The cutlers from Solingen – everything about the famous kitchen knives from Solingen
Solingen is the famous blade city in the Bergisches Land. Are you interested in a Solingen blade made of German quality workmanship and want to find out about all the important information?
Then read the following article now. How is a knife made in Solingen created? What materials and processes are used for kitchen knives made in Solingen? What makes the Solingen blade so special? Why are there so many forges in this particular location in Germany? Read the following article now to make your decision to buy a knife from Solingen easier.
How is a knife made in Solingen created?
Um eine Solinger-Klinge herzustellen, wird ein aufwendiges Verfahren zur Produktion verwendet. Zunächst einmal ist zu betonen: Solinger Qualitätsarbeit wird seit über 600 Jahren am Standort betrieben. Viele bekannte Firmen, darunter z. B. die Felix Solingen GmbH, die Wüsthof GmbH und die Franz Güde GmbH produzieren seit vi
To make a Solinger blade, an elaborate process is used for production. First of all, it should be emphasized: Solingen quality work has been done at this location for over 600 years. Many well-known companies, including, for example, Felix Solingen GmbH, Wüsthof GmbH and Franz Güde GmbH have been producing knives for many centuries: and exclusively in Solingen! Here you get your knife made in Germany and not made in China or Vietnam.
So how is a Solingen blade created in the quality forges of Bergland? First of all, it should be mentioned that a kitchen knife from Solingen is created through a combination of manual labor and a precise production process. For example, the production process of a Wüsthof knife is as follows.
Exemplary production process of a Wüsthof knife
A Solinger blade of the Wüsthof brand is created in 40 steps from the well-known Wüsthof steel. This steel is a mixture of molybdenum, vanadium, stainless steel and chromium. Advantages of this steel type of Wüsthof kitchen knives from Solingen are mainly corrosion resistance, hardness and easy resharpening. Hard knives have the advantage that they wear less. Easy re-sharpening keeps the knife sustainably sharp and performs a precise and sharp cut. Due to the latest laser technology, the Solingen blade is extremely sharp and safe to cut right from the start.
The Wüsthof knife from Solingen – materials and their benefits
The stainless steel is the basic material for a Solinger blade from Wüsthof. The percentage of carbon must be 0.5%. This makes the knife from Solingen hard and sharp. Chromium makes the kitchen knife from Solingen resistant to rust and corrosion. Molybdenum serves as an alloy and also provides hardness and sharpness. Vanadium is a very hard material. It ensures that with proper care, the knife can be used for many, many more years and wear is minimized. A 15 percent chrome content gives the Solingen blade from Wüsthof a noble design.
The production process of the Wüsthof knives from Solingen in detail – the production of the blanks
Abraham Wüsthof learned the craft of grinding from his father Wilhem Wüsthof. Abraham Wüsthof founded his first company as early as 1814. Today, his descendants in Solingen have developed a highly engineered production process, which we will discuss in more detail here.
First, the new knife is technically planned and constructed in a development process that can last up to two years. If everything is right, the knife goes into series production. A flatbed laser is first used to cut the knife blank from the steel plate. The steel for the kitchen knives from Solingen is produced with the components described above in a German factory. It is first cast in a block and then rolled out into plates.
The steel is delivered on large rolls, also known as coils. A machine unwinds the steel from the coils and cuts the plate to size. Wüsthof makes its own production tools for the Solingen blade in its own factory! This allows the company to ensure that its Solingen blade is of outstanding quality at all times. In the forge, forging robots heat the steel to exactly 1000 degrees.
A hammer with a force of 120 elephants then strikes the knife to form the bolster of the Solingen blade. In the laser, the kitchen knife from Solingen then receives its shape, so that the blank of the Solingen blade is now ready. In the professional furnace, the steel is now strongly heated and cooled again by a gassing process, and then heated again. This process changes the structure of the molecules in the kitchen knife from Solingen.
The knife from Solingen is now no longer brittle, but hard, tough and abrasion-resistant. After the knives are locked in place, quenching follows. This ensures that the knives do not warp and retain their shape. State-of-the-art robots take over the grinding process and then take care of the plating.
During this fine grinding process, the blade receives a grease film that makes the blade even more resistant. Some Solingen blades from Wüsthof are still ground by hand. This is especially the case with individual series in small quantities. Approximately 15% of all kitchen knives made in Solingen by Wüsthof are ground by hand.
