Kent's knife sharpening and cleaning machine, c 1905.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Patent rotary disc hand-operated knife sharpening and cleaning-machine, size 7, no 8926, made by George Kent of High Holborn, London. Knives are placed in the slots at the top of the rotary oak box. Inside are roller sharpeners, and felt buffers and bristles which clean and polish both sides of the knife at the same time. An abrasive powder is poured through the chute. The rotary action constantly raises the polishing powder from the supply chute. This was the most popular type of knife cleaning (and sharpening) machine from about 1850 to around 1920. Prior to the introduction of stainles steel, knives rusted quickly and required constant washing and cleaning. Large households would have used machines like this on a daily basis.