What’s in a Name? The Story of Ka-Bar

A group of 38 men in Titidoute, Pennsylvania decided in 1898 to start a company for the production and sale of knives. When the Titidoute Cutlery Company ran into financial troubles in 1900 and was disbanded, the estate was bought by Wallace R Brown who started a new factory called the Union Razor Company. As emphasis shifted increasingly from razors to pocket and hunting knives, the factory name was changed again in 1909 to the Union Cutlery Company. In 1910 the company moved to Olean, New York, encouraged by the city council of this area to do so.

The name Ka-Bar was the result of a letter received from a trapper written in the 1920’s. While he had been out hunting  he was attacked by a rushing bear. His rifle failed, but he managed to kill the bear with his Union hunting knife. In the hardly legible letter, he thanked the company as his knife ‘k a bar.’ which was derived from ‘killed a bear.’ The company owners saw the opportunity for promotion and changed its name to Ka-Bar.

The Ka-Bar got such a good reputation during World War Two that the owner Danforth Brown decided to incorporate in 1952. In 1961 the family company was sold to a few local businessmen who drove it into bankruptcy shortly thereafter. The company changed hands several times until Atlas Corporation of Olean, New York took it over in 1996 and moved Ka-Bar back to the town it had started.

Taken from The Complete Encyclopedia of Knives by A.E. Hartink

Ka-Bar Knives is known for issuing special commemorative knives based upon its famous USMC combat knife first commissioned in 1945 along with its US Army and US Navy versions.

The first Commemorative was brought out in 1998 in honor of the 100-year existence of Ka-Bar. In 2002, Ka-Bar brought out the Pearl Harbor Commemorative. The blade of 1095 carbon steel has a black epoxy protective layer in which the following text is etched: A Date Which Will Live in Infamy. The second knife from 2002 commemorated the war in Korea with ‘Lest we forget’ on the blade. The third knife, introduced in 2004, is in the commemoration of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The fifth knife in the luxurious version of the USMC. All have blades of 6.89 inches and are 11.89 inches in total length. The handles are made of impregnated leather.

Visit http://SonoranDesertKnives.com for a complete list of all the Ka-Bar knives that we carry


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