Please note

Because of the lack of published trowel and masonry tool histories, the information here is based on other sources that may be less reliable and certainly are incomplete. These include eBay and tools that I purchase myself that are the starting points for my research. I will write what I know as I learn it. If what you read here interests you, please check back often and look for revisions and corrections. Scanned catalogs are either mine or by Rose Antique Tools and used with permission, and are on Google Docs as pdf files. A few are links to other websites. Your photos and information are welcome. Please click on any picture to enlarge it. Comments are welcome, but any with links will be deleted as possible spam.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

History of United States Cutlery Co.

United States Cutlery putty knives, 1932
United States Cutlery Company manufactured putty knives, scrapers, cutlery, and a variety of knives. They operated from 2 and 10 Main Street, Belleville, New Jersey, next to Newark, near the Passaic River.

A 1923 announcement in the trade publication Platers' Guide said, "United States Cutlery Co., Belleville. N. J., has been incorporated with capital stock of $300,000 and has purchased the plant, machinery and raw stock of the Knickerbocker Mfg. Co., that city." Knickerbocker also made cutlery.

Elmer Abraham Greenhall (1899-1973) was United States Cutlery's production manager. Mr. Greenhall  was a Stevens Institute of Technology graduate and mechanical engineer from Brooklyn, NY, and lived in Newark, East Orange, and West Orange, NJ.

United States Cutlery Co. was still in business for at least part of 1932, but had closed by 1934, according the the Belleville city directory and other sources. Their major competitor Smith & Hemenway (Red Devil) was only a few miles away in Irvington, NJ. There is an old brick industrial building on the site and Main and Mill streets. It dates to 1940 according to a real estate listing, but could be older.

I found references to an earlier United States Cutlery Company, incorporated in Trenton, NJ, but it appears to be unrelated. It was a trust formed in 1892 by 4 cutlery manufacturers from New York and Connecticut.      

Elmer A. Greenhall, 1920

United States Cutlery putty knife, cocobola handle


  1. Thanks for putting up this info. I found it when looking up the mark on a beautiful dinner knife I got in an antique store. A few thoughts that might interest you - I found this style of dinner knife with others that would have been in the same set but there were others in the same design but with a christian cross shape in the inset metal on the handle ends. So, that looked like maybe a dinner set made for a rectory. Otherwise it was the same, both types part of a place setting.
    Also, the blade, despite the stamp, is not stainless - it rusts when it looks at water across the room! And finally, there is just so much careful hand labor and craftsmanship in making this knife, it is hard to imagine that it could be a factory product.