The Big Four- Case Cutlery Company

You know me- I have a major affinity for early American knife company memorabilia and one came my way last week. And while I did buy it, the truth is I am only its custodian for a while. Hopefully, down the road someone else will become its caretaker preserving it for future generations.

What is it? It’s a rare postcard depicting The Big Four– John. D. Case and his three sons of Case Cutlery Company of Kane, Pa.

The Big Four- J. D. Case & Sons c.1908

The history of Case Cutlery Co. Kane, Pa is very interesting. This picture and the firm’s history is contained in Brad Lockwood’s The Case Cutlery Dynasty.  There Brad reports on July 14th, 1908, John Case and this three sons- The Big Four– broke ground on the new Case Cutlery Company factory in West Kane. That was the exact same day, incidentally, of the foreclosure sale the neighboring factory of the Case Brothers Cutlery Company.

RAT Cutlery Co. changes its name

RANDALL’S ADVENTURE & TRAINING ANNOUNCES NAME CHANGE

Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin of Randall’s Adventure & Training announced earlier this week that they would officially be changing the name of their cutlery division from RAT Cutlery Company to ESEE KNIVES.

According to the firm’s release, Randall and Perrin made this decision due to confusion in the industry with other companies who market knives under similar names.

The new name (ESEE) comes from Randall and Perrin’s experience teaching survival courses to military, law enforcement and civilians in the jungles of South America. ESEE is an acronym for Escuela de Supervivencia (School of Survival), Escape and Evasion.

This initial name change will take place over a period of 6 months and should be fully swapped over by February 1, 2011.

Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 8:34 pm  Comments (5)  
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Knife Company Memorabilia- Cattaraugus Cutlery Co. wall display

It’s not everyday we find a true piece of knife company history. Last week an item sold on eBay and it was a true treasure.

Here’s the seller’s description:

c.1920- 1930 36” X 48″ FOLDING ADVERTISING BOARD, made of heavy cardboard, beautiful colors with blue, brown, cream, red and green.  The center picture is of a grey haired gentlemen in suit and tie peeling an apple with his pocket knife with “FRIENDS FOR 30 YEARS” in the frame.  The other two frames are (1) a picture of kitchen cutlery with “CATTARAUGUS –IS A GUARANTEE FOR CUTLERY” and on the other pocket knives with “LITTLE INJUN LINE-A KNIFE FOR EVERY USE.”  At the top center it says “CATTARAUGUS CUTLERY CO., LITTLE VALLEY, N.Y.”   On the top left is a picture of the “LITTLE INJUN” and on the top right is another picture of an “LITTLE INJUN.”  We understand that one is on display in the National Knife Museum.”

Oh yeah, I almost forgot- it sold for $869 plus $150 shipping (proving again, good stuff brings good prices, even in a bad economy).

Published in: on January 6, 2010 at 7:53 pm  Comments (6)  
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Benchmade Knife Company Wins Award

Benchmade Knife Company Recognized as a Most Admired Company in Oregon

The Portland Business Journal recognized Benchmade Knife Company as one of Oregon’s Most Admired Companies within the Manufacturing Companies division.

“It is an honor to be recognized among such admired and prestigious organizations in the state” says Les de Asis, Founder and Owner of Benchmade Knife Company.

Surveys were sent to more than 1,800 CEO’s throughout the Oregon and Southwest Washington region and asked them to select the companies they most admire. These awards recognize companies that CEO’s believe to be the very best organizations in the region.

Other companies winning awards in the manufacturing category include Nike Inc., Columbia Sportswear Co., and Leatherman Tool Group Inc.


Published in: on December 18, 2009 at 10:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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She worked in a Connecticut knife factory from 1888 to 1914

During the Depression folks were hired to travel the Country documenting American Life as part of the Federal Writers’ Project. These interviews are now in the Library of Congress.

The following is an interview conducted with the Widow Buckingham in 1938. She worked for American Shear & Knife for 26 years, beginning in 1888.

This interview brings working in a knife factory to life- in a personal way. It’s American cutlery history at its finest.

It begins with Mrs. Buckingham being asked about the history of knife factories in her area- the Reynolds Bridge area of Connecticut.

“Don’t know’s I can give you much history about these Reynolds Bridge Companies,” she says. “We only lived here since 1916. I came from a knifemakin’ family, though. Worked at it for twenty-six years myself, over in Hotchkissville. American Shear and Knife Company–that burnt down in 1914, and they never rebuilt it. (Goins’ dates American Shear  c.1853- 1914. At one time it employed 150 workers-SK)

“My father was from Sheffield, England, where all the good knifemakers come from. I was six years old when we moved to Hotchkissville. Of course I don’t remember much about the old country, but I can remember my mother tellin’ about how when she first come over here she was scared of everything. Sheffield was a big city, you know, and they weren’t used to country ways. She was afraid of the peep frogs, when first she heard ’em. My sister and my two brothers was born in Hotchkissville. My sister–she lives down here on the flat now–father used to say, ‘she’s the first bloody Yankee in our family, and she’s a bugger.’