A serrated bread knife was developed in the 1930s. Wüsthof also manufactures serrated knives. In the filter house, waste produced during the production process is filtered out. Now the kitchen knives from Solingen are cleaned in a large cleaning facility. Each individual blank is examined by trained employees for quality characteristics under a special light.
Only when the knife from Solingen meets the quality requirements 100% does the Solingen blade enter the further manufacturing process.
The further manufacturing process of a Solingen blade at Wüsthof
Once the blank for the kitchen knife from Solingen is ready, it is delivered to Plant 1. Here, the knife from Solingen is manufactured based on the blank. First, the logo of the trident and the family name are etched on the blade. For this purpose, a special electrolytic process is used for the Solingen blade.
Next, the kitchen knife from Solingen is provided with so-called Kullen. These Kullen are small indentations on the knife. They prevent food debris from sticking to the Solingen blade. The assembly of the handle can be done by hand or by machine for a knife from Solingen. A special highlight of Wüsthof knives is the integrated sacrificial anode. This sacrificial anode is integrated into the knife handle.
Normally, the handle knives are made so that no water can enter. However, if this should exceptionally happen to the Solingen blade anyway, the sacrificial anode ensures that the stainless steel at the tang of the knife does not rust. The sacrificial anode consists of an aluminum alloy that rusts beforehand and thus sacrifices itself before the stainless steel begins to rust. This small example shows how sophisticated state-of-the-art German knife technology is.
A special robot now makes out the assembled handles of the kitchen knives from Solingen. The making out is an elaborate process. Here, the handle of the knife is ground down and brought into shape. The smallest irregularities are removed by state-of-the-art robots.
The handle then lies perfectly in the hand. In the next step, the kitchen knife from Solingen is checked again by trained employees. Using a special scouring paste, the transitions of the handle to the steel are finely ground again to ensure that the knife from Solingen meets the highest quality standards. After another grinding process with two abrasive belts, the grinding process of the Solingen blade is completed.
Now only the sharpness is missing: For this purpose, the knife is sharpened in the PEtec (Precision Edge Technology) facility. It is measured with a laser and then precisely ground on a wet stone. This makes the blade extremely sharp and pointed. The kitchen knife from Solingen is now cleaned and receives the final finishing touches at the manual work station. The final test is a cut through foam. If the knife passes this test, it finally reaches the final inspection.
At the control station, the Solingen blade is cleaned again and the handle is oiled. At the very end, another cut test is made through the foam. A kitchen knife made in Solingen by Wüsthof goes through 55 production steps and 18 quality controls before it is delivered.
This example of the Wüsthof brand shows how elaborate and high-quality kitchen knives from Solingen are produced. Chefs from all over the world trust in the blades from Solingen.
What makes blades from Solingen so special
No matter which brand you choose: A knife from Solingen convinces with outstanding quality. The sophisticated production process and local production in our own Solingen factories, coupled with strict quality assurance, creates the highest quality knives Made in Solingen.
For 600 years, the knowledge surrounding the high-quality production of the finest kitchen knives from Solingen has been concentrated at the Solingen location. The blade city is a stronghold for precision knives for the whole world. For this, the Solingen location is world famous. A Solingen blade is not just any blade: it is a piece of German precision work that is manufactured in many production steps and through quite a few quality controls into an outstanding masterpiece.
Why are there so many forges exactly in Solingen?
A short historical outline
Since the Middle Ages, for 600 years to be exact, Solingen has been the center of blade production throughout Europe. The best blades were and are still made here. In 1363, the first blade made in Solingen was mentioned in a document.
You may wonder why exactly Solingen became the hub of European blade production? In the past, blades were made by blacksmiths. The production required mills. These mills absolutely needed streams and rivers to generate energy. Solingen, as a water-rich area, was perfectly suited for this. Many manufacturers settled in Solingen and started producing their high quality knives from Solingen.
Why most knives soon came from Solingen had another economic reason. The economically strong location of Cologne was just around the corner. The hardeners and grinders were granted the right to form a guild as early as the 14th century. Solingen’s reputation as a blade city already preceded it at that time. Two centuries later, knifemakers from all over Europe moved to the small town to manufacture their knives from Solingen.
Soon every Solingen blade was emblazoned with the inscription “me fecit Solingen,” which meant “Solingen made me.” In the 16th century, other branches of production developed. A knifemakers’ guild was formed, which from then on also made kitchen knives from Solingen.
