There are plenty of different knife companies that have been making knives for hundreds of years already. In that sense, tradition has a place in how the company is being run, as plenty of the things they were doing during the earlier days are still being practiced. This is where Hen & Rooster comes in as one of the knife companies that have been around for more than a hundred years already. But, even as Hen & Rooster has been around for more than a century, are their knives any good?
Hen & Rooster knives are excellent knives following a long-standing tradition in forging their knives even though the brand has changed ownership a few times. They use high-quality Solingen steel on knives that have to go through 200 hand processes before they are ready to ship out.
There is no doubting against the quality of the steel that Hen & Rooster knives come with as the knives are similar to some of the oldest knife companies in the world in the sense that they only trust Solingen steel. Moreover, the fact that Hen & Rooster knives are primarily handmade makes you feel confident in knowing how much value Hen & Rooster puts into attention to detail when making their high-quality knives.
What are Hen & Rooster knives?
One of the things that make certain brands of knives as popular as they are is that they have been around for a very long time. Some have been around for about half a century already, while others may have started about a handful of centuries ago. Meanwhile, some have been around for more than a hundred years. Hen & Rooster is one of the knife brands that has been making and selling knives for over a century and a half already.
Hen & Rooster was founded by Carl Bertram back in 1845. At first, Hen & Rooster was made only as an offshoot of Bertram’s poultry business in Germany. It was natural for people to be using knives around poultry, especially when it comes to food preparation. This is why Hen & Rooster comes with such a name, as it really has a history that can be traced to chickens.
Since it was founded in the middle portion of the 1800s, Hen & Rooster has named itself a premier knife brand in Solingen, Germany. And if you know your knives, you would know that Solingen has always been one of the best places for steel to come from, as they have some of the best steel manufacturers in the world.
Hen & Rooster, over the years since it was founded, has changed ownership hands a few times. While the ownership may have changed, the tradition never did as every owner made it a point to make sure that Hen & Rooster knives would still retain the same quality craftsmanship and traditional designs that had made the brand so popular not only in Germany but also in the United States when the ownership of the brand made its way to America.
Even though the Hen & Rooster brand was established around poultry, you would be surprised to know that it has made a name for itself through its pocket knives and not through some of the other knives that are actually being used for poultry businesses. So, instead of the usual cutlery or kitchen knives, Hen & Rooster is actually more popular in terms of its pocket knives.
The brand releases unique limited edition and collector knives that have been quite popular among knife collectors and enthusiasts alike. But they also have certain knives that appeal to other knife lovers and bowie knives and cutlery sets that are great on their own.
However, things did not go too well for Hen & Rooster during the latter portion of the 1900s. Even though the brand has been around for more than a hundred years already, it began losing money until it was finally decided that the Solingen, Germany factory could no longer operate due to financial losses. The factory, with about 15 workers, had closed down in 1980. That meant that the knives produced after 1980 are no longer from the same factory that followed the traditional way of making these knives since the brand’s inception back in 1845.
After the factory had closed down, the Hen & Rooster trademark was purchased by Frost Cutlery, which still makes and sells knives that come with the Hen & Rooster trademark and brand. The problem is that the Frost Hen & Rooster knives are not the same as those sold before 1980 because the processes were no longer the same and are now being made in select places aside from Germany.
From that, the knives that are usually priced higher and are considered collectors’ items are the ones that were made before the closing down of the Hen & Rooster factory in Solingen. After the factory closed down, there was still a large inventory of knives that were not sold. And so, they started to become items that knife collectors wanted to get their hands on due to how limited and rare these knives are.
Meanwhile, even though the Frost Company still kept a factory in Germany, the knives were being made. However, the quality of the knives is no longer the same as they were during the peak of the Hen & Rooster name. Still, that does not mean that Hen & Rooster has become a shell of its former self as it still is a popular knife brand with numerous different knives that are well-made and of high quality. Just don’t expect that today’s Hen & Rooster knives are of the same exceptional quality as those made somewhere between 1845 and 1980.
What sets Hen & Rooster knives apart?
When it comes to different knives, they tend to have something that sets them apart from other brands. This might not be obvious at first, but there are little subtleties that you might notice the longer you use the knife.
