J. A. Henckels

Zwilling J. A. Henckels
Industry Kitchenware
Founded Solingen, Germany
13 June 1731 (1731-06-13)
Founder Peter Henckels
Johann Abraham Henckels
Headquarters Germany
Area served
Products Kitchen knives, cutlery
Website http://www.j-a-henckels.com/

J.A. Henckels is a knife manufacturer based in Solingen, Germany. Henckels is one of the largest and oldest manufacturers of kitchen knives, scissors, cookware and flatware. Since 1970 it has been a part of the Werhahn-Group.


J.A. Henckels International Logo

On 13 June 1731 Peter Henckels registered the "Zwilling" (German for "Twin") logo with the CutlersGuild of Solingen. This makes Zwilling one of the oldest trademarks in the world. 40 years later, Peter's son Johann Abraham Henckels (1771-1850) was born, who would later re-name the company after himself. The Henckels logo has been in the current shape with a red background since 1969.

J. A. Henckels Twin Brand Razors and Shears promotional postcard, ca. 1930-1945.

J.A. Henckels opened the first trading outlet in 1818 in Berlin, opening a shop in New York City in 1883 and followed a year later by Vienna. The company exhibited its products at the 1851 Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in Great Britain, and achieved an international recognition and an award medal. In 1909 Henckels set up its first subsidiary in the U.S., followed by Canada, The Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Japan, Italy, France, Spain, China. In 2008, subsidiaries were set up in Great Britain and Brazil.

JA Henckels was awarded the Grand Prix prize in Paris in 1900 and the Grand Prix of St. Louis in 1904. It was also awarded with the Prussian State Golden Medal. Henckels was also given a Royal warrant of appointment as purveyors of knives to the Imperial and Royal Court of Austria-Hungary. :See K.u.k. Hoflieferant (German)


The company maintains several brands, including Zwilling J.A. Henckels, J.A. Henckels International and BSF. ("Zwilling", meaning "twin", is also the German for the astrological sign Gemini.) Additionally, the company operates its own retail shops, studios and partner shops both in Germany and internationally, among them about 200 shop-in-shops in China. Since 1970 the company has been part of the Werhahn Group (Neuss, Germany), with a staff of 3,200 worldwide. Profits amounted to 282 million in 2007 with 80% of its profits generated outside Germany.

The Zwilling group has a section concentrated on specialist hairdressing products. Since 1988 J.A. Henckels have been a strong partner with Solingen-based professional hairdressing equipment manufacturer Jaguar,[1] which became part of the Zwilling group in 2004. Since July 2007 the Zwilling group also includes Tondeo GmbH, Solingen, another manufacturer of professional haircutting equipment. In 2004, Henckels acquired the Japanese knife manufacturer Nippa and the U.S. beauty specialist Tweezerman. With the 2008 acquisitions of the Belgian manufacturer Demeyere (stainless steel cookware) and the French group Staub, which produces cast iron cookware, Zwilling moved to expand the cookware segment of its business.

Knife lines

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Four Star knife set

Henckels produces multiple lines of kitchen cutlery. The Four Star line, introduced in 1976 is a fully forged knife with a molded handle made of polypropylene and a tang which extends into the handle. The TWIN Select series has ergonomic handles which are constructed of 18/10 stainless steel. The TWIN Cuisine features a fully exposed, horizontal tang embedded in a polypropylene handle. Some lines, such as TWIN Professional "S", have a traditional 3-rivet polypropylene handle. TWIN Four Star II was released in 2006, has a molded handle, and resembles the Four Star except it also has stainless steel end cap featuring the Zwilling logo. Most knives feature blades which are constructed from high carbon, stainless steel which is ice hardened for sharpness and stain resistance. The TWIN Cermax M66 series is constructed using a microcarbide powder steel with clad layers and is manufactured in Japan.


TWIN Cuisine Tournant knife

Henckels knives are manufactured in several ways. TWIN Select, Four Star, Four Star II, and Professional "S" are all forged from a single piece of high carbon stainless steel, which is ice hardened to improve stain resistance. Forging is intended to produce improved cutting-edge retention, weight, balance, and reduced opportunity for metal fatigue.

TWIN Cuisine knives are forged from one piece of steel using a traditional hot drop forging technique followed by ice-hardening to produce a heavy, durable steel. TWIN Gourmet and Signature knives are stamped from a single piece of steel. All knives featuring a forged hand guard are manufactured in Germany, except for the TWIN Cermax.

Most knife blades are hand honed in order to keep a lasting edge. The forged series also have enlarged bolsters for safety and extra balance while cutting.

Henckels International cutlery is manufactured in several ways. The Classic and Forged Synergy series are forged to produce a heavier utensil. The Fine Edge Pro and Fine Edge Synergy models are stamped to provide for a lower cost knife.

"Ice Hardening" is Henckel's name for a practice common to all stainless steel cutlery manufacturers. The correct name is cryogenic tempering, and involves immersing the finished knife blades in liquid nitrogen. This process is required to get full hardness from most stainless knife steels, as it completes the conversion of Austenite to Martensite.


  1. "Company history". Jaguar Solingen. Jaguar. Retrieved 18 April 2012.

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