A new Union Cutlery Company is registered in Olean, New York, creating two Union Cutlery Company incorporations: the original in Tidioute, Pennsylvania and the new one in Olean, New York. Once the Olean facility is operating successfully, the Tidioute, Pennsylvania plant is closed down.
1800 – 1899: The Cutlery Industry Takes Root in America
The U.S. cutlery industry begins in New England when a group of cutlers from England’s Sheffield Cutlery Industry ban together.
April 29, 1897
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a group of 38 men form a Limited Partnership, known as Tidioute Cutlery Company, to manufacture and sell cutlery. The formation is now widely considered to be the beginnings of KA-BAR Knives, Inc.
First sales of cutlery marks the beginning of KA-BAR as it is today
1900 – 1919: Union Cutlery Company is Formed
Mr. Wallace R. Brown purchases the assets of the Tidioute Cutlery Company, and applies to the Governor of Pennsylvania to form a corporation, the Union Razor Company (later changed to Union Cutlery Company in 1909), for the purpose of manufacturing and selling cutlery.
1920 – 1944: The Birth of KA-BAR as a Brand
During this period, trademarks like OLCUT, KEENWELL, and KA-BAR are adopted and
embellished on the knives.
Soon after the start of World War II, the Union Cutlery Company submits a KA-BAR branded knife to the U.S. Marine Corps for issue to fighting personnel.
The Marine Corps accepts a reworked design of the submitted knife and begins using it as their standard issue fighting/utility knife.
1945 – 1974: The Making of Our Most Famous Knife – The USMC KA-BAR
Due to the role of the KA-BAR branded USMC knife in the War, the directors of the company decide to change the corporate name to KA-BAR Cutlery, Inc.
KA-BAR is sold by the Brown family and subsequently goes through a series of ownership changes ultimately being sold in 1966 to Cole National Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio.
1975 – Today: KA-BAR Thrives with Collectible Knives and Improved Distribution
The KA-BAR product line and assets are sold to Alcas Corporation of Olean, New York.
KA-BAR Knives, Inc. dramatically enhances its national product distribution with the addition of five manufacturing representative firms whose territory spans the entire United States.
KA-BAR celebrates its 100th year in the knife-making business.
KA-BAR moves to its current location, 200 Homer Street, Olean, NY.