Hardy Bros. Ltd. of Alnwick, England is most noted for its fly rods and reels, but also carried a variety of other specialized sporting goods including anglers knives over the years.
William Hardy started the company in 1872. He was soon joined by his brother John James Hardy, forming the firm of Hardy Brothers. The new company advertised as “gunsmiths, whitesmiths and cutlers.”
Although they were listed as cutlers, all of the twelve Hardy Brothers knives that I have in my collection are contract knives made by the Sheffield-based firms of Butler Bros., Thomas Turner and John Watts. As far as my research has determined there were six different models with some variations based upon age of manufacture and maker, along with different location impressions on the back scale. The first four patterns all have the model number and Hardy’s Anglers Knife on the front scale but the back is either plain or lists the company address, or address and its depots (“Hardy Bros Ltd., Angling Specialists, Alnwick England”) and (“Depots, London 61 Pall Mall. S.W. – Manchester 12 Moult St – Edinburgh 101 Princess”). The last two models are the “Hardy’s Drop Knife” #1 with two blades and #2 with one blade. In addition to the model and depots markings these knives are also marked with a hook gauge and a ruler graduated in both inches and meters.
I have a 1934, 54th Edition of Hardy’s Anglers Guide which contains 448 pages of their merchandise and services including the six previously mentioned models of anglers’ knives with a complete description of their blades and tools. Some additional interesting aspects of this catalog are that the knives were available in sterling silver “at proportionate prices,” came with a chamois leather case and had prices listed. The most expensive of the group was the #4 at 27/6 (shilling and pence) which would be equivalent to about two dollars and five cents at the time.
This article first appeared in the October 2020 issue of KNIFE Magazine. Premium Online Members can read the whole thing by clicking the blue box below.