Records in the Solingen City Archive hold information on the knife maker Carl Wilhelm Linder. He was born in 1816, and in 1870 he had his workshop in a little hamlet named Bech, now part of Solingen. So far it has not been traced whether he was the founder of the little enterprise or had taken over the tradition from his father. He had seven children. His youngest son Carl, born 1869 was to carry on his father´s shop.
Carl Wilhelm Linder had passed away and his son Carl was sole proprietor. He continued to work in his fathers old workshop at Bech at least until 1901.
Carl Linder had moved to larger premises on Weyerstr. Nr. 63. His business had outgrown the space available in his father´s place.
The volume of business had reached a point where it had to be registered as a company. Carl Linder was entered into the local Trade Register on Oct. 10, 1908. It is this date which has so far been referred to as the date of foundation.
The 1911 Solingen directory mentions that the Carl Linder company had moved to Hauptstr. Nr. 45. In those days Carl Linder was one of the many manufacturers of pocket knives. His products even as early as 1911 were mainly hunting knives.
On the 28th day of May 1918, close to the end of WWI Carl Linder bought the property Erholungstr. 5/7. He was in his late forties when he settled at this address for good. Soon after the war he was able to supply his merchandise to many export markets. The big crisis of world economy in 1929 seems to have hit Carl Linder hard. Business had gone down to a small volume when he died in 1936 at the age of 66.
Carl Linder had no successor. His only child, a daughter, had no interest in the company. So the widow of Carl Linder sold property and company with all legal rights to Paul Rosenkaimer on May 24th, 1937. Paul Rosenkaimer, a knife maker of old Solingen heritage, chose to call the company Carl Linder Nachf. - The addition "Nachf." is an abbreviation of the German word "Nachfolger" - in English "Successor". This company name is unchanged today.
Little more than two years after Paul Rosenkaimer had taken over WWII brought most Linder activities to an end. Hunting knives were of no importance for wartime production. Workers were either drafted to the army or to work in the arms industries. Paul Rosenkaimer and his wife continued making knives until he was drafted in 1943. His wife was left alone on the property Erholungstr. 5/7 when his 15 year old son was also drafted in 1943. She stayed until it was victim of a bombing on Dec. 31, 1944.
House and factory remained ruins until 1948. Paul Rosenkaimer and his son Siegfried got the licence to rebuild house and workshop by the middle of 1948. They completed this task - with little help from outside - by the end of 1948. The machinery was set up early 1949 and after a gap of nearly 10 years business was reopened on.
April 1st 1949. Now it was a cooperation of father and son. Wages were low, there was a cry for goods to replace wartime losses, and Carl Linder Nachf. was soon to outgrow space for the production in Erholungstr.5/7. Fortunately a larger place (located opposite Erholungstr.5/7 - consisting of house, large factory building and gardens) was for sale in 1953 . This property, address Erholungstr. 10., was bought by the Rosenkaimer family.
In 1957 a new building was erected on Erholungstr. 10, and in 1958 all production and machinery was moved into the new production building. Erholungstr. 5/7 continued to serve as warehouse and office building.
The large old factory building located on Erholungstr. 10 had been occupied by a manufacturer of surgical instruments. When this company moved out in 1976, the building was modernized and in 1977 Carl Linder Nachf. finally moved office and warehouse over to the present location.
Paul Rosenkaimer was 80 years old when his grandson Stephan S. Rosenkaimer entered the company in Jan. 1980. Since that time Stephan Rosenkaimer is in charge of the office and modernized the operation. His brother Peter P. Rosenkaimer joined the company one year later. He is a professional tool- and die-maker, is in charge of the production. He designs and develops the manufacturing of new Linder knives.
On March 2nd, 1985 Paul Rosenkaimer passed away. His son Siegfried Rosenkaimer followed him as proprietor of the company.
Facts about Steel and Tempering
Today the various kinds of stainless steel are being made following the same known procedures. The composition of the material is designed according to the later purpose of use. This lead to a growing variety of different types of steel and the development of standards.
The quality depends on the raw materials and the selected production method. A more sophisticated production and the use of purest raw material leads to a better steel.
By alloying chromium and nickel - presumed that the treatment is done correctly - steel achieves the feature of restance against corrosion.
The major difference between chromium-nickel steel and pure chromium is to be seen in the fact that chromium-nickel steel cannot be hardened. If hardness is demanded, nickel must not be added.
