W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co. in Bradford, Pennsylvania, has purchased the Timberline knife brand from The Great American Tool Company, or GATCO. The plan at Case is to launch a new line of Timberline knives and accessories “into the existing portfolio,” according to a press release issued by Case media contact FJ Feightner. GATCO stopped production over the summer and sold its sharpener division to Bear & Son Cutlery.
“Case is excited to have acquired the Timberline brand assets, and we are developing a comprehensive market strategy around it, which includes future new products and a cohesive integration with the Case brand,” said Mark Paup, president and CEO of Zippo Manufacturing Co. and W.R. Case & Sons.
GATCO acquired Timberline in the early-to-mid 1990s, including knives designed by Timberline’s Vaughn Neeley, such as his folders with the patented NeeleyLock locking system. This transaction followed Spyderco’s lead as a sharpener company that expanded into knives.
Timberline’s specialty was tactical, hunting, utility and kitchen knives, among others. The Timberline Stealth, a tactical folder designed by Neeley, was the BLADE Magazine 1997 American-Made Knife Of The Year®. Here knife designer Swiss Bianco gives a little history of Timberline’s NeeleyLock knives.
Timberline expanded its line to include factory-custom collaborations with knifemakers like Brian Fellhoelter, Tim Herman, Russ Kommer, Greg Lightfoot, Charles Ochs and Butch Vallotton, as well as with designers like Swiss Bianco, George Sessions, Kelly Worden and Dave Young.
Timberline offered a collection of ceramic kitchen knives under the Cape Cod Collection label. In recent years, the company debuted its Javelin and Gas Monkey Garage lines.
Case has been in business since 1889. Its knives have gone from the battlefields of World War II literally to the moon. The company’s expertise is in traditional folding pocketknives, as well as fixed blade sporting knives. In 1981, capitalizing on its unique tang stamp, the company initiated The Case Collectors Club, which now has over 18,000 active members, and is one of the largest known knife collecting associations, according to Feightner.
Steve Shackleford, BLADE editor, contributed to this article.
W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co. has 18,000 active members in The Case Collectors Club. Read more about the storied history of these traditional pocketknives in “Collecting Case Knives, Identification and Price Guide.”