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J.W.Stutter Ltd, Cutlers

May 31, 2013
by the gentle author

Bryan Stutter brandishes his Stutter scissors

Bryan Stutter and his wife Sue have amassed a handsome collection of old cutlery, all incised with the name of J.W.Stutter – the company founded by Brian’s great-great-great-grandfather Joel at the boundary of the City of London in the eighteen twenties. Cutlers were one of the myriad small trades that thrived here for centuries, selling their wares for domestic use and also providing tools to other manufacturers based in the vicinity, yet today the only evidence of their presence is in the name of Cutler St, a narrow thoroughfare leading off Houndsditch.

In an idle moment, seven years ago, Bryan was searching for the name of his forebear upon the internet when he found a J.W.Stutter cabbage knife for sale on an auction site. Bryan bought it on impulse and began searching for more items with the J.W.Stutter name, and thus his magnificent collection was born – reversing the trend of time, by bringing back together as many of the items manufactured and sold by J.W. Stutter as possible.

Bryan’s grandfather was the last in the family business and Bryan remembers coming up from Palmers Green as a child to Bishopsgate with his father to visit the shop in 1955 and seeing the famous 365 blade pen knife that was displayed in the window. “He offered sixpence to anyone that could open and shut every blade without cutting themselves,” Bryan recalled fondly. Originally, the company were manufacturing cutlers employing a sheet metal worker, a carpenter, an ivory carver and a silversmith, but by the sixties they could no longer compete with imported cutlery and the business was sold, moving to Hackney, only to close finally in 1982.

“As you get older, you start remembering things and you become interested in history, but by then the people you could have asked have died,” admitted Bryan, who had all but forgotten the former family business until he found some of the company papers with his father’s will. “I just thought, ‘this is my family history,’” he continued, gesturing to his proud assemblage of cutlery that includes the set of dessert knives he and Sue received as their wedding present, “If my daughter or nephew wants it, I can pass it in to them, and if nobody wants it, it can all go back on sale on the internet…”

J.W Stutter in Bishopsgate in the mid-twentieth century, with the 365 blade penknife on display.

365 blade penknife produced as an apprentice piece and shown at the Great Exhibition. Bryan remembers this in his grandfather’s shop.

J.W.Stutter at 133 Bishopsgate in 1911.

J.W.Stutter (third shop on the left)  at 184 Shoreditch High St.

The nineteenth century cabbage knife that started Bryan’s collection.

Detail of the cabbage knife.

Hip flask by J.W.Stutter

Detail of the hip flask.

J.W.Stutter Corn knife c. 1840

Herb Chopper

Victorian pewter teapot

Detail of the pewter teapot

Sewing scissors, c. 1890

Nineteenth century  razors in a presentation case.

Cobblers’ tool.

Detail of the cobblers’ tool

Victorian tackle retriever.

Set of dessert knives, mid-twentieth century.

Detail of the dessert knives.

Bryan & Sue Stutter with items from their Stutter collection.

36 Responses leave one →
  1. Peter Holford permalink
    May 31, 2013

    Some genuinely hand-crafted pieces reminiscent of our family cutlery drawer and dad’s toolbox. Not sure what the tackle retriever is but it sent a shiver down my spine!

  2. JES permalink
    May 31, 2013

    Wonderful story– any idea where the multi-blade knife is today?

  3. May 31, 2013

    Fantastic story. Quality pieces from a quality maker. We should all be supporting small, modern makers who take so much care with their production and the material choice. Minimum wage production is unsustainable, and so many products today are not even fit for purpose, yet alone designed to last.

  4. Elisabeth Steinhauser-Gleinser permalink
    June 4, 2013

    … all these marvellous stories …

  5. Mark Jordan permalink
    June 23, 2013

    I’ve just inheireted an incomplete canteen of J.W.Stutter cutlery that used to belong to my grandparents. Grandad was a porter at Spitalfields market hence the link. Thought I’d Google the name and found this site! Now what? Does anyone break canteens up for spare parts like cars?!

  6. Bryan Stutter permalink
    August 30, 2013

    Mark, all the items in the photos were purchased on that well known Internet auction line. You keep looking for the items missing from your canteen, or sell as incomplete. I would suyggst you keep looking. I have seen incomplete canteen up for sale .

    Good Luck

  7. ian silverton permalink
    September 8, 2013

    remember this shop in bishops gate,when leaving school,at Sir John Cass,we all bought our pen knives their.Also it legal sold flick knives,and daggers,always a must look for us boys, best Ian Silverton

  8. Bryan Stutter permalink
    October 20, 2013

    In answer to the question raised by Jes in may, I believe that the multibladed knife was sold with the Company name in 1964 to the rag trade, the company then started to trade as J W Stutter (Bishopsgate) Ltd, 332 Hackney Road E2, who were still listed in 1991. The MD was shown as G Hearn. There was a thread left on the British Blades site (britishblades.com) by a person names as Hearn saying he/she had more information and anybody who was interested should get in touch. Despite many emails no reply has been forthcoming. Does anybody out there know G Hearn who was list as the MD?

