Since the 14th century, the small town Thiers (Puy-de-Dôme), located in the northern Massif Central, is committed to the manufacture of cutlery, the main lifeblood of the trade being the river Durolle with its steep gradient. In 1840, 12 hammer mills and 70 grinding cottages spread along its banks. The industrialization attracted the establishment of numerous factories, and around 1900, the trade employed 15,000 to 18,000 people. Following the Second World War, however, the cutlery industry in Thiers entered a time of economic decline. In the 1980s, the exeptionally designed pocket knife ‘Le Thiers’ was to become kind of an umbrella brand for Thiers, based on the example of the "Laguiole" knife. Visitors are invited to assemble their ‘Le Thiers’ in a specially equipped workshop right behind the municipal library. Hardly any other centre of the cutlery industry is home to so many local cutlery shops.
A newly established information centre, "La Cité des Couteliers", provides museum-like information about today's cutlery industry. The Musée de la Coutellerie with its branches, founded in 1985, turned out to be a genuine visitor attraction. It owns a collection of exquisite cutlery, and its concept of integrated workshops is a model of its kind, added by industrial heritage trails in the valley of the Durolle.