There is a long tradition of knife making in Mora. We have been creating sharp knives for the rest of the world for more than 400 years. The seed of what would become one of the world’s most popular knife manufacturers was sown as early as 1891 when Frost-Erik Erson returned to the village of Östnor in Mora after four years of work as a lumberjack in North America. In the same year, he founded a timber sledge factory that manufactured sledges, trolleys, and knives for the workshop’s internal use. At that time, it was important to manage resources and to utilize the remaining material from the production was more or less taken for granted. It would later prove to be a successful business concept.
Ripples on the water
Shortly thereafter, knife production in the timber sledge factory took off and eventually became a sought-after replacement product for traveling farm traders who, through their travels in Sweden, spread the knives from Mora. By the turn of the century, Morakniv had become a well-established concept among craftsmen, giving ripples on the water. Within a few years, exports were established and the buyers were mainly wholesalers, gunsmiths, and iron traders in Europe. In 1904, Frosts had ten employees and made 19,000 knives annually and focused exclusively on knife manufacturing.
In 1912, Krång-Johan Eriksson founded his own knife production in Östnor. He had previously worked at Frosts, but did not get on well with the management and was literally fired. The idea of emigrating to North America attracted him but first he wanted to try his own luck. Together with Lok-Anders Mattsson, he founded the knife factory that would become part of Morakniv a hundred years later. There was also no emigration for Krång-Johan.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Morakniv consolidated and strengthened its position in the world, which also gave reasons for adding “Sweden” to the blade stamp. At the time, there were a number of active knife manufacturers in the village who somehow competed with each other, which led to a development for a growing market worldwide.
The red colour
The typical red stained handle came from this era, which over time has become something of a sign for the knives from Östnor. From the beginning, curly birch was the obvious material for the more expensive knives, but when there was a shortage, ordinary birch was stained with a red colour before being varnished. As production increased, the stains were abandoned and the handles were painted with a dark red colour instead, which eventually appeared in many different shades through the years.