Case & Sons Cutlery Celebrates 125 Years of Hand-Crafted Knife-Making
Category: press release
Aug 2nd, 2014 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Aug 2nd, 2014 at 12:00 AM
BRADFORD, Pa., – This year, W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company, an American manufacturer of premium quality knives, proudly celebrates 125 years of award-winning hand-craftsmanship, small-town heritage and time-honored tradition. The company’s rich history began in 1889 when the four Case Brothers began fashioning knives and selling them along a wagon trail in Upstate New York. Like each knife manufactured at the Case factory, the 125th landmark is a testament to the hundreds of dedicated artisans who have helped Case knives reach the moon, the White House and into the hearts of famous dignitaries, soldiers and celebrities throughout history. Case’s focus on quality is evident in the 125 pairs of hands that it takes to create just one knife. The company’s commitment to American hand-crafting is part of a work ethic that resonates with the countless hard-working Americans who have made giving Case knives part of a family tradition that spans generations.
“The 125th Anniversary milestone is proof of this company’s resilience and we look forward to celebrating a new era at Case Cutlery with Case collectors, fans and employees,” said John Sullivan, Director of Marketing, W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company. “We’ve prevailed for 125 years, through times where much of the knife industry was in a state of flux. We’re proud to be one of the nation’s leading manufacturers and are fully committed to retaining our brand’s position as the frontrunner in traditional, hand-crafted knives.”
To further this commitment, Case Cutlery’s parent company, Zippo Manufacturing Company, is investing nearly $10 million toward renovating their Bradford, Pa., factory. The renovations, which are currently underway and expected to finish by the end of 2015, include a complete remodeling of the Case Cutlery factory that was originally constructed in 1975, including new equipment and floor configurations that will allow better efficiency, productivity and quality without affecting the hand-craftsmanship that goes into every Case knife. The company’s current location is its third manufacturing facility in Bradford since 1905.
An updated approach to more efficient manufacturing has successfully landed more Case knives into more retail stores. In addition to the more than 2,000 Case Authorized Dealers across the country that regularly carry Case knives, popular outdoor-themed chains like Cabela’s, Bass Pro, Field & Stream, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Tractor Supply Stores, Sportsman’s Warehouse, REI, Academy Sports + Outdoors and Costco are also recognizing the value-added sales that Case knives bring within a small retail footprint. Case knives are also sold online through Case-exclusive e-tailers and on Amazon.com.
Case products range from the classic patterns like the Case Trapper, Stockman, Peanut and Tiny Toothpick that are meant for everyday use to collectables, mint sets and commemoratives that adorn man caves and living room walls across America.
“Zippo acquired W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company in 1993 and we are very proud of what we have been able to achieve in the last 20 years by bringing these two iconic brands together,” said Greg Booth, CEO, Zippo/W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company. “With Case, our current focus is on improving efficiency, which we hope to achieve with this new investment, and drive future innovation and new product development.”
With a refurbished outlook on the future, Case looks towards an increased ability to revive classic styles and create new designs. Case is planning to roll out a World War II V-42 Stiletto reproduction model in 2015, an idea that’s been highly anticipated by America’s servicemen and women as well as Case collectors. Case knives and the American military have gone hand-in-hand for decades, as far back as World War I, when the U.S. government called on Case to make military knives for American servicemen and women. Later, during World War II, Case manufactured the first-ever V-42 Stiletto, issued to the legendary First Special Service Force (1st SSF, aka Devil’s Brigade).
In addition, Case’s future plans include working with leaders from the custom knife market like the legendary Tony Bose, who will help Case launch the 2015 Case collaborative Cattleman’s Knife. Case has worked with Tony and other industry master craftsmen for years to offer fans, collectors and enthusiasts “closest-to-custom” knife designs they might not otherwise be able to obtain.
