“Scissors”

A close friend who works with toddlers in a Montessori classroom assures me that today’s children’s scissors actually cut. Doubtful of this claim, I looked on line and discovered that it does appear that today’s are vastly different from those of my childhood. So if you are young you may have trouble understanding this post.

Above are the two types of scissors available to me as a child both at home and in school. Ignore the middle one with sharp points. They would never have been on hand. As you might surmise by checking the images, these scissors were mainly designed so that when a child ran with them she would not succumb to the ever present threat “you are going to put your eye out.” They were not engineered to cut anything. Imagine trying to cut smoothly around an image drawn on a piece of paper. Not possible. Many “childish” looking art projects probably just reveal the poor tools available to the child.

But my brother, sisters and I had a solution. My mother owned sewing scissors which she kept in the top dresser drawer in her bedroom. We were absolutely forbidden both to open her drawer and to use her scissors. Needless to say, when the need arose, we did both. Her scissors worked wonderfully, producing smooth edges with no effort. We usually remembered to return them.

I can still hear her voice, sixty years later, yelling across the house “WHO USED MY SEWING SCISSORS TO CUT PAPER?” How she knew I have no idea. And certainly none of the four of us was going to own up.

21 thoughts on ““Scissors”

  1. My mum had ‘pinking shears’ in her sewing box. I used to use those to cut out projects, and it left the edges with a nice ‘tooth’ pattern. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. Sewing scissors once used to cut paper (especially the rough construction paper of our childhood) dulled the edges enough to prevent smooth cuts on fabric. Paper cutting also leaves a pulpy dust on the scissors. I remember when my grandson was about four, he asked for a carousel of craft scissors for Christmas. He loved cutting paper. This also brings to mind a parlor game we played “I pass these scissors to you crossed (or uncrossed)”.

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  3. These are the exact scissors that students struggled with when I first started teaching. They didn’t cut with a darn. Then Fiskars scissors became a thing, and all was right with the world.

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  4. I had the same scissors. I can assure you children’s scissors today are light years away from what we had. They cut perfectly and have no sharp points. And, they’re made with one smaller hole for the thumb. There are even lefty scissor. I was never brave enough to use my mother’s sewing scissors.

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  5. Ha! All of this resonated with me. I remember those kid’s scissors well. There were a few pairs of left handed scissors in our classroom which I always coveted. The right-handed ones were all normal metal ones but the left-handed ones had pretty sparkly green rubber on the handles.

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  6. Goodness, I remember those horrors. If I’m remembering them correctly, they basically “chewed” on the paper without actually cutting anything decently. And yes, I stole my mother’s sewing scissor’s (or my dad’s mustache scissors) for my projects when I gave up on the monstrosities!

    Happy New Year!

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  7. That’s interesting Elizabeth we had the same scissors here in Australia but ours cut perfectly! Maybe the school’s in your area hadn’t had them sharpened each year, what do you think?
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

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