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Frank Colver Travels to Germany

When Frank Colver took over operations of the famed Washington Works (Wostenholm) in 1922, he had his job cut out for him. Wostenholm was a proverbial mess. Since the 1870's, it (its workers that is to say,) continually refused mechanized modernization and business had suffered. Not only that, but the industry itself had been ravaged by The Great War as well as US import tariffs. And to make matters worse, the United States's two biggest firearms manufacturers - Remington and Winchester - had gotten into the pocket knife game. These were depressing times for Wostenholm indeed.

As far as I know, we have no surviving letters of Colver (at least accessable to the public,) but we do have some records of his travels and words. He was a collaborator on Himsworth's The Story of Cutlery - From Flint to Stainless steel. Colver also spent a great deal of time visiting US manufacturers as well as Solingen in 1919 and 1920 and had amassed a great deal of knowledge on the procedures, customs, and machinery of Sheffield's major competition in the cutlery trade. In 1919, he presented his findings on a recent trip to Solingen to the Sheffield Cutlery Trades Association. No recording exists of this presentation, but in April, 1920, an abstract from the speech appeared in the trade mag The Metal Industry (New York) titled German Cutlery Manufacturing Process. I've attached it here for your reading pleasure. It will be well worth your time and some of the numbers presented are staggering.

German Cutlery Manufacturing Practice
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