In this weeks blog we present another item that originates from the files of the Checker Motors Corp. PR department. This time the item of interest is a promotional Checker Aerobus used by W/. R. Case cutlery.
W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company is an American manufacturer of traditional pocket knives, fixed blades/sporting knives, kitchen knives, limited edition commemoratives and collectibles. The company originated in Little Valley, NY., around the turn of the 20th century, before relocating to its current home, Bradford, PA., in 1905. The company’s namesake, William Russell Case, first made knives with his brothers.
The company’s roots extend back to 1889, when the Case brothers – William Russell (W.R.), Jean, John and Andrew Case, began selling cutlery from the back of a wagon in various small villages across New York state. In January 1900, the brothers incorporated to form Case Brothers Cutlery Company.
John Russell Case, who named the company after his father, William Russell (“W.R.”), formed W.R. Case & Sons as it is known today. By the time the company moved to Pennsylvania in 1905, the four Case brothers had established their brands.
Beginning with World War I, Case made military knives for U.S. servicemen and women including the M3 fight knife and the V-42 Stiletto. During the 1965 NASA Gemini flight of the Molly Brown astronauts Gus Grissom and John Young used special Case knives on a NASA space mission.
The photo in the header was published in the Olean, New York Times Herald on October 14th 1965
W.R. Case And Sons, Bradford, Pa. purchased unusual vehicles. Shown in the above picture is Russell J. Osborne, President of W. R. Case and Sons Cutlery Co, accepting the keys from George A. Stroup, Checker Motors Dealer, Eldred, PA. The eight door, 12 passenger Checker Aerobus is the only on of its kind in the area. Mounted on the top is an eight foot, 125 pound knife, a replica of a W.. Case Kodiak hunting knife. The new Checker is being used for the convenience of W.R. Case and Sons personnel and customers.
The Case Checker Aerobus is another example of Checkers being used to support a corporate promotional function. According to the Case web site:
When a Case employee need a ride to work, company founder Russ Case made sure they got there in style. It was a practice he started during the gas rationing says of World War II. In 1965, the company purchased the famous Case Checher Aerobus, an eight door limousine that was fitted with a giant model of the Liodack Hunter® The car was a favorite sight around town – transporting visitors and Case staff – and often used in area parades. In 1976 the Checker was donated to the Braford Children’s Home. The giant Kodiak was placed atop the company sign at the Owens Way factory. Since 1977, the giant Kodiak has been on display at the Zippo/Case Visitor’s Center Museum in Bradford, Pennsylvania.
So proud of their heritage both in knives and promotions in 2008 W.R. Case introduced an commemorative knife in celebration of the corporate Checker Aerobus. Inventory is low, but if interested, here’s a link to the corporate store.