“Women in the knife shops? Oh, yes, there was about ten of ’em over in Hotchkissville. We used to clean, and pack the knives, little jobs like that. They had boys to get the work ready for the finishers. Most all English people, I don’t know what it was, whether the Yanks couldn’t learn the trade, or what. Oh, there was some, of course. The men that owned the companies used to go to Sheffield to hire help, pay their passage to this country, and let ’em work it out.

(more…)

Badge Holder Knife Patent Granted to Knife Company

badgeknife

Atlantic Cutlery's patented badge holder with hidden knife

Atlantic Cutlery announced today the US Patent and Trademark Office granted the firm a patent for a unique badge holder with a built-in, backup weapon/knife.

This knife badge holder is designed exclusively for law enforcement, undercover agents and criminal investigators. Affixed to the back of the badge holder is a folding knife, meant as a back-up or when carrying weapons isn’t practical due to the circumstances.

“Undercover officers cannot always carry a firearm, but many times still have their badge to identify themselves and this badge holder gives them the edge they need in emergencies.”

Robin Chaudhuri, ACC Designer

Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 11:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Knife industry and collectors are pitching in to help raise money for breast cancer cause

pinkribbonAll across America knife enthusiasts are uniting in support and are raising money to help fund research for breast cancer, as October is breast cancer awareness month. Robert Hale of Iron City Blades brought this coordinated effort of the knife industry and collectors to our attention.

Many makers and suppliers, including Iron City Blades, Spyderco, Buck, Ka-Bar, Victorinox, Shepherd Hills Cutlery,  Smoky Mountain Knife Works and others are offering knives, or have set aside production time and product line to pink handled ribbon-emblazoned products with all or part of the proceeds going to organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, National Breast Cancer Foundation and others.

The largest social network for knife collectors, iKnifeCollector, is also pitching in to help with an eBay auction of a Featured Membership with all proceeds are being donated. The iKnifeCollector auction is located on their community homepage.

Regardless of how you show your support, pitch in.


Knife Company History- Northfield Knife Company advertisement 1884

October 4, 1884 Northfield Knife Company advertisement

October 2, 1884 Northfield Knife Company advertisement

Source: The Iron Age- October 2, 1884

Published in: on October 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm  Comments (3)  
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Knife collecting still making the cut

us-economyThis year’s been a doozie and we’ve still got a quarter to go. We’ll end up at over a hundred bank closings. Auto maker bailouts. Record high foreclosures. Unemployment near 10%.  Record business and personal bankruptcies. Makes your head spin doesn’t it? Not since the Great Depression has our country been hammered like it has this year.

CNJ reported successful knife makers reduced employee’s salaries or have been forced to adjust by laying off workers due to low knife sales. In some cases other business failures have impacted knife companies too- distributors, retailers and suppliers.

In regard to our knife organizations, the timing of this severe downturn couldn’t be worse, as most need the steady revenue while the leaderships conduct SWAT analysis on their organizations. The economy’s caused many collectors to drop club and association memberships.

economyThe dark-side of the recession is also having it’s toll on collectors in other areas too. More collectors are selling knives to help make ends meet. I spoke with another collector yesterday who is selling because he needs the cash.

One knife industry expert claims, incidentally, these collectors will become tomorrow’s dealers. His theory is this-  these individuals who do need to sell will hit the show circuit in order to liquidate. Then they will eventually need to buy more knives from other dealers in order to have additional inventory to sale. I think that is hog wash, personally. The guy I mentioned earlier who is selling off a major chunk of his collection isn’t going to set up at shows- he’s using eBay.

Even with the tough times, knife collecting is still making the cut.

The 2009 CNJ Knife Collector Survey taken earlier this year revealed almost half of the 1300 collectors surveyed stated their participation in the hobby hasn’t been affected by the recession.

Click to enlarge

2009 Knife Collector Survey Q#6 II

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There is an additional bright-side to all this too- Record low interest rates and tremendous investment buying opportunities. Untold billions will be made as a result of this recession. Cash rich companies and individuals will make a fortune buying in a down market, but when we do come out of this-  the business landscape will look all together different.

Don’t be surprised if there are some knife company mergers and buy-outs before this is all said and done too.

Photo credits: http://www.uml.edu; http://www.blogtrepreneur.com

The weak economy continues to impact Knife Industry

BuckLogoLast week, Buck Knives announced it was cutting 200 employees salary to hold its own through these uncertain economic times.

The Coeur d’Alene Press reported the Post Falls, Idaho knife company, one of the largest employers in Northern Idaho, made a 10 percent reduction in pay and/or work hours. While the company hasn’t had layoffs in several months this move is a result of “economic woes endured by Buck’s customers” that continues to impact Buck according to Phil Duckett, Buck COO in an interview with staff writer Brian Walker. Buck had multiple layoffs during 2008.

“One of our significant customers is off- plan over 20%, and we have had multiple customers file for bankruptcy,” Ducket said. “(Those) are the major factors in the action we’ve taken.”

Published in: on August 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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