The company now known as Abbeyhorn dates back to 1749, when the Humpherson family founded the company in Bewdley, UK. Their traditional housewares include our new Wingtip favorite, the pewter-mounted Drinking Horn (at left with 30-yr single malt Scotch), in addition to fantastically long shoe horns, shaving brushes, and the Sgian Dubh, a decorative knife that is de rigeur for “formal kilt” occasions.
All of the products are created from horn, antler, and bone, beautiful natural materials that have been saved from the scrap pile. This “ecologically sound” philospohy has remained steadfast over the years, and Abbeyhorn continues to source materials that are meat industry by-products. “We do not kill any animals purely for their horns,” reiterates Pauline Hodgson, who works in sales and marketing for Abbeyhorn.
The manufacturing traditions have also remained constant in many ways. Hodgson notes, ”We still make the items as they would have done many years ago, even using some of the old machinery.”
To get some more background on the history of Abbeyhorn, we got in touch with the Bewdley Museum in Wyre Forest, UK, where some earlier Abbeyhorn pieces are kept on display.
Photos of the crafts confirm that the Humphersons traditions remain intact. The pieces at left date back nearly 150 years, but they look remarkably similar to the new stock we have on the shelf–a testament to the products’ durability.
“The forester’s horn was made by Humphersons in 1878,” says Liz Cowley of the Bewdley Museum. “The other items would have been made around the same time towards the end of the 19th century.”
Before you use your Abbeyhorn products, you’ll want to check out their guide to product care, but rest assured that any Abbeyhorn purchase is a bonafide heirloom-in-the-making.
For more background, check out this video of the making of an Abbeyhorn shoehorn over at A Continuous Lean.
Thanks to Pauline Hodgson at Abbeyhorn and Liz Cowley at the Bewdley Museum for their kind help with this piece.