Lamson & Goodnow, maker of LamsonSharp™ cutlery, is the oldest cutlery manufacturer in the United States. Lamson & Goodnow was established in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts in 1837, and rapidly became the premier cutler in the United States. They manufacture both stamped and forged cutlery. As the American passion for home and hearth grew, so did Lamson & Goodnow.
Silas Lamson was an inventor and understood ergonomics way back in 1834. One of his earliest patents was for a curved snath that he developed, which improved the function of the scythe. The snath is simply the wooden shaft to which the scythe blade is fixed. The success of the curved snath enabled Silas to become even more successful in a few years. With his two sons, Ebenezer and Nathaniel, and another partner, Abel Goodnow, in 1837, he founded the manufacturing company of Lamson and Goodnow in Shelburne Falls, Mass.
Early in its history, Lamson and Goodnow recruited skilled workers from cutlery centers of Sheffield, England and Solingen, Germany and began manufacturing the high quality butcher and table knives that have remained the center of their production ever since. The firm was a major contributor to the region’s transformation from a primarily agricultural to an industrial economy, and by the time of the Civil War, they helped establish the Connecticut River Valley had emerged as the center of American cutlery production. At various points during their history, Lamson and Goodnow have been involved in the manufacture of arms (e.g. the Springfield rifle), sewing machines, agricultural implements, and other tools.
Today, Lamson and Goodnow is a modern cutlery manufacturing facility utilizing lasers and robotic CNC grinders, yet housed in the same brick buildings where they began over 175 years ago. Preferring to use their craftsman for the handcrafted fit and finish work, many of their workers trace their lineage to the original English and German workers recruited at the companies beginning.
What is Sharp for Life™?
This unique free factory knife sharpening program is designed so that LamsonSharp™ customers can have their knives sharpened by the craftsmen who made them.
The partnership was successful and enjoyed a steady growth during its early years. Extensive new buildings were erected in Shelburne Falls. Experienced cutlery workers were recruited from both Sheffield, England and Solingen Germany, Europe's two great champions of quality cutlery.
During the Civil War, the company became one of the largest United States cutlery manufacturers, employing more than 500 workers to meet the demand for their products. It was during this time that Lamson & Goodnow added tableware to their line of professional and agricultural cutlery. Old Lamson & Goodnow catalogs depict a vast variety of items with ivory, horn, and exotic wood handles. The company became known for their quality cutlery.
In 1869, the workmen of Lamson & Goodnow produced a dinner set of 62 pieces for President Ulysses S. Grant. Half of the pieces were set in pearl handles and half in ivory, with American maple leaves engraved on the handles. The workers stated that they felt a "national pride in presenting [the set] to one who will appreciate the perseverance that aims at nothing short of perfection."
President Grant responded in a letter dated November 17, 1869, expressing his thanks for a gift set of cutlery designed and produced expressly for the President as "a testimonial of their respect and esteem."
Today, Lamson & Goodnow cutlery is still handcrafted in Shelburne Falls by American workers. We're proud to say that over a 139 years later, we still produce the finest cutlery and kitchen tools made in America.
A Look at Lamson & Goodnow Today
We're still producing world class cutlery in factory buildings built in 1850.
Originally all the machinery was powered by the Deerfield River. The dam still exists and still generates power.
We have made a few changes over the years. Today, hi-tech lasers, robots, and grinding equipment help our skilled craftsmen turn out fine cutlery.