Ekco Kitchen Knives: Vintage Knives Worth Collecting by Michael Way PUBLISHED JULY 1, 2021
Knife collecting can be an exciting hobby to get into. You’ll get joy in acquiring an old knife backed by a great story. That knife could have been a part of your personal story or made a dent in the world's history. Stories like these make a knife valuable.
Ekco kitchen knives have a history behind them. In addition, their design and materials have endured time, making them beautiful artifacts worth a collector's interest.
If you're planning on starting your collection or have been doing it for a while, Ekco knives are worth your consideration. Read on to find out more.
History of the Ekco Kitchen Knives
Ekco has gone through a long journey before making kitchen knives.
Edward Katzinger founded the Ekco enterprise. After he left his job as a mechanic in a tinsmith shop in New York, he moved to Chicago to set up his shop in 1888 and named it Edward Katzinger Company, also known as Ekco Group, Inc. or Ekco.
Using his knowledge in tinsmithing, he started to manufacture tin “sanitary bake pans” and supply them to bakeries. After that, he grew his business and started supplying to other industries, including confectioneries and ice cream manufacturers.
The year 1947 saw the creation of Ekco Home Products out of a door-to-door selling company that started producing kitchen tools, including knives.
By the 1960s, after a long history of acquisitions, American Home Products Corporation acquired Edward Katzinger Co., which became known as Ekco Housewares, a division of the conglomerate. They started to manufacture different kinds of kitchen knives with different trade names, such as the Ekco Arrowhead, Ekco Eterna, and Ekco Forge Knives.
The Ekco Knives of Today
Today, the market sells plenty of Ekco cutlery pieces with innovative designs and functions. On the other hand, there aren't many different types of kitchen knives made by Ekco today. The most beautiful ones were made decades ago.
Most of the knives that Ekco made in the 1960s are now considered vintage pieces that have designs inspired by that period, which is now rarely seen in new knives. This rarity is what makes the Ekco vintage knife models a worthy addition to your collection.
A Quick Guide to Finding Vintage Ekco Kitchen Knives
If you think that Ekco designs will be a great addition to your arsenal, you can find them on many channels.
There are many types of kitchen knives, and their uses vary depending on their design. So the first thing you need to settle is what type of Ekco knife you want.
After identifying a knife, it's time to go to a place or channel that sells it. Here are some of the channels you can visit to find vintage Ekco knives.
eBay is your go-to place for pre-owned vintage knives. Finding a selection of Ekco classics is as easy as typing in “Ekco vintage knife” on the marketplace search bar.
Vintage Knife Groups and Forums
Joining vintage knife groups on Facebook and collectors' forums is a great way to find sellers of Ekco classic knives. If you dig in deeper, you'll also learn more about vintage knife collecting.
In the early to mid-1900s, Ekco expanded its empire of household cutlery and sold it using the door-to-door sales method. Many households likely still keep an old Ekco knife in their storage decades after purchasing them. Look out for garage sales in your neighborhood that bargain away old Ekco knives.
In Focus: Ekco Arrowhead Santoku Knife
Ekco Housewares made the Ekco Arrowhead product line of cutlery in the 1960s.
Many types of kitchen knives manufactured under the Arrowhead name are now considered vintage. However, we're putting the focus on the Ekco Arrowhead Santoku Knife because it has a timeless, elegant design that's worth having. Read on for more details.
This Ekco Santoku Knife blade is seven and a half inches in length and has a uniquely curved spine that adds elegance to the blade's design while also making the blade's point broader, which lessens the puncture risk.
The stainless steel blade is made with simplicity in mind. The surface of the blade has no etching, keeping it smooth and clean. If you polish the blade's surface, it will give off a shiny and flawless appearance.
The handle of the Ekco Santoku Knife also has a sculpted curve on both sides of its wooden scale covering, which is meant for your forefinger and your thumb for a firmer and safer grip.
Three-Rivet Handle Accent
Three rivets made of highly compressed stainless steel pin the handle scale to the tang, adding an accent to the scale while guaranteeing it will not fall off.
Petrified Wood Scale
The scale covering the tang of the Arrowhead Santoku Knife is made of polished, petrified wood, so the handle gives off a shiny wood appearance that's easy on the eyes.
Super Sharp Edge
The edge of the Ekco Santoku Knife blade is keenly sharpened on both sides, making it sharp enough for fine, effortless slices and cuts.
Corrosion- and Rust-Resistant
The stainless steel material of the knife is built to resist rust and corrosion, which allows the knife to remain usable even after years of exposure to moisture and changing temperatures.
The handcrafted handle scale has an ergonomic design that makes it easy to grip using either the left or right hand. Thus, it is flexible for people with varying dominant hands.
Designed for Less Effort
This knife's overall design considers the force applied on the knife in every cutting and slicing movement. The material used on the knife has the perfect weight for it to feel easy to hold but has just the right heaviness for it to land seamlessly on the object you’re cutting, saving you some effort and fatigue during long periods of meal preparation.
Crack- and Pest-Resistant
The wooden scale on the knife's handle is made of hardened wood, treated under extreme heat and pressure. As a result, the wooden scale is shiny and hard enough to resist cracks caused by decay. The hardened wood is also impervious to pests such as termites.
Safe for Dishwashers
The Ekco Santoku knife's handle and blades can withstand the temperatures of today's dishwashers. However, to retain its beauty and quality, it would still be best to hand-wash it.
Wrapping It Up
Collecting vintage kitchen knives such as the ones made by Ekco can be a satisfying endeavor to get into. Ekco knives have a rich backstory and, at some point in the past, have been part of everyday household kitchen tools because of their superior design and quality.
In addition, the classic knives of Ekco have withstood time and have found enthusiasts in today's marketplace, which proves that the knives are still valuable even after decades. That makes them a worthy addition to your collection.
While you can find many vintage Ekco knives out there, we think the Ekco Arrowhead Santoku Knife is the piece that's worth keeping. It costs around $90 to $200 apiece but could sell for more over time as it reaches the hundred-year mark. It is elegant, functional, and gives off a beautiful shine.