In 1977, several workers from PPG Industries discussed starting a knife club in Barberton, Ohio, as knife collecting was beginning to grow in the area. They were able to meet in a conference room of the Firestone Bank (now Chase) in Barberton. With 18 people in attendance, the first meeting led to the organization of the Club. The following officers were elected: Jorgen Nielson-Mayer, President; Alan Esterday, Vice President; Dick Konkle, Treasurer; Jim Gainer, Secretary. The Western Reserve Cutlery Association was the first knife club to be organized in the state of Ohio!
In 1986, the Club lost its meeting room in the bank and moved to the Village Hall in Doylestown, Ohio. The Club now meets at the Gene Daniels Community Center in Doylestown on the second Tuesday of each month from 6:30 to 9:30 PM.
Of the original 18 members, several are still active in the Club, which has now grown to over 150 members. The club offers life memberships as well as junior memberships to encourage younger members to develop an interest in knife collecting. WRCA has issued yearly club knives since its inception, as well as anniversary knives to commemorate each fifth year anniversary of the founding of the Club.
WRCA club knives have consistently grown in value as time goes by. This is in large measure due to the decision to choose high quality, unusual and unique knives for the Club knives in recent years, along with choosing handcrafted, custom knives for the special anniversary editions. The Club also issues a 'show knife' to commemorate each Knife Expo begun in 1989. The club voted to discontinue issuing a expo show knife in 2016 due to rising cost.
The Expo was originally known as the Western Reserve Cutlery Association’s Knife Expo or 'The Dover Show' and this annual event was originally held on the grounds of the Warther Museum in Dover, Ohio in mid-summer. Growth caused us to move to the Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds in Dover for a few years and returned to the Warther Museum for several years for a mid-winter show.
In 2010 the show moved to The Dover Armory. The following year, 2011, the show was renamed 'The Dale Warther Memorial Knife Expo' in honor of longtime member, Dale Warther who passed away in May of 2010.
For several years the show was held at the Dover National Guard Armory and then moved in 2014 to the Breitenbach Winery Tool Shed in Dover. Despite the lovely facilities, WRCA was still searching for a location with expandable floor space and better parking.
In 2015 the show moved to the Buckeye Event Center in Dalton, Ohio. This new venue offered room to expand, plenty of parking and great facilities for both the vendors and attendees.
While the Buckeye event center had the potential to grow the 2016 Expo into a national level event, the owners changed the future direction of their facility. WRCA found itself having the dubious honor of being the last public show of any kind when the building was closed as the Buckeye Event Center on Sunday and opened as a PG Dunn warehouse on Monday.
WRCA has taken shelter at the Knights of Columbus in Massillon, Ohio. To better reflext the nature of our show the title was officially changed to WRCA Knife Show. But you'll still find many of the members refer to it as The Expo.
Famous and soon-to-be-famous knife makers will display their custom knives along with a wide range of old, new and collectible knives displayed and offered for sale by a host of collectors and dealers in quality cutlery.
We hope to see you there the weekend after Mother's Day, May 18th