Barrel-Maker's Knife

Barrel-Maker's Knife

Cooper’s knife
Germany
Steel, brass
Dated 1702
Museum no. 126-1873

Blades are the earliest types of objects known to have been etched with acid. This knife was used by a cooper, or barrel-maker. The etched writing on the blade has been worn away by repeated sharpening. What remains indicates that the inscription on one side is a bawdy rhyme and, on the other, a joke about the social importance of the barrel-maker.