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It all started with the Boekor tool factory in Rhemscheld, Germany which in the 17th century was the largest tool producer in Germany and the surrounding countries. Boker started producing sabers and various other cutting tools in the 1820's because of the pure demand. When they decided to move their company overseas, Hermann Boeker traveled to new york city (where he decided to rename the company "boker" for pronunciation reasons), Robert Boeker traveled to Canada (then later traveling to Mexico where the company spread to S America getting its roots in Brazil), and finally Heinrech Boeker went to Solingen Germany, the modern hub of knives in Ger., where the company is based primarilly today. that is a brief history of the boker knife factory!!--comment!

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Do you know the history of the American made Bokers?

In 1837, Hermann Boker emigrated to New York and founded H. Boker & Co., one of the oldest names in the American cutlery industry. At first H. Boker served as importer of German and British made hardware items and steel.

By the end of the 19th century, the majority of items produced by Boker in Solingen were sent to the United States for distribution by H. Boker & Co. in New York. The pocket knife sales grew until they outpaced the sale of scissors, razors and eating utensils. In 1899, increasing demand, together with higher tariffs on imported cutlery caused H. Boker & Co. to begin manufacturing their own pocket knives in Newark, New Jersey at a factory named The Valley Forge Cutlery Company. Valley Forge Cutlery had been in business since 1891. Carl F. Boker had been running H. Boker and Company since 1891. When he bought the Valley Forge Cutlery Company, both brands of knives continued to be made there until the facility was closed. They too were licensed to use the tree symbol on Boker knives made in America.

Since that time, two different lines of Boker knives have been on the American market with the same brand symbol, sometimes even with the same pattern numbers, but one line was made in the USA and the other in Solingen.

In 1926, John R. Boker, Sr., then president of H. Boker & Company, expressed concern that business had not grown for many years, having been 'just allowed to be kept alive'. To instill new momentum he built a manufacturing plant at Hilton, New Jersey. Later the town name was changed to Maplewood. All US made knives were manufactured in the Maplewood facility until Boker USA was bought by the Cooper Tool Group in 1977.

 

Boker purchased the George Schrade Knife Company, of Bridgeport, Connecticutt in 1956, but with Schrade's line of Presto switchblade knives made illegal by the Federal Switchblade Act, Boker had little reason to keep the plant open. The George Schrade plant was closed in 1958.

 

In 1965, the Mapleton plant and Boker USA merged with the New Bitain Machine Company. Boker's New York offices on Duane Street were closed after 93 years in that location. New Britain had a brand of knives which was sold through NAPA automotive parts stores. The Blackhawk brand knives were made by Boker USA thoughout the life of the partnership. Examples of these knives can be found with both New Britain and Blackhawk blade etching. The use of delrin scales was prevalent during this time. This handle material, called “improved stag type” in the catalogs of the time period, was used heavily from the late 1960s though the mid 1970s. The shield used for US made knives was the round tree shield, without the trademark registered ® symbol.

 

In 1970 H. Boker & Co. was acquired by the scissors manufacturer Wiss & Sons. When Wiss purchased the 133-year-old Boker Manufacturing Company of Maplewood, there were joined two of America's oldest and finest teams of cutlery craftsmen.

J. Wiss & Sons had no need for Boker's scissors. Wiss quickly ended the Boker line of scissors. This meant that the Boker scissors ceased to be competitors of the Wiss line in the American market. Wiss retained the manufacture of Boker knives and sold them together with other Solingen products.

 

In 1977, Wiss sold Boker to Cooper Industries, a large multinational company, which was able once again to build up the Boker name. With new investment, the Solingen facility was able to streamline

its production and develop new, modern products.

In 1983, Cooper discontinued knife production in the United States. Popular models continued to be manufactured by Heinr. Boker & Co. of Solingen.

Friendly negotiations resulted in Cooper restoring the American trademark rights three years later, providing Solingen with the opportunity to become self-reliant in the huge American market.



Allen Lutz said:

Do you know the history of the American made Bokers?
 
I wondered about the USA made Boker's.I just bought a 1976 Olde Stag stockman from ebay. I'm glad to read some history on them.I'm a fan of Boker knives. The rest I have were made in Solingen, except for a few of the chinese made Magnums.

Boker is my favorite brand. Mostly due to the quality of the knife, but also because I love a good mystery. There is not a lot of info out there on the Boker knives. The company records in Solingen were destroyed in the bombing during WW2, around December 1944. The Boker USA company records were misplaced during the many corporate buyouts in the 1960s and 1970s. The best research tool on the Boker knife nowadays is old knife and hardware store catalogs.

A lot of good deals may be found on the old Boker knives because people don't realize just how old their knife really is!

Billy Oneale said:

I wondered about the USA made Boker's.I just bought a 1976 Olde Stag stockman from ebay. I'm glad to read some history on them.I'm a fan of Boker knives. The rest I have were made in Solingen, except for a few of the chinese made Magnums.



Ricky Ray said:

Boker is my favorite brand. Mostly due to the quality of the knife, but also because I love a good mystery. There is not a lot of info out there on the Boker knives. The company records in Solingen were destroyed in the bombing during WW2, around December 1944. The Boker USA company records were misplaced during the many corporate buyouts in the 1960s and 1970s. The best research tool on the Boker knife nowadays is old knife and hardware store catalogs.

A lot of good deals may be found on the old Boker knives because people don't realize just how old their knife really is!

Billy Oneale said:

I wondered about the USA made Boker's.I just bought a 1976 Olde Stag stockman from ebay. I'm glad to read some history on them.I'm a fan of Boker knives. The rest I have were made in Solingen, except for a few of the chinese made Magnums.

I have and old Boker that the main blade says USA on one side and the number 8538 on the other. Does this help with determining age?

It does help a little bit Steve.

BOKER/USA on the tang was used from the 1940s until 1984. 8538 is the pattern number. Other ways to determine the age a little better is the handle material. Is it bone, plastic, celluloid, or delrin?

Steve Phillips said:

I have and old Boker that the main blade says USA on one side and the number 8538 on the other. Does this help with determining age?

It’s bone I believe,bad condition though

Generally speaking, if it's bone it was made prior to 1965. Does it have a round shield on the handle?

Got any pics to share?

Shield is more the shape of a badge, but it is. Worn smooth

Now we're closing in on it. Sounds like late 1940s to circa 1955.

Does it look kinda like this?

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