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Monday, June 4, 2012

KEEPING AMERICA ON TOP: WHOM YOU KNOW CELEBRATES AMERICAN STYLE INTELLIGENCE and EXCELLENCE WITH W. R. CASE!!! Case Knives, as they Return to the Kitchen, are Highly Recommended by Whom You Know!!!

It's not what you cut, it's what you cut it with we say at Whom You Know!  And we are pleased to introduce to you our inaugural coverage of such a highly esteemed American brand: W. R. Case!  They had us at first slice and clearly this is a brand that spells historic distinction!  Included was not only a press release, but also a book written on them so we could learn everything about this brand!  
Since the company’s humble beginnings, W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company grew to become a leader in the production of household knives and professional cutlery. Sadly these product offerings were phased out in 1994. Now, some eighteen years later, Case proudly announces its return to America’s kitchens with the release of a seven-piece household cutlery and storage block set.   We hope we are the first to tell you!  
We could go on and on about the fascinating history of this brand, but we think it is more important to tell you how amazingly well the knives themselves perform.  This comprehensive set is all you will ever need to do everything you want to do in the kitchen, including sharpening them.  It doesn't take up a lot of space, which is key in Manhattan where everyone needs more room.  We
 do a lot of cooking where cutting is involved. Having the right knife to help prepare a meal is important. If you think your kitchen knives are great, believe us, you have no idea how inferior they are compared to these beauties. When we tried the Case Cutlery kitchen set, we were in love. The first knife we tried was the boning knife. We purchased a watermelon and when we cut it open, the knife went through it like butter! We've always struggled a bit trying to cut open a watermelon with other knives. After we were finished with the watermelon, we had several packages of strawberries to cut and then we used the pairing knife. It was the easiest knife to maneuver. Along with all the fruit, we also had vegetables to cut to make a vegetable-based sauce. 
We immediately went for the chef's knife. We were able to dice up the peppers and zucchini with such ease. And
 of course do not think for one minute we were cooking without eating along the way.  The french bread, which was supposed to be saved for dinner, was slowly but surely disappearing with each slice of the bread knife!   Good thing we bought two baguettes...because we then used the slicing knive to dice the garlic to go on the remaining one to toast.  
It is such a plus that this set comes with the 10" sharpening steel as well. This way, we never have to worry about purchasing the right kind of knife sharpener again! 

Each piece in Case’s new household cutlery set is made exclusively in the U.S.A., with quality features like solid Walnut handles and Tru-Sharp™ surgical steel blades that resist rusting, staining, and corrosion. The set contains five knives: 3-inch paring knife, 6-inch boning knife, 9-inch slicing knife, 8-inch bread knife (sharpened with Case’ s Miracl-Edge® serration), and an 8-inch chef’s knife. A steel sharpening stick and hardwood countertop storage block are also included. The suggested retail price is $299. 

Case’s decision to bring out its first entry into the household cutlery market in nearly two decades was due, in part, to the lobbying by Case consumers. “Case’s success rests on the consumer’s acceptance of our products,” says John Sullivan, Director of Marketing at Case. He adds, “So we try to work consumer input into all of our new product development efforts, just as we did with our new household cutlery offering. We’re proud to be offering household cutlery once again.” 

About W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Company 

For more than a century, W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company has been hand-crafting premium knives exclusively in the United States. Case's distinction underscores its well-earned place as a genuine piece of Americana and the country's most popular collectable brand. The company manufactures pocketknives, sport/hunting knives and collectables which are sold exclusively through an authorized dealer network made up of hardware and home improvement retailers, specialty cutlery shops, fashion and accessory shops, catalog retailers, and others. W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company has been based in Bradford, PA since 1905 and has been part of Zippo Manufacturing Company since 1993. For more information, visit or contact Case at 1-800-523-6350.

Their distinguished history:


John Russell Case, the founder of W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Company, is born in, the son of William Russell and Mary Fox Case. A father-and-son team was formed that would go on to build one of the most recognizable brands in American history. 


John B. F. Champlin, his son, Tint, and brothers-in-law William Russell, John, Andrew and Jean Case formed Cattaraugus Cutlery Company in Little Valley, New York. J.B.F.’s wife, Teresa Case Champlin, played an instrumental role in bringing her brothers into the cutlery business. Cattaraugus Cutlery Company remained a leader in the industry well into the 1960’s, serving domestic and international markets. The company’s motto: “making only cutlery of unquestioned quality.” 


