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IndustryKitchen accessories
Founded1949; 72 years ago (1949)
HeadquartersOlean, New York, United States
Kitchen knives
Pocket knives
Garden tools

Cutco Corporation, formerly Alcas Corporation, is a U.S.-based company that sells knives, predominantly through direct sales or multi-level marketing. It is the parent company of CUTCO Cutlery Corp., Vector Marketing, Ka-Bar Knives, and Schilling Forge. Its primary brand is named Cutco.

The company was founded in 1949 by Alcoa and Case Cutlery (hence "Al-cas") to manufacture knives. Alcoa purchased Case's share in the company in 1972, and Alcas management purchased the company from Alcoa in 1982.[1] In 1985, the company acquired Vector Marketing Corporation.[2]

In early 2009, Alcas changed its name to Cutco, the name of the primary product.[3]


Cutco is a brand of cutlery and kitchen accessories directly marketed to customers through in-home demonstrations by independent sales representatives who are mostly college students.[4][5] More than 100 kitchen cutlery products are sold under the Cutco name, as well as a variety of kitchen utensils, cookware, sporting, and outdoor knives.

Although the products are not typically purchased in retail stores, Cutco has opened six of its own retail stores: Indianapolis, Indiana; Okemos, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; Novi, Michigan; Edina, Minnesota; and Erie, Pennsylvania.[6] The company's knives are produced in Olean, New York, while other products are made in Mexico and China.[7]

Vector Marketing[edit]

A few Cutco knives and a pair of super shears

Vector Marketing is a multi-level marketing subsidiary that builds its sales force through advertising via newspapers, direct marketing, word-of-mouth, posted advertisements, letters, and various media on the internet.[8][9][10][11] Their fliers advertising "student work" are distributed in many high schools and college campuses across the United States and Canada. Students are hired to sell Cutco products (mainly kitchen knives) to customers, starting with their friends and family, then branching out through recommendations, all through one-on-one demonstrations. While Vector required a deposit on the sample kit representatives were issued in the past, this was changed in 2011, and deposits are no longer required from representatives.[12][13][14][15] The Los Angeles Times disputes the company's claims that it is not a multi-level marketing company, as it meets the Federal Trade Commission's exact definition of the term, but is not technically a pyramid scheme.[16]


  1. ^ "CUTCO Cutlery: History". Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  2. ^ Cutco Company History
  3. ^ Shaw, Jeff (2008-12-08). "Alcas changing its name to CUTCO". Olean Times Herald. Olean, New York. Retrieved 2020-12-06.
  4. ^ Chu, Kathy. "College students learn from job of hard knocks: Door-to-door sales draw thousands every summer". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
  5. ^ Davis, Jana. "What is 'Work For Students' anyway?". Archived from the original on 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
  6. ^ Schouten, Cory (2011-03-28). "Roundup: Cutco, Marshalls, Performance Bicycle, Sensu". Indianapolis Business Journal. Archived from the original on 25 August 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  7. ^ Made in America,
  8. ^ Moret, Darrin (September 6, 2013). "Did I Participate In A Pyramid Scheme?". Popular Science. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  9. ^ Kellman, Beth Robinson (April 2, 2010). "Better Business Bureau offers advice on multilevel marketing". The Oakland Press. Oakland County, Michigan. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  10. ^ Deal, A. Matthew (September 26, 2006). "High wages for student work – but beware". Campus News. The Carolinian. p. 1. Archived from the original on June 18, 2008. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
  11. ^ Gunn, Eileen (August 5, 2008). "Summer Job: Nice Pay, if You Can Cut It". The Wall Street Journal. p. D4. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
  12. ^ Episode 10. Street Cents, January 14, 2002
  13. ^ "Blue-Eyed Devil: Don't get scammed looking for work while in college". Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  14. ^ Lucchesi, Nick (February 4, 2004). "Vector Marketing targets unaware college students". News. The Journal. p. 2. Archived from the original on April 27, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
  15. ^ da Costa, Polyana (August 21, 2004). "Firm misled sales recruits to sell knives, students say". Salem Statesman-Journal. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008.
  16. ^ David Lazarus (2020-06-23). "Column: Beware of this 'important opportunity' for job-seeking students". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-08-08.

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