I’ve begun sewing again, and in the midst of it all, started looking at scissors and shears. There is quite a bit of history! In the U.S., two names seem to come up most often when it comes to the older manufacturers, J. Wiss, and R. Heinisch.
Most Americans in my age group are familiar with Wiss. They were the most popular scissor, as they have been made for many years, and were owned by the same family until, I think, the mid-1970s. Historically, J. Wiss came to the U.S. in the 1800s, and began to work for R. Heinisch making scissors and medical instruments. Eventually Heinisch’s enterprise failed, and Wiss, having been laid off by Heinisch and starting his own business, bought out Heinisch around 1917. Wiss is a household name, but I had never heard of Heinisch until my curiosity was piqued by seeing some very old vintage shears that were beautifully refurbished and still in use by tailors.
So, off to eBay, and a high bid brought these into my life. Sadly, they won’t cut fabric at all, and will need to be restored to sharpness. Thus, a project, with some elbow grease and some research. First of all, these shears are about 12 inches long – about 30 cm. They have a wonderful balance to them, and are easy to manipulate despite their size. The bolt is in good shape, as, it appears, are the blades. The japanning on the handles is gone. The first step to renovating these shears is to clean them up with steel wool. I will clean up the blades and handles with 00 and 0000 steel wool, being very careful not to work at all on the cutting edges of the blades.
I took a lot of photos of the shears, as they are now, and will, over time, post more. If you have any knowledge of restoration of old shears, please get in touch with me!