This company, started by Charles Platts and his five sons in Eldred, Pennsylvania, was to become the exclusive supplier to the Case Brothers Cutlery Company. One of his sons, Harvey Platts, married Debbie Case (sister of John Russell Case) who handled the bookkeeping and administration functions for the company. The firm's name changed to "C. Platts' Sons Cutlery Company" upon the death of Charles Platts in 1900. 


Theresa Case was the daughter of William Russell (W.R. Case) and sister of John Russell (“Russ”) Case. She married Herbert Crandall in 1897, an innovative man who would quickly make his mark on the cutlery industry. 


Around 1900, Crandall started a jobber operation called Little Valley Knife Association(Little Valley, NY). His success in that venture would allow him to build a factory in Bradford, PA with modern equipment to manufacture knives bearing his own name. Crandall is also known for developing the ‘radium electric’ steel finishing process; now recognized as one of the first steel tarnishing resistance methods and a precursor to those used in making stainless steels today. Crandall also patented a specialized razor strop design In 1910. 


Pictured at left are: Andrew (left), John (center), Jean (right center), and William Russell Case (right), and their father,Job Case(standing). The four brothers formed a jobber operation in Little Valley, NY, working out of Job’s garage before incorporating and building their own factoryin 1900. W.R.’s son, John Russell Case, worked as a company salesperson. The Case Brothers perfected a unique heat treatment method for their blade steel which required marking batches of blades with an “X” for each oven cycle. This process gave rise to familiar “Case XX” trademark, the symbol of Case quality. 


This jobber operation was started in Little Valley, NY by John Russell Case, selling knives produced primarily by C. Platts' Sons and stamped with a customized tang design. His father provided early financial backing and business guidance. The image of his grandfather, Job, appears on some of the earliest advertising, along with the phrase, "established 1847," the year of W.R.'s birth. 


At the end of 1903, Russ Case and brother-in-law Harvey Platts partnered to form W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery (Little Valley, NY). Harvey’s manufacturing expertise and Russ’ salesmanship skills helped the company to grow quickly. By 1904, Harvey Platts had purchased his brothers’ shares of C. Platts’ Sons and became sole owner of the Eldred, PA plant. Operations continued there until a location for a new factory could be found. 


Ground was broken for a new W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Company factory on Bank Street in Bradford, PA (left). The company’s incorporation papers were approved Feb 15, 1905. Russ Case would serve as Vice President and Sales Manager, Harvey Platts was made Secretary and Superintendent. 


1911 brought new challenges for Russ Case and W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company. Harvey Platts was diagnosed with “grinders’ consumption” and left Bradford for the mountain air of Colorado. Platts took much of the factory equipment from Platts’ Sons Cutlery in Eldred, PA with him and started “Western States Cutlery” in Boulder, CO. This move left W.R. Case & Sons on shaky ground. But in a remarkable twist of fate, Herbert Crandall, (W.R.’s other son-in-law) stepped in to save the company, shutting down his own factory to merge with Russ at W.R. Case & Sons. This historic union quickly became evident to the American public, as the familiar “Long Tail C” logo that had been seen on Crandall knives for the past decade was now being used in a similar design being stamped into Case’s own steel blades. 


Russ Case purchases the Tested XX trademark from Case Brothers Cutlery Company (Springville, NY), whose business was suffering. The Case Brothers’ business difficulties would lead to bankruptcy a short time later. The business would never recover. 


The advent of the First World War would make W.R. Case & Sons a name to remember. In 1917, the United States Navy ordered more than 81,000 Case knives (6202SHR patterns) at a price of 39-1/2 cents each. 


Russ Case would begin branding the knives and packaging with theTested XXtrademark that once belonged to his father and uncles. The mark would be used until 1940, and would come to be referred to among collectors as the“Circle C.” 


Kinfolks, Inc. started as a joint venture between cousins of competing knife companies who were struggling to meet increasing demand for pocket knives during the mid-1920’s.J. Russell Case, Tint Champlin and Dean Case manufactured hundreds of thousands of knives under this brand during World War II. In fact, their outstanding knife production during the “Big War” earned them special recognition from the U.S. military. Kinfolks produced hunting and traditional pocket knives, as well as household cutlery, straight razors and hatchets. Jean Case Cutlery Company and Standard Knife Company were just two of the many private labeled knives made by Kinfolks cutlers. 


Case moved operations out of Bradford’s Bank St. to the village of Foster Brook, PA (just outside of Bradford). The picture at left represents the last time the Bank Street associates were photographed together. 


The new, much larger Foster Brook facility was located on a street named for Russ Case, "Russell Blvd." A 15-20 acre site previously purchased by Russ Case’s “Case Land Company” surrounded the building. The building was being prepared for workers on Friday, October 25th, the day Wall Street’s financial markets crashed. 


