Beautiful Scissors: The Stunning Turtons by Ernest Wright

This isn’t just a review of a pair of beautiful scissors. The Turton scissors represent the story of a small legacy company that has survived five generations and 120 years without sacrificing quality or integrity.

Ernest Wright Turtons 01

Turton Review Summary

  • Overall Rating: 4/5
  • Price: 95 Pounds: Check the latest pricing here.
  • Features: hygenic stainless steel, bottle opener, nutcracker, 3.5″ blade
  • Durability: Lifetime warranty, blade & handles made from single piece drop-forged steel.
  • Design: over a century old, elegant sweeping curves, timeless style.
  • Craftsmanship: hand-made by master putters with over 60 years experience. Hand-tuned blades and polishing.
  • History: Genuine piece of British history from the famous cutlery industry of Sheffield England. Birthplace of industrial stainless steel.

Buy Them If…

  • You’re looking for a high-quality wedding or housewarming present
  • You like to buy things once and enjoy them forever
  • You appreciate history
  • You want to pass on an heirloom that your children will use every day and remember you by.

Skip Them If…

  • You’re on a tight budget
  • Your husband has a bad habit of using your scissors as wire cutters or pruners.(in which case you should consider these scissors instead)
  • People keep “borrowing” your scissors for forever. (ie: office co-workers)

Introduction

Firstly, let me introduce to you to the hidden gem of Ernest Wright hand-made scissors.

These are the kind of companies I love to discover and tell you about. They reflect what WellRigged.com is all about: the most durable, high-quality products on earth.

Consider browsing around or subscribing for more articles and reviews like this one.

Ernest Wright has been hand-crafting beautiful scissors since 1902. Their o best-selling pair are the classic Turton scissors. The design is over a century old. That’s a long production run!

It’s easy to see why they are loved.

The Turtons are heirloom-quality scissors hand-made by master craftsmen(Putters) using historic drop-forged Sheffield steel. The hand-polished handles and elegant curves have been capturing eyes for over a century.

Even with all the fine aesthetics, they are comfortable in hand, functional, and robust enough for a lifetime use.

Contents:

Turton Scissors Review

Turton Specs

Turton Scissors features
A vintage enamel variation of the classic Turtons.
  • Purpose: All-round but most at home in the kitchen
  • Historic Design: Early 1900s
  • Drop-forged in Sheffield, England– the industrial birthplace of stainless steel
  • Material: Surgical Stainless Steel
  • Hand Crafted & Tuned by master Putters with decades of experience.
  • Hand polished 
  • Integrated Nut Cracker/cork/twist cap remover
  • Bottle Opener
  • Total length: 7″ (17.8 cm)
    Blade length: 3,5″ (8.9 cm)
  • Lifetime Warranty: Includes defects in materials & workmanship

Video Review

History of the Turtons Scissors

Frank Turton
Frank Turton

Frank Turton was a master cutler who owned his own business called Frank Turton Scissors ltd. in Sheffield.

Although they were competitors, Ernest and Frank enjoyed a good relationship, often exchanged employees, and helping each other completing orders.

Ernest and Frank were known to take afternoons off for a round of golf together.

In fact, Eric Stones, one of Ernest Wright’s current master Putters, owned a major stake in Franks business. He worked for Frank Turton for many years until the company folded.

Frank’s Turton kitchen scissors were an iconic and successful design that saw several versions in Franks time. Though he and his company are gone, his legacy lives on.

Ernest Wright has taken up the mantel and continues to produce Turtons for all of us to enjoy.

Unboxing

Ernest Wright Turton scissors

Unboxing the Turtons makes you feel special. They are delivered in a lovely white gift box worthy of what’s inside. On the box is the Ernest Wright Crest and under the quote “Every pair a Jewel.” -the oft-repeated remark heard in the shop as master Putter Eric Stones completes a set of scissors.

Pull on the red side tab, and out slides the Turtons nested in a form-fitted foam tray.

Sheffield made certificate

Also included, is an official “Sheffield Made Certificate” bearing the seal of the Lord-Mayor of Sheffield.

For collectors, that’s a valuable addition and a further salute to the historical value of owning a hand-made piece like this.

As others have already said, These are the only scissors you could give as a wedding a present without looking like a cheapskate.

Design

The Turtons are a fancier, more refined version of those old forged scissors your Grandma used to keep in her kitchen drawer.

The design is simple yet remarkably elegant. The graceful silhouette and smooth curves of the Turtons evoke nostalgic memories of better times: 

You know the days: when a craftsman’s quality and workmanship reflected his own honor and his customers rewarded his integrity with loyalty to his products.

I’ll forgive you for salivating, I did the same when I first laid eyes on the Turtons a year ago.

