Origins of ordinary things: Scissors

A pair of scissors is a common and simple item found in most homes and offices. It comes in varying sizes to suit the cutting up of various materials. The way it operates, according to Wikipedia, an encyclopaedia, is that it has two pivoted metal blades with sharpened inner edges and two bows. When the bows are pressed together, the inner metal blades glide against each other, resulting in a cut.

According to Wonderopolis, an education website, scissors have been in existence for a long time, dating as far back as 4,000 years. Many researchers believe them to be the brainchild of 1500 B.C Egyptians. The earliest scissors, discovered in ancient Mesopotamia were made of bronze blades connected by springy strips which would keep the blades apart unless squeezed together. They were called “spring scissors”.

As with many early inventions, scissors were initially an expensive device only affordable to the rich classes. This is according to the web-based information platform Who Invented the Technology.

The first semblance of modern scissors is attributed to 100 A.D Romans who were the first to create cross-blade scissors drawing inspiration from the design made by ancient Egyptians. This is according to ThoughtCo, a web-based knowledge resource. The use of scissors then spread to China, Japan, Korea and eventually other parts of the world. 100 A.D. Romanian scissors were used for the same purposes as modern scissors, including hair-cutting. They had to be sharpened on a regular basis.

For centuries, scissors were made by hand and constituted entirely of metal, making them laborious to manufacture. This constrained mass production. According to Wikipedia, manufacturers had to drill holes in metals to make bows.

Robert Hinchliffe an English manufacturer was the first person to start mass production of pivoted scissors in 1761 and also the first person to use cast steel to manufacture the product. For this reason, Hinchliffe is credited with the invention of modern scissors. This is according Reference, a knowledge sharing website.

Today’s scissors have not changed much in design. Companies mostly compete based on other aspects related to aesthetics.

There are some cultures in which people do not give scissors as a gift because of the ancient superstitious belief that scissors cut the friendship between the gift giver and the gift recipient. This is according to online information dissemination platform Catalogs.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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