Knife Industry Innovator Pete Gerber Passes Away

Gerber Gear has announced that Pete Gerber, company Founder and innovator in the knife industry, passed away at the end of September. Gerber helped grow his company into the behemoth it is today and was a key figure in pushing the boundaries of production knife design.

Pete Gerber made his entry into the knife world in 1939. His father Joseph Gerber owned an advertising agency and, as a holiday gift, the father-son duo sent out sets of custom-made knives to clients. “These knives proved to be so popular that catalog retailer Abercrombie & Fitch requested more of the knives to sell in their catalog,” Gerber itself writes. “Gerber Legendary Blades was born that same year.”

Pete ran Gerber from the early 50s until 1987, when Fiskars acquired the company. During that time he pushed for innovation in the production knife space. He brought Bob Loveless on board as Lead Designer and worked with Paul Poehlmann to produce the famous Axial Lock folder in 1977, a design that is prized by collectors to this day. But perhaps Pete’s most significant contribution came in the early 80s when, along with maker Blackie Collins, he came up with the LST model. The LST was the first production folder to be made from a one-piece, injection-molded handle. It was strong, weighed next to nothing, and was affordable. Other makers like Buck and A.G. Russell followed suit, and of course affordability, durability, and light weight construction are still highly prized attributes in the knife world today.

Pete was 90 years old and passed away peacefully at home. “Pete and his father pioneered an industry,” says Gerber’s Andrew Gritzbaugh. “His entrepreneurial spirit and tireless dedication to quality are embodied in our culture. Pete’s legacy lives on through our commitment to craftsmanship and American-made knives and tools. Our deepest condolences go out to Pete’s family and the many others whose lives were touched by him.”