Queen Cutlery Co. has its roots in the Schatt & Morgan knife company of Titusville, PA. The company was originally known as Queen City Cutlery, and in 1946 the name was shortened to Queen Cutlery Company. Knives have been made in the factory of Queen Cutlery Company of Titusville, PA for over 100 years. It is arguably the oldest and last American Cutlery that truly continues to produce knives in the same way as they were produced there when the factory opened in 1902; traditional bench-made American cutlery.
John W. Schatt and Charles B. Morgan established the Schatt & Morgan Cutlery Company in 1895. Initially founded as the “New York Cutlery Company” (not to be confused with the well-known New York Knife Company) the pair opened an office in New York City sometime in 1896. By 1897, they moved to Schatt’s hometown of Gowanda NY, and in July of 1897 they purchased the Platts’ cutlery plant there. The company was housed in Gowanda from 1897 until 1902 at which time they moved to the Titusville, where they incorporated. By 1903 Schatt & Morgan was manufacturing 40,000 dozen knives per year in Titusville and had twelve salesmen on the road with sales all around the country per newspaper reports of the day. Several building expansions were undertaken to keep up with production, beginning as early as 1907. In less than five years the company had doubled the size of their facility to keep up with an ever-increasing demand for their cutlery. The First World War altered the growth of Schatt & Morgan, due to the rationing of materials needed for the war effort, but primarily due to the short supply of skilled workers. The company was further crippled by the 1922 firing of five of their most skilled workers, all supervising department heads. These were the men who in that same year would incorporate their own business: Queen City Cutlery Company. These department heads apparently had been making skeleton knives (knives without handle scales) on the sly since around 1918 and then wholesaling them out on their own. They were discovered in 1922 and promptly let go. The Schatt & Morgan work force subsequently dropped about thirty percent, or from about ninety to sixty workers that year, probably as a result of firing those supervisors.
Those men, incorporated as Queen City Cutlery, moved about a mile away and began manufacturing cutlery themselves. Ironically, on August 21, 1933 Queen was able to purchase the business and all its contents at a sheriff’s auction.
It is important to note that Queen City Cutlery was an innovator and a pioneer in the use of functional stainless steel in pocket cutlery in America. As early as 1926, Queen City Cutlery was listed in the regional trade publications as manufacturers of “High Grade Stainless Steel Cutlery.” Stainless steel had been introduced in England in 1914 and first patented in America in 1915, but the change in blade material was initially opposed by many cutlers as often happens when new technologies are introduced into an existing field. Queen was the primary innovator of this change from carbon steel to a stainless steel formulation that was well suited for blades and backsprings. Queen was the first American cutlery company to successfully introduce a large variety of stainless steel cutlery to the market.
Collectors and users of fine pocketknives can be grateful that Queen continues to manufacture all their cutlery in essentially the same way as it was produced there over one hundred years ago; real bench made quality with a human touch. This company remains a remarkable testament to small scale American manufacturing.