This company prospered until 1703, when Mohll got into trouble with the law through smuggling sword blades into the country from Germany, and very soon, the Hollow Blade Company went into liquidation. However, it re-opened immediately under the name of Herman Mohll & Son, continued to run for the next 21 years under that name. Solingen area, and settled near the River Derwent at Shotley Bridge.
The Germans were settled in Shotley Bridge by 1688, much to the dismay of their fellows back in Solingen, in the Ruhr. They were accused of betraying the secrets of the Guild. Their leader, Clemens Hohemann, was labelled “a seducer deserving the severest punishment”, and once they had crossed the English Channel, they were never able to return to their homeland.
Shotley swords were said to be so flexible that the tip could bend back to the hilt without snapping – in fact, it would spring back to straightness without a bend in it.
One day, Robert Oley was involved in a wager with two other swordsmiths and the participants were given a fortnight to make the best sword possible. When Robert arrived at the scene of the competition – perhaps in London – his opponents had their 3ft long blades in public display and they mocked Robert for apparently forgetting his.
However, Robert’s nine-inch blade was so flexible that he had concealed in his hat, winding it around the brim. In addition, it was double edged, so that when the other blade smiths tried to remove it, they sliced their fingers. Only Robert’s secret technique could extract it.
He was declared the winner – he won the crown – and back in Shotley Bridge, the Sword Inn was renamed The Crown and Crossed Swords in his honour.
The irony of this story is, as a long haul truck driver, I used to Load up at Wilkinson Sword, Cramlington, with steel strip one-ton crates, sometimes up to 20ton then transit to Solingen, Germany, then return with the finished razor blades for shaving, this I did for a considerable number of years
Wilkinson Solingen had a Display case of a sword notably from Shotley Bridge another quirk was they were from Wood Street, reading this fantastic history of our local “Sword Makers”
In the late 1680s, about 20 families of expert German blade smiths left their homes in the Solingen area and settled near the River Derwent at Shotley Bridge, .hope you enjoyed my little story.
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