One of the more interesting knives in my collection is a knife from Le Creux de L’Enfer – The Depths of Hell. I bought it from Lee Valley many years ago, from old stock they found supposedly from the 1920s. The knife is 12″ in length with a 7 3/4″ blade, is hand forged, double tapered (Fig.1b) and has a handle made of wood held in place by brass rivets and roves (Fig.1d). The knife is marked “L’Enfer”, and has the trademark devil running with a trident in his hand (Fig.1a). Double tapered implies that the blade tapers to either end from the thickest part – near the knife choil (Fig.1c).
The factory was named “The Depths of Hell” because it was at the foot of a waterfall in Thiers – noisy and damp.
So what happened to L’Enfer? Apparently the owners of L’Enfer collaborated with the Germans in the Second World War, and were shunned afterwards. The factory declined, and was absorbed by “Emouleur RC”, which in turn was absorbed by Sabatier Theirs-Issard.