Rostfrei is not a branded word for a German knife, but it is the German descriptive word for a knife made from stainless steel. The word, when translated, means "rust-free." This type of knife, when stamped with the word "rostfrei," usually originates from a German-speaking country, such as Switzerland, or from Germany. Most of the knives originate from the German town of Solingen, and some vintage knives date to 1912.
One of the knife companies that was founded in Solingen, Germany, was Wüsthof. The company, which has a history that goes back to 1814, operates as a family business with a varied line of cutlery. The company was virtually unknown in the 1960s on the North American continent when the business introduced its wares to esteemed chefs and restaurateurs in the United States.
By 1987, Wüsthof had founded the company Wüsthof-Trident of America, and it distributed knives through regional partners. Currently, the knife company operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Norwalk, Conn. The knife maker of rostfrei-type cutlery also oversees two knife plants in Solingen, Germany.
Known as the "City of Blades," Solingen is home to such cutlery companies as Dreiturm, Wüsthof, Böker and Eickhorn-Solingen. The town's image was solidified during the Medieval period when it was known for its crafting of swords.
Stainless steel Solingen knives are made for use by chefs, butchers, bakers and for household and outdoor use.