Helle in the US

Helle in the US

The US Connection

In a way you can say that the story about Helle started both in the USA and in Norway.

There is not much we know about the time our founding father, Steinar Helle, spent overseas (in the USA). What we do know, is that Steinar as many countrymen left Norway after WW1 and set sail toward the big country on the other side of the Atlantic. Maybe it was the adventurer in him, or maybe the lack of opportunities in Norway.

What drove him is only a guess, but what an adventure it must have been. 

Steinar returned to Norway and together with his brother Sigmund set out to build the foundation (not only literally) of the first Helle factory. The factory was built on the family farm and driven only by waterpower. The old factory has just recently been carefully restored for future generations.

What we do know is that he returned home, filled with a drive and a vision sprung from what he had experienced on his travels. Back in the rural countryside of western Norway. 

Photo: Inside the old factory

The two brothers with staff soon grew out of the small factory and moved to an abandoned butter factory right by the docks in the nearest village – Holmedal. You can read more about the unique history about what lays underneath the floor in our blog about the "Lady in Black". A story that takes us more than a 1000 years back in history. 

In modern times, our connection with the North American market has grown into something else. Looking back over the last 10 to 15 years, there are a few events that need to be mentioned to fully understand and see the entire picture. 

Helle & Les Stroud aka Survivorman

Survivorman was in our eyes the first real TV show that truly showed the hardships of survival. In many ways, Les Stroud created this genre. For us, the collaboration and creation of the Temagami knife meant the world. Working with Les on this project was and still is an honor. After more than 10 years on the market, the Temagami is still one of most appreciated products in our lineup.


 Forbes Magazine 2014

The US market really embraced us as a brand and one day in 2014, Forbes Magazine decided to do a cover on the small brand from western Norway. Not sure if the readers are the typical audience, but still: Forbes! How cool isn't that? Most of the designs are out of production today, but the Gaupe is still going strong thanks to the classic and beautiful lines. A knife truly deserving of a top place in the Classic collection. 

 First folding knife

The first folding knife released by Helle arrived on the market some time in 2011 and was given the name Dokka. Many thought of it as big and a bit strange, as using a scandi grind on a folder was not particularly commonplace. With time, the Dokka grew a strong reputation and became a sought-after piece. The design was eventually discontinued, and a new and updated version named Bleja saw the light of day. Last year we launched three new folders, which means that today’s folder collection fits many pockets, from small EDCs to larger workhorses.


The Nord – a true wilderness knife

Last year, we also released our biggest full-tang knife ever and for that we have been highly praised by numerous reviews. The knife even ended up on the front cover of Knives Illustrated. 


Sport Hansa 

The development spanning the last 10 years has really created a close connection to both market and people. The start of our collaboration with the team at Sport Hansa built a new foundation in Asheville, North Carolina and was the start of what today is a robust network of resellers. Both brick and mortar stores and online. Today we count about 400 locations around the US.

Today we interact with our audience in USA daily to grow the awareness about Scandinavian knife-making and the traditions we uphold in our historic factory.

We look forward to continue the journey and embark on new adventures in the years to come. Welcome to Helle Knives!