History of the Schrade Knife Company

At first glance, Schrade may not seem like a household name. It’s a name that, although it has a deep history in knife lore, is not well-known. However, you have probably not only seen their knives at the store, but possibly used them as well.

Schrade has been making knives for hundreds of years and they produce some of the most widely sold knives in the American market. This company used to be a brand that defined quality but that time has passed.

Additional Information About The Company:

Parent Company: Taylor Brands LLC
Headquarters: Kingsport, TN, USA
Product Manufacturing Location: China

History of Schrade Knives

The Schrade Knife Company was started in 1904 in Walden, New York under the name ‘Schrade Cutlery Company’. The Schrade Cutlery Company produced knives and other cutlery at a quality which, at the time, was relatively unheard of.

Their products were popular and sold quite well.

In 1941, a man named Albert M. Baer purchased the ‘Ulster Knife Company’ and merged it with his original company, the ‘Imperial Knife Company’.

In 1946, Schrade Cutlery was sold to ‘Imperial Knife Associated Companies’ and the merged company was renamed ‘Schrade-Walden Cutlery Co. Inc.’ In 1983 the owner took the company private in order to maintain control of the company. In 1985 it was renamed again, to the Imperial Schrade Company.

Today the company is owned by ‘Taylor Brands LLC’. It was purchased in 2016 from the iconic firearms company Smith & Wesson.

Taylor Brands LLC

Stewart Taylor grew up in Kingsport, TN. The same place where the headquarters of Taylor Brands LLC still is today. He was known as a collector of old knives and swords. He actually begun selling knives early on, when he was still a student at Emory & Henry College. One of his original hustles was when he published an advertisement in ‘Coin Magazine’ for a Coca-Cola bottle-shaped knife. This knife supposedly cost him $10 and he sold it for $25. According to lore, this was the start of his business. After he graduated in 1974, he begun working with Asian manufacturers and begun his now well-known knife company.

Unfortunately, in 2004, when Taylor Brands originally acquired the rights to produce Schrade Knives, such as their iconic ‘Uncle Henry’ and ‘Old Timer’ model lines, the quality really begun to go downhill and many knife enthusiasts no longer recommend Schrade knives, despite their history.

This is a classic tale of a legendary company, who originally produced quality products, changing to many hands and investors and eventually selling out their name for profit.


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