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Felt Advertising Knives

Felt Advertising Knives post image

Giving away a knife as a form of advertising, is a marketing technique used for many years by most, if not all, knife manufacturers from the early days up until today. No doubt, you have seen such knives on display at knife shows or searched eBay listings for old knives and found, for example, ‘FELT’ knives (Also see images at the bottom).

Felt manufacturers would purchase these advertising knives from various cutleries like Camillus, Robeson, Schrade, Colonial, Kutmaster, and Imperial.

The felt manufacturers bought these knives with their name either hot stamped, etched, laser engraved, or they had a special emblem/shield placed on the handle, or “scales” as they are appropriately referred to.

These knives were given to employees of felt companies as a token of [click to continue…]

The Camillus Dynasty – An Interview with Jim Furgal post image

How often have we lamented over the fact that we missed the fortuitous opportunity to sit down and talk with those that were part of the cutlery industry’s history. How awe-inspiring would it be to spend time with W.R. Case, the Brown Brothers, or even with one of the English or German Master Cutlers from the turn of the century? The stories they could tell and the revelations they could expose to us.

As the doors of our beloved Camillus plant closed down and fire claimed the remnants of the structure, it becomes even more important to safeguard that history and store it somewhere for impending generations to relive. So we’re very honored at Camillus Heritage that we were able to sit down with Mr. Jim Furgal, the former President of Camillus Cutlery Company.

The following transcript exposes some little known facts about the Camillus Cutlery Company and the town that propagated up around it. Please read the words judiciously and comprehend that this maybe the last chance to hear it directly from one that lived and breathed the metal dust from the blades, felt the heat from the furnaces, and smelt the aroma of the bone as it was prepared for the handles.

No doubt this interview will be scrutinized by cutlery historians in the future. The magnificent opportunity to hear from one of the frontrunners of a very famous cutlery company and gain his prospective on its success and failures will be a learning tool for many. It is easy to recognize the pride that Mr. Furgal had in his company and his personal accomplishments. Although the original Camillus as we knew it is now gone, it will live on forever through documentation just like this. [click to continue…]

Maps in Camillus Tell More Than Just Directions post image

The influence of Camillus Cutlery on our beloved knife town is quite apparent and well documented. The two go hand in hand, as the town thrived for generations around the cutlery business.

It is the same story that took place in many cities during the 20th century. If you got a job at the XYZ company, you were pretty much going to live the typical American life style. You got married, you had a family, you bought a home, you retired, and lived happy ever after, passing your worldly goods onto your children who hopefully did the same thing as you.

Unfortunately, those scenarios rarely exist anymore and that sense of community and wellbeing is getting tougher to find.

An example of that influence on municipality in Camillus is clearly recognized by looking closely at the names of some of the streets, avenues, and roads in this small town. Having a street or boulevard named after you, assures your name will [click to continue…]

Triumphs of World War II – Camillus’ Production Patriots thumbnail

The great offensive had begun and Camillus made a perfect record on deliveries!

The men and women on the job were industrial defenders of freedom. They backed up the 117 Camillus employees who had gone into the armed forces and the millions of others in service whom they supplied with essential knives.

The Marine Corps ordered a seven-inch fighting knife with a heavy butt and a threaded nut. Camillus Cutlery Company did not approve of the government specifications, and said so. But we had our orders to proceed as the need was critical.

The first delivery of 18,000 knives passed inspection. And then something happened. One of these heavy knives [click to continue…]

Camillus Was Willing to Give You the Shirt Off Their Back post image

Continuing our review of the old Camillus catalogs, let’s pick up where we left off with the 1948 issue. Looking over the various patterns available, it is interesting that each of these has survived the years and are still viable today. They continue to be manufactured almost identically to those early patterns, no doubt a testament to their usefulness and design to the consumer. After all if no one was buying them you can be sure they would not continue to make them.

Marketing

However, seasoned patterns were not enough to keep the production lines rolling. The mom and pop distributors of these knives were the real key to keeping sales brisk and the cutlery company up and running.

The ability to creatively display the various patterns, in order to catch the eye of the passing consumer, required a compact yet functional countertop cabinet. Sales space in stores is always a premium, so the design was carefully thought out (see pages [click to continue…]