A huge chestnut-tree towering above the small Böker hardware-factory in the 17th century is the oldest traceable fact about the Böker family. Apparently Böker tools were very successful, for the ranked among the leading products in Germany and neighboring countries a hundred years later.
Due to rising demand in a politically restless era Hermann and Robert Böker decided to start with the production of sabres in 1829. Inventories of september 1830 already prove a weekly production of 2000 pieces, made by 64 smiths, 47 grinders and a lerge number of labourers. With an ever growing variety of tools and cutlery combined with the possibilities of international marketing the family realised that responsibility assignment was crucial to keep their chances. So Hermann Böker emigrated to found Boker & Co. in New York, whereas the younger Robert established his company in Canada and 1865 a branch of it in Mexico, market leaders under the name of Casa Boker to this very day.
Heinrich only crossed the river Wupper to go to Solingen, where the German cutlery industry was booming, to found Heinr. Böker & Co. with the well-known cutlery-expert Hermann Heuser in 1869.
The Bökers in Remscheid and their cousins overseas were very interested and in demand of razors, scissors and pocket-knives from Heinrich´s new enterprise. They had to label their products in a simple manner for overseas-markets, for many customers had problems spelling the German name Böker - apart from widespread analphabetism. Heinrich considered the chestnut-tree as an ideal memorable logo, which belonged to the Remscheid company with another one, an arrow. One of the rare and precious documents, which survived the total destruction of WW II is an ad of Böker Remscheid from 1874, showing both logos.
The relationship between the two Böker companies has always been very friendly. Heinrich was allowed to take the tree-brand with him across the river without troubles or payments. Since then not a single product has left the Solingen factory without this sign. After over 100 years of existence the venerable tree was cut down by a stroke of lightning in 1925. A gifted artist carved an image of the majestic tree into a piece of original treetrunk, which adorns the executive´s office in Solingen.
The US-market became the main customer of Böker production as early as 1900 with H. Boker & Co. in New York concentrating on Solingen cutlery. The demand for pocket-knives soon beat that for other products like scissors or razors. In due course the Solingen capacities were exhausted and the New Yorkers started their own pocket-knife production, to which pliers were added later. Because of the tree-brand being well established by then and the good understanding within the international Böker family there wasn´t any problem to get permission from Solingen to use the tree-brand for American products too. Since then there were two different lines of Böker knives on the US-market, with identical logos and sometimes even identical item numbers, one line Made in USA, the other Made in Solingen, only to be distiquished by the markings "Boker USA" or "H.Boker Improved Cutlery Solingen".
During WW II the contact to USA died. The Solingen factory was completely destroyed with no remaining machines, tools, catalogues or samples. The few old originals we have at our disposal today survived the war in private ownership and were provided to us. The company also lost one of its most precious commodities: the tree-brand registration was seized according to US law. John Boker jr. bought it in New York to save it for the further sale of American and German products. Soon after the war new life began to wake in the destroyed factory. The former craftsmen came back and helped to reconstruct buildings and production and to regain the high standard of quality.
Restoring their business relationship to Solingen the American cousins placed first orders. Within a few years Boker New York was the principal customer again. The models 7588, 7474 and the old flagship model 182 couldn´t cross the ocean fast enough to reach Böker friends all over the country.
In the early 1960s Boker USA was sold to the well-known scissors-manufacturer Wiss & Sons, who kept up the production of Böker knives to sell them with Solingen products. Böker scissors disappeared from the market, being a competitor to Wiss. In the early 1970s Wiss sold to the multinational Cooper Industries. For Böker this change proved benificial, generating a close business and personal relationship with Cooper, who restored the name of Böker to its former greatness. During the eight years this active relationship lasted, Solingen was able to rationalise production and develop new modern products. Today Böker offers the broadest range of sports and collector´s knives with an anmatched variety of blade and handle materials.
Cooper stopped their own knife-production in 1983. Actual models are still in production in Solingen. Three years later Solingen reacquired the rights for the Ameriacan brand as a result of friendly negotiations with Cooper and was therfore in the position to enter the huge American market. In July 1986 Boker USA, Inc. was established in Denver, Colorado with Chuck Hoffmann, one of the original team members, still in position as general manager with a young and flexible team.
Böker ows its high importance in the South American markets in Argentina, Chlie and Mexico to the able men of the Böker family who worked for us there in the 19th and 20th centuries. The current trademark includes the labels TREEBRAND and ARBOLITO. Due to the extreme economic and political fluctuations in Argentina the good name of ARBOLITO was on the verge of falling into oblivion. In 1983 Böker Arbolito S.A. was established in cooperation with the Salzmann family, specialising chiefly on household and working knives. Thanks to constant rationalising and product range extension the Buenos Aires company is able to enter worldwide competition with selected products today.
Knifeworld (Download PDF)
Detaillierte Darstellung unserer Firmenhistorie mit weiteren Hintergrundinformationen und inkl. Abbildungen historischer Messer und Entwicklung des Firmenlogos und der Klingengangzeichen.