Schneidewend Reliance Cutter

I just bought this Schneidewend cutter from a guy in Wisconsin. I’ve been trying to find any info about it that I can - I’ve found a little info about the Schneidewend company and from what I can tell it’s likely from the 1890’s, though we haven’t found a date on it anywhere.

I’d appreciate any knowledge that can be shared about it or the company and even whether any others are known of - I haven’t been able to find reference to any others online. As well, any cleaning tips for the cast iron would be much appreciated.


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Shniedewend established the company in 1893 and he died in 1911, and the company closed shortly afterwards, I believe. So the cutter probably was made in that time span somewhere. I believe when he was a partner with James Lee they also offered a cutter under Shniedewend & Lee, so this could be the same model rebranded. I’ve been working on a paper about Shniedewend and his hand presses, but I want to add info about the other products — he was primarily a supplier to the photoengraving and electrotyping trade.


slvr….. That is a great cutter! I used one just like it back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. If it’s in good condition, and the blade is sharp, it’ll glide through paper like butter. If the blade is dull though, it’s not so much fun to use.

I used mine in a publishing venture. I can recall working all night to finish trimming three sides of 500 copies of “Father Ryan’s Poems”…… the next day I could hardly move a muscle!

Anyway…. I thought Schniedewend and Lee was bought out by Challenge in the 19-teens or twenties. First it was Paul Schniedewned, then Schniedewend and Lee, and then Challenge. That’s why you can see some identical machines with different names.

A few notes about your cutter, for the benefit of newbies who may have a similar machine in their garages:

Squaring it up is a bit of a pain. One of the bolts on the tailstop is an eccentric, or it is supposed to be. I’ve seen some that were, and others that only have a shoulder bolt there.

The blade is heavy. If you drop it, please do NOT try to catch it on the way down…… it would take your fingers with it. Instead, just make sure your hands and toes are well out of the way! Also, you may want to make a wooden blade holder…. just in case.

The blade on that cutter will drop when the handle is about 45 degrees down….. and it has no safety catches or latches at all. If your hand is under it when it closes…. yikes! Above about 45 degrees, the counterweight will hold it open. I see the “football” is in place. I’d never, EVER remove it.

Finally…. I’d be careful about allowing an untrained or careless person to operate that cutter. while it’s not inherently unsafe, it is a rather unforgiving of carelessness.

I have one that appears to look just like yours. I am getting out of the printing business and I am looking for a buyer. It has been in use for years and still works great.

@gregyoung where are you located?

About 30 miles south of Rockford IL.

The office I work for, still has a Reliance Cutter. It is just like yours. Others who have posted are correct on watching out how sharp the blades can be. We have had to several blades made by a machine shop, because of the constant use they used to have. Make sure the cutting stick (white block where cutter lands) is in good shape before much use. Also, to clean the rust, we have used Varn or other cleaning products that removes ink or rust. When the blade is sharp one ream of paper can easily be cut at one time.