The tag-line associated with the marketing behind Schrade Knives is a simple, yet effective statement – “Schrade Knives are tough, reliable and built to last”.
If you are looking to purchase a classic pocket knife or are a collector, you will have come across Schrade Knives. Owners of Schrade Knives have always given positive feedback and they have been a popular choice with knife lovers for decades. With a deep-rooted long history there is a good chance that if your grandfather owned a pocket knife, it may well have been a Schrade Pocket Knife.
Designed with a style that is unique and timeless, Schrade have crafted themselves their own niche within the pocket knife industry. WIth the new models being produced today under new ownership, you have a chance to own a knife that may become as prestigious as the older models have.
The journey began in 1892 with an inventor from Sheffield, England called George Schrade. Schrade was involved with a company by the name of the New York Press Button Knife Company. He wanted to start production of a line of knives but didn’t have sufficient funds, so a partial interest in his company was sold to the Walden Knife Company.
In 1904 and now with enough funds, the Schrade Cutlery Company was formed and the first patented product was filed in the same year. The company started to grow and production was underway. By 1906-07 another patent was filed for Safety Push Button Knives, this model proved to be very popular and Schrade was starting to gain notoriety within the pocket knife industry.
Move forward to 1911 and George Schrade was now operating out of the knifemaking centre of the world, which at the time was Solingen, Germany. Schrade continued to push the envelope and develop new, innovative designs. This was brought to an abrupt halt in 1916 however when the German government seized all of Schrade’s assets to help with their war production. This provoked Schrade to return to the US where he would start up production again.
Schrade licenced a flylock switchblade knife in 1917, he gave the licence to the Challenge Cutlery Company and joined them while still maintaining the Schrade Cutlery Company. During the 1920’s Schrade purchased the now defunct Walden Cutlery Company for the purpose of obtaining all their remaining stocks.
The Challenge Cutlery Company ceased trading in 1928, purchasing the machinery George Schrade formed a new company called the Geo. Schrade Knife Co. George Schrade died in 1940 and his sons would end up selling both of his companies; the Geo. Schrade Knife Co. in 1956, and the Schrade Cutlery Co in 1946. The Schrade Cutlery Co would change name to the Schrade-Walden Cutlery Co., Inc.
The Schrade Cutlery Company became a division of the Imperial Knife Associated Companies group in 1946. After another geographical move and more in-house streamlining measures Albert M Baer purchased all outstanding stock in the company and took the company private. Yet another name change came in 1985, now rebranding as the Imperial Schrade Corp. Entry into new multi-tool markets and the knife product range was increased.
The company celebrated their 100th anniversary in July of 2004. This would mark the final change to date, Taylor Brands LLC purchased the Schrade name and all manufacturing was moved to outside the US.
Schrade Knives in Todays Market
With such a long history and a number of changes behind the Schrade brand, it is no surprise that there is a wide range of knives under the Schrade umbrella. You can find survival, pocket, tactical, hunting and diving knives to mention just a few of the lines.
Taylor Brands LLC were already experienced with overseas manufacturing, so it was an easy decision for them to move production of Schrade knives to Asia to cut costs. There has been some feedback from owners and knife enthusiasts of a slight drop in quality, but there are still several Schrade knives widely regarded as exceptionally good knives and leaders in their field.