Today, Opinel’s capital is still held entirely by the descendents of Joseph Opinel, the brand’s founder. Located in Chambéry, in the Savoie region of France, Opinel employs around a hundred people, produces 4 million knives per year and makes 50% of its turnover from export sales. Since its inception in 1890, 260 million knives have been sold in more than 70 countries across the world.
Opinel headquarters at the Chambery la Révériaz
A firm respect for its mountain traditions has led Opinel to perpetuate its policy of protecting the environment, in terms of the selection of raw materials, manufacture of the product and its packaging.
Opinel perpetuate its policy of protecting the enviroment
To avoid a negative impact on the environment of securing supplies from distant places (pollution due to transport, deforestation, etc.), 95% of the wooden handles produced by Opinel come from French forestry operation
Lugares de Obtención de madera:
Joseph Opinel Family, opinel founder.
1890 As an edge tool maker in the Albiez workshop, and against the advice of his father, Joseph produced the first Opinel knife models. "Good sense, the feeling of comfort when gripped, the convenience of being able to put it in your pocket gradually determined the overall shape of the Opinel knife".In 1897 The series of twelve sizes, numbered 1 to 12, was developed.
1901-1903. Joseph Opinel built his first factory in Pont de Gévoudaz and produced a machine for making the handles. In 1909 Joseph Opinel registered his first knife-making trademark and chose the "Crowned Hand" as an emblem.
Opinel first trademark, Crow Hand as an emblem.
start of mass
Joseph Opinel took over an abandoned
tannery (with its waterfall, the Hyères canal) in Cognin, a suburb of
Chambéry, to set up a new factory closer to major communication routes.
1926 A fire completely destroyed the factory, but a modern new factory was rebuilt and opened at the end of 1927.
Opinel new factory later than 1926 disaster, completely destroy the factory.
From 1930, Marcel Opinel built special production machines from scratch. In 1950 Maurice Opinel (the son of Marcel) joined the business, which now had 50 workers and on 1955 The safety ring was invented. This simple and effective device was a significant improvement on the original knife.
In 1960, Death of Joseph Opinel at the age of 88.
In 1973, creation of the Chambéry La Révériaz factory. Automated production (wood).
1981. At the Chambéry La Révériaz site, construction of a knife assembly workshop and a logistics platform. The headquarters and blade and safety catch production workshop were kept at Cognin.
Opinel was recognised in 1985 as one of the hundred best designed objects in the world at the “Victoria and Albert Museum”, alongside the Porsche 911 and the Rolex watch.
The Virobloc safety catch system was modified in 2000 to ensure safety during carrying (the blade can be locked in the closed position).
New security lock Virobloc.
In 2006 the “Phaidon Design Classics” the Opinel was designated as one of the 999 most successful designs of all time by a jury of international designers.
Places of wood obtaining:
STEEL, AN ENDLESSLY RECYCLABLE MATERIAL
Carbon has a low resistance to corrosion caused by moisture, which means that certain precautionary measures are necessary when using and storing the knives: we recommend that you avoid damp environments and that you dry and grease the blade after use.
The hardnesses obtained after heat treatment are theoretically slightly greater in steels that do not contain chrome. The cutting strength is therefore better with a “carbon” steel and sharpening of carbon steel blades is much easier than sharpening of stainless steel blades.
Opinel Stainless steel blade.
FASES DE LA PRODUCTION.
Although knives are everyday objects, making them involves multiple techniques, which are actually very complex to apply on an industrial scale; the process involves making the handles, working and treating the steel, sharpening the blades.
1 - Blade - cutting out
In a single operation in a 120 T press: the steel strap is cut out, punched with a groove and the “crowned hand” mark.
2 - Blade – quenching
is conducted in special controlled-atmosphere furnaces, with the
temperature, which is maintained with a precision of 1°C, constantly
indicated on recording tapes.
3 - Blade - grinding
At present, sharpening of each side of the knife is performed continuously, with each blade put in position, then pressed onto the grinder by a handling robot.
4 - Blade - polishing
fitted with fine-grained grinders
5 - Handle
Made from wood
squares by 9 moulding machines:
Opinel penknives handles ready to Assembly.
6 – Assembly
The knife is finally ready to be assembled, with the blade and the safety catch.
Assembly of Opinel penknives.
A series of checks is performed at each of the major stages in production, generally by sampling, and each product is individually checked at the end of assembly. Some products randomly sampled after production undergo fatigue tests to measure the cutting quality, its durability and its resistance.
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