Chicago Vintage Cutlery

Does anyone have any pieces–or even complete home kitchen sets–of Chicago Vintage cutlery?

If so, are you still using them?

How do they compare to more modern knives that you have?

Ray

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Chicago Cutlery, historical set w/honing rod and block

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Our kitchen is filled with history, then. Most of those Chicago Cutlery knives and the knife block that you picture have served us well for many years.

We never did acquire the complete set. I have been able to do what I need in my home kitchen using the chef’s knife, the slicing knife, the bread knife, the utility knife, and the paring knife.

I’ve not felt the need to branch out as these knives have been such workhorses for me.

My husband sharpens the knives on a stone and also once a year or so we have them sharpened professionally. We oil the handles periodically and always, always wash by hand. With this modest maintenance, I believe those knives will outlast my husband and me!

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An intriguing assemblage. Are these some of your knives?

What makes them historical rather than just good old knives?

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Hi Vecchiouomo,

Maybe I used some growing up at home, but I’ve never owned any as an adult.

Only imperfect memories. The European knife makers hit our market so powerfully, it’s hard to remember an American kitchen with just American knives.

Ray

The name “Chicago cutlery” lives on, but the American made Chicago cutlery knives were from another time–and may reflect different uses for knives in the kitchen.

Ray

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But are the knives in that very large array yours?

No.

My parents had a set of Chicago knives. Back then, in my neck of the woods, they had an excellent reputation. In my memory they were fine domestic kitchen knives and imagine they’d still be in use but both parents are both gone and I don’t know where the knives landed.

Professionally I could choose Dexter, Chicago, or Forschner. Chicago was my last choice. Very few people in my department used them.

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Hi RD,

Thanks for some perspective.

I’m quite sure that Chicago Cutlery specifically focused on the home cook. Really nice vintage sets are being sold on EBAY and Etsy. Lamson is a completely American knife company going way back that has been able to update and remain competitive:

Forschner was already OEM from Switzerland, and may never have been completely American. Dexter is still around on the professional side, but never really marketed to the home cook.

Ray

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Chicago Cutlery restored

image

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Early History:

Ray

Hi Denise,

Thank you so much for posting. This is exactly what I was hoping a family would report. When I started re-invented my own grabbable collection of knives seven years ago, I think I was/am guided by memories that you have continued to live.

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Hi Ray—Thanks for the opportunity to learn about our Chicago Cutlery knives. I value long-lasting, unfussy tools. When I think about it, those Chicago Cutlery knives are our most-often used kitchen items that have lasted the longest. And they’re still going strong.

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Hi Vecchiouomo,

It’s from a site that has a huge collection of these vintage knives–that never seem to die.

I do have one Chicago cutlery knife that I still use, but it already has a Victorinox style handle and is transitional to the current OEM owned Chicago Cutlery that doesn’t seem “American” any more.

It’s a small fillet knife that I’ve used to prepare smaller “panfish.”

Ray

I have 4: a long slicer, a butcher, a chef’s, and a boning knife. I have used t.hem all of my life. I use other knives too, and I might use these less now,but they live in a block on my kitchen. My wife prefers the chef’s knife and the boning knife to all others.

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That’s our set; a wedding present 36 years ago. We keep the handles well oiled and the blades sharpened and straightened regularly. We also have the meat cleaver and a roast slicer, rarely use those. There are three knives we use regularly: one is a department store brand bread knife, another is a nice older Wusthoff santoku and an even older Wusthoff paring knife that I found at a campsite. The paring knife is the most used of all.

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Very interesting, mts,

It seems like these vintage American knives never die.

Ray

What happened from vintage to now?

Chef Talk: About Chicago Cutlery

Ray

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