So, in Hen & Rooster’s case, what set the brand’s knives apart is the tradition and the attention to detail that goes into the knives whenever they are forged and assembled. The blades and the handle are all high-quality and are all intricately designed to suit the different tastes of various collectors and knife enthusiasts out there.
Of course, Hen & Rooster is great at delivering amazing knives that go through detailed steps and a patented process that only the people behind the brand know. For starters, the original Hen & Rooster factory in Solingen, Germany, had only about 15 employees who were properly trained and experienced at manufacturing the best knives possible. Hen & Rooster knives all had to go through 200 different hand processes from those 15 employees so that each blade is tested for quality and durability.
Moreover, Hen & Rooster knives come with exquisite designs that you don’t normally see in pocket knives. Whether we are talking about the blades or the handle, there really is nothing aesthetically wrong when you look at a Hen & Rooster knife. And their pocket knives tend to be what stands out the most because of how they come with durable blades and amazingly hand-crafted handles made from different materials such as mother of pearl and antler.
However, what you may actually notice about Hen & Rooster knives is that those made from the original Solingen factory before its closing back in 1980 tend to be better in terms of overall quality and design than the ones that the Frost Company makes. While the Frost Hen & Rooster knives are still very much outstanding in terms of their build, there really is just something special when you look at Hen & Rooster before closing the Solingen factory.
As such, most of the different Frost Hen & Rooster knives today are great for everyday purposes but are probably not the best in terms of what they offer for collectors and enthusiasts. There really is nothing wrong with getting yourself a Frost Hen & Rooster but, if you want to get the most outstanding knife possible, it would be best to look for a Hen & Rooster made before July 1980.
Where are Hen & Rooster knives made?
The original Hen & Rooster knife was born and bred in Solingen, Germany, a place that is particularly known for the quality of its steel. That is why you always hear the term “Solingen steel” when it comes to different blades. And when a blade comes with the Solingen steel branding, you would instantly know that the steel itself was made using the highest quality possible. So, in that sense, Hen & Rooster are durable and sharp because they are made using Solingen steel.
Hen & Rooster knives were made in a factory found in Solingen, Germany, from the start of the business during the middle of the 1800s until the factory closed down in 1980. So, if you are looking for a good Hen & Rooster, make sure to look for the “made in Solingen, Germany” brand found on the knife to know that it is actually high-quality and quite possibly made before the factory closed down in 1980.
After the Frost Company took over the Hen & Rooster trademark and brand, they still maintained their own factory in Germany but the same quality and tradition seemed to have diminished because they hardly kept any of the remnants of that old Solingen Germany factory.
Nevertheless, Frost Hen & Rooster knives come with steel that is still made in Germany, and that alone will tell you that the blades are high-quality in their own right. However, due to cost-cutting, the Frost Company found it best to actually outsource the parts to China and other parts of Asia. So, while the steel and all of the different parts are made in Germany, they are finished in China. All other Frost Hen & Rooster knives and other products on the more affordable side are also possibly made in China and not in Germany.
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Are Hen & Rooster Knives actually good?
All that said, it is now time for us to settle the question of whether or not Hen & Rooster knives are actually good. And for that question, we would want to say that, for the most part, Hen & Rooster knives are actually pretty good and high-quality. But there are some caveats.
First off, there is nothing wrong that we can say when it comes to the Hen & Rooster knives made by the original factory in Solingen, Germany. The steel, handle, and finish in these pocket knives are designed to make these knives durable and aesthetically pleasing. This is why Hen & Rooster knives before the Frost Company takeover are considered amazing collector pieces that can actually command prices that are about $300 or more.
Second, while the Frost Hen & Rooster are not at the same level as their older counterparts, that doesn’t mean that they are not any good. Even though the newer Hen & Rooster no longer comes from the same company, they still use most of the traditional processes that go into the classic Hen & Rooster knives.
But, due to cost-cutting efforts and some traditions that may have become lost after the Solingen factory closed down, Hen & Rooster knives went from great to good. The Frost knives still incorporate durable steel and great designs into their knives, but they lack the same kind of flair and attention to detail that you can find in the classic Hen & Rooster knives.