Scissors

History

The first pair of scissors were made in the Middle East around 3000–4000 years ago, aptly named “spring scissors”. They were connected at the handle, which brought the blades together when squeezed and sprung open when released.

Pivot scissors, which were connected somewhere between the blades and handles, were used in ancient Rome, China, Japan, and Korea.

Cross bladed scissors were made in C.E. 100 in Rome.

Function/Purpose

The purpose of scissors is to be able to cut objects through the shearing of two blades. The blades themselves generally aren’t sharp, but it’s the force between two pivoted blades upon squeezing them together that slices.

There are different types of scissors for different kinds of jobs. A scissor designed for cutting hair will be designed differently than, say, poultry scissors, which are meant to cut through bone for food preparation.

User

Scissors are designed to be accessible to most people, but usually lack inclusion for left handed people. The standard shape for the handles also tend to disregard people with illnesses like arthritis where squeezing the handles and opening them repeatedly becomes painful. Luckily, there are specific types of scissors for people who are unable to use the standard.

Depending on the design, scissors can be used from everyday people to tradesmen.

Materials + Production

Scissors used to be manufactured through heating a a bar of iron or steel, flattened and shaped into blades on an anvil. Pivoted scissors weren’t manufactured until 1761 by Robert Hinchliffe. He produced his out of hardened and polished cast steel.

Fiskars, arguably the most popular scissor manufacturer today, started their cutlery works in 1830. Nowadays they make scissors either out of plastic and stainless steel, or entirely of carbon steel.

Affordance

Modern everyday scissors, as a design, are very telling as to how they’re supposed to be used. The handles are made to fit a thumb and three or four fingers, and the only way to operate the handles is to open and close the scissors.

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