In the course of the 18th century, the cutlery trade moved from Langres, the birthplace of the writer and co-editor of the Encyclopédie Denis Diderot, to Nogent (Haut-Marne), about 20 km to the north. The elegant products manufactured at Nogent were sold as luxury articles to the Paris upper class and to international markets. Until the middle of the 19th century, the involved workshops individually covered the complete manufacturing process, and the grindstones and bellows of the forges were operated by handwheels or impellers. From around 1850, mechanization prevailed, resulting in the increased use of water wheel systems or steam engines. Today, the medical-surgical sector has taken the economic lead, while Nogent’s classic cutlery trade is in sharp decline.
The "Espace Pelletier", named after the 1828 born scissor maker Nicolas Pierre Pelletier, opened in 1991 as a museum of the cutlery industry (Musée de la Coutellerie), displaying an excellent collection of typical products, tools and machines as well as documenting the most important manufacturing techniques and regularly organising special exhibitions. A guided tour provides insights into the region's rich industrial heritage