Below is an article that I've recently written and offer it for reading interest and fun. It's my first attempt at such things and comments are welcomed. The pictures that I had formatted into the article would not download as the original so I have added them at the end to show each advertising method Remington offered.
Cutlery Advertising and Marketing Strategies
L. B. Wilson
Historically much has been written and or discussed regarding Remington’s advertising and marketing strategies in relation to their rise to prominence as the premier cutlery giant of our Nation from 1920 to 1940. I will attempt not to be redundant and laborious with that same material. The focus of this article is to share information on Remington DuPont’s cutlery production years during the Great Depression era and the financial marketing strategies they implemented in providing advertising, specialty and souvenir knives not only to the general public but to the small business owner and the larger national corporations.
Beginning with the expansion and the start of construction in 1915 of Remington’s Ilion facility and thus the pursuing inception of Remington’s cutlery division in 1920, Remington managed to maintain that superiority as a cutlery giant until the end of that reign in 1940 when a faltering economy was struggling to recover from The Great Depression. It was during this time as well that our Nation and the world was faced with a looming Second World War forcing the hand of Remington DuPont to once again reevaluate financial strategies that eventually would lead to the termination and selling of Remington’s cutlery division and the ensuing restructuring of factories in efforts to best to serve the needs of our Nation and it’s military forces. During those early years of the 1930’s Remington employed shear superiority in advertising and marketing skills of an industry that kept them on the National leading edge as King of the cutlery industry maintaining financial buoyancy when other companies were going under, drowning in the depth of a poor and unstable economy.
With that being said, it is important to note that the financial ill effects of the depression era forced Remington in 1933 to make a decision and offer a 60% share of Remington’s controlling interest to a company we know today as DuPont. This maneuver would give Remington executives a new breath of air financially thus potentially offering needed capital that would allow them to continue factory expansions, acquiring new resources and companies as well as continuing in a wide array of ventures related to research and development.
With DuPont executives at the helm, focus was directed and dedicated to Remington’s cutlery division’s financial success in a time of instability. DuPont management mandated changes that were designed to reduce overhead and general production cost. These changes in part regarded stipulations in manufacturing with standardized use or non-use of pattern number stamping and the introduction to inked pattern numbers, reduction in the number of knife patterns in production and those offered to the general public. The use or reuse of “shelf supply” blades, bolsters, liners, scale stock etc... all in all these efforts when calculated, would save thousands of dollars in material, production and labor cost alone and allow their cutlery works to remain solvent and simultaneously would safeguard the quality, craftsmanship and high standards that Remington was known for and of which they built as a foundation to their reputation, integrity and product lifetime guarantees.
Unfortunately, in the 1930’s when Remington DuPont was determined to implement a plan of action that would keep their cutlery works alive and well financially; unbeknownst to them futuristically, they would be unlocking a Pandora’s Box with regard to patent and logo infringements, unauthorized reproduction of knives, and reproduced or fake Remington cutlery sundries. All notwithstanding the unanticipated importance of Remington’s future impact in a world’s market demanding a desire for Remington’s knife collectables and the Remington memorabilia industry of today.
At this point let’s investigate a few Remington advertising methods and potential revenue strategies that were used to aid the Remington dealer and or Jobber to sell knives not only to the public individual, but also to the small and larger companies that would purchase large quantities of knives that could be used for employee giveaways, service awards, employee appreciation and or safety awards just to name a few. Remington targeted larger national companies for product marketing and promotions using public giveaways and purchasing product line incentives through distribution of promotional catalogs to the public at large. Companies such as Nehi, Curtiss Baby Ruth Candies, Coca-Cola, Wrigley’s and Anheuser Bush just to name a few. These companies worked in unison with Remington to sell their product by using in part Remington’s high profile trademark name and its established history in maintaining high standards in quality and product reliability.
In those promotions was often an opportunity for the public to receive a free Remington knife thus Remington offered to make up any pattern of pocket knife in their line which would bear advertising using six methods.
1. Die stamping which could be done on pyremite or nickel silver handles.
2. Lithographing advertising under transparent scales. This would include knives or letter-openers. One side or both sides.
