Camillus Cutlery

Article source: Wikipedia

The Camillus Cutlery Company was one of the oldest knife manufacturers in the United States, dating back to 1876. The Cutlery opened its main factory in the Village of Camillus in 1894 and produced millions of knives until it filed for bankruptcy in 2007. Its brand name and intellectual property rights were purchased by Acme United Corporation, which re-launched the Camillus brand in May 2009 using modern materials.

Throughout its long history, Camillus Cutlery manufactured countless designs, including collectible character knives that honored individuals such as George Washington and Babe Ruth, as well as producing private label products for Sears, Craftsman, Woolworth, the Boy Scouts of America and others.

Supporting the U.S. military

During World War I, Camillus shifted production to support the Allied forces. The company also manufactured marlinspikes, surgical scalpels, and a folding knife/spoon combination for the Red Cross in those years. During World War II, Camillus shipped more than 13 million knives of various styles to the Allied troops. In 1942, U.S. Marine Corps officers Colonel John M. Davis and Major Howard E. America working in conjunction with cutlery technicians at Camillus developed the KA-BAR Fighting Utility Knife. After extensive trials, the KA-BAR prototype was recommended for adoption, and Camillus was awarded the first contract to produce the KA-BAR for the Marine Corps Camillus made more KA-BARs than any other knife manufacturer producing the model during World War II. During the war, Camillus also made the M3 fighting knives, the M4 bayonets and many other utility knives for U.S. forces, including machetes, multi-blade utility knives, TL-29 Signal Corps pocket knives for signalmen, electrician's mates, and linesmen, and combination knife/marlinspike pocket knives for use by the U.S. Navy in cutting and splicing lines.


After World War II, Camillus was quick to shift back to civilian production. It introduced many new products, and in 1947, Camillus began manufacturing a full line of official folding knives for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

During the Vietnam War, Camillus again manufactured a large number of knives for the armed forces, for instance a pilot survival knife, a USMC KA-BAR combat knife and a four bladed utility knife. After the Vietnam War, the company continued its growth by adding more new pieces to their already wide product range. In the 1960s, Camillus was sold to the Baer family of New York City.

In 1991, Camillus acquired Western Cutlery Company. This Boulder, Colorado company had been making knives since 1896.

In 2001, Camillus collaborated with custom Knifemaker Jerry Fisk, the only Knifemaker to be declared a Living National Treasure, to produce a Bowie knife. That same year, Camillus began a partnership with custom Knifemaker Darryl Ralph to produce a line of titanium framed tactical folding knives.

The Modern History of Camillus Cutlery

After going bankrupt in 2007, there were plans to demolish the factory to build medical offices and high-end apartments. Standing vacant for 7 years, the 119-year-old factory was covered in flammable chemicals and outdated construction that allowed for one of the worst fires in Onondaga county history. On February 11, 2013, the Camillus Cutlery building caught on fire from a welder preparing the building for demolition. The fire blazed for over 30 hours and it took more than 2 million gallons of water to put it out.

After the fire, the cutlery lay dormant for 5 years before being transformed into 29 loft apartments. The former administrative building for the cutlery also houses Freedom of Espresso, a small coffee shop on the first floor of the building.