The History of Egginton Bros Ltd

Egginton are proud to be a family run and owned business with a direct five generation lineage to the founder. The company was formed in 1872 by Henry Egginton to manufacture and supply knife Sharpening Steel blades to the Sheffield cutlery industry. Sheffield cutlers would add a handle to the Sharpening Steel blade and it would then be sold as part of a carving set.

The company was passed on to Henry’s son, Arthur. Unfortunately, a fire that destroyed part of the factory also had a devastating effect on Arthur’s health, and he died in 1919 due to complications brought on by shock. Arthur’s eldest son, Cyril, then only 21 years of age, was left in sole control of the company. He remained at Egginton’s helm for the next 48 years.

The Sheffield cutlery industry thrived and an almost insatiable demand for carving sets containing Sharpening Steels soon developed. Under Cyril’s control, Egginton expanded as the demand from local manufacturing firms for Sharpening Steel blades increased.

Cyril’s daughter Brenda would later take the helm as company chairman. In 1953, she married Ron Brooks and he eventually became the company’s sales manager. By this time, trading conditions had worsened. There was a down turn in the Sheffield market. Competitive imports were impacting dramatically on the entire cutlery industry. It was evident that it was unwise to rely on the traditional Sheffield trade and cutlery markets. A new strategy was developed for the firm – one that would involve the marketing of finished Sharpening Steels as opposed to the “blades” only that had been supplied to the local trade. New markets overseas were sought. The new products were made and with them came successful in roads into both local and overseas butchery and catering industries.

Sheffield industry lost one of its most respected sons in 1968 when Cyril Egginton died aged 69. Held in high esteem by his colleagues, he had served the industry for almost half a century. Ron Brooks was appointed managing director and the strong management skills and business sense that he had developed over the years alongside Cyril were now evident. He recognised the need for the company to become more dynamic and he travelled the world extensively, personally representing Egginton’s products.

The company expanded further, and with this came a number of extensions to the factory. A new forge and new machines were set up to produce a wider range of Sharpening Steels that would further tap into world markets. The traditional but limited range of “Helical Cut” Steels was expanded and a range of “Fine Cut” Steels in differing styles was introduced allowing Egginton to advance into even more markets.

In 1988, the fifth generation of the Egginton family joined the business when Stephen came into the company to work alongside his father as a director of the firm. The range was expanded further with the introduction of Sharpening Steels with super-hard surface coated with diamonds. Egginton Bros Ltd had become the largest manufacturer of Sharpening Steels in Europe, but, that isn’t the end of the story

[Source: Taken, with kind permission, from an article entitled “The Egginton Group of Companies” researched and written by Joan Renton-Spencer of Australasian Knife Collectors]