Providence, Rhode Island based Company Imperial Knife was founded in 1916 by two Italian immigrants who got their knife making start with Empire Knife Company.
During WWI Imperial produced thousands of knives for the US Navy under the brand name IKCO. These knives were followed by their gold or silver handled Skeleton Knives.
Imperial also mass produced simple jackknives with numerous handle variations that are still collected today.
Imperial continued to focus on producing knives for the budget conscious market and beginning in the 1930’s began churning out hollow sheet steel handled knives with celluloid handle covers. They iterated on the original cell handle material over the years steadily improving on it.
In 1943 Imperial merged with the Ulster Knife Company and became the single largest cutlery producer in the world.
The Jackmaster Hammer knives became a top selling brand and at their peak, Imperial was producing up to 100,000 of these knives per day.
The Jackmasater was succeeded in the 1960’s by the Diamond Edge knife, which was another very popular design.
For more knife maker history check these articles