About us


1926
The history of the Colonial Knife Company began in 1926, when three brothers, Frederick, Dominic and Antonio Paolantonio formed the Colonial Knife Company, 96 years and four generations later, the Colonial Knife Company continues the manufacturing of general purpose pocket and sport knives.
The Paolantonio brothers arrived to the Untied States prior to 1912 from one of the most famous knife producing cities in the world, Frosolone, Italy. Upon arriving in the United States, Frederick, Dominic and Antonio went to work for the Empire Knife Company of Winsted, Ct. and after several years the brothers Dominic and Frederick went to work at the Imperial Knife Company in Providence, Rhode Island and Antonio formed his own company called the A. Paolantonio Cutlery Company located at 9 Calendar Street in Providence, Rhode Island in an area called Federal Hill. Dominic and Fredrick left Imperial Knife in 1926 to join their brother Antonio, there they formed the Colonial Knife Company. The Colonial Knife Company thrived and they moved to 287 Oak Street, a block from the depot serviced by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, the decision to move near the railroad was one of many that would prove profitable in the decades to come.

Original blue print of the textile mill that the Paolantonio brothers purchased in 1926 that would become the Colonial Knife Company 

                     

The building that the three bothers moved into at the corner of Agnes and Magnolia Streets was originally a textile mill, the blue print shows where the stables and wagon parking and repair ship were located.

 Shown here are display cards of knives manufactured by Colonial Knife during the 1930s.  Colonial Knife was the first in many of the marketing and selling of pocket and sport knives, for example, the "Dozen Card"  concept proved extremely popular and profitable, no need for the traditional display case, the retail, most likely a candy tobacco retailer/general store would simply hang this dozen card display from behind the register or use the easel backing to allow customers to easily purchase a knife.

Shown below is Trade-Mark filing for one of the many trade-marks of the Colonial Knife Company, Inc. with the United States of America Trade-Mark Office. "This is to Certify that by the records of the United States Patent Office it appears that Colonial Knife Company, Inc. of Providence, Rhode Island, did, on the 15th day of April, 1939, duly file in said office an application for Registration of a certain TRADE-MARK" 
Some of the popular trade marks for Colonial Knife Company include
Forest Master, SHUR-SNAP, Ranger, Old Cutler, Topper, Anvil, Snappy,

Swiss Master, Master Series, Sport Topper fish knife, Cub Hunter, Sporty,

Kitchen Aid to name a few.

 

 

 

 

                             Antonio Paolantonio traveling by air with the Colonial Knife director of sales for the West Coast.

 

Early 1950's construction of additional manufacturing space at Colonial Knife

               

     

     

Construction view from Dike Street looking South-the basement and first floor of what would become the packaging, shipping and receiving departments, the basement was used for storage of displays, packaging supplies, sheaths and similar items, the first floor would be for packaging of knives a.k.a. the finishing department-inspection       shipping and receiving department. Image from early 1950's. The brothers knew their manufacturing facility would need to handle millions of knives annually and time is money, moving products and materials floor to floor is expensive in both time and money, eliminating the need for elevators, having all the manufacturing on one level meant a time savings that lead to faster production. Normal production time from when the steel arrived to the completion of a knife was approximately fours weeks so there was always partially completed knives throughout the factory. Steel came from a number of slitting mills peppered throughout New England, National Steel, Braintree Ma., Clifford Metals, Providence, RI, Newman Crosby Steel, Pawtucket, Rhode Island to name a few. The Steel would arrive at Colonial Knife in coils, 16-inch ID x 36-inch OD and weigh around a few thousand pounds, these coils, varied in thickness and width, the average thickness for blade steel was and still is .080-thick 1075 annealed cutlery high carbon steel . The coils would be hoisted into the press cradle for the 60-ton L & J stamping press that would stamp out 120 components every minute, we had four 60 ton press's plus three 40-ton press's and an assortment of smaller presses used for bending or cutting. 

 

Artist rendering of the Colonial Knife Company 1950's, however, additional manufacturing space would soon be needed making this drawing out dated.  Separating the two buildings was Oak Street, the company acquired part of the street for an additional building that would become one of two press rooms that were needed for stamping out blades and other components.

 

 

Completion of the Colonial Knife Company, Inc. manufacturing facility aerial photo was taken November 2, 1953 

 

 

 

 

Colonial Knife company Christmas Party, 1950 at Camille's Roman Garden Restaurant, Providence, RI. The photo currently on our wall at the corporate office of Colonial Cutlery International, Inc.

     

Photo of Dominic, Fredrick and Antonio Paolantonio with their parents, my great grandparents

                    

 

  

Photo of Antonio Paolantonio, my grandfather in his U.S. Army uniform, World War 1, Antonio served in the U.S. Cavalry as a blacksmith. The photo below is of Antonio probably prior to WW1

                       

War Production Board presented this to Antonio Paolantonio for his service on the Industry Advisory Committee- United States of America War Production Board World War II, on behalf of a grateful Nation.

                    

image below-press room department with the 60-ton L & J press

                    

Polishing Department Foreman and his assistant image 1979,  the machines shown are Clair machines, these would polish the blade steel to a mirror finish.

The photo below are the employees that worked in the Colonial Knife Tool room. Colonial Knife offered apprenticeship in tool making, wire EDM and CNC machines would make tool makers in our industry obsolete

 

The packaging department, every knife is inspected and cleaned prior to packaging 

                     

 

Shown below is a rough drawing done by A.M.L. Paolantonio "Jimmy", my father the President of Colonial Knife, his drawing was used during a Board of Directors meeting to discuss the relocating of departments for improved efficiency early 1980's.

 

 

 

 

Colonial Cutlery International, Inc.

CAGE Code 3NZR8

 

 

Colonial Knife collectors knives, a division of Colonial Cutlery International, Inc.

 

Our Mission:

 Colonial Knife manufactures the toughest Knives Tools and Flashlights.  

Product demonstration as to the strength of the Colonial Knife brand of knives and tools

 

 

Fourth generation James D Lent, grandson to "Jimmy" A.M.L. Paolantonio during booth setup at the 2010 Shot Show, Las Vegas Convention Center.

 

 Colonial Knife exhibiting at the 1995 Shot Show, Dallas Texas