This section is from the book "School Needlework. A Course of Study in Sewing designed for use in Schools", by Olive C. Hapgood. Also available from Amazon: School Needlework: A Course Of Study In Sewing Designed For Use In Schools.
Scissors and shears are made in various sizes and styles; strictly speaking, every pair over six inches in length should be called shears. Those made from steel are manufactured almost entirely in Germany; in this country malleable iron with steel for the inside edges is used. Nearly all the work is done by hand, but the process of making depends somewhat upon the size. Each pair passes through the hands of fifty or sixty workmen before completion.
The iron is first melted at the foundry and run into moulds of the different shapes desired. The steel is run into thin sheets, which are cut into strips, and these are punched, and riveted to the iron by one blow of a hammer. These pieces are then dipped in water and again in powdered borax, to cleanse the surfaces of the iron and steel, which would not unite without this process. After being heated red hot in a furnace, the two metals are welded together, and shaped by a die or stamp.
A large pair of shears is used to trim the steel, that protrudes over the blades; after which the blades pass through the hands of a number of workmen, each doing his part towards shaping the shears. They are hardened by being plunged while red hot into a tank of cold water, which renders them very brittle. To remedy the brittle-ness they are put on a plate and again heated, until the workman knows by the color that they are properly tempered or toughened.
After various processes, in one of which the hole for the screw is drilled, a temporary screw is put in, and the points and handles adjusted. This screw is taken out and the blades are numbered, in order that they may be kept in pairs. They are ground on a round stone, making a slight hollow on the surface of the blades; this forms an edge to cut on. A small elevation is also made close behind the screw, which causes the blades to cant more and more towards each other as they are closed. Then the handles are japanned or nickel-plated, and the blades are polished on emery wheels. After this they are taken to a stamping-machine, where the maker's name is put on them. Then the edges of the blades are sharpened on fine emery wheels, the screw is put in, and the blades adjusted.
Lastly they are carefully inspected, packed in boxes, and are ready for market.