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Knives: longest-standing brands

With so many different knives around today, it’s hard to imagine a world without them. Maybe part of that is because they have practically been around for forever. The first pocket knives are said to have been created by the Romans and date back to the Iron Age, specifically around 600-500 BC. Like I said: forever.
Here’s a look at some knife brands that have been around the longest, and thoughts on why they’ve been around for so long. This is not an exhaustive list.
For starters, here are just a few old US knife manufacturers.


CamillusBased on my research, Camillus is the oldest pocket knife manufacturer in the United States. Camillus got its start in 1876, according to the company’s website. However, Camillus did file for bankruptcy in 2007 and was re-launched in 2009.
Based on customer reviews, here are some of the most common traits that customers appreciate about Camillus knives:
-Good grip

Ontario Knife Company

This company got its beginnings in 1889, but didn’t take on the name “Ontario Knife Company” until 1902.
Customers like the following about OKC knives:
-Comfortable handle
-Weight and balance

W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery

case-knives-amber-bone4-ss-jr-scout-244This company has changed owners since its inception, but it got started by four brothers in 1889.
Customers like the following about Case knives:
-Good quality
-Long lasting
-Perform well
-Ease of use

Dexter-Russell Inc.

DexRussArguably, this company has been around the longest in the United States as far as cutlery is concerned. While the Dexter-Russell site says the company began in 1818, it is actually the product of two merged companies. The first of these companies was established in 1818, and the second was established in 1834. The two did not join forces until 1933. Either way, both companies started up before the next oldest cutlery manufacturer in the US (Lamson & Goodnow, 1837).
Here are some things customers like about these products:
-Comfortable handle
-Sharp blade
-Stays sharp over time
On to foreign manufacturers…


kikuichIn terms of longevity, this company is just ridiculous; this Japanese manufacturer’s origins go back about 700 years. According the their website, Kikuichi originally specialized in Samurai swords, but for the last 100 years or so they have been producing cutlery.
I couldn’t find much customer feedback for Kikuichi, but here is some based on a couple of reviews:
-Beautiful craftsmanship
-Sharp blade
-Simple to use

Zwilling J.A. Henckels

30071-203henckelstwinfourstarchefs8_thumbZwilling was established in Germany in 1731.
Here are customer comments:
-Quality materials
-Long lasting
-Good balance


Puma was established in 1769 in Germany. This company doesn’t seem to be related to the Puma that sells shoes and other sportswear. Ironically, both companies originated in Germany, but they were created a century and a half apart.
Customers had the following to say about Puma knives:

  • Sharpen well
  • Quality materials
  • Good balance
  • Long lasting


BokerBöker is yet another German knife company. It was established in 1829. Like many of the other companies, it changed hands over the years. It also closed down for three years during the ’80s, but it did re-open.
Customers said these things about Böker products:
-Good grip
-Easy to open
While there’s probably no single answer as to why these companies are still around today, it does seem that many customers view their products as quality and find that they fit their individual needs, whatever they may be.
Check out our guide to see the bestselling knife from each state.

One thought on “Knives: longest-standing brands

  1. From what I understand Boker did not start making knives until 1869. They recognize this date as the beginning of their pocket knife making history. 1829 is also technically correct but in those years before, they were only making sabers and swords.

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