In this article, I will be comparing in great detail the Boker Stag Handled Stockman to the Queen Cutlery Amber Stag Bone Cattle King Stockman. These two will be put through their paces against the usual criteria that we rate and review all our knives against. Before continuing on with this head to head review, […] Read more
Queen Cutlery Company – Brief History and Knife Reviews
The Queen Cutlery Company of Titusville Pennsylvania, is arguably the oldest and last American cutlery company that continues to produce knives in the same way as they were produced when the factory opened in 1902. In fact, Queen Cutlery is now the last American cutlery factory that truly makes knives “the old fashioned way.”
Founded by five supervisors who had been fired from the Schatt & Morgan Cutlery Company which had been founded in 1897 in Gowanda, N.Y. when the company purchased the Platts\’ factory there, the company moved to Titusville in 1902, bringing men and materials with them to the new factory location where the two companies were in competition for about eleven years until Queen City Cutlery was able to purchase Schatt & Morgan at a sheriff\’s auction after it\’s bankruptcy.
The story of Queen City Cutlery is so intertwined with that of Schatt & Morgan that one needs to understand a little of that history also.
Initially founded as the “New York Cutlery Company” which is not to be confused with the well known New York Knife Company, John W. Schatt and Charles B. Morgan opened an office in New York City sometime in 1896.
In 1896 or early in 1897 they moved to Schatt’s hometown of Gowanda New York and, in July of 1897, they purchased the Platts’ cutlery plant there (The Platts family then moved to Eldred Pennsylvania and on to various associations with the extended Case family). Thus, the company was housed in Gowanda from 1897 until 1902 at which time they moved to the Titusville, Pennsylvania factory where they incorporated.
However, Schatt & Morgan went bankrupt in the late 1920’s, and was sold to Queen City Cutlery in August of 1933 at a sheriff’s auction.
The five supervisors who had been fired from Schatt & Morgan back in 1922 for making skeleton knives (knives without handle scales) on the side were able to return to the place where they had started.
C.B Morgan, who was the former president of Schatt & Morgan, ended up working for the very men he had previously dismissed! Therefore, the story of the Queen Cutlery Company really began with its predecessor, Schatt & Morgan.
In addition, it is important to note that Queen City Cutlery was an innovator and a pioneer in the use of functional stainless steel in pocket cutlery in America (stainless is defined as having at least 11.5 % chromium in the alloy). In fact, as early as 1926, Queen City Cutlery was listed in the regional trade publications as a manufacturer of “High Grade Stainless Steel Cutlery.” However, stainless steel had actually been introduced in England in 1914 and was first patented in America in 1915 but, the change in blade material was initially opposed by many cutlers as often happens when new technologies are introduced into an existing field.
Queens Cutlery was the primary innovator of this change from carbon steel to a stainless. In fact, Queen Cutlery was the first American cutlery company to successfully introduce a large variety of stainless steel knives to the market.
Furthermore, the first nickel-chromium steel produced in America was made in Titusville at the Cyclops Steel Company under the leadership of Cyclops’ chief metallurgist Charles Evans in 1917 and Queen Cutlery immediately embraced this new blade steel as well. In addition, Queen Cutlery’s willingness to experiment and to push the limits of blade steels was also in evidence in 1999 when they began to use ATS-34 steel on master blades, and again in 2002 when they began using both D-2 and 420HC steels for blades.
The Queens Cutlery Company has used a wide variety of handle materials over the years; some of the most expensive and rare being “smoked pearl”. The company has also used various horn, bone, stag, and exotic woods as well as numerous synthetic materials to haft their knives. But, although Rogers jigged bone was used on many of their early knives, by the mid to late 1940’s Queen began producing most of their knives in Winterbottom bone which was originally produced in the Winterbottom factory in Egg Harbor, N.J. and, from about 1950 to 1959.
Queen used that style of jigged bone almost exclusively, and even today, Queen Cutlery is well known for their use of Winterbottom bone and they continue to produce some of their knives with both bone and synthetic handles in that distinctive jigging style.
Synthetic handles of plastic and nylon materials were used more and more beginning in the 1950’s and by 1959 Queen began hafting most of their knives in synthetic Winterbottom. Finally, Queen Cutlery Company reintroduced a Schatt & Morgan Series in 1991, a Robeson Series in 1995, and a “File & Wire” Series in 1998 respectively. Also, they have recently introduced other lines such as “Queen Classics” and Schatt & Morgan “Premier”.
One of the best ways to see the range and scope of knives produced, is to view the current selection of Queen Cutlery knives on Amazon.