The Laguiole Knife from France

The Laguiole knife is a high-quality traditional French pocket-knife, originating in the town of Laguiole in Aveyron region of southern France. Thanks to their elegant and distinctive lines as well as fine craftsmanship and expensive materials, they have achieved the status of a design classic and are sold for high prices, sometimes several hundreds of dollars.

The word Laguiole, pronounced “Lag-yoll”, is not a brand name it is the name of the village from which these knives originated. In the early 1900’s, production in the village ended and this is possibly because a number of unrelated companies in southern France had been producing the knives more efficiently in these industrialised centres taking business away from the knives traditional home. The city of Thiers, a long established centre of the cutlery industry was producing some 70% of all Laguiole knives from around the 1920’s.

Local production of the knife in and around the town of Laguiole returned in the 1980’s. This was to the dismay of industrialized producers in other part of France as people wanted the ‘real thing’ a knife made in the actual village. So demand went back to the small manufacturer and away from the industrialised centres.

Other manufacturers around France believe that a good Laguiole knife does not have to be made in the village but should be of French manufacture and be of decent or high quality to be authentic and discerning buyers should avoid any not made in France. It’s not real if it’s not made in France.

The design dates from the early 19th century with a farmer’s knife from the village. According to legend, it was the Aveyron born Jaques Calmels, son of an innkeeper who invented the knife after an apprenticeship in cutlery production. The knife was first designed in 1829 and became the pattern for this style, the forged bee being its distinctive mark.


Branding of ‘Laguiole Origine Guarantie’& ‘Confrerie du Coute de Tie’.

Most Knives are brand named and are sold on the good will of their long established manufacturing techniques. For example PUMA knives of Solingen in Germany have a long established reputation for high quality, so when you buy a Puma knife you know what you are getting. Because Laguiole and Thiers are places where knives have been made, these are not a brand name and several manufacturers can market their knives under these names. Over many years the great majority of Laguiole knives were made in the town of Thiers. With the reintroduction of a forge in Laguiole, the organisation of ‘Le Couteau de Laguiole’ registered the trademark ‘Laguiole Origine Garantie’. This was in conjunction with the resumption of the manufacture of Laguiole knives in the town of Laguiole. This trademark was a clever marketing move as it tied the name of the knife ‘laguiole’, back to the town of its original manufacture in Laguiole. Many buyers insisted that to be a true Laguiole it should be made in Laguiole and the logo of the Laguiole Origine Garantie ensured their authenticity.