Early stainles steel tea knife, c 1915.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Sheffield-born son of a steel worker, Harry Brearley (1871-1948) was working in the laboratory of the steel works of Thomas Firth and Sons, Sheffield, when in 1913 he produced the first true stainles steel. This was a significant moment in metallurgical history, resulting in the first steel that did not rust. Sheffield has a long-standing reputation for producing high quality cutlery and this 'non-stain' tea knife was made by one of its main cutlery manufacturers, Butler of Sheffield.