(born January 16 1963
) is an American
award-winning custom knifemaker
based in Kaneohe, Hawaii
, USA who invented the "SpeedSafe" assisted opening mechanism for Kershaw Knives
. Ken Onion is the Premier Knife Designer for Kershaw Knives
While serving as a US Marine
, Onion devised a helicopter mechanism that was adopted for use by the military.
In 1989, Ken’s wife, Noel, made arrangements through a friend for Onion to meet custom knife maker, Stanley Fujisaka. The two became friends and Onion learned his basic knifemaking skills from Stanley, building his first knife in 1991. Seven years later, in 1996, Doug Flagg, then with Kershaw Knives
met Onion while calling on an account for Kershaw and the two discussed an arrangement for the assisted-opening mechanism, which led to a contract. This contract led to Kershaw expanding it's factory and number of employees to accommodate the demand for these knives.
Onion holds 36 design patents on different items including locks, mechanisms, and knife designs. Most notable of these is the Speed-safe mechanism used by Kershaw Knives. For these many designs and his work throughout the cutlery industry promoting the art of knife making, Onion was inducted into the Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame at the 2008 Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia as the 45th and youngest living member.
A recent article in Blade Magazine
asserts that some celebrities, such as Steven Seagal
, Steven Tyler
, Nicolas Cage
, Kid Rock
, Pamela Anderson
, Wayne Newton
, Stephen Lefebvre, Wayne LaPierre
and Ziggy Marley
own custom knives made by Onion.