John Russell & Co.
Greenfield and Deerfield, Massachusetts

Tool Types

Chisels, Cutlery, Misc. Knives, Leather Tools

DATM Information

It's difficult to track Russell's movements since he worked under several names at several MA locations. Francis Russell was an early partner of his, though for how long is unclear. Though he started in Deerfield in 1832, other incarnations of his handiwork appeared later under the name John Russell Mfg. Co. One source shows he remained in Deerfield until 1864 with John Russell Mfg. Co. operating from 1870-1872. John Russell Mfg. Co. later became John Russell Cutlery Co. sometime around 1884 and ran at least until 1936. BARLOW jacknives were made from 1875 to 1920 under various names. Wiley & Russell Mfg. Co also produced tools under the "GREEN RIVER" brand name, suggesting an unexplored connection.

Identifying Marks


General Information
Green River knives, particularly bowie knives, were prominent in the “Old West” scene and were known for their rugged durability. Green River Works continues to manufacture Bowies today, which are widely available in cutlery and hunting stores. John Russell is well known as one of the most important innovators of the American system of manufacturing and is frequently mentioned in many of the bibliographic citations in this volume. See Brack (2008) for additional comments on Russell.



Nelson, Robert E., Ed. (1999). Directory of American Toolmakers: A listing of identified makers of tools who worked in Canada and the United States before 1900. Early American Industries Association.


Schindler, F. W. (May 2017). The legendary Green River knife: The scalpin' knife that changed everything. Muzzleblasts. 78(9). pg. 14-7 -- JSTOR article on Green River knives

/PDFsforInventory/WebVcIRother_PDF.pdf -- Link to an entry for a Green River knife in the collection