Joseph Rodgers

BIOGRAPHY

Joseph Rodgers & Sons was an important firm of cutlers and silversmiths, which reached the height of its success in the 19th Century.
Founded in Sheffield, England, the origins of the firm lie with Joseph Rodgers, who first began producing fine silverware in 1682. In 1724 Joseph Rodgers registered the star and Maltese cross mark from the Cutlers’ Company and by 1730 he had been joined by his sons - Maurice and Joseph, under whose direction the company began to rapidly expand.

At first, the company solely specialised in producing pocketknives. From the beginning, Rodgers focused on producing the highest quality wares; each work was branded with the Rodgers Star and Cross symbol as a guarantee of its superb quality. In 1821 the firm was appointed official cutlers to the British Royal Family and to five successive British sovereigns: George IV, William IV, Queen Victoria, Edward II and George V.

Shortly after receiving their first Royal warrant, the firm opened luxurious showrooms at 6 Norfolk Street to display their most impressive wares. Renowned for the quality of their work they exhibited at many of the important international exhibitions of the period including the 1851 Great Exhibition in London where they exhibited their famous Norfolk Knife. The work which took two years to complete featured blades with etchings of Queen Victoria and Chatsworth House and amazed visitors by its quality and ambition; it is today on display in The Cutlers Hall, Sheffield.

In 1871 the company became known as Joseph Rodgers & Sons and continued to expand until it became the largest cutlery factory in the north of England. The firm continued to produce silverware for the British nobility and monarchy, in addition to catering for growing export markets such as Asia, Africa and North America.

While continuing to make high quality products, the late Victorian period onwards were difficult for the company. By 1929 they had sold No. 6 Norfolk Street, and recorded losses during the Great Depression. From a workforce of 1500 in 1914, the company had reduced to 325 employees in 1961. The company bought George Wostenholm & Son Ltd in 1971 but ceased trading by 1983, the trademark sold to Egginton Brothers.
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