The “slit machine”, made by Adam Baumüller GmbH in the 1990s, uses a circular saw to put the slits into the knife handles, into which the blades are inserted in a later step of the work process.
For this purpose a worker must fix the wooden handle onto a unit which automatically guides the handle to the circular saw. Then the circular saw cuts a slit into the wood. Simultaneously an integrated suction device removes the sawdust. After that, the machine moves the wooden handle back to the worker.
The sounds of this machine are an ensemble of the noise of the suction device, the sawing and the automatic conveying mechanism.
The “slit machine” is in use at the knife factory Windmühlenmesser Robert Herder in Solingen (Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia), which was founded in 1872. Today the enterprise is in its 4th generation, headed by Giselheid Herder-Scholz. It has maintained techniques and methods of manual knife-making which have vanished more and more with the growth of mechanical fabrication.
In Solingen the production of blades has a long tradition. As early as the 14th century blades were made in large numbers in Solingen. Until the end of the 19th century the entire economy of Solingen was dominated by the cutlery industry.
Sound recordist: Konrad Gutkowski/Julian Blaschke
Photographer: Konrad Gutkowski/Julian Blaschke
Video recordist: Konrad Gutkowski/Julian Blaschke