By 1940, Case knives were displayed primarily in cabinets made from Pennsylvania poplar or cherry wood, much like they are today. Case cabinetry was built by outside contractors prior to the mid-1930’s, before the company began crafting its own furnishings. The photo at left depicts a common scene during the 30’s and 40’s; a Case salesman beginning his sales presentation by spreading out his knife rolls on the dealer’s counter. Case knives made from 1940 to1964 bore a special “CASE XX” tang stamp. 


It was late 1941 before work was completed on the office building for the Russell Blvd plant. Case’s administrative staff was moving into the building the same weekend in which Pearl Harbor was bombed, catapulting the U.S. into World War II. 

All steel and materials available in the U.S. were being conserved to support the war effort. Case curtailed normal production in order to build knives for the U.S. military. One such wartime contribution was the CaseV-42 Stiletto, the first knife ordered for use by the U.S. Special Forces (a.k.a. the Devil’s Brigade). 


Louis Graves was the nephew of Russ Case’s second wife, Florence. Louis would spend summers working around Russ’ dairy farm, horses stables, and at the Case factory. He entered the Army Air Corps in 1942, earned his pilot’s license, then served as a pilot trainer. Upon returning home from the war, Louis was made official pilot of the company aircraft, a used War Surplus Military Cargo model. Mr. Case used the plane to attend shows, visit new sales outlets, and for rush order deliveries. 


Russ Case did his best to serve his country at home during World War II. He provided transportation for his workers to get to and from the factory in an effort to conserve gasoline, tires, and oil for the war effort. Many people around Bradford can still remember the “Case Car” winding through town. The practice continued until 1976, when this 1963 Checker Aerobus was donated to a local children’s home. 


On Feb. 6, 1945, the associates of W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Company were awarded the Army-Navy E Production Award for their outstanding wartime contributions. Each Case associate received individual E pin; an E-flag was raised on Russell Boulevard as part of the ceremony. 


John O’Kain, a graduate of Cornell University and geologist by trade, is tapped to be the new Case President as Russ Case assumes Chairman of the Board duties. Throughout his career, O’Kain would demonstrate tremendous business savvy, keen judgment and a mastery of all facets of production. He would serve as President until 1954 and retire as Chairman of the Board. He and Rhea Crandall Osborne were married just prior to 1940. 


Case founder, John Russell Case dies at the age of 75. 


R. N. “Bob” Farquharson (shown at left in photo at left) was hired as a Case salesman in 1954 and was named Vice President of Sales in 1957. He would later be named Executive Vice President in 1975 and then President in 1979. Bob would be credited with many Case firsts, including the organization of Case tang stamp dating history. He’d also come to be recognized as the founder of the Case Collectors Club in 1981. 


E.L. “Shine” Jessup (shown at far right in the left-hand picture) joins W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company as a sales representative in 1964. One by one, Shine would sign up new Case dealers throughout the Southeast United States to create a powerful sales network. He would become one of the first to recognize the potential of organized knife collecting, and help to bring some of the first Case commemoratives to market. Shine’s prior military service included some 30 missions as a B-24 Bomber pilot with the 8th Air Force during World War II. Shine’s son, Eddie Jessup, would pick up where his father left off, heading up Case’s National Sales Office in Knoxville, TN to become Case’s Vice-President of Sales. 


At the request of the United States government, Case built a custom survival knife that would travel with U.S. astronauts on all of the manned Gemini and Apollo space missions. The most significant of these was the Apollo 11 mission, when the world heard the words Neil Armstrong spoke as he took his first steps onto the surface of the moon: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. 


Dewey Ferguson publishes the first edition of “The Romance of Knife Collecting,” the first serious work devoted to the subject of collecting knives as a hobby. The book included catalog reprints, thumbnail histories, and estimated market values of knife patterns. A Case-specific series would follow that would captivate a growing audience of enthusiasts over the next 10 years. 


The Case family decided to sell their company to American Brands, a corporate behemoth whose holdings included many well-known names like Titleist and Master-Lock. The change in ownership didn't affect the Case family's willingness to run the operation, though. J. Russell Osborne, Sr. was retained as Company President. His son, John R. Osborne, Jr., Vice President of Manufacturing, would be the last Case descendant to actively manage the company. 


The Owens Way plant in South Bradford was originally built to produce pocketknives only. Production of household cutlery and hunters continued at the Russell Boulevard plant. The photo at left was taken during construction. 


The Case Collectors Club is formed in 1981 with 426 Charter Members. One of them was Darrell Leach of Scottsdale, AZ, who assembled what is still considered one of the finest collections of Case knives and memorabilia. 


