Хорошая темка была на нашем форуме, правда на английском:http://knifeclub.com.ua/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11803
джени из мендинга там запостила историю этой конторы:
thank you very much for your invitation, its nice to be here , once when i can read your letters i may can add some more pictures :-D
I will try to give you here some information about the Bark River Knives .
I startet to import the Bark River Knives to Europe some years ago.
here some first informations about the company and Mike Stewart .
To begin the history of what has culminated in Bark River Knife and Tool, you have to begin many years back, in 1979. Mike Stewart, then just a young man of 30 years old was an avid sportsman, with interests in hunting, fishing and shooting sports. Spending much of his youth in Pennsylvania, Mike became quite adept at hunting deer and upland game. These interests lead him to hunting trips around the globe where he was able to use firearms and knives from many makers and different countries of origin. The more exposure to these different tools that he had, the more his interest peaked. He was able to use tools both designed for hunting and tactical use and glean quite a bit of knowledge on the different tools available around the world.
Upon deciding to spend much more time in the States, Mike moved to Wisconsin, where the hunting was great and where he would find his wife, Lesley. Soon after moving to Wisconsin, Mike opened and ran a successful shooting and outdoor store, in Milwaukee expanding to multiple locations. It was at this time where he developed the prototype for his first knife, which he dubbed the Mamba. There were many test samples made and some were made on a limited, custom basis and were sold or given to friends and customers. The knife was just a hobby, however, as Mike concentrated on the retail end of his businesses.
Unfortunately, in 1984, there was a great recession in the state of Wisconsin taxes were raised and many manufacturing companies moved their headquarters to the more business friendly South, creating an extremely high unemployment rate, ultimately affecting all retail businesses in the state. With sales dropping over 50%, virtually overnight, Mike closed shop and was soon offered a job at Pacific Cutlery, located in Los Angeles. Mike and Lesley packed up the family and moved to LA.
At Pacific Cutlery, Mike designed many of the successful fixed-blade knife designs. After a couple years, however, Mike decided that his knife designing acumen would best be served by opening his own business. So, with that in mind, Mike and Lesley took to a chance and in 1987 created Blackjack Knives, in Chatsworth, CA a suburb of Los Angeles. As the company grew, locations moved around LA to Canoga Park and Van Nuys.
The Mamba was the first knife to be put in to production but later knives such as the Anaconda, Blackmoor Dirk, Tartan Dirk and Archangel, Folding Mambas and others joined the line. By 1991, the Blackjack name and famous Blackjack Sharp slogan had permeated the knife world and much respect was given to the still somewhat small company. Mike, his secretary Lodi and just a couple laborers (with intermittent help from Mike and Lesleys sons, Chris and Jason) hand finished the Mambas that were made in the USA and put the finishing touches on the other afore mentioned knives that were imported from Japan.
Around the same time, however, the Dollar had lost significant ground to the Yen and importing from Japan became not only much more costly, but the strength of the yen gave the Japanese manufacturers much more leverage.
Tired of being under the yoke of the Japanese, Mike started to formulate a plan to move production 100% to the US. Shortly afterward, investors who recognized the name and success of the Blackjack name approached Mike and Lesley with interest to invest in the company and move it to the small town of Effingham, IL. Tired of the Southern California rat-race, Mike and Lesley once again packed up the family (now consisting of 3 children at home and one in college) and moved to Illinois.
With increased working capital and a larger production facility, Mike was now able to start the process of migrating the production of knives to 100% US manufacture. This is where knives such as the Model 1-7, Trailguide, Woodsman and Chukkar were manufactured. Within 3 years, Mike would no longer have to rely on Japanese production and eventually phased the Japanese made knives out of the line. The new Effingham made knives were praised by users and critics alike and won many awards with the Model 1-7 winning Blade Magazines American made knife of the year award.
Blackjack, now one of the premier 100% American specialty knife manufacturers unfortunately met its demise in 1997 due to reasons we wont go in to on this forum (The company was successfully resurrected by Ken Warner, a long time friend of Mikes).
At the end of the Blackjack era, however, Blackjack was making all the knives for the Marble Arms Corporation in Gladstone, MI. With Jason now graduated from the University of Illinois and once-again working at the familys trade, there was now another knowledgeable, cross-trained knife maker to add in to the mix. Because of the high-quality production of the Marbles knives, Mike and Lesley and Jason were offered jobs at Marble Arms to re-start the knife division that had been defunct for nearly 25 years.
At first, models made from old parts were introduced, such as the Expert. But, soon, under the guidance and designs of Mike Stewart, the Woodcraft 98, the Fieldcraft, Bison, Trailcraft, Trailmaker, Sport 99, Northwoods Big Game Skinner and countless other models were either introduced or reintroduced. The new production met with acclaim and within 12 months, the Marbles name was again a household name among knife enthusiasts.
Not knowing anything about knife manufacturing, however, the owners of Marbles began to make dreadful mistakes and began to use money from the highly profitable knife making division to fund the dreadfully ailing gun sight division. This hurt the company, tremendously, and suffocated the booming knife division. Jason eventually left Marbles because he could see the writing on the wall with Mike leaving a year after.
Bark River Knife and Tool was created the same day. Starting in the basement of a barn on the property of a sporting clays club partially owned by Mike and Lesley, there were many who said it could not be done. However, it was done and, in true Stewart fashion, the new knives and designs were immediately met with strong favor. A following started to emerge as well as a migration of fans of the Blackjack and Marbles knives; people who knew that the great quality of the knives at Blackjack and Marbles was due to a primary factor Mike.
Showing that you cant keep a good man down, Bark River began to deliver knives 2 months after conception. Every knife that has been made, Huntsman, Fieldsman, Glen Eagle Axes, go out the door the day theyre made. The knives have proven to be so popular that BRK&T rarely has inventory. With the success of the company growing exponentially, BRK&T is sure to be the feather in Mike and Lesleys caps with both of them feeling theyre making the best knives theyve ever made. Whether the knife be a Highland, Forager, Mini-Canadian or Evolution One people seem to be thrilled the moment they open their knife box and see whats inside.
Jim Stewart, Mikes 3rd son, now 20, has joined the family business and continued in the footsteps of Mike and his brother Jason. Jim has proven to have quite an acumen for knife making and is one of the youngest makers in the US. Jason will someday return to the knife world but continues to stay active with the business, communicating with his parents many times per week.
Bark River also consists of many dedicated employees in addition Mike, Lesley and Jim. Mike Cattel, aka Skittles, is an invaluable member of the BRK&T family and has been with Mike since Marbles. Mike and Lesley do their best, as they did at Blackjack and Marbles to include the crew in decisions and to let them know that without them, the company is nothing. The most important asset the company has is its employees, which are always considered family.
So I hope that fills some of you in.