Until 1850, Solingen lived almost exclusively from the blade industry. The First World War marked a hard break. Knives from Solingen now found hardly any sales worldwide, as the markets for the Solingen blade collapsed. From 1950, razor blades were manufactured in Solingen as a new production branch.
In 1994, the Solingen Ordinance came into force. This ordinance stipulates that only cutlery that has been machined and finished in Solingen may bear the Solingen indication of origin. So when you buy your knife, make sure that it bears the Solingen mark. Only then can you be sure that your kitchen knife was machined and finished in Solingen.
Hard to believe: Solingen is the only city name protected worldwide!
Good to know: The regulation does not only cover knives: blades, scissors, corkscrews, shaving accessories, blank weapons and cake lifters are also included. Knives from Solingen therefore only really come from Solingen if they are engraved with the word Solingen. The people of Solingen are proud of their blade town. That is why town signs bear the addition Klingenstadt.
Knives from Solingen have shaped the city’s economic value for centuries. The Solingen blade is world famous and you can be sure that your kitchen knife from Solingen is of outstanding quality.
Trivia – Blades and Solingen: an inseparable history
Did you know that …
- on July 07, 1935, the town of Klingen received a new coat of arms? Two crossed swords with golden hilt underpinned since that year the importance as a blade city.
- Solingen is the only city name protected by law worldwide under the Solingen Ordinance?
- the cutlery industry still accounts for a good 21% of total sales in Solingen today?
- the Industrieverband Schneid- und Haushaltswaren e. V. is headquartered in Solingen?
- Wilkinson-Sword has its German headquarters in Solingen and also operates a plant in the city of blades?
- you can visit the Hendrichs drop forge in Solingen? It is a museum site of the LVR Industrial Museum in Solingen.
Purchase your Solingen blade Made in Solingen now! Knives from Solingen convince with centuries-old tradition, combined with expert craftsmanship and state-of-the-art production processes. There is no other place in Europe like Solingen.
Kitchen knives from Solingen are world famous and appreciated by chefs around the globe. The sharpness, quality and hardness of the blades are unique. When buying a Solingen blade, make sure that the knife comes from Solingen.
You can recognize a kitchen knife from Solingen by the fact that the Solingen lettering adorns the sheath of the knife. The lettering is protected by law. As soon as you recognize the lettering, you can be sure: This is an original Solingen Kline: Made in Solingen.
General information about Solingen
Solingen’s highest point in the northernmost district of Gräfrath is 276 meters above sea level. The lowest elevation above sea level is measured in the west, in Ohligser Heide, at 53 meters. Between these two extreme positions stretches a diverse, varied mountain and valley landscape.
To the west and southwest, the landscape around Solingen opens up to the Rhine plain. It takes only half an hour by car and about the same time to reach the Rhenish cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf by train. And yet Solingen is clearly separated from these metropolises. By rural zones and a ring of small towns.
The Wupper River forms the eastern and southern city limits. It also separates Solingen to the east from the two other major Bergisch cities of Wuppertal and Remscheid. But unlike in Wuppertal, this river never touches urban zones on Solingen territory. It stays outside, in the open countryside and only flows through small villages.
The reputation and importance of Solingen’s industry often tempts outsiders to mistakenly assign this city to the Ruhr region. But as little as on closer inspection the Solingen production facilities have to do with heavy industry and its burden on the environment. The open Bergisch landscape is also very different from the overgrown urban zones of the Ruhr area.
Stream valleys and depressions between the mountain ranges are free of urban settlement – this resulted in the past as a natural adaptation to the geographic situation. Today, this is achieved through conscious planning. The forest and scrubland should continue to have the opportunity to penetrate the widely ramified urban area.
Solingen is part of an extensive recreational area between the large urban centers. From any point in the city proper, it takes only a walk of no more than 20 minutes to reach the open countryside. This is made accessible by a network of marked hiking trails with a total length of 230 kilometers.
The city and landscape are divided by about half a dozen ridges. Roads cross them, connecting the core of the 600-year-old city with the districts of Gräfrath in the north, Ohligs and Wald in the west and Höhscheid in the southwest. But there are also roads that connect to the trunk road network.