While new designs for everyday use and traditional favorites for outdoor enthusiasts spur its climbing sales growth, Case’s collectability, seasonal editions and licensing agreements continue to help drive year-over-year growth. Case’s collectability is attributed to the unique tang stamp dating system that was introduced during the company’s infancy. Using this system, today’s collectors can easily identify and ascertain the manufacturing date of almost any Case knife, thereby raising the knives’ intrinsic value. The brand’s popularity is further underscored by the knives it manufactures under licensing agreements with popular American icons such as Harley-Davidson®, Boy Scouts of America®, United States Marine Corps®, Ducks Unlimited®, John Deere™, John Wayne® (Wayne Enterprises) and Matt Hughes.
The Rich History of W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company
* 1886-1930: The Case family pioneered much of the development of early American knife manufacturing and aided in the creation of eleven different knife companies which sprung up in Western New York & Western PA. Some of the more famous names include: Case Brothers Cutlery Co., Cattaraugus Cutlery Co., and Crandall Cutlery Co.
* 1905: Russell Case, founder of W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co., relocates his headquarters and manufacturing from Little Valley, NY to Bradford, PA.
* 1914: Russell Case purchases the now famous Tested XX trademark.
* 1930’s: Case provided throwing knives for Barnum & Bailey circus acts. The ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ first toured America in 1888.
* 1942: Case releases the V-42 Stilleto to the first U.S. Special Forces (aka the Devil’s Brigade).
* 1953: 1961: While in the White House, Dwight D. Eisenhower regularly bought Case knives to give as gifts to dignitaries and friends. Years later, Case presented a custom hunting knife to our nation’s 40th President and Case enthusiast, Ronald Reagan.
* 1965: Case broke through the stratosphere when a Case survival knife accompanied astronauts on the Gemini III mission. The ‘M-1’ design would later accompany astronauts on all Gemini and Apollo missions thereafter.
* 1981: Case forms the Case Collectors Club, the largest association of knife collectors in the world. The Club currently boasts 19,000 members.
* 1993: Zippo Manufacturing Co. purchases W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co.
* 2005: A 1920’s-era Case Congress Knife broke a world auction record for sale of a factory made knife with a winning bid of $14,300 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
For more information on W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company, and for a list of retailers, please visit www.wrcase.com.
ABOUT W.R. CASE & SONS CUTLERY COMPANY
W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company is an American manufacturer of premium, hand-crafted knives. Based in Bradford, Pennsylvania, Case’s offerings cover a wide range of product categories, from traditional folding pocketknives and fixed blade sporting knives to limited production commemoratives and collectables. This year, 2014, W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company proudly celebrates 125 years of award-winning craftsmanship, small-town heritage and time-honored tradition. Like each knife that rolls out of the Case factory, the 125th milestone is a testament to the hard working artisans that continue to make Case a leader in the knife world. Today, Case is owned by Zippo Manufacturing Company, makers of the world famous Zippo® windproof lighter. Case’s commitment to quality is evident in the 125 pairs of hands and 160 manufacturing processes that it takes to create just one knife. A unique tang stamp dating system used since the very early days of its history has made the Case brand one of the world’s favorite collectable brands. The Case Collectors Club, with 19,000 active members, is the largest known knife collecting association in the world. For more information about W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company, please call (800) 523-6350 or visit www.wrcase.com.
ABOUT THE CASE COLLECTORS CLUB
Since 1981, the Case Collectors Club has become the premier association for knife collectors and enthusiasts worldwide. The Club sponsors exclusive knife promotions and unique collectables for members. It also publishes and distributes its own quarterly magazine title, The Case Collector. There are several notable Case Collectors Club members which act as valuable resources to the knife collector community. Jim Sargent (Florence, AL), Steve Pfeiffer (Hudson, MA), Gerald Witcher (Brentwood, TN) and Bruce Voyles have all written books about collectable that are considered vital reference materials when researching Case knives. Tony Foster, a longtime collector from Wando, South Carolina, is regarded as one of the leading experts on Case knives and has been collecting and learning about knives for more than 30 years. His collection represents one of the finest anywhere. Dewey Ferguson (Fairborn, OH – deceased) was one of the first authors to formally document knife collecting; he wrote a series of knife books under the title, “The Romance of Collecting Knives,” starting in the late 1960s through the 1970s that earned him a place on the Case’s Wall of Fame. For more information on the Case Collectors Club, please visit http://www.wrcase.com/collectors_club/.