Market Lavington Museum

Knife Polish


We recently featured a knife polishing machine. Knife polishing was deemed essential in pre-stainless steel days to ensure a knife looked bright and clean.

Today we look at some powder which could assist in this ‘cleaning’ process.

John Oakey and Sons Wellington Knife Polish - exhibits at Market Lavington Museum

John Oakey and Sons Limited, who made the polish, were leading lights in the knife cleaning business. John Oakey set up his sandpaper business in London in 1833. He later moved to Wellington Mills, still in London and no doubt that is why his knife polish is called ‘Wellington’. He introduced his knife polish in 1858.

John died in 1887 and his sons took over the company, going public in the 1890s.

We do not know when knife polish manufacture ceased. The company certainly ran for at least 150 years.

The tins show what we believe is an image of the Duke of Wellington and give detailed instructions on the use of the powder. Our tins were priced at 1 penny (old money, of course), which makes them the smallest size available. The four shillings container must have been very large indeed.