This venerable brand originally based in Solingen, Germany, often draws the attention of knife collectors. The antique version with high carbon steel blades and natural handle materials will be tougher to find than the modern stainless steel and synthetic models. The Kissing Crane brand now belongs to a company based in Atlanta, Georgia, which shifted production to facilities in Asia.
In 1837 Peter Deniel Pauls started the company which produced the original Kissing Crane knives. The business prospered through a line of penknives exported to the U.S. Fridrih Robert Klaas joined the firm in 1857, marrying the founder’s daughter, Dzhulian Henriette Pauls. Fridrih and Dzhulian Klaas inherited the factory after Mr. Pauls died, and Fridrih Klaas became the business’s official owner in 1869. Under the leadership of Klaas the company continued to expand, and Mr. Klaas registered the brand trademark — two storks touching bills — in 1893. Sons Uolter and Ernest Klaas controlled sales in Europe, while Max Klaas, the third brother, moved to the U.S. to handle marketing there. The Robert Klaas factory in Solingen developed a reputation for fine work and meticulous hand craftsmanship. In February 2010, BUDK Worldwide, Inc. of Moultrie, Georgia acquired the Kissing Crane brand. Facilities in China create the new Kissing Crane knives using modern techniques and materials.
The largest part of the BUDK Kissing Crane line consists of classic slipjoint pocket knives in traditional patterns. The dozens of knife styles met the needs of farmers, ranchers, merchants, scholars, and of course anyone who likes to hunt or fish. Specialty styles for farriers and orchardists also are offered, using high carbon 440A stainless steel for blades and usually synthetic materials instead of natural handle slabs. That cuts costs and often does not decrease durability, since the modern steel resists corrosion and modern synthetics offer reliability equal to many natural products. BUDK Kissing Crane brand includes some of the stilettos the Robert Klaas factory produced, which do not meet current standards for civilian use.