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14C scissors

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:28 pm
by Joanna
were there sutch things as medieval scissors?
only if i was attending a event and needed to do a little repair and care on a garment would there have been scissors then?

just a weird question.

Re: 14C scissors

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:55 pm
by Karen Larsdatter
Yep! I think there's a few pairs in the Museum of London (though I forget whether they're in the Knives & Scabbards or Household or Textiles & Clothing books).

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:45 pm
by guthrie
I got my pretend medieval scissors from the shop in the wee botanic gardens at Lincoln. They look like small versions of old manual sheep sheers. They are usually sold nowadays as small bonsai tree trimmers. Oddly enough the shop sold out of them completely on the first day us re-enactors were there...

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:54 pm
by gregory23b
Historic Enterprises does a pretty good 15thC set, small and larger, not bad prices either.

Lots of shears and scissors, same function* different design.


* well similar really.

not a silly question.

Re: 14C scissors

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:24 pm
by PaulMurphy
Karen Larsdatter wrote:Yep! I think there's a few pairs in the Museum of London (though I forget whether they're in the Knives & Scabbards or Household or Textiles & Clothing books).
Knives and Scabbards - "This book catalogues, discusses and illustrates over five hundred knives, scabbards, shears and scissors dating from the mid-12th to the mid-15th centuries and found in the city of London, particularly along the waterfront sites, where recovered items can be accurately dated by dendrochronology and coin finds."

Available from Amazon at £23.75

Paul.

Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:22 am
by m300572
The 'sheep shears' type go back to prehistory (there is a wonderful bronze set with a wooden case carved to fit the shears). The 'scissors' type are medieval in origin I think (dates from the books referenced above witll give you more precise cetail) but the sheep shear type went on in use for a long time after the scissors type were invented - some of them were huge, used for cropping the surface of cloth to give it an even finish.

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:21 pm
by kate/bob
I saw a programme on TV about the 13th / 14th centuary body found under a fallen stone at Avebury (I think). He had a pair of scissors buried with him. They said that scissors were part of the tools of his trade. Leather workers, tailors, etc would have had scissors but for everyday use at home people would've had shears.

No idea if this is indeed correct so if anyone else knows better please let me know!

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:11 pm
by Tuppence
Depends very much which bit of medieval you're talking.

Shears for earlier, with scissors becoming more popular over time (as they're easier to use).

That said, shears were still around into at least the 18th century for uses other than sheep shearing, so might depend on social level and location.

also as mentioned above, those who'd be using them every day professionally would have the most 'up to date' type (i.e. scissors, because they reduce the stress on your hands and wrists when using).

For scissors and shears that'll cut just about anything, go to andy kirkham. he made my big shears and my little ones and they're wonderful.
but would recommend a scabbard though (mine are by morgan hubbard.)

debbie

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:05 pm
by Alan E
Tuppence wrote:Shears for earlier, with scissors becoming more popular over time (as they're easier to use).
Oh no they're not :shock: ! I've tried trimming my beard with scissors - the small shears are much easier to use for that ! Also, if you're continually putting down small scissors and picking them up, again shears are easier, because you don't need to keep putting your fingers through the daft little holes! :P YMMV of course.... Some people will always have preferred one or the other.
Tuppence wrote:That said, shears were still around into at least the 18th century for uses other than sheep shearing, so might depend on social level and location.
....
:D A bit later than that for use with the sheep IIRC - let me see: 1992 or 3, camping on a farm in Yorkshire, I gave first aid ("Run it under that tap - here's a bandage, I suggest you go to hospital and get it stitched") to an old lad who had cut his palm open with the sheep shears (seems there are always a few odd strays who don't get rounded in time to go wherever they go to be mechanically clipped, he sheared these by hand). Needless to say he was perfectly happy with the bandage and saw no reason to get anything else done :roll: "I'll just sit here a bit"; we left him to his daughter at that point :wink: .

For gardening they're still used of course and I was under the impression that they were also still used in dressing of skins.

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:52 pm
by Tuppence
Alan - you didn't get what I meant.

I was talking about full size scissors / shears, not embroidery scissors / snips (should have made that clear).

For cutting anything in large quantity (not little bits of thread, for which I am actually using bonsai snips as I write), or anything with a fair bit of weight (ie cloth, leather etc) scissors are far, far esier to use. This is because the pivot in the middle increases the force you can put into the blades, so you can cut heaveier stuff, and for a longer time (a bit like being able to lift a greater weight if you use a pulley).

And I should know - I've used shears for six - eight hours in one go, and omg did my hand ache afterwards. All I get from using scissors for that long is some blisters. Therefore, scissors easier to use.
bit later than that for use with the sheep IIRC - let me see: 1992 or 3,
Actually, shears are still used for sheep when they're sheared by hand, rather than electric - that's why I said "for uses other than sheep shearing".

shears

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:20 pm
by David Freeman
End of last year I witnessed shears still in use in Turkey for trimming carpet pile, reason being, you can get them flat with the surface of the carpet.

David