Scissors History and Superstitions

Facts about Scissors

Early scissors have been found in Egypt as far back as 1500 BC. These scissors were made from one piece of metal. Modern cross-bladed scissors have been found in Rome as early as 100 AD. These were probably shears with the joint at the far end. They are mentioned in guild and artisans association records. Scissors simple design reflects the Romans love of clean lines and simple construction. As the Romans traveled, so did the scissors. Trade routes developed, following the soldiers, to Europe and a market was found with traders and guild members. Scissors were used in trades such as tailors and barbers. 

After the Roman period, greater care was given to the scissors’ quality and design. Especially in the Mediterranean countries, fancier styled scissors developed and more were sold outside of guilds. And as calligraphy spread throughout the Islamic countries, concave blades were developed to cut paper. Scissors became a part of everyone’s life and not just for the use of guilds and the wealthy.

Scissors developed their own power as superstitions and household sayings developed. Just as a forged key holds a blacksmith’s charm, scissors had their own power too. The power held by hand-wrought tools is still strongly tied to scissors lore. Check the superstitions page for more information on these sayings.




Superstitions About Scissors


You will 'cut off' fortune if you use scissors on New Year's Day
Scissors should be put away during thunderstorms to decrease the likelihood that the house will be struck by lightning.


Placing a pair of scissors under the pillow of a woman in labor will ‘cut her pain in half’.


As with childbirth, placing a pair of scissors underneath the pillow of anyone in pain will halve their discomfort, making it more bearable.


Breaking both blades is a sign of an impending disaster.


Giving a pair of scissors as a gift will cause problems in a friendship by cutting the relationship in half. When giving scissors as a gift, the receiver should always give a little money in return, since ‘buying’ the scissors will not cause the friendship to be cut.


A pair of scissors nailed above a door in the ‘open’ position, so they resemble a cross to some extent, was said to protect a household from witchcraft and evil influences.


Dropping a pair of scissors is said to warn that a lover is unfaithful.


Breaking one blade of a pair of scissors is an omen of quarreling and discord; if both blades are broken at once; a calamity is to be feared.


Scissors should always be sold, they should never be given.

On Wednesday and Friday, no should use a needle or scissors, bake bread or sow flax.

Superstitions about Needles and Pins

See a pin and let it lie, sure to rue it by and by.

Never lend a pin to a friend lest it prick the friendship.

A bent or crooked pin is thrown into a wishing well for good luck.

Dropping a needle was good luck unless it sticks upright in the floor, then company was expected.

Remove a needle or pin from the packet and prick the recipient before giving it to them

A knotted thread means an argument is coming.

A tangled thread on a needle during mending gives health and prosperity to the owner.



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