Pure chromium steel (Knife steel)
The use of pure chromium steel us restricted to parts where hardness is obligatory (such as knifes, scissors, springs, bearings etc.). Due to the fact that the hardness of the final product represents a major quality factor, pure chromium steels are being produced in different quality standards. Besides the easy measurable hardness there are also in demand depending on the use of the product:
* resistance against corrosion
These attributes are not measurable, and the quality can often only be judged while the product is being used.
Alloying of chromium steel
The hardness is mainly reached by the level of carbon. Chromium helps against corrosion. All other additives are used to improve all other demands of the final product.
Hardening and Grinding
The composition of the used steel is indicating the possibility of obtaining good results - if a proper treatment is provided. Only by following stricly the correct procedure - which differs from steel to steel - the peak of the possible final quality can be reached. That’s why there are so many levels of quality available - even in cases where the same raw steel was used. The steel is being supplied in rods or sheets. The shape of the knife blade can be reached by either forging (rods) or cutting (stamping or laser cutting sheets or rods).
Then follow the important procedures of hardening and grinding - both very critical in respect of the final quality.
* The hardening consists of tempering, cooling and again tempering - following the individual guide (indicating temperatures and timing) given by the steel works. Even minor deviations influence quality in a negative way.
* Also grinding can effect the quality extremely. If the temperature comes up too high, the hardness will be diminished, and tensions will arise and provoke cracks.
The quality of a knife blade is the result of material and processing and their combination - related to the demands of the desired use. For instance, a well processed 420 steel will perform well for most applications. A not so well processed 440 - as to be seen on many cheap products - can cause many problems and dissatisfaction.
Linder Handle Materials
Origin India. Extremely expensive curly grained bulb of wood. It is in fact the result of a tree disease growing on pterocarpus trees.
Linder uses horns of a Mongolian Antelope - Procapra gutturosa gutturosa - for knife handles. This species living in central Asia is numerous and trophies are not banned by the Washington treaty.
Alloy of 60% copper and 40% zinc.
Alloy of 94% copper and 6% pewter.
Chamois - Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra - live in high altitude areas in the European Alps and New Zealand. The trophies are hard to get, but not banned by the Washington Treaty.
Origin: Central America, predominantly Mexico. Density ca. 1,1.Hard fine grained reddish brown wood. Its is one of the finest woods for knife handles and takes a wonderful polish. The colour tends to get darker in time under the influence of light.
A Du Pont trade name for an acrylic resin composition - 34% acrylic resin with 66% aluminum-hydroxide. It is wide used for bath-rooms, feels like plastic, looks like stone, resist heat, does not shrink, takes a fine polish.
Various origins. Density ca. 1,3. Indonesian ebony is a fine grained brownish wood, Indian and African ebony comes in black, some with a little grain.
Also called Nickel silver: Alloy of Copper, zinc, nickel and lead - in various percentages. Nickel is giving the silver colour to the material. It does not tarnish as fast as brass.
Origin: East Africa. Density ca. 1,1. Extremely hard, fine grained dark brown wood. Grenadill is used next to exclusively for professional wind-instruments in spite of high price because it stands moisture best and does not develop cracks as much as ebony.
A Westinghouse trade name for phenolic resin compositions. Micarta compositions come with paper, linen or other materials. Phenolic resin composed with wood - vide Pakka-wood. Straight phenolic resin is available also in pure form.
Thin layers of genuine wood are impregnated with phenolic resin under high pressure and heat. The result: Pakka-wood does not shrink, is resistant against water and most other liquids, it is harder and more durable than natural wood. Additional effects are achieved by using layers of different colours.
Origin Central America, predominantly Colombia. Density ca. 1,1. Hard to get, wonderfully grained grey/brownish wood.
Trade name for all acrylic resins imitating mother-of-pearl. Perlex is available in numerous variations of colours and clouding. Acrylic resins are also available in pure colours.
Origin: Central America. Density ca. 1.1. Very expensive wonderfully grained reddish wood. Snake wood is sensitive to cracks, and the fine grain is only in limited areas of the trunk.
The Washington Treaty does not ban stag materials. All stag shed their antlers once a year. Stag horns used for knife handles are of various origin and have different structures:
* Indian Chital: Cervus axis axis - small antlers of solid structure throughout.
* Indian Sambar: Cervus (Rusa) unicolor - grows big antlers with a small soft centre
* Indonesian Sambar: Cervus (Rusa) mariannus - small antlers with extremely fine grain.
* European Red stag: Cervus elaphus elaphus - light soft centred antlers.
Origin: Northern Africa. Density ca. 0,9.Thuya has a very particular knotty grain structure.
Origin: Australia. Density ca. 1,4. One of the heaviest woods known. Forms excellent knife handles.