Samuel Staniforth Ltd. of Sheffield, England are manufacturers of The Smithfield range of knives.
They were established in 1864 and have over 100 years of experience in the production of quality forged cutlery for the professional user.
Samuel Staniforth was born in about 1840 and began business in 1864. This early venture was short lived as he was declared Bankrupt in 1867, but was discharged the following year. A Sheffield directory for 1871 has Staniforth listed at 49 Carver Street as a manufacturer of fancy pen and pocket knives, scales and springs.
The manufacture of the raw materials of Sheffield cutlers – the forged blades, springs and scales – became Staniforths speciality. He eventually occupied Central Cutlery Forge on Carver Street, where he installed machinery for blanking knife blades from sheet steel (a process that had made hand forging redundant). In 1881, Staniforths workforce was 20 men and 8 boys. A postcard photograph of this Forge has survived: dated about 1900, it shows rows of blade blanking machines driven by belts from a central overhead line shaft. He described his speciality as “double shear blades and fancy shape carvers, shell blades and forks of every description”.
Staniforths Forge did not transform the Sheffield cutlery trades, the traditional methods were too embedded, but his factory was a sign of things to come. It also made him a wealthy man. He purchased a fine Victorian house at 5 Glen Road, Nether Edge. It has been described as a “little Kenwood” – a smaller version of George Wostenholm (Master Cutler 1856) mansion. He retired in 1894 and had his name carved in stone in the front of the house. Staniforth died in 1910, aged 70. He was buried, alongside his wife Tamar Alice (d.1864) in the General Cemetery.
Staniforths company continued to manufacture knife blades, initially under the management of T Merrill Hughes and W. Marshall. In the 1940s, it expanded into to production of a wide range of trade and military knives.
The company was bought by the Osborne family, who owned Heathcotes, the Machine Knife Manufacturer, in the 1960s who moved it to Alma Street.
Samuel Staniforth Ltd was purchased from the Osborne family by Chris Hopkinson and was relocated out of the City Centre to Halfway, Sheffield. With over 20 workers and using French Steel, the company continues to make knives for butchers, chefs, the military and hunters.