Wide open as a Case knife

It’s funny how once you get tuned into something, you all of a sudden start noticing it. Take cars for example, how many times have you bought a new car only then to start seeing your car everywhere. Well, I heard me another new knife saying yesterday.

I was traveling with a new sales rep for our company. We ran to Chattanooga for a meeting and on the way we were talking when this guy said,

“I’m as wide open as a Case knife.”

After about a second, I interrupted him to ask why he said that and what it means. I’d never heard that expression before. I actually thought he used that expression because he knew I am into knives. He went on to tell me it was a saying he always heard his dad use and that he’d never really thought about it before.

Last night I did a search on that phrase. I found it in a Sports Illustrated article where an Alabama-born coach Curley Hallman baffled reporters when he used it. He was describing a quarterback competition and he said- “It’s wide open as a Case knife in a barroom brawl.”

I also found it used by another Alabama coach reported in the Times Daily. Then I found it used by a southern humorist. It was also used on TideFans.com and then again on SECTalk.com used in an Alabama/Georgia football game discussion.

I emailed my friend at Case to ask about what he knew about it. He replied he’d never heard of it either, so I have concluded it is southern expression, possibly even an Alabama colloquialism.

And even though I’m in and from the Heart of Dixie, if I wasn’t a knife guy, I’d probably never noticed it.

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The modern-day evolution of cutlery

Makes good sense to me

Image credit: geekologie.com

Published in: on December 21, 2009 at 9:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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New Eco-Friendly Cutlery?

To you who do have “Save the Planet” or “Go Green” bumper stickers, I’ve already staked-out I’m a Green Guy too, and yet, when I find a company championing a cause (or stirring it up) and then offering a solution it benefits from, it irks me. (I’m not talking about the ol’ capitalistic axiom of- find a need and fill it- here either).

You may or may not be aware plastics are under attack. I guess they don’t biodegrade very well, or something. Since we are about all forms of cutlery here at CNJ, my radar picked this up.

Bamboo Cutlery

Bamboo Cutlery (or Slips) is designed as an Eco-friendly replacement to those eternal plastic forks, knives and spoons, but before you assume this product is simply Chop Sticks- guess again.


Before Al Gore gives all the credit to this Bamboo Cutlery maker for saving our planet, did you know MASAYOSHI TAKETJCHI was granted a patent already for Bamboo Cutlery? Yep, it’s true- way back on June 27, 1916.

His patent application even adds- “The object of my invention is to produce articles of this kind (knives and forks) which will be attractive, cheap in costs and which may be thrown away after use…”

Published in: on November 30, 2009 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Knives used around the Kitchen in 1919

kitchen2What is the most important tool used in the kitchen?

We here at Cutlery News Journal vote: The Knife, of course.

If you agree, then let’s be more specific- What knife, or better yet, which knife?

I think you will be surprised by all the different kinds of kitchen knives that have been made.

As a side note here- have you ever thought about the names given to knives? Why certain names were given and what they mean? And when they were first used?

Off the top of head, I would say that the majority, if not all, knife companies assigned numbers to identify knives and patterns. Some knife companies had very sophisticated systems, like Case, where the handle material, number of blades, pattern number, etc. were used.

But, what about the names? Where did they come from and why were certain names used, as opposed to others?

You may be surprised to know that back in 1919 an Official Directory of the Cutlery Trade of the United States was published. It classified the kind of knives and blades made. This list was published in The Cutlery Makers of America.

Today, I’ll will show the names of all the knives identified by this official directory used in and around the kitchen. You will find these interesting. Some of these knives are still known by these names, but for others, we would be hard pressed to identify them today.

My favorite is the Chicken-Killing Knife (more…)

Early Cutlery Firms Join Together


Being a fourth generation auctioneer and one who seeks to learn all I can about knife company history, anytime I find any information related to both of these areas, I am interested. Recently I did find a tidbit of auction and cutlery history combined.

Did you know that in 1877 several of the early American Cutlery Companies joined forces to auction a large amount of cutlery?

The auction was held in New York City on February 14th, 1877 and consisted of 800 lots. There was a very large attendance, including representatives of the leading houses in Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Chicago, Baltimore and even San Francisco.

Listed as participating in the auction was Beaver Falls Cutlery Company, Landers, Frary & Clark, John Russell Cutlery Company, Meriden Cutlery Company, Chicago Cutlery Manufacturing Company and Lamson & Goodnow Manufacturing Company.

The New York Times reported on that date that the auction prices “were extremely satisfactory, being up to current market rates” and there was discussion of making the joint auction a permanent thing. It did go on to say the auction would continue the next day.

The article goes on to say, “The companies, although they have succeeded in driving most of the English manufacturers out of the market, have met a serious obstacle of late in the establishment of cutlery manufacturing companies in the West. They thereby lost a considerable proportion of their trade. This fact, and the general depression of trade, have left on their hands a large overstock of goods they wished to get rid of.”

Reprinted with permission from The News at ElephantToenails.com

Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Cutlery History- Innovative Merchant Knife Sales

Do you think about early cutlery company and merchant knife sales promotions and how we as collectors have benefited from their efforts?

If you are into American cutlery history, no doubt, you are familiar with Paine’s Cutlery Journal, but if you are not, allow me to introduce it to you. If you have an opportunity to buy or read a copy, don’t pass it up. Each edition is chocked full of interesting cutlery history.

In Volume 1- Number 1, published in July 1926, Chas. H. Paine, its editor, clearly states its policy and purpose. He states, “In a word, Paine’s Journal will strive to accelerate the steady flow of good cutlery through the established trade channels- manufacturer to jobber to retailer- through more active coordination of selling effort and the utilization of selling forces.”

He goes further to state that there is always a latent demand for pocketknives, which awaits only the proper sales stimulus. Paine’s will “aim to awaken the dealer to the importance of featuring his cutlery department and the additional profit that is bound to result therefrom.” Paine’s clearly promoted the importance of selling cutlery and promotional efforts to help accomplish this.

In this first edition there are several items of interest. One story is of a cutlery man who used a unique promotion to generate 5000 prospective knife buyers in two weeks, while far exceeding his typical sales activity. It is a story of Joseph Glick of Morristown, NY and how he designed a contest for the expressed purpose of selling more knives.

The long and the short of it is this- he created a window display of hundreds of pocketknives designed around the local girls and boys who could guess nearest to the correct number of knives displayed. In 15 days over 5000 folks entered their guess. He used as first prize- a $4.50 pearl handled knife; second prize a $2.00 stag handled knife and third prize an Official Boy Scout Knife. (Incidentally, that first place price equals $54.81 in today’s dollars)

The first prize winner correctly guessed the answer- 654 knives.

Mr. Glick disposed of more knives in the 15 days of the contest than he did in the 90 days preceding it. He said, “..people not only looked over the window trim, but came into the store and purchased the lines displayed.”

I’ll venture to say, collectors across the US have one or more of knives bought new from innovative merchants like Mr. Glick.

Published in: on September 1, 2008 at 8:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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