THE KENT KNIFE SHARPENER, English, c. 1900, signed “Kent, Patentee & Manufacturer, 199 High Holborn, London, Size 9, No. 16906, Made in England,” and with remains of instructional decals. Standing 17″ (43 cm) high, this very substantial machine has a rather Art Nouveau shaped cast iron base, also signed, large oak drum, hand crank turning internal flywheel of abrasive brushes, emery applicator port, and three ports for insertion of dull or rusted knives. Condition is generally fine, with its wonderful applied brass plaque.
This is a good example of George Kent’s knife sharpener, which was popular in large Victorian households. It was made in nine different sizes, this apparently the largest. We find records of Kent’s various sharpening devices patented in 1844, 1852, 1864, and 1870. He advertised a variety of other household machines, including “Kent’s Marmalade Cutter,” and “Six-Minute Churns.”
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David and Yola Coffeen both have enjoyed academic careers, as planetary astronomer and as linguist/educator. But since 1982 (yes, 1982!) they have been full-time dealers in early scientific and medical instruments, under the name Tesseract. Selling primarily by catalogue (over 100 issued so far) they also have a web presence at www.etesseract.com, and can be contacted at email@example.com.