Although Victorinox is known the world over as the creator of the Original Swiss Army Knife, the company started out in 1884 as a cutlery workshop. By the time company creator Karl Elsener delivered his first pocket knife to the Swiss Army, his cutlery business was already booming. Over the next century, Victorinox cutlery became a top-rated choice among professionals worldwide, with over 300 blades to offer.
Victorinox knives have regularly appeared as highly ranked and recommended kitchen tools in Cook's Illustrated, Men's Health, The Cincinnati Enquirer, New York Magazine, and Natural Health, just to name a few. In 2009, the company announced a partnership with professional chef, Daniel Humm, of Eleven Madison Park in New York City. In addition, building on the success of its cutlery business, Victorinox has brought all the same quality and expertise to a wider range of products and accessories, including other kitchen tools, pocket tools, watches, luggage, and clothing.
Victorinox had been a staple in European commercial cutlery for over 50 years when approached by New York's R.H. Forschner, known since 1855 as a builder of scales for butchers, to be their sole cutlery supplier. The two companies joined forces in 1937, and R.H. Forschner subsequently became North America's dominant professional brand, as ubiquitous in the bustling meatpacking plants of the Midwest as it is in the gleaming, four-star restaurant kitchens of Midtown Manhattan.
As a division of Victorinox/Swiss Army Brands, R.H. Forschner marketed cutlery under the brand name "RH Forschner by Victorinox" and distributed to the commercial, food service, and retail trade classes. That brand has been considered a top choice of professionals worldwide with over 300 styles of blades bearing the R.H. Forschner name. However, in 2009, in conjunction with Victorinox's 125th anniversary, the company, Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc., has decided to remove the "RH Forschner" name from all blades. Blades thenceforth only include the "Victorinox" name.
A stamped knife can usually be identified by the absence of a bolster. Stamped blades are cut into their shapes from cold-rolled pieces of steel and then ground, tempered, and sharpened. Creating them requires many less steps than forging and results in lighter, narrower blades. Some professionals prefer the thicker, heavier forged blades, but many pros, who spend much of their day cutting and slicing, enjoy a lighter knife since it's less fatiguing and easier to manipulate at speed.
Stamped knives are easier to produce and therefore less expensive. They perform very well and can approach the quality of a forged blade, but not the weight or feel. Victorinox manufactures a complete range of stamped blades with unique, patented Fibrox handles and they are considered among the greatest values in the knife industry.
Knife choice or selection is determined by many factors--size, function, style, and preference. The most important factor is function. Different knives have different uses. It is important to use the proper knife for a specific task, since proper knife selection and the use of a proper-sized, sharp knife make for safe cutting. General kitchen tasks and the knife to use for them are as follows:
After use, knives should not be allowed to soak in water. The best practice is to hand wash and dry them immediately. This is especially true if they have been used on fruit or salty foods, which may cause some staining, even on stainless steel. Most knives require very little maintenance and it is worth the effort to protect your investment.
Though Victorinox knives are dishwasher safe, this is strongly discouraged. The dishwasher's agitation may cause damage. Additionally, harsh detergents can be harmful and cause pitting and spotting on the blades. The handles may also discolor and develop a white film with constant use of the dishwasher. Plus, intense heat associated with dishwashers is not good for the temper of the blade.
All quality knives require proper maintenance to keep them in perfect cutting shape. The best of edges will quickly dull if it strikes metal, glass, or Formica. A wooden cutting board makes the best cutting surface. And, if a slip occurs, a proper cutting board is safer for the user. Frequent use of a Victorinox sharpening steel will keep blades in tip top working condition. All straight-edge knives need steeling to keep their edges.
Safety is the biggest concern of storage, both to the user and to protect the knife's edge. Choices include a knife magnet, knife block, drawer insets, and also individual knife protectors.