Inside The Company That's Made Knives For The Marines Since World War II

Photo: KA-BAR

The company that makes the knives for the Army, Navy and Marine Corps has just released a video that gives an amazing look into how these blades are produced by hand on U.S. soil.Even as other knife manufacturers have moved operations overseas, KA-BAR cutlery remains in New York, just as they did when they made the combat knives for the Marine Corps during World War II. 

Here’s a look at how the knives that arm the military are hand-crafted in the USA.

The knife got its name from a 1923 letter to the Union Cutlery Company from a hunter testifying that he had used their knife to kill a bear

After the United States entered World War Two, military leadership received reports from soldiers that the WWI-era knives weren't doing the job

Four knife manufacturers sold the new design of knife to the military

The bowie-style blades were seven inches long, made of carbon treated steel with a blood groove down the end

The hilts were made of pressed leather washers and are around five inches long

Union Cutlery, which sold their knives to the military with the KA-BAR branding, was the only manufacturer to brand their knives

Since they were the second-largest manufacturer of the blades, their name recognition among the Marines soared

The blades were also stamped with the service branch using them as well as the location of the manufacturing facility: Olean, New York

The knives performed very well as both a combat knife and a utility knife which could be used to cut wire and rope

After the war, the Navy and Marine Corps continued to use the KA-BAR knives

The name recognition was so great that in 1952, Union Cutlery Co changed its name to KA-BAR Cutlery, Inc.

The blades are still made the same way they were in the forties, after experiments with synthetic hilts introduced in 1996 failed

Today the knives are still in service, and some servicemembers spray paint them black to reduce gleam and prevent corrosion

KA-BAR is located in Olean, New York to this day

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