and was immediately noticed by the King for his talents as a cutler; he was quickly awarded the title of the Dauphin’s official cutler.

After this discovery, the historian continued to search the archives located in the area surrounding Versailles in order to find more information on Vignol. He found information about another cutler from Thiers named Louis Pouzet who established a close relationship with King Louis XIV!

Knives from Thiers were famous during the era of Louis XIV

As he continued to plunge deeper into the history of French cutlery, Christian Lemasson discovered that the cutler Pouzet was chosen to defend his hometown.

Lemasson stated, "This is probably the first time that a king’s cutler has been chosen for merits outside of the cutlery domain." Pouzet had to manage a conflict that arose within the guild of cutlers from Thiers. Lemasson explained, "Pouzet was indeed forced to change his signature by modifying his maker’s mark on the blade and changing the knife’s name to The Victory." This is one of the first examples of trademark being used in the cutlery industry.

For a few years, from 1784 until the Revolution, Pouzet enjoyed a successful career that was unfortunately cut short. However, his legacy lived on until the end of the 19th century. It is probable that a family member continued creating the La Victoire knives.

One thing is certain, these two stories demonstrate the valued place knives from Thiers hold in the history of France and prove that they helped establish the city’s reputation as the French cutlery capital par excellence.

Knives from Thiers in the 20th century

Today, this honorary title seems justified in light of the latest statistics gathered concerning the cutlery sector in Thiers.

Today, this economic sector represents approximately 80 companies with nearly 1,300 employees.

TB Groupe: spearhead of the French cutlery industry

The new wave of innovation within Thiers’ knife manufacturing industry has paved the way for an interesting and positive future. TB Groupe is a prime example of an innovative French cutlery company, which designs a wide array of high-end products.

A perfect example of the company’s exceptional products is its collection of Evercut® knives, which are reputed as being some of the world’s sharpest and most robust knives. The professional-grade Maestro® knives are another great example – these knives are used by the world’s greatest chefs.

Christian Lemasson: a passionate historian of French cutlery

Tarrerias-Bonjean would like to give thanks to Christian Lemasson for his perseverance and talent. Through his dedicated research he has continued the legacy of cutlery from Thiers.

A very rich journey

Christian Lemasson’s life has been just as interesting as his discoveries: he completed his studies in business at the Institut de l’Économie et de la Coopération Européenne in Paris. He also studied psychology and ethnographic cinema and went on to direct several films about French cutlery and cutlery from Thiers.

An undying love for French cutlery

In fact, Lemasson’s love of knives dates back to his childhood. "When I was young," he stated, "My father had a large knife in his workshop. When my parents were away, I would take it from the drawer and play with it, pretending I was like D’Artagnan!"

Many years later, when the family was moving houses, his father offered him one of his best, most beautiful knives - a traditional knife that belonged to his great-grandfather. Upon receiving this present, Lemasson realized it was the same one he used to play with as a child!

"The cutlery sector is a world of its own that is filled with history," concludes the passionate historian. We would like to thank Christian Lemasson for his hard work and congratulate him on his new discoveries!