    Sorry for the time taken to reply Jes

  9. Ron Graham (Australia) permalink
    November 6, 2013

    I HAVE JUST GOOGLED J.W.STUTTER AND CAME TO THIS SITE. I WAS LOOKING FOR AN OLD PAIR OF SCISSORS I HAVE AND THERE THEY WERE. THEY ARE THE 1890′s SEWING SCISSORS THAT YOU SHOW.
    I DO INTEND TO SELL THE SCISSORS SO IF ANY ONE WANTS TO MAKE AN OFFER BEFOR THEY ARE SOLD PLEASE GET BACK TO ME.
    REGARDS
    AUSSIE RON

  10. Paul permalink
    January 23, 2014

    I have a half doz box of desert knives inherited from my gran who lived in west ham. War rented stainless and still not a mark on them!

  11. Alan permalink
    February 19, 2014

    There are some stutter leather tools currently on ebay

  12. March 10, 2014

    The cobbler’s knife is, I believe, a furrier’s knife – used to cut pelts for making fur coats etc..

    The Victorian tackle tool looks more like a billhook (pruning hook) as seen in the 1800′s Manufacture’s Tool Lists, where it forms part of a set of gardener’s tools (interchangeable tools for a single handle)….. The Birmingham Pattern Book of Tools and Household Goods lists it as a hook bill, and includes a rake, a garden fork, a paddle, a hoe, a saw and a fruit knife together with a four part handle that extends to 5″6″.

  13. Alex permalink
    April 17, 2014

    I have a hip flask identical to the one pictured here. Bought it many years ago for a few pounds at an antiques fair. In fact am using it now and thought I’d google the name on it (it still works fine – no leaks! and a good size). presumably early 1900′s ?

  14. John Vinson permalink
    April 25, 2014

    Yes the cobblers knife is a fur knife. I have one somewhere inherited from my Grandfather who was a furrier. Have just found a pair of Fur pulling pliers by JW Stutter. The only other markings are a heart after the name and the numbers 5/8. Does anyone know if the heart dates these?
    The family lived around the east end at the turn of the last century so it is most likely they purchased the tools of their trade from on of Stutters shops.

  15. G.Hearn permalink
    May 8, 2014

    I am the Mr Geof Hearn that once had the privilege of owning J.W.Stutter and still have a couple of items made for the great exhibition and some odds and ends . I also have somewhere a familiarly tree going back to the beginning. If you wish you may contact me on the above email address.

  16. Bryan Stutter permalink
    May 9, 2014

    Hi Geoff, you may remember making an entry on British Blades some time ago to which I responded as below

    “Bryan Stutter. I purchased J.W.Stutter Ltd in 1969 and traded as J.W.Stutter (bishopsgate) Ltd .I have some history of the family going back many years. If you want more information contact me. I was very surprised to read that the company of cutlers had never heard of Stutters as in its day was one of the leading cutlers. Attending the great exhibition with not only the 365 blade knife but a fur knife and a giant size carving knife and fork all engraved for the exhibition.”

    hearnstutter
    “Hi How nice to hear from somebody who knows about the shop. As I have said many times when I was a kid the shop history was never mentioned by my grandfather, so any information you can let me have would be greatly appreciated. You can use my email address if you wish bryanandsue@btinternet.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks & regards Bryan Stutter”

    It is therefore good to see your post on this site and, as I said before I would be very interested in anything you have or know about in connection with the shop. It would be very good to hear from you on my email bryanandsue@btinternet.com.
    I am not sure whether my email address will be edited out but, alternatively, please feel free to ring me on 01707 651372 any time. I look forward to hearing from you. Bryan

  17. John Vinson permalink
    May 23, 2014

    Are there any lists of customers or account holders left anywhere? I would love to find proof that Grandad or his forebears did actually buy items from Stutters. Family name back then was Fuhrberg. The whole family were furriers, with the last one of that calling passing away in 1973.

  18. John Hall permalink
    September 8, 2014

    I have a J W Stutter pen knife style knife and fork set. You have to openout the fork halfway then the handle seperates to release the knife. any ideas on the history of this. It is very well engineered, and has a patent number- 28230. It used to belong to my Grandfather and is engraved J. W. Hall .

    Many thanks

    John

    I have a J. W. Stutter pen knife style knife and fork set. You have to open out the fork half way, then the handle seperates to release the knife.

    It is very well engineered and has a patent No – 28230.

    It belonged to my Grandfather, and is engraved J. W. Hall.

    Any ideas of it’s history or purpose ( I assume camping or military)

    Many thanks

    John

  19. Johannes Hearn permalink
    February 13, 2015

    Hi Brian,

    Just a bit of information for you – My grandfather took over J.W. Stutters in the late 1950′s early 1960′s and up until a few years ago was still running the business supplying the trade with machinery and designing facilities.

