I note that Blade making in Britain had fallen off so much that in 1783 the London Cutlerís Company sought government permission to import blades duty free from the Continent and this provoked a Birmingham tool maker, Thomas Gill, to declare that he could produce British blades of equal quality. In 1786 the Honourable East India Company ordered 10,000 blades and each was to be subjected to a bending test. Of the 2,700 English-made blades 1,084 failed the test; of 1,400 German blades only 28 failed, and of Gillís 2,650 only 4 failed. In addition to the bending test Gill had his blades struck flat, as hard as possible, on a block of cast iron and edgeways on a block of wrought iron and it is reported that some cut through the block.
--Frederick Wilkinson Swords and Daggers (p.58)