“Now that’s a knife!”


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21994 (V-42 CV) CASE V-42 MILITARY KNIFE Double-Concave Ground Stiletto Chrome Vanadium Blade Hand-Worked Leather Handle Leather-Covered Steel Guard Threaded and Pinned-on Pommel Certificate of Authenticity 12 1/2 in (31.75 cm) overall, 6.2 oz (175.8 g)

Swords and knives have been standard issue weapons of war for the last several thousand years.  In the last two centuries, firearms have become the primary weapon of combatants, but knives have continued to be the weapon of choice for close-quarters combat.  One of the most famous combat knives, the V-42, was manufactured by the W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Company of Bradford, PA.  The V-42 was the inspiration of Robert Tryon Frederick, an American military leader during the dark days of World War II.

In 1942, Lieutenant Colonel Frederick created the First Special Service Force, which was a joint US-Canadian commando unit.  The First Special Service Force’s training was brutal and wide ranging: parachute jumping, demolitions, weapons and hand-to-hand combat.  The men selected to serve in Frederick’s unit were definitely hard lads.  During the Italian Winter campaign in 1943, the First Special Service Force with Lieutenant Colonel Frederick at the helm took an objective in approximately four hours that a U.S. Division was unable to conquer in ten days. Frederick saw more actual combat in World War II than any other U.S. General and was wounded eight times, more times than any other general officer.  Winston Churchill called Frederick the “greatest fighting general of all time.”

Frederick knew that his unit would need to engage in a fair bit of hand-to-hand combat, so he set himself the task of designing the ultimate close quarters knife.  He found a willing ally in W.R. Case and Sons.  The Case V-42 is a “stiletto” style knife that is 12-1/2 inches long and weighs 7 oz.  Stilettos, like the Case V-42, are knives or daggers with a long slender blade and needle-like point, which reduces friction upon entry, allowing the blade to penetrate deeply.  Craftspeople at W.R. Case and Sons hand-made the V-42 at Case’s Bradford, PA plant.  The blade was made with a blued chrome vanadium steel blade, a stacked leather handle, a leather covered steel guard and a threaded and pinned-on conical pommel.  Case produced just over 3,400 V-42s during World War II.  The Case V-42 became legendary; an image of a V- 42 is displayed on the official crest of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces.  Given the small number of V-42s Case produced, the knife not surprisingly became the feather in the cap for many knife collectors.

Given the fond place the Case V-42 has in the history of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, it isn’t surprising that members of the Special Forces were instrumental in urging Case in 2010 to create a new run of V-42s so that anyone within the Special Forces community could once again purchase one of these historic knives from the original (and only) maker in Bradford, PA; W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company. As it turned out, even the original knife’s sheaths were reproduced for these new V-42’s by the very same vendor who handcrafted them for Case during The Big War.  Case was delighted with the idea and threw a lot of resources at the project.  Case debuted the new V-42 Stilettos in 2015 and you can actually order one for yourself from Case.

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21994 (V-42 CV) CASE V-42 MILITARY KNIFE Double-Concave Ground Stiletto Chrome Vanadium Blade Hand-Worked Leather Handle Leather-Covered Steel Guard Threaded and Pinned-on Pommel Certificate of Authenticity 12 1/2 in (31.75 cm) overall, 6.2 oz (175.8 g)

But I save the best for last.  In 2017, Case did a very limited run of three V-42 Stilettos.  Each of the three V-42s Case produced was made for a different group of Americans: the U.S Army’s Special Forces, the Central Intelligence Agency and New York City’s First Responders.  The V-42s were presented by Case’s Fred Feightner to a representative of each group during a ceremony in New York City on November 9, 2017.  And each of these three Case V-42s was crafted from steel recovered from the World Trade Center after its collapse following the 9/11 attack.  The steel was originally gifted to the United States Special Operations Command from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; the Special Operations Command sent the World Trade Center steel to Case to allow the fabrication of the three memorial V-42s.  Each of the three groups who received one of Case’s 9/11 Memorial V-42 played an important role in responding to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center: New York City’s First Responders in New York itself and the U.S. Special Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan.  5th Special Forces Group created “Task Force Dagger” to respond to the attacks of 9/11.  On your next trip to New York, make sure you look for the V-42 Stiletto on display at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

If you want to learn more about Case’s World Trade Center V-42s, check out the January 2018 edition of Knife Magazine.  And to learn how Case makes their knives, click on this link; its cutting edge stuff!

