Thiers and cutlery are synonymous. The street names (rue de la Coutellerie, rue des Forgerons, rue des Usines, rue de l’Industrie …), the first industrial forges in the valley, or a paddle wheel along the Durolle … all indications point to this industry.
Since the 15th century knife making has been a way of life in Thiers. Then, there were about 30 cutlers listed on the tax register. A century later there were 200. Only one advantage set this medieval town up for such a specialisation. There was no iron or steel mining, no quarries for grinding stones. But there was the Durolle, that torrent of a river that for centuries provided the energy needed by the mills and factories for knife making.
Today, even though there are no longer cutlery works situated along the banks of the Durolle, 70% of all the knives used in France, from table knives to pocket knives to professional knives … they’re still produced in Thiers. In the 21st century, there are still almost 200 businesses that thrive in the Thiers basin industrial area.
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