Case’s famous “Long Tail C” serialization was used for the first time on this Halley’s Comet Commemorative. This trademark is still used today on all genuine Case collectables. 


After 17 years of ownership, American Brands Corporation sold W.R. Case and Sons to Jim Parker, far left. To celebrate, Parker hosted an event celebrating the 100 years that the Case family had been involved in the cutlery business. The 100th Anniversary was commemorated with a line of Centennial knives and accessories. But the celebration would be short lived. Parker did much to promote the collectability of knives, but a host of shortcomings from inside his business model would drive it almost to the point of extinction. In less than a year’s time, W.R. Case and Sons would file for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. bankruptcy court. 


Rivers & Associates was a company that specialized in rekindling troubled businesses and turning them into attractive investments for resale. Based in the southeastern U.S. where Case brand recognition was already high, Rivers & Associates saw an opportunity in Case. They purchased W.R. Case and Sons in U.S. bankruptcy court and put Mel Armstrong in charge as the new Case President (pictured at left next to popular NASCAR driver Richard Petty). True to form, the company implemented several positive changes which rippled throughout the organization. 


A re-emerging Case is purchased by Zippo Manufacturing Company, makers of the world-famous Zippo wind-proof lighter, on May 28, 1993. This move brought Case back to Bradford’s family roots, giving the company a stable platform from which to operate in the future. 


After 70 long years, Mary Petro retires from service from W.R. Case and Sons. A special celebration is held in her honor on June 29, 1994. The photo at left shows Mary wrapping her last knife on her final day at work. 


Pocket Worn® hand finishing involves a special hafting technique that makes new knives feel like granddads knife right out of the box. In 1996, Case Cutlery introduced Pocket Worn in Old Red Bone with the advertising tag line, “Feels right. Right away.” The feel of these knives became so popular that Case extended the product line several times, offering ten different Pocket Worn families in the same number of years. The Pocket Worn feature marked a turnaround for Case and a refocused effort by the company to embrace its core values over more questionable industry trends. 


In July of 1997, Zippo and Case enthusiasts gathered in Bradford for the 2nd annual Zippo/Case International Swap Meet, a special event filled with fun activities and a special auction for one-of-a-kind lighters and knives. Attendees were the first to visit the new Zippo/Case Visitors Center and Museum, which celebrated its grand opening that weekend. The Zippo/Case International Swap Meet has become a biennial tradition, luring Zippo and Case collectors from around the world to Bradford to share and swap their coveted collectables and the stories behind them. 


Tommy Hart was a Case Model Maker who died in 1999 after five decades of service. Tommy’s inspiration was behind many new patterns added to the Case catalog over the years, like theTexas Lockhorn, CopperLock®, and Mini-CopperLock®. The RussLock was Tommy’s final contribution, which was named for our founder, J. Russell “Russ” Case and introduced in 2000. It remains one of Case's most popular inventions. A fitting tribute to two Case Legends! 


The Case Collectors Club invited all members to join them in a 20th Anniversary Celebration in Norris, TN. Thousands of Club members attended and enjoyed a warm day with friends, family, and a host of Case associates. A similar celebration followed in 2005. 


In 2002, Case reintroduced 11 different brands which the Case family had owned and operated at various points in history. Elaborate knives were made under these brand names and presented to the world in a limited edition, multi-volume collector’s Encyclopedia Set. This initiative took collecting to a new level, preserving the Case family’s contributions to American history in a unique and fun way. 


The Case Custom Chopper was the talk of the summer of ’05. The bike rolled into dozens of Case dealer locations for special events across 17 states. The bike sported a two-tone silver paint design that included Case logos on the gas tank and a special rendering ofJob Case on the front fender. Mirror brackets were attached to the handle grips which looked like real Case knives. Thousands of consumers attended special events to participate in a nationwide sweepstakes to win the Chopper. The winner was chosen at random and announced in January of the following year. 


An embargo went into effect in 2000 on exported shipments of Genuine India Stag. A temporary allowance of the material gave Case the opportunity to bring Stag back to the pocket knife industry. In 2006, Case would add no less than17 different patterns with Genuine Stag handles to its product catalog…more than any other manufacturer in the industry. 


Just as W.R. Case himself believed in the American worker, Case continues its commitment to its associates, providing jobs with benefits for people in the Bradford, PA community. But Case knows having pride in itself isn’t enough; building a dependable quality into our product is what secures our future. Case knives go through 160 different hand operations, and they're built using only high quality materials. It’s our job to make sure Case consumers can share and enjoy their knives for generations to come. Thank you for making Case a part of your history! 

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