The Turtons are not huge scissors by any means, neither do they appear disproportionate or stubby.

The cutting edges are 3.5″ long. They are designed for control and power in mind. This allows for significantly more cutting force all the way to the tip for hard snipping (a weakness in long scissors.)

Within the sweeping design of the beefy drop-forged handles is a nutcracker.

The top handle has an integrated bottle opener that reminds me of shark fin. The tooth flows nicely with the curves of the scissors adding a nice flare of style.

It is attention to the details like this set the design of the Turtons apart and have made them so successful over the years.

Enduring products separate themselves for the crowd through high-quality and paying close attention to details that other manufacturers miss.

Anyone can slam a bottle opener and nutcracker on a pair scissors. Not everyone can use those elements to make a pair of scissors look more beautiful.

You can tell that a lot of artful thought has been put into the design.

The Turton’s shark fin bottle opener

The handles feel secure without any raw seams, unfinished edges or pressure points

The action of the scissors are smooth with no burrs, catches, squeaks or play.

Ernest Wright’s Crest is etched tastefully behind the hinge on one side and on other, “Made in Sheffield England.”

The scissors are hand finished to a high polish.

Craftsmanship

The Putter from shaun bloodworth on Vimeo.

When I first handled the Turtons I held them up to the light just as I saw Cliff do in the above video that went viral back a few years back. I squinted at the spine with one eye, and slowly closed the blades.

Why? I wanted to see how the blades touched as they closed.

When you close the Turtons, the blades are hand-tuned so that they precisely contact each other at the cutting point under consistent pressure.

This cutting point moves smoothly forward to the tip as the blade closes.

If the blades are not perfectly trued it could result in varying faults in cutting performance along the length of the cut like slippage, tearing or even pulling.

All this is accomplished by the seasoned hands of Ernest Wright’s two master Putters Cliff and Eric.

Both of these guys have been making scissor for over 60 years. They started off sweeping the floors when they were 15 & 14! Now they are well past retirement and still going. That’s called passion folks!

Cliff and Eric are among the last of the Putters(Puttertogetherers). Yes, that is an actual cutlery industry term.

What was once a humble low-paid vocation is now almost priceless craft in danger of extinction.

Ernest Wright understands the value of passing on these skills and traditions. Cliff and Eric are working hard to train up apprentices to carry the torch.

Performance

The hand-polished handles are smooth and very comfortably. There are no hard edges or unfinished seams. I take a men’s large glove and the scissors accepted my three largest fingers in the bottom handle.

As I mentioned, the Turtons are most at home in the kitchen. The bottom blade has light serrations that make their presence known as you close the jaws.

The action is tight but not so much to be fatiguing. The cutting stroke was smooth with no burrs or loose spots.

The scissors performed well across most of my tests in the kitchen including breaking down poultry, slicing celery, parsley and cabbage.

When cutting the poultry I noted the power available at the end of the stroke. The tip actually sliced into the bone without me even meaning too.

Cucumbers are too big for the 3.5″ blade which resulted in less than perfect slices.

Cardboard is no problem and I was able to slice narrow pieces of paper easily without closing the blades.

Over-all performance was to be expected.

Verdict

Ernest Wright scissors aren’t for everyone.

beautiful scissors 2

Let me put it this way, some folks are happy to stuff their faces with waxy Halloween chocolates. Others would rather spend more to enjoy one fine Swiss Lindor each evening.

Ernest Wright scissors are like fine chocolate. They are for a more discerning taste. Folks who appreciate refined workmanship, history, and classic style have a hard time passing them up.

95 British pounds? Isn’t that a bit extravagant?

Perhaps for some. However, this isn’t an expensive designer coat that you’ll wear out or that will go out of style. These are a lifetime investment that will become valuable antiques in time.

Simply put, the Turtons are a tool that you will use every day for the rest of your life, and you’ll thank yourself for it every time you pick them up.

When is it better to pay more for quality like this?

When that product will be relied upon consistently for a long period of time and won’t become obsolete in its usefulness.

Why Most Folks Buy the Turtons

beautiful scissors 3
Earnest Wright’s Turton Scissors

I’ll be frank, the real reason I love the Turtons is because they are pure eye-candy. I love them because they are beautiful scissors. 

As much as we all wish we had a more sensible reason to justify the cost, I’m willing to bet that most who buy them are in the same boat as me.

Simply put, they are a gorgeous piece of dwindling history.

By the way, even if you like to support the companies like this but can’t buy right now, consider supporting them by taking a moment and sharing this post to get the word out.

One last piece of advice if you do take the plunge:

Make sure you include the Turtons in your will because your family will probably squabble over them when you’re dead.