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A Nation of Immigrants


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Photo by AussieActive on Unsplash

On the Fourth of July, I reread the Declaration of Independence.  At the end is a rather important bit:  “We have reminded them (the Crown) of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.”  This country was founded by immigrants.  Eight signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales.  Despite this fact, over the history of our nation newer waves of immigrants, the Irish, the Chinese and the Italians to name a few, have not received a warm welcome.  But despite that, immigrants continued to come our shores.  45 million people in this country were born abroad, placing us in first place world wide for immigrant settlement.  USA!  USA!  And we have gotten a huge benefit economically from our immigrants.

According to the New American Economy, approximately 44% of all U.S. Fortune 500 Companies were founded by immigrants or their children.  Luis A. Aguilar, Commissioner for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under President Obama, highlighted the role of immigrants in our economy in a speech he gave in 2013.  Some of the highlights were (1), small businesses owned by immigrants directly employed 4.7 million people in the U.S., (2) seven of the ten most valuable brands in the world were founded immigrants or their children and (3) the huge role played by Hispanic immigrants in the U.S.  As of 2013, three million Hispanic-owned companies were generating over $500 billion in revenue, made up 28% of U.S. small business owners and the number of Hispanic firms are growing more than four times faster than the overall number of U.S. firms.  Immigrants, and especially Hispanic immigrants, are integral to the future of the American economy.

I plan to highlight American immigrant manufacturing firms periodically on the blog.  The first is AKAS.  AKAS was founded in 2007 by Sidharth and Archana Sharma.  Sidharth and Archana moved to the U.S. from India with their children Karishma and Ashrey and worked very hard to found their textile and design company.  AKAS is truly a family affair:  AKAS is formed from the first names of the family members Archana, Karishma, Ashrey and Sidharth!  AKAS produces Made in America fabrics with a small environmental footprint produced by members of our extended American family in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.  Way to go AKAS!

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The boy’s got to cook


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My only son Benjamin has embarked on a career as a cook at the Old Stove Brewing Company located just below the historic Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.  So this last Christmas, I got him some of the tools of the trade that any self respecting cook would have in his locker.

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That object Ben is grasping in the photo is a knife roll.  Chefs need a means of transporting their knives from home to “the office.”  Ben let me know that he was going to be working full time at Old Stove just before Christmas.  I called his kitchen manager and asked what tools Ben needed for his job.  “Well, he needs a knife roll for sure,” was the advice I got.  When I asked the kitchen manager if he had a favorite knife roll, he said “Well, if you want to get him the best, get him a Hardmill knife roll; they are made over on Roosevelt right here in Seattle!”  Hardmill’s motto is “Durable Goods of Lasting Quality”; I was sold.  I drove to Hardmill and had the great pleasure of meeting Ryan Barrie, the owner of Hardmill.  I got Ben Hardmill’s black waxed denim knife roll; it is very stylish.  For his birthday next month, the Hardmill chef’s apron might be Ben’s birthday gift.

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Lamson

I decided to put two knives into Ben’s Hardmill knife roll.  They needed to be American knives so I went online and ordered a Lamson Santoku knife,lamsom santoku knife

and a Lamson utility knife.

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Lamson & Goodnow is the oldest cutlery manufacturer in the United States; they started making knives in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, in 1837.  In 2015, Lamson moved its production facilities a few towns to the south of Shelburne Falls to Westfield, Massachusetts.  About anything you need for when you are in the kitchen, Lamson makes here in America.  I am in the market for a new turner for fish and I think I have found the one I need at the Lamson website.

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In Seattle, we have access to lots of yummy seafood and I think I will soon be buying Lamson’s “Seafood Set” which will allow me to dispatch and consume assorted mollusks, bivalves and other sea critters.

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All sorts of interesting stuff resides in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., including an amazing collection of Lamson products.  In 1869, Lamson & Goodnow presented newly elected U.S. president Ulysses S. Grant with a 62-piece dinner set. Half of the handcrafted utensils bore handles of ivory, while the handles on the others were pure mother-of-pearl.  I just finished Ron Chernow’s 970 page tome on Grant, and sadly there was no mention by Chernow of whether the Hero of Appomattox regularly dined with his Lamson and Goodnow table set.  A shocking omission in an otherwise amazing book.  All I can say is that if you are in need of any tools relating to cooking or food preparation, look no farther than Lamson!