    He would have known your grandfather and could shed light on a lot more facts – happy to put you in contact or ask questions on your behalf as I am quite interested myself.

  20. Krystalrose permalink
    February 15, 2015

    Hello I have a jw stutter Ltd razor blade in its original box and condition would you be able to help me get a value for it thanks
    Serial number 2633

  21. WARREN permalink
    February 22, 2015

    HI , I have a small pair of 4 1/2″ scissors marked J.W.Stutter Ltd on one side and on the other it is stamped with a outline of a lady wearing a hat and wondered if you knew what date they would be from
    thanks
    warren

  22. Bryan Stutter permalink
    May 29, 2015

    Hi Johannes, thanks for your offer of help in making contact with your father. I have already been able to speak with him and learnt a bit more about what happened to the business after my Grandfather sold it around 1964. No doubt he has already told you this. I have tried several times to respond to the message you left but the system seemed to crash each time.

    Regards, Bryan

  23. Bryan Stutter permalink
    May 29, 2015

    Hi Krystalrose, sorry about the delay in responding but I have tried several times but the system seemed to crash each time. I am afraid I cannot give any clue as to the value of your razor, as I have only ever bought through ebay and as in any auction the price obtained is governed by how may people are bidding – I have been lucky sometimes to be the only bidder – not good news for the seller.

    Regards, Bryan

  24. louise Simpson permalink
    March 18, 2016

    Hi Bryan
    We have 5 we believe are desert knifes which has J.W. Stutter 173 Shoreditch. Then in a circle round a shield it says established I believe 1811? Was wondering if you knew if the blade is carbon steel as has not got stainless steel on the knife. It feels like steel. Also do you have any idea what age they are?

  25. Bryan Stutter permalink
    March 27, 2016

    Hi Louise, from what you say it looks as if the blades could be “silver steel”, this is stamped on some blades I have. Having said that, I do have some items that make no mention of what the metal is. My records show that J W Stutter were at 173 Shoreditch between 1906-1910, Although J W Stutter was my great great grandfather and the business was last owned in the family by my grandfather he then sold it on and it appears that it ceased trading in the 1990s. Even though I have this relatively close connection to the business, my father and I never got involved with the business and I am no expert on cutlery and associated goods. Hope my limited knowledge helps.
    Maybe somebody else out there knows and can tell us!
    Regards

    Bryan Stutter

  26. John Gamper permalink
    August 14, 2016

    I have just purchased a three piece meat carving set made by J.W. Stutter in its original box. I would like to know some information on this set. Can anyone help. It was purchased in Tasmania, Australia.

  27. Laurie Goldsmith permalink
    August 30, 2016

    I have my mothers fur knife still, she was a homeworking fur glove maker in the late 40s to the early 60s. Itis marked as a “Silver fox” and below that it’s marked NTEBB KNIFE .

  28. November 10, 2016

    Hi thought you might be interested in these, just acquired a complete set of J W Stutter Mon to Sun cut throat razors in a case, stamped 173 Shoreditch. I can send pics if you would like for your site.
    Regards
    Clive

  29. Elizabeth Lynch permalink
    January 15, 2017

    I am turning out a house and have just come across an enormous pair of scissors, the only markings I can see are stutter and on other side Bishopsgate 268.
    Are they worth anything and where should I take them.
    They measure 13.5 inches in length and are very heavy

  30. Bryan Stutter permalink
    January 21, 2017

    Hi Elizabeth,I am sorry for the delay in replying to your pos. I have purchased tailors and dress makers scissors on eBay, as for value they would only be worth what somebody is prepared to pay. I would be interested to see pictures of these scissors if that is possible. You can send them directly to me on bryanandsue@btinternet.com.

  31. Bryan Stutter permalink
    January 21, 2017

    Hi Clive, I am sorry for the delay in replying to your post. I must say that I have never come across “daily” razors and would be interested to see any pictures you have. You can send them directly to me on bryanandsue@btinternet.com.

    Regards

    Bryan

  32. steven cowell permalink
    July 11, 2017

    Hello Bryan, just looking through an old cabinet ,I have a cutthroat razor J W Stutter 173 shoreditch with special written on the blade looks pretty old to me, any idea? steve

  33. Bryan Stutter permalink
    September 18, 2017

    Hi Steve, just read your comment. All I can tell you is that according to my findings J W Stutter were at 173 Bishopsgate between 1906 and 1919.

    Hope this helps you. Regards Bryan

  34. James permalink
    October 17, 2017

    Been using a Stutter knife for years… just in my toolbox. Gets used for all sorts of jobs. Paint scraping, cutting up old cardboard for the bin, trimming coolant hoses. Never put a thought to its age or history. Just Google searched it today in an idle moment.

  35. De Roo Alain permalink
    November 21, 2017

    Sir,
    can you tell me when the store was located at 268 Bishopsgate?
    I just purchased a bowie knife with Original scabbard and it looks very old
    thank you

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