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Viper Knives by Technocut - A Short History of Maniago

Viper knives are hand-made in the undisputed center of fine knife making in Italy. Manaigo! They have a worldwide reputation for manufacturing many of the finest knives in Europe made anywhere in Europe.


THE REGION FRIULI (Maniago's Homeland)

Occupying the extreme northeast corner of Italy, Friuli's scenery ranges from rugged coastline along the Slovenian border to placid plains in the west and the majestic Alps in the north, where Italy butts up against Austria.

Directly to the south is Venice, just a little more than an hour and a half away. In fact, in homage to the city's traditional hegemony over the region, its full name is Friuli-VeneziaGiulia.

Though off the beaten tourist track, Friuli is directly on the path of history. Standing at one of the major crossroads between Western Europe and the East, it was conquered by just about everyone who passed by. Since being settled by the Celts, Friuli has been at times dominated r by the Romans, the Huns, the Franks, the Lombards, the Venetians, the Austrians, the Yugoslavians and the Germans. As a result, things look different here.

Rather than the familiar cultural overlay of most of the country of Italy, the central European influence is readily apparent in Friuli. The architecture tends more toward Austrian grandeur than Tuscan simplicity. Here you'll find grey stone castles rather than sun-drenched villas. The people look different, too, taller and blonder than southern Italians, and with plenty of German and Central European surnames.


Maniago lies at a height of approximately three hundred meters above sea level in the foothill strip of western Friuli, where the waters of Cellina creek disappear in the wide gravel-bed reaching the plain.

The first mentions of a village named Maniago date back to 981, when emperor Otto II confirmed the patriarch in the possession of this place. Similar to Solingen, Germany (and most historic knife cities) Manaigo was already prosperous in the middle ages for the plethora of swift river waters that were an inexhaustible power source for metalworking. Since the second half of the 15th Century, helve hammers had forged ploughshares, scythes, axes, large knives, billhooks, shovels, trowels, butcher knives and other cutting tools were produced in Maniago.

In the 18th Century the forges of Maniago turned more towards cutting tools of small size and refined style. Manufacturing these articles needs greater accuracy and with the advent of steam power manufacturing moved away from the river banks and closer into town.

This spurred a greater production of penknives, scissors, dinner knives, grafting knives, clasp knives ( stilettos ), multipurpose pocket knives and a wide range of surgical tools.

In the years preceding WWI Albert Marx, a German entrepreneur, built the first large scale industrial factory in Maniago. This work-shop was very important because it had been a model for all the other factories founded afterwards with local capitals and local technical skills.

Now using electrically-powered machine tools the advent of mass production in Maniago had begun.


Viper's mother company is called Tecnocut and was founded in 1987. Since then they have been producing sporting knives under the Viper brand name.

Viper's purpose is to combine advanced technology with old-world European craftsmanship creating products of the highest caliber.

In accordance with that philosophy Viper began to add fine damascus blades and bolsters in 1992. The first Damascus series was five models of fixed blade knives with subcontracted damascus.

They felt like the quality was not up to their standards and began to make their own damascus "in-house" in 1994. In 1995 they added their own type of wire damascus.

In 1996 Viper introduced four new types of Damascus blades: high contrast, carbon, stainless and super stainless with a great variety of patterns.

In the '90s Viper/Tecnocut accelerated new product introductions and innovation with a great variety of fixed blades.

All these lines, folding and fixed blades, include attractive finishes from stabilized maple burl and curly maple, genuine stag and horn, colored bakelite and exotic woods.

Their target is to keep our product line up to date with current trends and to constantly offer new and innovative items for the ever changing cutlery market.

We know that words only go so far. But when you pick up and handle a Viper knife you will understand why they have a reputation worldwide for stunning design, fit and finish.


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