having spent virtually all my working life in the hand tool industry, starting as a territory rep and moving to national sales management and then 10 years as a self-employed agent, I am now at a point in my life where I can pick and choose what I do and where earnings, although necessary, are not the ‘be-all and end-all’.
During my early days on the road when I worked with my father (ex- J Stead and Co), I was always aware of the position of Sheffield in the world tool and cutlery trade and, although a Lancastrian (sorry!) I was always proud to represent the pinnacle of the industry and sorry to see its decline.
We represented such companies as Footprint, B&J Sippel, Ward and Payne and Cintride, among others. With the honourable exception of Footprint none of these, along with countless other world famous brands, now exist.
I am aware however that there are a good number of smaller companies still using the old skills to produce high quality craftsman-made tools, knives, cutler and scissors within the city just as they always did, but with the extremely high cost of sales and marketing it must be difficult for them to let their potential customers know that Sheffield quality is still available.
It would be foolish to even suggest that Sheffield can ever again approach the success which it enjoyed. Those days are gone forever. But if any manufacturer feels they can use my experience in selling their products I would take great pleasure over the next couple of years prior to retirement in doing my bit to promote and sell Sheffield craftsmanship.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack Butterworth, Royton, Oldham