The History of Ernest Wright

Ernest Wright’s Comeback

Count it a privilege that you can even get your hands on these beautiful scissors anymore. The last two years have proven to be among the most pivotal in Ernest Wright’s 116 year history.

A Slow Farewell

Ernest Wright’s rich cutlery heritage was very-nearly snuffed out in 2018 when Nick Wright, the fifth generation owner of the family company, unexpectedly passed away.

That is also around the time I first contacted the company as part of my ongoing research at WellRigged.com to find companies that actually still care about producing world-class quality products.

Sadly, the interim manager told me news of Nick Wright’s recent passing. I offered my condolences for their loss and decided to keep in touch to see how things progressed.

Being a smaller business, my heart went out to the employees as they faced the grief of Nicks loss while trying to crack on.

Sadly, on June 19th, 2018 I received this news from the manager..

“…it is with deep sadness that Ernest Wright & Son Ltd, will cease trading this Friday 22ndJune. We are all, again, devastated.”

Do you know what I did?

I went straight to their website to see if I could order a pair of Turtons before they were gone forever.  Unfortunately, online orders had already been shut down.

Even way over here in Canada I felt a real connection to this sad situation.

Perhaps it was because Ernest Wright’s dedication to enduring quality embodies what I’m passionate about here at WellRigged.com.

I hate to see companies like this die!

The company was shuttered and assets were put into receivership.

End of story, right? Wrong.

Ernest Wright Cheats Death

Ernest Wright staff
Credit: www. ErnestWright.co.uk

Mercifully, in late 2018 Ernest Wright was rescued from the fate of so many other legacy cutlery makers in Sheffield.

Two investors, Jan Bart and Paul Jacobs, who were big fans of Ernest Wright’s scissors heard the sad news and swooped in to rescue the company’s name from extinction.

Paul Jacobs in particular is a stand up guy who loves quality. Why? Simple. He drives at Toyota Land Cruiser 70 series (see my article on Land Cruisers). Its the most durable vehicle on earth. Here’s a pic of the rig in front of Ernest Wright he sent me. Love it.

Paul Jacob’s Land Cruiser in Front of Ernest Wright’s workshop.

They hunted down the equipment, re-hired the expert craftsmen(putters), and secured the same historic Sheffield workshop.

This monumental eleventh-hour effort effectively allowed Ernest Wright to re-launch under new management and preserve its legacy.

Best of all, their classic Turtons scissors are available once again!

Imagine my surprise when Paul Jacobs contacted me last fall with the great news that Ernest Wright & Sons was back in business.

Since we’re both quite like-minded in our love for enduring quality, Paul kindly sent me a pair of Turtans fresh off the line to review.

Early History of Ernest Wright

Owning a pair of these beautiful scissors is to own an iconic piece of British history.

Sheffield England is the cradle of fine cutlery in the UK. It was the birthplace of industrialized stainless steel.

Sheffield: birthplace of industrial stainless steel

Sheffield’s booming cutlery industry once employed an astound 40,000 workers! Times have changed. Ernest Wright is one of two surviving scissors maker left in Sheffield.

I’m no antique speculator, but I’d lay bets that our grand-kids will have these scissors appraised for a pretty penny someday. They are certainly heirloom quality.

Ernest Wright

Founded by Ernest Wright in 1902 and passed on to his son Ernest Wright Jr, Ernest Wright & Sons has been in the scissor business for five generations.

They’ve had their ups and downs and even went into receivership in 1988 before a distant relative saved the company. The Tale of Ernest Wright scissors is a story of tenacity and endurance despite incredible odds.

They have endured two world wars, the great depression, the advent of mass production, and the onslaught of cheap outsourced goods.

Only stirling quality and smart thinking could have endured the monumental headwinds they have faced over the past 120 years.

During the Great Depression and World War II Ernest Wright had to be creative to survive.

At one point Ernest only had three days a week worth of work. He resorted to repairing radios on the side to make ends meet. He also produced instruments for the military.

In 1950 around 15,000 people were employed in the cutlery industry, most were small companies which had fewer than a dozen employees.

Ernest Wright had better days too. In the 60s and 70s, they acquired at least two other competitors and were exporting scissors all over the world to Commonwealth countries.

Now only a handfull of family-owned cutlery companies have survived the cheaper competition of foreign goods. 

As with many “buy it for life” companies I discuss, Ernest Wright has gone up-market to survive.

They provide levels of quality and craftsmanship unavailable in the mass market produced goods.

As I always say here at WellRigged. Companies like this deserve to be rewarded with our business.

It’s also a way for us to send a message to the mediocre marketplace that quality matters and we don’t have to settle for the junky quality. We can take our business elsewhere to folks who actually care about what they make.

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