Ernest Wright have been making scissors in Sheffield since 1902 and have gone through many ups and downs. After 112 years they were close to closure but a short film called ‘The Putter’ by Shaun Bloodworth helped the company gain a worldwide following again and surge in orders.
Indeed, back at the end of 2015 I reviewed a pair of their new 8″ Dressmakers Scissors which you can read here.
It seemed Ernest Wright was going from strength-to-strength: A 2016 Kickstarter campaign, to reintroduce their ‘Kutrite’ scissors, was incredibly well backed and things looked good but the company suffered with delays and problems during manufacturing. Things came to a head in 2018, when we heard of the terribly sad death of their boss Nick, the doors being finally closed in June 2018.
So it seemed, yet another skilled craft company, its employees and products were to vanish forever. It was a surprise when I got a message through Instagram telling me “We will be back soon!” Well sure enough Ernest Wright are back making beautiful scissors again.
So the company is back and I have a pair of their ‘New’ 10″ Sidebent Tailors Shears in my hands.
NOTE: I was kindly gifted this pair of scissors but not in payment for a review. I am not in any way affiliated to the manufacturer and my review will be completely based on my own views and experience.
I have been a supporter of Ernest Wright for many years and own their 13″, 10″ and 8″ shears/scissors so I can compare the ‘old’ versus the ‘new’ side-by-side. So what has changed exactly?
The scissors come in a beautiful white (side slide) box. Featuring their new logo and the quote “Every Pair a Jewel”. Very contemporary indeed but the quote is not a marketing ploy, it was a quote used by Eric Stones (one of their 2 ‘Putters’) in the BBC film ‘The disappearing art of making scissors by hand’ by Susannah Reid.
Well the box is nice but what about the scissors? Sitting nestled in a foam insert, the first thing thing that strikes you is the shine. From points to the finger holes, everything is wonderfully polished. No more painted handles! Of course there is a reason for this. Painted handles are cheaper to produce!
Handles that are painted (like my old pairs) need much less finishing. Yes the blades are polished but the rest is roughly ground smooth, then covered in a thick layer of paint. The paint hides any imperfections and of course, takes a lot less time. Put them side by side and you can start to see the difference.
When you start to look closer the real difference becomes apparent. Note the squarer rougher edges on the ‘old’ pair compared to the new? Look how the lower handle is curved rather than angled.
Again on the finger holes (particularly the insides) the careful smoothing and polishing is apparent.
Around the joint area, the attention to detail is superb.
But does all this extra work make any difference, or is it just for aesthetics? Well it is obvious the ‘new’ style looks a classy; toned version of the ‘old’: More of a Thoroughbred than a Cart Horse, with gentle smooth curves. In fact they almost look lighter. Talking of weight the ‘new’ pair are 385g (13.5oz) which is actually 45g (nearly 2oz) lighter than the old. I assume this is due to the extra material removed during the sanding and polishing process.
When you actually start to use them is when you will feel the benefit of the extra work. They handles are a joy to hold and the careful contouring of each finger hole makes them amazingly comfortable. I never had a complaint about my ‘old’ pair but can certainly feel the difference with the new ones.
The act of using larger shears means, you not only apply pressure as you cut but also opening them applies pressure to your thumb and knuckles. The smooth finger hole areas reduce any pressure on the fingers when both opening and closing. They are unbelievably comfortable to use!
I will not discuss how well they actually cut, needless to say every pair of Ernest Wright scissors I have ever used, cut amazingly.
But what about cost? Ernest Wright scissors have never been classed as ‘cheap’ but quality certainly comes at a price. These shears are on sale at £135 per pair. Be honest though, what will £135 buy you in 2019? Certainly not something so beautifully made with care, dedication and craftsmanship…Oh and the lifetime warranty!
Many of us thought, after their closure in 2018, that you would never be able to buy Ernest Wright scissors again. Well now is your chance to own something special: Something that will last and a piece of social history. Sewing and crafting can become an expensive hobby but If you invest in just one thing this year then a pair of Ernest Wright scissors/shears is a must!
My thanks to Paul and the team at Ernest Wright for my lovely shears. I will treasure them and certainly put them to good use.
Until next time……Happy Sewing