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If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It: Cutco Utensils

This brand of cooking utensil is American-made and built to last. Even better, they can resell for big bucks. Cutco — the name comes from “Cooking UTensil COmpany” — began production in Olean, New York, in 1949. In 1952, Cutco contracted with industrial designer Thomas Lamb, nicknamed “the Handle Man,” to create a new type of handle for its line of cutlery. Lamb’s innovative handle designs had been featured in a 1948 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The Wedge-Lock handle that Lamb designed for Cutco featured an ergonomic design that secured the fingers across the knife handle and “locked” the user’s thumb in place to create a safer grip. The company is still going strong today, but retail prices are steep. A new six-piece set of cooking tools costs $266, and this five-piece knife set will set you back $519. Cutco pieces with Wedge-Lock handles are easy to identify. Handles are made of tough plastic resin and feature an organic, highly contoured shape that fits your hand perfectly. Identifying Cutco’s Wedge-Lock handles by color is an inexact science. Based on Cutco’s current product line and vintage pieces available on eBay and Etsy, handles appear to have been made in four colors: Brown multicolor (pictured below): Referred to in the secondhand market as the “brown swirl,” these handles feature brown as the base color with red, orange or black veining. Brown swirl handles are considered the oldest example of Cutco’s Wedge-Lock pieces and usually command higher resale prices. Dark brown: Cutco’s dark brown handles are nearly indistinguishable from black. Pearl white Red
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