BELTRAME VITTORIO & Figli: high quality cutlery manufacturer
The great grandfather Vittorio and his 4 sons started up this business after the Second World War, but we must remember that already the father of the grandfather Vittorio, Eugenio Beltrame was a blacksmith in Maniago and was working to make sailor knives and multi-purpose knives, commissioned by various companies and larger cooperatives which marketed the products under their own brand or under the brand name of the client, even those foreign, according to request. The death of the great grandfather Vittorio was followed by difficult years and the four sons had their own families with 2 children each to feed and so in 1956 Francesco Beltrame, best known from the 90s as Frank Beltrame, began working with the grandfather Ivano at Beltrame Vittorio & Figli.
He was 15 years old and went to evening school for 2 years at the Professional Institute of Maniago, newly formed to teach boys to work and make knives and give them the first metallurgical basics when they started working.
He was born in 1941 in the middle of World War II, he went to school in Maniago and was then ready to learn the craft under the guidance of his father and uncles, together with his cousins.
In 1958-59 the production of the “Stii ” finally started, as they are still called in Maniago, meaning stiletto knives! Frank immediately fell in love with the knife and it is a love that never left him. In 1958, a law was passed in the United States that permanently prohibited Italian imported switchblades knives: Switchblade Knife Act of 1958 A blow would be dealt in the coming years by the creation of this law in Maniago, where the export and production of stiletto knives was really thriving. Maybe that is why some big exporters of Maniago would target the small Vittorio Beltrame e Figlio for a smaller production and lower costs.
Anyhow, even after the death of the great-grandfather, the sons continued together until 1969 when the tragic death of the grandfather Ivan, Frank’s father, occurred brought on by a heart attack as he worked. At that point, in 1970, Frank felt ready to go at it alone and find his way. He married his wife Elda and the year after Sara was born. In 1973 Ivan was born, named after his grandfather.
The 70s were flourishing and production was in demand mainly in Germany and then in France. These were years when the focus was on the quantity of production, so great was the demand for the italian switchblades knives. In the 80s Frank built a hangar equipped with machinery and in ’82, the factory had 8 employees.
But in the 80s were also the years of the first crisis in the switchblade market caused by the arrival of China. With the mediation of Consorzio Coltellinai and the Atlas kit patent, Frank managed to turn again to the U.S. and trade commenced between F.lli Beltrame and Edge Co-USA. Then slowly by making a name for himself for high quality cutlery manufacturer, he made himself known in the U.S. market. The 90s were still years of contraction, China and Taiwan arrived in Europe and Frank created the Switch model to counter the Chinese price with still a good quality product, initially only available in 21 cm because of German law. Please refer to the data sheet of the Switch model to understand in detail how it differs from Classic handmade knives. Meanwhile, in 1996, the children Sara and Ivano joined the company. Ivano had just graduated with a diploma in Mechanics and had been a soldier. Sara had almost finished her university studies in literature and philosophy and the company restarted with new and fresh ideas and was re-founded as F.lli Beltrame F & C snc.
Over the years, Frank had been able to patiently redo some molds, adapting new technology to old methods for the creation of italian switchblade knives, adding improvements and details that made a difference. Thanks to the great passion that Frank passed on to his son Ivano, these switchblades were made known all over the world.
In the early years Sara and Ivano tried the way of the so-called technological knives, see B-Naked, B-rd, B-stinger for Smokey Mountain USA. In 2003 B-Stealth was born because of the new German law on switchblades. For Italy a combat knife was taken on, while Frank’s vocation and passion grew stronger and stronger. The American market with ups and downs in demand, continued to ask for more and more high quality cutlery products and reproductions that Frank reinterpreted with current means, thus improving some of the knives.
Thus the 28 cm Picklock was born followed by the 23 cm Picklock.
The Swinguard. The Damask steel blades of Damasteel Sweden. The blades and the precise and perfect laser cut spring made this switchblade even more powerful. He thought of the American demand for details. They were looking for aesthetically pleasant materials and solutions. He began working with Mr. Halucha who acquired the historic Brand Latama and the last creation was the 5 mm which indicated the thickness of the blade and the spring. These were knives made exclusively for this brand which sold them: www.latama.com , and are the proof.
Research on and creation of new models is currently in progress. We have been working for 2 years on an ambitious project for a frontal opening switchblade, but that still remains confidential as it has still not reached established quality standards.
In 2006, the company obtained the Marchio Qualità Maniago which will be described later. Starting from 1996, for the brand “b” stainless steel, Made in Italy was used for a while and since 2001 but more strongly backed by Sara in 2005, Frank B has been used. In Italy, in terms of mass production and currently in terms of limited editions with numbering and year, the whole name Frank Beltrame Italy is used.
Currently, the company has divided its tasks in this way:
Frank: hand assembly, which will be described later, of every single piece, quality supervision, materials and final decision on the company’s management, as well as a large part of accounting.
Sara: European and American market, sales management, prices, clients and collectors. Supervisor in the aesthetic choices of material and knives, as well as a part of administrative duties
Ivano: production, purchasing, CAD/CAM design. Modifications and processing of knives, machinery set-up.