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Once upon a time there was a small knife factory….
The Helle knife factory is located only a short distance from the small farm where Steinar and Sigmund Helle first started their fledgling knife business in 1932. This farm was where their father taught them the fine art of forging.
The first factory did not have electrical power and had to rely on rainwater to power the machinery. When the rain fell Steinar and Sigmund had to work fast – up to 36 hours at a time. Today’s Helle factory is situated in the village of Holmedal in western Norway. An area surrounded by the raw and rugged beauty of mountains and fjords.
An important milestone for the company was in the 1930’s when Steinar cycled 565 kilometres across the mountains from the west coast to Oslo (the capital of Norway) to sell his wares. He only cycled all the way back again once he had sold every last knife. That was the only way to get ahead during the Depression.
The Helle factory is located in an area where the outdoor lifestyle is ingrained into every day life. Hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing or a boat trip on the fjord are all part of that lifestyle. This is why we can say that our products are designed with inspiration from nature – that inspiration comes from the way we live.
Today automated production and vast batches are common for knife manufacturers around the world. We prefer to focus on quality, tradition and craftsmanship. The production of a Helle knife can take up to 45 manual steps. There are shortcuts to producing a knife, but there is only one Helle way.
The factory we work in today is great showcase – it might even be mistaken for a living museum. And this is how we intend to keep it.
Helle will always be focused on quality, tradition and craftsmanship. We will not yield on that promise.
If you are interested in knives and genuine craftmanship and happen to be in our part of Norway, you are certainly encouraged to visit our factory. We will be happy to give you a taste of our history.