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definition - Kershaw_Knives

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Kershaw Knives

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Kershaw Knives, Inc.
FoundedPortland, Oregon (1974)
HeadquartersTualatin, Oregon
Key peoplePete Kershaw, Founder & President
RevenueUS$60 million

Kershaw Knives is a multinational corporation that designs and manufactures a range of knives, including kitchen cutlery, pocket knives, and outdoor knives. Currently owned by the Japanese KAI Group, Kershaw is headquartered in Tualatin, Oregon, United States.


Kershaw Knives was started in Portland, Oregon in 1974 when Knife salesman Pete Kershaw left Gerber Legendary Blades to form his own cutlery company based on his own designs.[1][2][3] Early manufacturing was primarily done in Japan; in 1977, Kershaw became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese KAI Group.[1][3][4] In 1998 the main production facility was opened in Wilsonville, Oregon; due to growth, the facilities were moved to a larger production site in 2003. Current manufacturing facilities are located in Tualatin (main factory) and some goods come from their Japan and China factories.[3]

The current company is named KAI USA Ltd, and has three lines of products; the original Kershaw Knives name, Shun Cutlery, which sells kitchen cutlery,[3] and Zero Tolerance, a new line of combat knives.[5] The Zero Tolerance line represents joint designs between custom knife makers Ken Onion, Tim Galyean, and Strider Knives; a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each knife is donated to the Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund for the Paralyzed Veterans of America.[5]

Ken Onion is Kershaw's best-known designer, who has won numerous awards for his designs with the company since 1998, such as his Speed-Safe opening models.[6][7] Shun Cutlery offers knives designed by both Ken Onion and Food Network personality Alton Brown.[8] Kershaw has also collaborated with custom knife makers Grant and Gavin Hawk, Frank Centofante, and Ernest Emerson.

In 2002 Kershaw released a model which was a collaboration between custom knife maker Ken Onion and Stephen Seagal featuring actual stingray leather on the handle.[9] In 2004 Kershaw developed a multi-tool for the National Geographic Society with National Geographic filmmaker Bryan Harvey. Kershaw has also released models in collaboration with Jeep, Orange County Choppers, the American Professional Rodeo Association, and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

A Kershaw Assisted-opening knife in action.

In May 2005, Kershaw Knives won four of the top awards at the Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia.[10] This was the first time in the show's history that one company won this number of awards in one year: 2005 Overall Knife of the Year, 2005 Most Innovative American Design, 2005 Kitchen Knife of the Year, and 2005 Knife Collaboration of the Year.[10]

In June 2007, Kershaw Knives won Blade Show's "Overall Knife of the Year Award" with the model 1850 "Tyrade", in which the patent-pending concept of using two different steels in the same blade was introduced. [11] The blade steels were D2 tool steel at the cutting edge, and a spine of CPM154 stainless steel. In 2009, Kershaw announced a collaboration with Emerson Knives, Inc. to produce an automatic version of Emerson's Commander.


  1. ^ a b Pacella, Gerard (2002), 100 Legendary Knives, Iola, USA, Krause Publications, 145. ISBN 0873494172
  2. ^ Inman, Naomi (2002)"Birds and Bees: How Businesses Are Really Born, Business is blooming—Oregon’s outdoor retail industry leads the world.", Brainstorm NorthWest Magazine, October 2002
  3. ^ a b c d "Kershaw Knives", American Handgunner Magazine, May-June, 2005
  4. ^ "KAI acquires the balance of Universal" Chain Drug Review, January, 2007
  5. ^ a b "Sharp Partnership". Paraplegia News. January 2006.
  6. ^ Cascio, Pat(2007). 'Kershaw's Latest Tactical Folders', Knives Illustrated, February 2007
  7. ^ Gardner, Jim(2004)"Sweet Onions", Guns Magazine, June 2004
  8. ^ Devin Alexander "Look sharp: a point-and-click guide to kitchen blades". Men's Fitness. Nov 2004. FindArticles.com. 15 Jul. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1608/is_10_20/ai_n6330873
  9. ^ Cascio,Pat. (2003). "Steven Seagal's Knife", Tactical Knives Magazine, November 2003
  10. ^ a b "Kershaw Knives". American Handgunner. May-June 2006. FindArticles.com. 15 Jul. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_181_30/ai_n26806136
  11. ^ Shackleford, Steve (2007). "Hand Salute the Blade Magazine Knives of the Year". Blade Magazine. November 2007

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