W.S. SEARLS & CO., SHEFFIELD
A GOOD VICTORIAN FOLDING POCKET LOCK-KNIFE WITH STAG SCALES,
circa 1860, with spearpoint 6 1/2in. single edged blade false edged for the last 4in. and signed at the forte 'W.S. SEARLES & CO' (sic), carved and moulded iron bolsters, full-length stag-horn scales, the left with rectangular nickel panel for engraving, lanyard loop of staple form to rear and push-button blade release in back-strap, some light staining to iron parts, 15in. overall when opened
Provenance: William Singleton Searls was born in Sheffield in around 1823. He was apparently the son of Thomas, a toolmaker, and his wife, Mary. In 1849 – when he married Caroline, the daughter of cutlery merchant Edward Hobson – William was a bookkeeper at the office of The Sheffield Independent. At the start of the 1850s, William established W.S. Searls & Co, a cutlery wholesaler and exporter in Worcester Street, Birmingham. He marketed a wide range of cutlery and electro-plate and is known to have sold table knives marked ‘William S. Searls & Co', ‘V R' [and crown], and ‘Sheffield'. He had an office in Carlisle Street, Sheffield, and a retail shop at Leamington Spa. This was closed in 1870. Searls himself died on 27 December 1871, aged 48, at Granville House, Trafalgar Road, Moseley. He left under £5,000
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