The Opinel story
Opinel tells you its history. Where did it all start? Where does the crowned hand symbol found on all Opinel knives come from? Since 1890, generations of Opinel cutlers have forged metal in traditional style to bring you authentic quality knives.
The Opinel family starts to forge metal.
Blacksmiths from father to son
Birth of Joseph Opinel at Gévoudaz in Savoie.
Birth of Joseph Opinel
Edgetool maker at Albiez-Le-Vieux, a small village near Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in Savoie, Joseph Opinel manufactures the first Opinel knives.
The series of ten sizes numbered 1 to 12 is developed.
Series no. 1 to no. 12
Joseph Opinel builds his first factory at Pont de Gévoudaz and produces a machine to make the handles.
Joseph Opinel registers his first cutlery trademark and chooses "The Crowned Hand" as its emblem."
The crowned hand
Gold Medal at the Alpine International Exhibition in Turin (Italy).
The start of mass production.
Joseph Opinel buys an abandoned tannery at Cognin (outskirts of Chambéry), along with its waterfall, the Hyères canal, to set up his factory.
Moving to Chambéry
Installed in the new factory, Joseph, ably assisted by his two sons, Marcel and Léon, expands Opinel both industrially and commercially.
The factory is destroyed by fire. A new, modern factory is built and inaugurated at end 1927.
Reconstruction and inauguration
Marcel Opinel concocts special production machines.
Production of nos. 1 and 11 is halted.
End of production
Maurice Opinel joins father Marcel, uncle Léon and grandfather Joseph in managing the business.
The safety ring is invented, a simple and effective system which greatly improves the original knife.
Death of Joseph Opinel at the age of 88.
Death of Joseph Opinel
Construction of a new automated production site for wooden handles in Chambéry.
Installation in Chambéry
Installation on the Chambéry site (Savoie) of an assembly shop and logistics platform.
Reorganisation of sites
Opinel finds fame in the Victoria and Albert Museum among the hundred best designs in the world alongside the Porsche 911 and the Rolex watch.
Recognition for Opinel
Opinel is entered in Larousse® as a registered trademark become a household word.
The Virobloc system is altered to ensure transport safety (the blade can be locked in the closed position))
Building and opening of the new head office on the Chambéry la Révériaz site.
In "Phaidon Design Classics", Opinel is recognised as one of the most successful 999 designs of all time by a panel of international designers
Phaidon Design Classics
The book "La Cuisine à l'opinel" (Cooking with Opinel) receives this international award in the Corporate category. The book unites 25 starred chefs and celebrates the 150 years of French Savoie through recipes, "Opinel" emotions and anecdotes on Alpine gastronomy.
Gourmand World Cookbook Award