How long Mr. Ben will be working in the kitchen is tough to say.  He is a very hard worker, has always found his own jobs and never grips about long shifts in front of the stove.  If you are in Seattle for business or pleasure, consider stopping for a meal at Old Stove Brewing Company.  The food is good, the view is spectacular and the place oozes gemutlichkeit.  The son and heir will be working like a strap in front of the grill during your meal at Old Stove, so let him know you read this post and you will probably get a chuckle out of him and a shake of his head regarding his blog posting father!

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Back in the Saddle


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With my book, Simply Americanfinished and published, I plan on getting back to blogging in earnest again.  Look for a about a post a week, on American made products, American jobs and American stories.  I can’t wait to get at it again!

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The Book is finally published!


 

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Well, its been a long time in the writing, about six years I figure, but my book Simply American, was finally published this week.  To be completely accurate, I finally published my book this week on Lulu, a self publishing platform.  If you would like to order a soft copy book, just click on this link to Lulu; you can also order a copy of Simply American as an eBook by clicking on the link above.  Within three weeks, the Simply American eBook will be available on Amazon.

Simply American calls on its readers to support working class jobs in this Country by buying the products already being made by members of our extended American family at thousands of American manufacturing firms.  Seven iconic American consumer goods firms are featured in Simply American:  Allen Edmonds, Crane Paper, Homer Laughlin China Company, Hart Schaffner Marx, Libman, Sub-Zero and Wigwam.

In the next few weeks, I will be taking a Simply American website live and also creating a Simply American Instagram channel.  Starting in January, a Simply American podcast will debut featuring stories of our American brothers and sisters who make quality American made products everyday.

So I would encourage you to order a copy of Simply American.  And I would really encourage you to always look for the American alternative for any product you might need to purchase on your next shopping opportunity.

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Makers Row is the only name you need to know to get in the domestic manufacturing game


 

I have written about Maker’s row in the past.  Ever since I learned about the folks at Maker’s Row a couple of years ago, I have followed their progress closely.  So I was very happy to see the firm and one of its founders, Matthew Burnett, get some great press recently.  If you want to start making a product in the U.S. but don’t know where to start, Maker’s row should be your first stop.

Let’s say you have an idea for a very cool overnight bag.  You pay the Maker’s row measly $20 a month subscription fee and in return you get access to their digital catalog of over 6,000 U.S. manufacturers. For each of those manufacturers you get contact info, reviews, photos and videos showcasing the manufacturer’s capabilities.

I subscribe to the Maker’s row daily update program, and the amount of work they put in creating content and resources that are useful for budding domestic manufacturers is staggering.  For example, in just the last few weeks they have published great articles on the difference between sales and marketing, jumpstarting an apparel brand, and manufacturing 101.  If you want to start manufacturing a consumer product in the U.S., you would be nuts to embark on that quest without partnering with Maker’s row.

So if you are a budding American manufacturer who longs to have your American product made by members of your extended American family, Maker’s row should be your first stop.  For a pittance a month, you can partner with the force in the Made in America movement at work today.  So contact Maker’s row today!  What are you waiting for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marriott’s bold move


Every once in a while, an American firm makes a statement about their support for American manufacturing and American workers.  Such a statement was recently made by Marriott, the iconic American hotel company.  Marriott recently announced that it would be supplying its American hotels with towels made by Standard Textile here in the U.S. Annually, Marriott will be buying 2.6 million bath towels and 4.9 million hand towels made in America, with American cotton, by members of our extended American family. In order to meet this demand, Standard Textile is adding 150 manufacturing jobs at its production facilities in the States.  And according to Abha Bhattarai of The Washington Post, this move will not cost Marriott a dime more than it is paying now.

While Marriott’s decision to support American jobs by buying American made products is huge, it should be just the beginning.  What if all the hotel chains in the U.S. made a similar commitment?  Think how many more manufacturing jobs would be created for members of our extended American family?  So come on Sheraton!  Get with the program Westin!  Don’t be a slacker Hyatt!  If all the other American hotel chains had the commitment to support American workers that Marriott has, lots of Americans, now out of work, would be employed.

The best way to support Marriott’s American made initiative is simple; if you are planning a trip somewhere and need a hotel to stay at during your visit, I got one word for you: Marriott!  If you are traveling on business and the travel planner at your firm books you at a hotel other than Marriott, mention Marriott’s bold program to support American manufacturing and American workers to the hotel’s general manager.  Who knows, you could play a role in that hotel chain getting on board with Marriott’s bold vision to support American workers.  What a deal!

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