I just wonder if "Tinkers" like the one in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" who has a cart of meat cleavers still exist to this day?

1 Answer 1


In the UK, It's possible that there are one or two still in operation but it's more likely that these have died out.

In the past, people didn't have access to high quality knives or sharpening equipment and a these knife grinders / tinkers could travel from town to town making a living.

With the advent of higher quality (and cheaper) steel and home sharpeners (especially the electric type), the need for itinerant workers like tinkers fell away.

Commercial sharpening firms (for hotels / restuarants / butchers etc) do exist but these are generally "bulk" deals rather than a home service for one or two knives although many will offer the service if you call in.

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    The trade still exists - I used to live-in at a hotel where my partner was chef. The 'knife man' would come round every few months to re-edge the entire kitchen staff's knives [pros don't risk their own very expensive blades on domestic sharpening kit]. He had a transit van rather than a horse & cart though ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 15, 2019 at 10:10
  • I was thinking of adding a note about commercial sharpeners (to the trade) but it seemed redundant.
    – Paulie_D
    Apr 15, 2019 at 10:15
  • In India blade sharpener still exists. They come on cycles and you can give them blades to fix. Like this one
    – Ankit Sharma
    Apr 15, 2019 at 10:15
  • Google maps finds 5 in London - not exactly as common as sandwich shops, but still there ;) They'll come to your home to do it, but at a price - £40 for up to 8 knives, then increasing with each additional blade.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 15, 2019 at 10:21
  • I've just had a card for a mobile tinker come through my (UK) letterbox - knives £1, lawnmower blades £5, etc.
    – OrangeDog
    Apr 15, 2019 at 14:36

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