Green River Knife

Description (Brief)
John Russell began manufacturing tools and cutlery in 1834 and established a new factory on the Green River in Massachusetts in 1836. His knives rivaled the quality of those manufactured in Sheffield, England, and as settlers moved West in the 1840s Russell's Green River knives moved with them. Green River knives were ubiquitous in the early American West, and the phrase "up to Green River" entered the American lexicon meaning something well constructed or very well done.
date made
John Russell Manufacturing Company
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Greenfield
Physical Description
horn (overall material)
metal, steel (overall material)
metal, brass (overall material)
metal, nickel silver (overall material)
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Major Kenneth E. and Viola L. Harte
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


I appreciate the description, but have a suggestion regarding phrase "up to Green River". "The trapper's famous Green River knife...were made beginning in 1834 - by John Russell on the Green River in Greenfield Massachusetts...To drive a knife in "up to Green River" meant all the way to the hilt; to the factory stamp" "A Majority of Scoundrels An Informal History of The Rocky Mountain Fur Company", Don Berry, Oregon State University Press, 1961, pg 68 (A Northwest reprints edition, 2006)

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