Once upon a time
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 his timber sledge factory that manufactured sledges, trolleys, and knives for the workshop’s internal use. Back then, 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, the handle was made of untreated ordinary birch, waste pieces from the timber sled production. Later, curly masur birch became the obvious material for the more expensive knives, but when curly masur birch became a scarce commodity, they returned to ordinary birch and to make it look like mahogany, the handles were stained with a reddish colour before they were 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.
A helpful spirit
Despite competition, in terms of market and labour, there was always a sense of friendship between the companies in Östnor. Even today there is a so-called “Östnorsanda” where the companies have helped each other when in need.
In the middle of the 20th century, Bud-Carl Andersson’s knife factory, whose operations were founded in the late 1880s, began to manufacture ice drills under the product name “Mora-borren.” In the early 1960s, Bud-Carl Andersson’s children began to sell their shares in the company, something that eventually led to KJ Eriksson in 1961 buying up the entire company.
It is the first of many upcoming acquisitions among knife manufacturers in Östnor. KJ Eriksson’s ice drills became world famous when they developed a new model in the late 1960s called “Mora-Spiralen” in Scandinavia, “Mora Drill” in the USA and “Swede Bore” in Canada.
Two turn into one
In 1988, a major change took place amongst the companies when KJ Eriksson knife factory acquired a third of Frosts knife factory. Frosts knife factory later becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of KJ Eriksson knife factory in 2005 when the merger causes the constellation to change its company name to Mora of Sweden to further strengthen and highlight the ties between the two. The trademarks Morakniv, Frosts Mora and Mora ICE were also registered.
The final step in the merger is realized when all production is gathered under the same roof, where KJ Eriksson was previously housed. It is the same place where the factory and all manufacturing are today and since 2016 our company name is Morakniv AB.