Monday, 4 August 2008

The Knife Sharpener (updated)

The knife sharpener man visits town about once a month, driving his mobile sharpening service slowly through the neighbourhood and ringing his bell. If you want a cutting blade of any kind sharpened, just open your front door and shout. "Hey! Over here!"

My neighbour wanted his hedge trimmers sharpened. The cost? A bargain at $7.00.

But sadly this is a dying trade. Most of these men are elderly European immigrants who brought their skills with them when they came to Canada. It's not a job for a young person. In a few years, a visit from the friendly neighbourhood Knife Sharpener may be a thing of the past.
Do you have a Knife Sharpener come to your neighbourhood?
Update: Tuesday 5 August 2008
WOW, out of 20 (so far) commenters, the only TWO that still enjoy regular visits from a mobile Knife Sharpener (that's Hilary and EG tour guide) both live in ONTARIO, CANADA... and not too far from me. Just goes to show that Canada is the best place in the world to live!!!
Interesting comments from those that remember tradesmen that came to the door. A lady I worked with told me that she remembered the Banana Man going door to door in Toronto when she was little.... and certainly when I was a child in England we had hundredweight bags of coal delivered to the house by horse and cart.
Uhoh, am I dating myself here?

27 comments:

Changes in the wind said...

No and never heard of one either but think it is a great idea...too bad it won't continue.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Yes, we do. But even though we live close to your area, we have a different sharpener! Hmmm.

Luke Wiley said...

That's too bad about this trade. very nice!

Kerri said...

I have never heard of a knife sharpener. What a neat concept.

madretz said...

We do, but he doesn't go door to door, he's always at the weekly farmer's market, though. Brilliant because we need sharp knives to cut those summer veggies. It's just a matter of remembering to bring the knives with me.

dogbait said...

That would be very handy. Our local hardware store has a service and I take my tongue up there for servicing occasionally!

Aileni said...

I can remember when they came around with a sort of trolley on two wheels and two prop legs. The last we used was around twenty years ago - he had a little van.

photowannabe said...

No we don't, but it would be a great thing. Craftsmen of all sorts are a dying breed. We are such a disposable society that younger people don't seem to know how to do much for themselves. Brother...do I sound like an old foggie. I'm really not that bah-humbug.

Keropok Man said...

my mum sends her knives to a shop.

for me, i use those DIY little gadgets at home to sharpen them.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

You know I haven't seen a Knife Sharpener up here for over 4o years...! When I was a kid, the Knife Sharpener came around on a regular basis...Like The Good Humor Man, only not every day....And it was really such a wonderful thing to have this special skill right at your front door, so to speak. You are so right---It is a dting art...And in fact, I think it already died here in my neighborhood quite a long time ago.

Sandy said...

Nope and never heard of one either. Every so often a rep from one of the knife companies visits a local dept store and will sharpen knives - and only knives. Not quite the same thing, is it. Sad to see a way of life disappearing.

Xtreme English said...

when i was a kid (this is like 60 years ago) in fargo, there was a person who came around to sharpen scissors--and i suppose knives, too, but scissors were the main things in need of special equipment or skill. there also was a MILK MAN, who delivered milk and cream every day; an ICE MAN, who brought a chunk of ice into your kitchen and installed it in your fridge if you hadn't gone electric; and a CANDY MAN (actually mr. and mrs. candy man) who came around with a wooden tray filled with homemade candies separated by wooden dividers. the candy man also brought around fresh HONEYCOMB in the tray once in a while. they'd cut off a chunk to your liking and slip it into one of those paper boxes with a wire handle like the ones they use now for rice at chinese takeouts. the ice men were very jolly and wore black rubber aprons. on hot days (both of them) they'd always chip off a nice little chunk of ice for each of us to suck on.

and the MAIL MAN brought mail on christmas if it was from someone in the armed forces.

Ash said...

Interesting!

Ming the Merciless said...

No, but my dad used to do it for my aunts and cousins. One cousin, in particular, was a hairdresser/barber and she regularly asked my dad to sharpen her scissors.

Lara said...

so hard to find one of these here lately! we have to do it at home...

Leena said...

We had this kind of service too, when I was a child. And then was also the men, who put tin inside copper coffeepot. ( Can you understand, what I mean, I can not say it correct? )
My husband remember, that in their village was the village shoemaker, who came and lived in the house making shoes for the whole family and then moved to next house. . .
and village tailors did same.
when we lived one year in Scotland about 30 years ago, window cleaners came and asked, can they wash my windows. I would like now, that somebody could came and say, that he/she would like to wash my windows :)
Good day to you and your special window worker!

Libbys Blog said...

Never ever had one, but what a brilliant idea, It would cost me a fortune the first time they came round though!!!!!!!

Hilary said...

Yes! We do too! And I love the clang clang sound which heralds his arrival. We've had him sharpen shears, lawnmowers, kitchen knives and more over the years. And you're right, ours is a wonderful Eastern European man who does his job perfectly. On occasion, I've seen him with a younger man, so I'm hoping he'll learn the trade and keep this business going for at least another generation. This, as you know is in MIssissauga. I can also remember men in trucks collecting rags through the streets of Montreal. I must be old! :] Great idea for a post, ex-S!

TorAa said...

You are so right, it's a dying trade.
I remember the knife sharpeners from my childhood in Oslo (Norway), but they extinct many years ago.
Nowadays we had to do the sharpening ourselfs

Nice memories

Suldog said...

We used to have many different wagons come through our neighborhood when I was a kid. A baker, the milkman, the ragman ("Any old rags?", he'd call out), ice cream trucks, and the various repairmen, like the knife sharpener. Aside from the rare ice cream truck, I don't think any of them survived. Kind of sad.

Shammickite said...

REPLY ALL:
WOW, out of 20 (so far) commenters, the only TWO that still enjoy regular visits from the mobile Kniife Sharepener Brigade (that's Hilary and EG tour guide) both live in CANADA... and not too far from me. Just goes to show that Canada is the best place in the world to live!!!
Interesting comments from those that remember tradesmen that came to the door. Some one I worked with told me that she remembered the Banana Man going door to door when she was little.... and certainly when I was a child in England we had hundredweight bags of coal delivered to the house by horse and cart.
Uhoh, am I dating myself here?

CanadianSwiss said...

It's such a pity that we don't have that here (although I'd most probably always miss him while at wirk). But yes, Canada is a great place to be. I miss it terribly.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Shame on me, Indeed! But, Betty correted me and I gave him the Proper Name in the text....!

Forgive my stupidity...I'm not myself.

dot said...

Interesting post! We don't have a knife sharpener come to our neighborhood but my husband bought a sharpener and keeps my knifes very sharp.
In the late 60's I remember a man going thru Norfolk Virginia selling strawberries. He would sing out as he rode along Strawberriessssssssssssss!

m.e. said...

leena's got it right. i'd love a traveling window washer!!

lorenzothellama said...

No knife sharpener here Shammy. We don't even have a rag and bone man any more.

KOSTAS said...

Wow, a lot I was glad post with Knife Sharpener, it turned my brain a lot of years behind, sometimes it passed in our villages and sharpened the knives and the scissors.
I thank for this!