In 1964 a US market survey showed that 80 percent of Americans didn't know how to sharpen a knife. This inspired Dennis Jackson, a design engineer for Wiltshire Cutlery in Melbourne, who saw an opportunity to create a knife that sharpens itself. In an instant he had identified a whole new range of products with an advantage over any blade ever sold before.
He invented a spring loaded sharpening block inside a sheath or scabbard, which sharpened the knife every time it was taken out or replaced. A number of versions of this Australian innovation were tested in domestic kitchens in 1966 and two years later Stuart Devlin (who had designed Australia's decimal coins) was hired to create a streamlined plastic scabbard and handle for the knife. It was test marketed in Perth in time for Christmas 1969. This type of Staysharp knife, which was an Australian innovation, was the first to be mass produced and launched in the rest of Australia in August 1970.
In 1971 Wiltshire used a series of ads featuring well known fashion model and mum, Maggie Tabberer and instantly created the perception that their product was fashionable, practical and desirable. Since then more than 8 million Staysharp knives have been sold, with patents and design registrations in 37 countries.