3. Etching names or trademark on pearl or pyremite scales.
4. Embossing a shield carrying trademark or advertisement.
5. Embossed handles.
6. Etching on blades of pocket knives and flat cutlery.
The following is a brief description of what Remington would provide for each advertising method and the cost associated with that method to the consumer as well photos of Remington knives depicting the advertising method result.
1. Die stamping: In lots of 25 dozen or more of a number there is was no extra charge for the work excepting cost of the die used in stamping the lettering. That cost varied from $5.00 to $25.00 according to its character. Estimates of die cost would be “cheerfully given” by Remington.
(In lots less than 25 dozen an extra charge would be added as per cost schedule which will be shown below)
2. Lithographing advertising: Provided on one or both sides of transparent covers on knives or letter openers in lots of 25 dozen or more. An extra charge of $1.00 per dozen would be made over the cost of the same knife with regular pyremite and only one color was used. Additional colors would incur extra charges. Cost estimates would be furnished by Remington upon request.
3. Etching: Remington stated that they were able to etch any trademark, character or advertising in one or more colors in any desired effect. Extra cost would be $1.00 per dozen for etching on one side and in one color. $1.50 per dozen extra for etching on 2 sides and in one color. For each additional color desired add 25 cent per dozen for each side. All prices applied only to orders of 25 dozen or more on an order.
4. Embossing shield: Remington stated they were in a position to make up any knife in their line with special shield with advertisement, trademark or wording embossed thereon. Extra charges varied from $15.00 to $25.00 for the embossing die depending upon its characters.
5. Embossed handles: Using nickel silver Remington was able to emboss with raised figures or character in wording, trademark or desired design wanted. There was no extra charges for that work with exception to the embossing die which would vary from $50.00 to $100.00 per side.
6. Etching on blades of pocket knives and flat cutlery: Etching would consist of etch advertisement in plain blocked letters at an extra charge of $1.50 per dozen. If requesting a special type, character or trademark an extra die charge would incur for each etching stamp made, varying according to its character from $5.00 to $25.00 regardless of quantity.
Schedule of advances in prices for special knives ordered in lots of less than 25 dozen is as follows:
From 21 to 25 dozen…5% above regular price.
16 to 20 dozen…10% above regular price.
11 to 15 dozen…25% above regular price.
6 to 10 dozen…50% above regular price.
And anything under 5 dozen would incur a 100% above regular price fee.
In addition Remington also would produce engraving facsimile signatures on their Pearl handle patterns such as the R6434, R7364 that had flat surfaces and not oval.
1-11 knives… would cost the Jobber $1.00 each and at trade price would cost $1.35 each. 12 or more knives… would cost the jobber .75 cents each and sell at trade price for $1.00 each.
To engrave names in blocked lettering on one side of a knife only could be accomplished on oval or flat surfaced Pearl handles.
1-11 knives would be at .50 cent each for the Jobber and sell at trade price for .65 cent each.
1 dozen to 25 dozen would be .35 cent each for the Jobber and trade price each at .50 cent.
25 dozen or more would cost the jobber .25 cents each and sell at trade price for .35 cents each.
Engraving on gold knives would incur extra cost of .50 cent per knife for 3 letter initials. Remington was happy to provide price quotes for special designs, names, trademarks etc…
Emblems placed on knives that did not normally have emblems would cost the Jobber $12.00 per dozen for 1-11 knives and $6.00 per dozen for 12 or more knives. Trade price per dozen for 1-11 knives would cost $16.00 per dozen and $8.00 per dozen for 12 or more knives.
Shackles: extra charges would apply to add shackles to any knife that were regularly stocked without shackles. Jobber’s cost per dozen was $6.00 for 1-11 knives and trade price for 1-11 knives would have been $8.00 per dozen. For 12 or more knives the cost for the Jobber was $1.00 per dozen and the trade price was $1.50 per dozen.
In summation there is a wealth of discussion to be shared with regard to Remington’s cutlery division and the superb marketing skills and applied practices that made them the sought out Cutlery Champions of that era. Folks today still enjoy collecting, carrying and using Remington’s antique, vintage and modern cutlery. Their high standards in quality and craftsmanship continues to show keen and true, producing ongoing public demand and desire for Remington’s outdoor hunting knives, trade knives and general pocket knives. This is just one small area of interest and exploration for learning, sharing and discovery. Hope you enjoyed…aremingtonsedge