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Sabatier is the maker's mark used by several kitchen knife manufacturers—by itself it is not a registered brand name. The name Sabatier is considered to imply a high-quality knife produced by one of a number of manufacturers in the Thiers region of France using a full forging process; the knives of some of these manufacturers are highly regarded. However, the name "Sabatier" came into use before intellectual property laws and is not protected; knives legally bearing the name range from high-quality knives made in France to cheap mass-produced products of poor quality from France and other countries; a registered logo or full name, or both, such as "65 Sabatier Perrier", is necessary to establish origin and quality.

History

The name originated in Thiers, France, at the beginning of the 19th century. The area of Thiers has been associated with the cutlery industry since the 15th century.[1][2] With the advent of the industrial age, manufacturers began to consolidate their crafts or trades by creating brand or trade marks.

In the early 19th century, two separate families began using the name Sabatier to market their knives: Jean Sabatier of Le Moutier (lower Thiers) and Philippe Sabatier of Bellevue (upper Thiers). The families are not known to be related except by name and craft. There is a dispute over who registered the trademark first, with each citing evidence. The Sabatiers of Le Moutier company survived in many incarnations until the brand was bought out by Cuisinox in 1979. The only surviving family is the Sabatiers of Bellevue, which is still at the same address and still owned by the descendants of the original founder, Philippe Sabatier. It continues to make the knives under the corporate name ETS Sabatier Aîné & Perrier.

Manufacturing process

Among the many Sabatier manufacturers in Thiers, France, most provide high quality cutlery using traditional forging techniques that were developed in the area in the early and mid-19th century. Most of these manufacturers use a "fully forged" technique and a hand shaping and sharpening process using local skilled labour.

Fully forged means that three of the four knife parts (blade, bolster, tang and handle) are forged from a single piece of steel. In this process, a single cylinder shaped steel billet is heated where the bolster will be, and squeezed from the ends to create a bulge. The entire piece is heated again and forged to the shape of the blade, bolster, and tang using forging dies in one operation. Afterward, a clipping tool is used to cut the forged piece to the rough shape of the knife. Finally, the handles are riveted on, and the final shaping and sharpening is done by hand. The alternative way to manufacture knives is stamping; forging has traditionally been considered superior, but from the late 20th century some knives of excellent quality have been produced by stamping.

Brand names

The use of the Sabatier name is an anomaly of "branding" because the name was used by many different companies before intellectual property or trademark laws were fully established in France. In order to distinguish between the various makers of Sabatier knives, manufacturers are required to include a second word or symbol along with "Sabatier". Over the years many marks have been registered. In 1979, after the sale of the Moutier Sabatier brands to Cuisinox, the various holders of the brands formed an association to protect the brand name.

While there are many knife manufacturers using Sabatier as their brand, some Sabatier manufacturers are considered authentic, and some are not. Generally speaking, among connoisseurs of fine cutlery, only knives manufactured in Thiers from well-established manufacturers from the 19th century are considered "genuine" Sabatier knives.

Many other manufacturers, both in France and elsewhere, use the Sabatier name on their knives; however, they are usually mass-produced, and of poor quality.[3] Neither words such as vrai or garanti, nor "Made in France", ensure a good knife.

Companies selling Sabatier knives

Sabatier brands have been sold by many companies over the years. The following list is an attempt to link the present day owners to the brands.

References

  1. ^ "Cutlery in Thiers". Official Site of the Cutlery Industry in Thiers. Archived from the original on 2010-02-27.
  2. ^ "Thiers: an important cutlery hub and manufacturing location of 'Made in France' knives". TB Groupe (French cutler). Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  3. ^ "Sabatier Diamant shop: how to be sure of buying a good-quality Sabatier knife. "It is possible to find bad quality knives marked "SABATIER" made in France or abroad"". Shop.sabatier.com. Archived from the original on 2013-05-19. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  4. ^ "Guy Degrenne: Acquisition de la société Therias et l'Econome". September 2015.