A Family Company Since 1814
Large parts of Europe were still under the grip of the Napoleonic Wars when Johann Abraham Wüsthof founded his “Shears Factory, Steel and Iron Works” in 1814. Calling it a factory was optimistic: day in and day out, our company founder toiled away in an underground cellar, making scissors. Yet Johann Wüsthof's optimism was soon to pay off. Over the years, the company grew and gained greater recognition -- thanks in part to Wüsthof's three sons, who all learned their father’s trade.
One of the sons, Eduard Wüsthof, eventually took over the factory and expanded the range to include 1,200 models of various handmade pocket, bread, vegetable, and butcher's knives. His brother Robert, who managed the business, took the first overseas trip in 1881.
First USA Trip: From Dishwasher to Exporter
A twelve-day ocean crossing awaited Robert Wüsthof, who took two cases of scissors and pocketknives with him in his luggage, dreaming of selling his family’s products in the USA. Robert’s arrival, though, was disappointing: an agent who had made great promises in Germany could not follow through once he had arrived in the states. Robert did not even have enough money to clear his goods through customs.
For several months, Robert managed to keep his head above water with odd jobs – he was a waiter, dishwasher, and glove-launderer – until he met another businessman who was excited by the Solingen-made knives. He ordered double the quantities that Robert had brought with him, sparking a new business relationship that would continue to bring the Wüsthof family’s premium blades to the USA. Meanwhile, in the fertile period of industrialization in Germany, a steam-powered machine was purchased, production was expanded, and a patent application filed for the iconic trident logo.
Honing Our Craft
Over the next century – resisting the old saying “jack of all trades, master of none” – the Wüsthof family decided to concentrate on perfecting the essentials: high-quality, forged knives for both home and professional use. One milestone of this time was the introduction of the now-iconic Classic series, which is still in production today and continues to be WÜSTHOF’s best-selling knife series.
Another landmark moment was the founding of the distribution company WÜSTHOF-TRIDENT OF AMERICA, INC., bringing the business full circle from the steamboat crossing of 1881.
The Seventh Generation
Today, the seventh-generation of Wüsthof family members, cousins Viola Wüsthof and Harald Wüsthof, run what has become one of the most innovative knife manufacturers in the world.
WÜSTHOF knives are currently exported from Solingen to eighty countries around the globe, from Reykjavík to Cape Town to Tokyo to San Francisco. We are proud of our heritage, our tradition of artisanship, and the wealth of experience we can look back on.
Our goal is to offer food lovers, cooking enthusiasts, and chefs from all over the world exceptionally sharp, high-quality knives that are at once beautiful, functional, and perfectly balanced. The next 200 years will see us continuing to marry such form and function in our centuries-old home, the City of Blades.