There's a building in Utica whose sole purpose during America's Greatest War was to keep our soldiers safe.

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The Utica Cutlery Company is known for producing top-of-the line specialty and pocket knives, but over 80 years ago, the business stood up and answered America's call following the attack on Pearl Harbor on this day in 1941.

Protecting Soldiers

The Utica Cutlery Company was founded in 1910 on 820 Noyes Street. The company was started by a group of Utica businessmen who wanted make their name in the growing metal working industry. Their goal was to bring newfound jobs and recognition to the region.

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Courtesy Google Maps
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The company still resides at its original location, making it the oldest same-site cutlery company in all of America. The business first started issuing pocket knives before expanding to kitchen cutlery around 1918.

Their operations took a dramatic turn during World War II, when the nation enacted multiple rationing efforts to conserve certain materials like rubber and metal. Rationing efforts even impacted key goods like coffee, butter, gasoline, meat, textiles, and sugar.

Historians hail the effort as a hated but necessary sacrifice by the American people to ensure soldiers had what they needed, in addition to distribute scarce goods fairly among the country.

While such restrictions would have impacted the Utica Cutlery Company, the business survived because it secured a contract with the Federal Government to assist in the war effort. The plant then switched production from pocket knives to carbine parts and bayonets for rifles.

Other items the company produced were fighting knives that troopers would store in their boots. In all, they produced electrician, trench and pocket knives for soldiers.

The company also re-tooled parts of its factory to support the war effort by producing carbine and gun parts.

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It is said the company produced two million bayonets and various knives during World War II. In all, the company was awarded the coveted Army-Navy E. Pennant, in addition to other critical awards.

A Collector's Dream

With any item associated with the Great World War, Utica Cutlery bayonets and knives have since become extremely valuable to collectors, historians and gun enthusiasts alike.

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DenisTangneyJr from Getty Images Signature
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Utica Cutlery products are scarce, so they have become heavily sought after in recent years and fetched eye-boggling amounts on the auction block.

For example, finding bayonets designed to fit the M1 Garand with their scabbards is borderline impossible. Should you find one for sale, the price might make your eyes bulge.

To compare, the price of bayonets usually ranged from $50 to $100 when sold on platforms like eBay. However, they have exploded in popularity in recent years and have been steadily rising in price.

Additionally, Utica-made fighting knives have also become a highly-sought-after collectible and have been selling at monumental prices. Check out this knife that is currently being sold for $529.

 

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In fact, Utica-made material is quick to sell because of its quality and history with the war effort. Bayonets and knives with their original cabbards tend to be more expensive because they are extremely hard to find.

Why is that? Scabbards and sheaths were made using leather. After exposing the material to wet, cold and jungle-like conditions, time has claimed many of them, so very few remain. Even rarer are those in decent condition.

Utica Cutlery's Legacy

Utica Cutlery also produced material during the Korean War and Vietnam War, such as fighting knifes and kit utensils. These items are also highly sought-after by collectors, especially if they're in decent condition and come with their original sheath.

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Utica Cutlery continues to live up to its war effort legacy by continuing its tactical series. Enthusiasts praise the high carbon steel used in their survival and pocket blades, saying they are designed to perform a multitude of tasks.

Insiders also say the handles are also top quality and are reminiscent of the durability soldiers relied on during the war.

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Next time you drive down Noyes Street, take a moment to look at the historic building and reflect on how the operations inside helped turn the war effort in the Allies' favor.

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