At the age of five Ernest “Mooney” Warther found his first pocketknife and began whittling. As a teenager he began carving in walnut wood and bone. He became frustrated with store-bought knives because they would not stay sharp, so he began to design and make his own. Mooney Warther researched what steel to use and created his own techniques form tempering and sharpening a steel blade that would keep its sharp edge even while carving in hard materials like walnut and bone and later when carving ebony and ivory.
When tempering the steel blades Mooney thought that if this carving knife would keep its edge and remain sharp while carving ebony and ivory, it would certainly make a great kitchen knife. Therefore, in 1902, at age 17, he crafted the first kitchen knife for his mother and soon she was showing her friends and neighbors. The town folk were impressed and Mooney received many orders, hence, the family knife business was born. As the word spread about how great the knives were, so did his knife business. By 1923 Mooney quit working in the steel mill and devoted his time to his hobby of carving and making kitchen knives as his livelihood.
Ernest Mooney Warther taught the art of knife making to his two sons, Tom and Dave (1940’s). His youngest son Dave started making knives when he was 12, and when he returned home from WWII at the age of 19 (1945), he took over the E. Warther & Sons knife business; this allowed Mooney more time to spend on his hobby of carving.
Dave expanded the knife making business in the 1950’s by tapping into corporate gift programs at companies like Ford, Hedrich Blessing, and Timken. Beginning in the early 1940’s Ernest Warther and his sons were using the name and stamping the knives E. Warther & Sons but it was not until 1954, when Dave officially incorporated the business as E. Warther & Sons Inc.
By the early 1960’s E. Warther & Sons grew beyond the confines of a one 10-‘x15′ workshop and at the same time Mooney had so many carvings that a new museum and knife shop was needed. In 1962 Dave built the museum on the main floor of a 40’x40’ building with the E. Warther & Sons knife shop in the lower level.
In the 1960’s Dave’s oldest son Dale began learning the knife making business. Business continued to grow so, when Dale graduated from college, he returned to work in the family business making knives along side his father.
Today, Warther kitchen cutlery is made by 3rd and 4th generation Warthers, using the same old world craftsmanship passed down by Ernest “Mooney” Warther. Using the finest materials, the kitchen knives are designed and crafted for comfort and durability. The kitchen knives are made from CPM® S35VN and are tempered to a Rockwell C 58-60. The kitchen knives are polished to a convex grind, which can only be accomplished by hand grinding. This assures the kitchen knives retain a razor-like edge with just a light honing. The tooling design on the blade is done by hand and has been the Warther trademark since 1907. The blade runs completely through the handle for stability and balance. The handles are made of layers of birch and are riveted on the blades.
Warther Knives have been made for many presidents and dignitaries, including:
- Ronald Reagan
- Frank Lloyd Wright
- Gerald Ford
- Nelson Mandela
- George Bush, Sr.
- George W. Bush, Jr.
- Perry Como
- George (Senator) & Janet Voinovich
- Ted (Governor) & Frances Strickland
- Condoleezza Rice (Secretary of State)
When you hold a Warther knife in your hand, you’re holding a piece of history. That’s because, more than a century after Mooney Warther created his first knife, Warther knives are made with the same hand-crafted tradition and attention to detail that he put into his work.
The Old West was giving way to the modern age at the dawn of the 20th Century, and the spirit of innovation that drove the captains of industry was alive and well in the workshop of young Mooney Warther. In 1902, at just 17 years old, he was already an accomplished woodcarver - a skill that would one day make him internationally known. However, he struggled to find a quality knife that stayed sharp and felt good in his hand. So, employing the knowledge he had gained from personal study and from working in a local steel mill, he made his own.
His mother took notice and asked Mooney to make some kitchen knives for her. He dove in to the project with his usual vigor and, just in time for Mother’s Day, presented her with a shiny new paring knife. She enjoyed the quality, feel and sharpness of it so much that she showed it to her friends and neighbors. The demand for Mooney’s knives was immediate, and a business was born.
It was a different time, and growth occurred more gradually than we’re accustomed to in our modern, hurry up world. In fact, it would be 20 years before Mooney would quit working in the steel mill to devote his life to making and designing knives. Soon he had a family of his own, and, by the 1940s, began teaching the art of making knives to his sons, Tom and Dave.
Through it all, however, Mooney continued to pursue his true passion, woodcarving. Over the years his fascinating, intricate carvings of the evolution of the steam engine traveled across America. The immense popularity of his work, and demand for more, led him to establish the Warther Museum beside his home in Dover, Ohio.
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy was booming, and Dave was expanding the knife business by introducing Warther Knives to a growing market of discerning American consumers. He eventually incorporated the business under the name the family had been using for more than a decade: E. Warther & Sons Inc.
By 1962 a beautiful new facility housed both the museum and knife shop. Shortly thereafter Dave’s son Dale returned from college and joined his father and grandfather in the family business. Demand for Warther Knives increased, and the knife shop expanded several times over the next five decades.
Today the Warthers are in their third and fourth generation of knife makers, still producing outstanding kitchen cutlery using the same techniques and standards of craftsmanship developed by Mooney Warther in the early 1900s.
Warther Cutlery is unlike any other kitchen knife available today. Our knives are a unique combination of beauty and durability. The high quality steel, along with the sturdiness of the handles, reflect the quality of that very first knife made by Mooney in 1902.
It’s no wonder, then, that Warther knives are passed down from generation to generation. Warther Cutlery represents the perfect blend of beauty, quality and superior craftsmanship, forged from more than a century of time-honored family tradition.