IWA Outdoor Classic To the secret of steel

As early as the Middle Ages, knowledge of geometry contributed to the manufacture of swords.

Around 1060, the fortress of Burg Berge, today’s Altenberg, came into being.

to the Bishop of Cologne or the Deutz Abbey.

Crack drawings were discovered by the Archbishop of Cologne. What churches have to do with crack drawings and the manufacture of swords is sensational.

The blade craft has been established in Solingen since about 1200. The prerequisite for this were the dense forests, which were used for the production of charcoal.

Around 1300, the first evidence of blade sharpening existed in a monastery. The first specialisations occurred in the 15th century. Craftsmen joined together to form the various professions into „guilds“. Everyone did what they did best, knife makers, sword makers, forging blades, making handles, assembling the swords. The brotherhoods were independent and had no connection to the church. Already on blades from the 17oo century, the name Weyersberg was found. The WKC – Weyersberg, Kirchbaum & Co. made parade sabres for the American military. Some of these names are still found in Solingen.

People used to work from an ideal image. This was transferred to the swords by means of geometry and manufactured accordingly by the smiths. The basic idea:

To produce swords not with numbers and measurements, but with radius and lengths.

The swords were designed in such a way that they were „tailored“ exactly to the respective person. By means of geometry, the circle, the ideal line and using a compass, the so-called crack drawings were made.

Blacksmiths made the swords on the basis of these drawings. The art of fencing was born from geometry. Based on the circle – on the tip edge.

In fencing, care is always taken to offer the opponent as little attack surface as possible and to move on the ideal line in order to fight as effectively as possible.

IWA Outdoor Classics

This is what I learned in the lecture by Dr. Sixt Wetzler. Dr Wetzler joined the German Blade Museum as a freelancer in 2015. In 2016, the position of deputy director became vacant and eventually Dr Wetzler then took over as director of the museum. Dr Wetzler has been collecting knives and blades since he was a child and so a large network of knifemakers grew up.

Of course, this network also benefits the German Blade Museum.

His work is in the service of the city of Solingen. There is almost no one in Solingen whose ancestors did not live here and work in the manufacture of blades, whether knives or swords, whether knives or swords.

The Klingenmuseum, the „sharpest museum in Germany“ is undergoing a revamp. The Knife is the Blade Fair and is the in-house fair of the Blade Museum.

The fair takes place on 06 – 07.05.23 in Solingen.

It is the most important consumer fair for Germany. End users of knives, such as hunters, cooks and people who are simply interested in the history and making of blades, get their money’s worth here. Custom knife makers will be making one-offs and companies such as Puma, Otter, Böker and other well-known firms will be on hand.

In addition, the Blade Museum offers courses in the art of fencing. Various trainers from Brunei, the Philippines, Haiti and medieval Europe have already been guests here and passed on their knowledge to the students.

Grinding courses are offered in cooperation with the Herder company. „Etiquette is inn“ is the motto of a course that teaches the rules of etiquette and underlines this with the world’s largest collection of cutlery.

So that the man of today can enjoy a well-groomed shave, he will learn here in the future at the Blade Museum how this can be done with the old razor blades.

The Museum of Blades also has an impressive library. The book collection dates back to the 16th century. It is thus also a research centre and one of the most modern and open-minded museums of our time.

A visit is worthwhile and let yourself be enchanted by the attractive course offers and Dr. Wetzler, with his 17 creative staff looking forward to seeing you.

Report, text and images copyright by Susanne Panhans


All Texts & Pictures Copyright by Susanne Panhans

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