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A.G. Russell Hen & Rooster Model 274

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Item #: 274CR


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In 1865, C. R. Bertram founded a small cutlery firm in Solingen, Germany that was fated to become for a brief period, the maker of the very finest pocketknives in the world. Herr Bertram set out to make the very best pocketknives. Because he raised (as a hobby) fancy chickens he used as a trade mark a Hen and Rooster. In time the small firm was passed on to the sons and then to the grandsons. In 1975 I bought the company and formed the firm of Bertram G. M. B. H. Using workers who had been with the firm for generations we kept the little company together for five years. Keeping a truly handmade knife company together while the German Mark multiplied itself by more than double was more than I could manage. Against my wishes, the little firm was put into bankruptcy and the name and trademark were purchased by the firm of Robert Klaas who has made knives marked with the Hen & Rooster Trademark and the words Bertram Cut. Co. since late 1980 or early 1981. These have been perfectly fine knives and worth every penny that are charged for them, BUT they are not the same quality as the knives that were made from 1865 to July of 1980. Those knives made before the bankruptcy were among the finest the world has ever known. The fit and finish both inside and out has been rivaled only by the work of a very few firms from about 1880 to sometime around 1930, and by the very top makers of handmade knives today.

We still have some of the knives made before the summer of 1980. 3-1/8" Two Blade Congress with a 1-7/8" sheepfoot blade and a 1-1/2" pen blade, nickel silver liners and bolsters. Weighs 1 oz. Made in Solingen, Germany. Both blades are marked with the Hen & Rooster mark on the front side and Bertram, Germany on the reverse side.

Collectors: Other original Hen & Rooster knives made before the 1980 collapse of the little factory can be found at These are models where quantities are down to one or two pieces.

Option A

A.G. Russell™ Hen & Rooster Model 274 - Coral Rucarta™

Item #: 274CR $275.00
In Stock

Option A

A.G. Russell™ Hen & Rooster Model 274 - Coral Rucarta™

  • Type
  • Blade
    Sheepfoot - Pen
  • Blade Length
    1-7/8″ - 1-1/2″
  • Lock
    Slip Joint
  • Bolsters
    Nickel Silver
  • Liners
    Nickel Silver
  • Pattern
  • Handle
    Coral Rucarta
  • Closed Length
  • Weight
    1.0 oz
  • Origin

Hen & Rooster Knives

C. Bertram of Solingen and their Hen & Rooster knives

In 1864, the firm of C. Bertram Reinh. Sohn, Knifemakers opened in Solingen, Germany. This firm was founded by a man whose hobby was raising fancy chickens, so he began using a logo of a Rooster standing behind a Hen. In the United States, collectors began calling these knives, Hen & Rooster knives, which by the 1950s, 60s, and 70s had become synonymous with superlative quality. These German knives almost matched in quality the English knives of Joseph Rogers, whose quality was maintained until about 1913 when England destroyed itself by letting 70-80 year old generals run a modern war.

In the early 1970s, I sold Hen & Rooster knives which I bought from Kurt Gutmann. When I needed a manufacturer who was capable of a similar quality to make knives for the collector’s series which I had started for the Knife Collectors Club, I made a trip to Solingen. I found that those exquisite pocket knives were being made by C. Bertram and arranged for them to make the fourth knife in that series – the CM-4 Baby Barlow with elephant ivory. That was in 1975. Before the year was over, the manager of the factory approached me to buy the company. In order to keep the company out of bankruptcy, and assure that I had a source of the kind of quality I wanted, I bought the company. We managed to keep the factory open until July 1980. For the first year, we continued to make knives for Kurt Gutmann. When I realized that the factory was losing money on what they sold to him, I approached him with a price increase. He would have none of that and he and I agreed to no longer do business.

Over the next five years, we continued to produce Hen & Rooster knives with the Hen & Rooster logo, but after Gutmann, they were all marked A.G. Russell. In July, 1980, I could no longer keep the little company going and finally it succumbed to bankruptcy in July of that year. At that time, I had a large inventory on hand in Springdale, Arkansas and we have continued to sell those knives through the years. We have very few of those original knives left.

Today, we are adding forty-one (41) individual knives to the A.G. Russell website. These knives came from a man who has been collecting original Hen & Rooster knives for years. There is only one of each as we have described them on our site. If the knife was made before the 1950s, I have indicated that on each individual knife. The others, I have dated to indicate an approximate time they were made: in the 1950s the mark was primarily Gutmann, during the 1960s, Gutmann, Carter, Fife, Kane and others. Those made during the late 1970s were primarily made for A. G. Russell and are so marked. You can find these knives at

The factory, with 15 workers, was closed in July of 1980 and the unique quality was lost forever. The trademark was acquired by Jim Frost of Frost Cutlery, with the help of Klaass Cutlery who then produced knives using this trademark. The quality has never been the same.

We sell only those knives made before July of 1980. There is nothing wrong with the Frost Hen & Rooster knives, they are fairly priced for what they are. But, I must avoid confusing my customers, so we do not sell currently produced knives marked in a way that would cause them to be confused with these valuable collectible knives.