Joint venture between ALCOA and W.R. Case & Sons
Olean, New York
In order to meet high demand, president of W.R. Case & Sons John O’Kain launched an innovative joint venture with aluminum giant ALCOA in 1949, creating Alcas Cutlery Company – “Al” for ALCOA and “cas” for Case. Based in Olean, the new company served as the “cutlery company for cutlery companies” – manufacturing mostly fixed-blade knives for multiple entities, W.R. Case & Sons’ competitors included. Adrift by the 1980s, Alcas employee Erick Laine bought the company, renamed it Cutco Manufacturing, and used innovative sales channels (most notably its Vector Marketing branch enlisting college students to sell to family and friends) to realize explosive growth. KA-BAR would join the Cutco family in 1996. Renowned for lifetime resharpening and some of the finest household cutlery in the world, Cutco is a major employer in Cattaraugus County and located at 1116 East State Street, Olean, NY.
Information provided by Brad Lockwood and Dean E. Case.