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Object Name: Tailor's shears
Date: ca. 1914
Related People:
Medium: Steel, iron, brass, enamel, fabric
Dimensions: Overall: 15 × 4 3/8 × 2 3/8 in. (38.1 × 11.1 × 6 cm)
Description: Large commercial iron and steel shears connected at brass circular hinge, and with looped enameled (but worn) handles. Thumb-rest wrapped with four layers of an unidentified stitched fabric.
Credit Line: Gift of Beth B. Skobel
Object Number: 2016.34
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Marks: “R. HEINISCH INVENTOR / NEWARK . N. J. U. S. A.” stamped along brass pivot. Interior of lower blade also stamped “H” and “10”

Gallery Label:

R. Heinisch was established in Elizabeth, New Jersey in about 1825. The firm was founded by Rochus Heinisch (1801-1874), an Austrian immigrant who trained as a cutler and surgical instrument maker in Austria and France. Heinisch arrived in the United States during the 1820s, and in 1829 patented the first of several processes for making tailors’ shears out of malleable iron and steel. Heinisch’s shears incorporated a unique thumb-rest that made them both comfortable for large and small commercial cutting jobs as well as durable. Heinisch shears became an international industry favorite and sold all over the world. Such pairs continued to be used long after the company was sold. These shears were used in the 1930s.


These tailor's shears were used in the 1930s by the father of the donor during his time working as a fabic cutter in New York City's garmet trade.