Typical of old market towns, the manual workers only produced goods for the town’s inhabitants and the region around. Since the Middle Ages, the knife-making industry gained importance and thus influenced the development of the town for centuries. Even though the production levels of earlier times have fallen off signifcantly because of cheap products from foreign countries, Thiers will always be regarded as the Capital of Cutlery.

Valley of water wheels

An important precondition for the development of the knife-making industry was the water power of the Durolle. Numerous factories set-tled in the “Vallée des Usines”. As the Durolle was navigable in the plain, the products could be exported anywhere in the world by ship.


A long time ago the process of manufacturing a knife was already split up in single processes done by experts, such as the forging of the knife, the grinding and the polishing. The knife-grinders worked lying on their belly, with the grind stone below them.


Present-day Industry

Even today the knife-making industry is very important for Thiers. At least 70 per cent of all knives produced in France come from Thiers. The DEGLON Company has specialized on Sabatier chef knives. The WICHARD Company is both a world leader in marine fittings and a dominant industrial player in various other industrial sectors. PRECITURN is specialised in manufacturing mechanical parts for the car industry. Not long ago, the BRÜGGEN Company, which sells a variety of cereal products, was established in Thiers.