JBF Champlin - Traveling Salesman, Entrepreneur, Visionary
Without the influence of JBF Champlin we may never have heard the familiar names of several great knife making companies such as Cattaraugus Cutlery, Case Brothers, WR Case & Son, Little Valley Knife Association or Kinfolks, just to name a few.
After working more than 16 years on the road as one of the industry’s most successful cutlery salesman, JBF Champlin could have easily retired at the ripe old age of 40. Instead he established his own cutlery firm in his home town of Little Valley, NY, hoping to stimulate the local economy and provide young men in the area the chance for employment.
It wasn’t long before the new jobbing firm of JBF Champlin had a team of skilled salesman on the road. Early on, that included three of his wife’s brothers, Willie, John, and Jean Case. The name of the company soon became JBF Champlin & Son. When Tint Champlin turned 15, he came to work full time with his father and uncles. As early as February 1885 they were using the name Cattaraugus Cutlery with the Case brothers working as salesman and directors. As they say…The rest is history.
Only a few of the original JBF Champlin knives have survived to delight modern collectors and historians. Most of these sturdy knives that were made for the hard working men and women of that era have disappeared.