A document from 1067 contains the name Solingen. It proves that there was a settlement of this name around the middle of the 11th century at the latest. The decisive historical date, however, is February 23, 1374, when Count Wilhelm the Second of Berg granted the village of Solingen city rights.
From the 14th to the beginning of the 19th century, Solingen was the center of an office, i.e. a sovereign administrative unit. In 1819 it became a county seat and at the end of the 19th century it formed its own city district. In 1929, it reached the dimensions of a large city by merging with four neighboring municipalities and currently has about 160,000 inhabitants.
The topographical peculiarity prevented the core areas of the once independent communities from growing into and merging with each other. They remained clearly distinguished from each other as idyllic farmsteads with black and white half-timbered houses. They never really had a village character, if one understands independent communities as such; they owe their emergence mostly to a decentralized commercial activity, but always related to the city as the center.
If the people of Solingen, like their neighbors on the other side of the Wupper, had had to look for a new town name around 1930, they would have fallen for the name Wupperberge because, unlike in Wuppertal, urban settlement here is largely concentrated on the hills.
Half-timbered buildings, often shingled with slate, once also characterized the image of the Bergisch towns. The purest preservation of this character was in the district of Gräfrath, while the historic core of Solingen was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War.
The compulsion to rebuild contained at the same time the chance to meet the changed requirements of our time. A completely new modern and yet distinctive city center has emerged with wide traffic streets with pedestrian zones that invite you to go shopping, as well as generously laid out underground shopping arcades.
Solingen lives from its industry, but is an industrial city of a special kind, in which the many production facilities blend in almost inconspicuously. This makes it a preferred residential town with a high recreational value.
Mention should be made of the cultural facilities, a theater equipped with all the requirements of modern technology, the German Blade Museum, which collects bladed weapons cutting utensils and cutlery of all cultures and eras, the city library, adult education center.
There are also recreational facilities such as the botanical garden, outdoor swimming pools and children’s playgrounds. Last but not least, the vast landscape, the largest recreational reservoir for the people of Solingen and their guests.
Fountains beautify and enrich the cityscape. For example, the small fountain with the almost intimate statue of the Solingen dialect poet “Peter Hütte” on the Old Market, or the far more imposing, modern, more monumentally designed fountain in the district of Ohligs.
The German Blade Museum, housed in the former Gräfrath City Hall, also collects works of fine art that are thematically related to the holdings of the specialized museum.
For centuries Solingen has been the center of German cutlery manufacturing. The art of its swordsmiths and later the forfeited quality of its knives, scissors & cutlery have earned it a worldwide reputation that resourceful merchants in distant lands and continents have falsely stamped the Solingen designation on their own products to secure them better sales.
For a few decades now, there has been an internationally recognized law that protects the name Solingen as a designation of origin and quality brand against misuse.
Nevertheless, the common metaphor of Klingenstadt no longer reflects reality. Although the manufacture of cutlery is still the largest closed sector of the economy, it only accounts for a good 10% of the total industrial turnover in Solingen. Numerous other manufacturing sectors have been added.
Some of them are represented by world-renowned companies. At the top are umbrella veneers, mechanical engineering electrical household appliances and accessories for automobile production. But also eyeglasses, special furniture, store fittings, ties and even confectionery come from the Klingenstadt not by chance, the Central College of the German Confectionery Industry has its headquarters in Solingen.
Anyone leafing through the Industrial Atlas of North Rhine-Westphalia makes an astonishing discovery: of all the production sectors known to the richest industrial state in the Federal Republic, only four are not represented in Solingen.
The Solingen industry began in many small workshops, so-called Kotten, out in the countryside where the grinders and blacksmiths used the water power of the Wupper and the numerous streams to drive their grinding stones and hammer mills. In doing so, they established a tradition that continues to this day.
There are still cutlery manufacturers who have only the assembly of the finished products carried out in their own factory, but transfer the individual work processes to specialized professionals with their own workshop and their own means of production.
A concentration of the many scattered workplaces occurred temporarily after the invention of the steam engine. However, as soon as mobile electric motors allowed decentralization again, this opportunity was seized.
The workshop behind the residential house and associated with this phenomenon, the small company that only needed an assembly room and a bakehouse, both have shaped the specific image of the industrial town of Solingen.
Today there are a number of large modern companies, the city of Solingen is trying to create special industrial areas away from the residential areas, but all this does not change the reality of a city in which industry is almost inconspicuous, in which small and medium-sized enterprises predominate.