The Laguiole knife is not a
company or trademark, it is a small village in Central France, part of
the Auvergne. The
knives are made in an area surrounding the town of Thiers, a town
specializing in the manufacture of flatware and cutlery, and the small
village of Laguiole.
The origin of Laguiole knives is thought to
have originated in Northern Spain from the Capuchadou a fixed knife with
a wooden handle and brought into France by travellers. This knife
was then improved upon to become the folding Laguiole knife of today by
Jaques Calmels the son of an innkeeper in Laguiole who had served an
apprenticeship in the cutlery industry. The folding knife became the
knife of choice for the farmers and shepherds of the area.
All modern day Laguiole knives have the bee on the bolster. The bee
signifies that Napoleon has approved and recommended the use of the
product, similar to the Royal Warrant of Approval in the UK. Legend
has it that Napoleon was camped near the village of Laguiole and the
local people stole into the camp and presented him with a Laguiole
knife. In the morning he gave the village the right to use the Napoleon
Today the local industry has expanded to offer other items such as steak
knives which have become very popular worldwide. The design both in its
beauty and the functionality and quality of the blades make an excellent
product. Added to attractive handles in silver and a
variety of natural and exotic woods the Laguiole steak knife has become
a firm favourite.
Beware of copies, a Laguiole steak knife is a complex item to make and
can be identified by the bee, the name of origin on the blade, its
weight and quality, and the authenticity and quality of the manufacturer.