The Linder name is synonymous with classic old-world Solingen quality. The companies roots reach back the times of Napoleonic rule. The company is still producing fine, hand-made knives as they have been for more than 200 years!
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In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte was in rule of the area that is now known as Solingen, Germany. One of his decrees was to abolish the guilds that had been such a mainstay of the cutlery business in that area. As they were no longer bound by the strict limitations of the guild several of the Linder clan took this opportunity to start their own businesses.
One of these companies was the Carl and Robert Linder firm established in 1842. This firm produced a wide variety of of metal wares including household knives, hunting and pocket knives, scissors, tableware and other items. In the 1920s they produced a brand of pocket knives called "Taschoesen" brand. Taschoesen refers to a lanyard hole that is drilled though the base of the pocket knife rather than the standard added lanyard ring. During the Third Reich they produced SA daggers with trademark (EN/188, WMO/34/321. Examples of NSKK dagers have been recorded with characters WW248/286.
Another Linder, Wilhelm, had established his own workshop specializing in the production of hunting knives. This firm was located in Merscheid which was one of several boroughs that would be absorbed into the town of Solingen. The firm was handed down to Wilhelm's son, Carl, who continued the family business. In 1908 Carl registered his name with the local authority. and moved the company to Weyerstrasse in Solingen proper.
In 1937 Carl Linder passed away and shortly thereafter the company was sold to Paul Rosenkaimer. Paul renamed the company Carl Linder Nachf. out of respect for the previous owners. The term Nachfolger means successor.
In 1985 the current proprietor, Siegfried Rosenkaimer, inherited the family business. It remains a family business today run by Siegfried and his two sons.
Stephan Rosenkaimer is the managing director of the company. Peter Rosenkaimer is a tool and die maker, designer, artist and knife maker with his own brand.
Along with the normal operation involved with running a company Siegfried Rosenkaimer has spent a great deal of time researching the history of the cutlery industry in Solingen and collecting the relics that are invaluable to this task.
He has one of the largest archives of catalogs, books, samples, production dies, tools and the knives themselves. Mr. Rosenkaimers keen interest in history and dedication to preserving it has contributed greatly to the documentation of the Solingen cutlery industry.
The Linder Legacy Continues
Like many of the old independent family run cutlery companies that define Solingen manufacture the Linder workshop is in a residential area and can be missed easily unless you are looking for it closely. Many of the sites of historic companies either still producing or out of business are located in a residential area behind the house where the proprietors live.
The small workshop employs a few fine craftsmen who still use many of the traditional grinding and assembly methods used over the past several hundred years. All of the grinding, polishing and assembly processes are done by hand. Many people assume that knives and tools are all manufactured with computers and robots, but contemporary workshops like Linder show that good quality cutlery need the hand of a craftsmen to be made correctly.
Of course unlike the early water and steam powered shops Linder does enjoy many contemporary machines powered by electricity. But essentially the basic methods have changed little in 200 years.
In the past the traditional water powered grinding mills would fall prey to the seasons eccentricities. Often these old shops would come to a grinding (sorry) stop during the Winter when the river froze over or during the summer when the river's water flow diminished. Above is an architectural drawing of an actual water wheel used in an early Kotton (or cottage. The German word for an early metal workshop often on the Wupper river using the water as a power source for the grinding wheel and trip hammer. Photo courtesy of the Rheinisches Industriemuseum.)
[Many thanks for Sigfreid Rosenkaimer, Henning Ritter and Dr. Jochim Putsch for their information. Also, thanks to Anthony Carter and his in depth book The Sword and Knife Makers of Germany 1850-2000, Vol. ]I
[More information and photos coming soon]