Helle designer Tor Indergaard (center) and Svein Helle (right) accept
the prestigious Norsk Designråd Award for design excellence.
Norwegian Design Council (NDC)
The knife is man's oldest tool, and it has strong traditions in the Nordic countries. Everyone had a knife. Old written records often list the knife as a slave's only possession, but it was more common for a man to have a work knife, and a "dress-up" knife. On the work knife the practical details were of particular importance. The knife had to fit comfortably in the hand and have a short sturdy blade. This made the knife easy to control and a good general-purpose tool. The "dress-up" knife was made with much more attention to esthetics. Materials were the finest that could be obtained and often included precious metals. Beautiful ornaments were carved into the sheaths.
Norwegian knife manufacturing today is clearly influenced by traditional shapes and material preferences. Well-made leather sheaths, and handles of natural materials, seem to be traditions that Norwegians want to preserve. Knife blades made of laminated steel are another Norwegian tradition that is rarely found in other parts of the world.
Helle knives are designed to meet the stress and stain of outdoor use, as well as appeal to the aesthetic senses. To achieve that aim, each knife goes through as many as 60 different hand operations and inspections. It is a point of honor with the Helle craftsmen that every Helle knife is a synonym for quality.