The File Cutting Houses (Pilníkové domy), Jílovická 104, Semily

File cutting is a trade that is now all but extinct. It was born in the late Iron Age, when specialised iron tools such as shears, pick-axes and files began to appear. The file was also a basic tool throughout Ancient Times and the Middle Ages, but the need to hand-file work pieces gradually declined with the advent of lathes and milling machines and with the development of pressing and precise casting, cutting and polishing. The machine production of files expanded in the second half of the 19th century, but small-scale file cutting continued as a trade in small workshops until the middle of the 20th century. Indeed the hand production of files and rasps continued in Semily in the poor Podkrkonoší area until 1956. The local workshop was run by the Dolenský family at 104 and 103 Jílovická Street. The basics of the file cutting workshop were a heavy plate of lead, later a steel plate with lead inserts, and the manual work of the file cutter, who would place a half-made file on the plate and cut out the teeth of the file by hand using a sharp chisel. There were hundreds of types of files as far as profile and shape were concerned. Files were made that weighed

several kilograms; others were tiny, like needles, the essential tool of the mechanic, the toolmaker, the clockmaker and the locksmith. The last remaining Czech file cutter is Mr. Drahomír Smejkal from Jihlava, whose products are known throughout Europe and are mainly used by restorers, musical instrument makers, organ builders and even doctors. They are also bought by the car industry for the special filing of profiles using spindle heads. It was with the understanding and willingness of Mr. Smejkal that the Town of Semily and the Liberec branch of the National Monument Institute brought to life a plan for a museum exhibition in historic surroundings. The preserved file-cutting workshop, examples of the file-cutting industry and the attic room from the 20th century are all housed in building number 104, the last remaining house in Semily in which file cutting was maintained as a significant trade of the Podkrkonoší area.Info

Edited by OHK v Jablonci nad Nisou
Translation: EDUCA – vzdělávací centrum, s.r.o., Jablonec nad Nisou


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