Faithfully following an ancient Tradition:
that of the Berti Family which since 1895, interruptedly and for four generations,
have kept this century-old production alive.
Because there is no life without Tradition.
At Coltellerie Berti each knife is hand-made by only one craftsman, by the same person. The principle is plain: the same craftsman, who starts working the knife, will finish it too. That means that the work is entirely hand-made and it is not split among different people during the different production phases. This entails that each knife is really a unique piece, through which we can feel and appreciate the presence and the hand of a specific person. Such a principle, along with the conformity of every single piece to the repository of the family Berti tradition, constitutes the very essence of our craft method. A method which is handed down generation after generation and which allows to situate the work experience and the fruition of it within a real human dimension rather than a coldly economic and technological one.
So, our tradition legacy consists in that: to preserve, through tangible attestations, a way of working which is rooted in our history. An history that reminds us that other consumption values exist, values which are different and maybe more important than those in vogue nowadays based on principles such as: low cost, lack of maintenance, frequency of purchase and substitution. Our knives are made to last for a long time; they are made for those people who buy them, but also to reach the generations who will come after.
Respecting tradition clearly does not mean to reproduce slavishly the ancient way of producing. During my grandfather’s times - to say - knives were made shiny by putting them in a hole in the working counter and by using an old hat and some milled coal; and in order to sharpen them, they used a stone wheel they turn through a rope. Obviously today we use brushes and machinery. Respecting tradition also means that innovations must be coherent with the craft method and must aim at enriching the tradition. In other words, innovations must be conceived to last for long time and then become new traditions themselves.
The adoption of polyoxymethylene - a modern plastic material for the handle of some models, represents a good example of an innovation which is respectful of the craft methods. As a matter of fact, handles produced using this material can be washed in a dishwasher and this is a very important characteristic in modern day life. However, this material is worked in the same way as the horn-handles are. The final result is not an advantage between the producing and selling costs of this kind of knife, but rather an advantage to make every-day life easier.
Well, innovating according to tradition means resisting the temptation to search for an easy appreciation through products based on momentary fashions; it means to not search for greater profits through selling larger amounts coming from processes and materials implying lower quality.
For the same reasons, our productions are eternally linked to Tuscany and to Italy; the idea of moving somewhere else to save on production costs is totally inconceivable. The only thing we are forced to seek abroad is the ox-horn, because unfortunately the one you find in Italy has not been available for a long time. Until the forties, we used the horn from Maremma (a rural territory in the south of Tuscany). After the Second World War, the Maremma horn was no longer available and we turned to the “romagnolo” one. Later, unfortunatley also the “romagnolo” became unusable and I still remember when, at the beginning of the sixties, Mr Santandrea came to deliver the last load of “romagnole”.