A Brief History of Olfa Hand Tools

Posted by Chris Day on

Here at Prime Tooling, we are proud to be suppliers of the internationally renowned Olfa Hand Tools, such as the Olfa Trimming Knife Blade. Originating in Japan, Olfa have an interesting history dating all the way back to 1956, when their founder Mr Yoshi Okada developed his ground-breaking snap-off blade cutter. From the very first blade invented to the replacement Olfa Rotary Cutters of today, Olfa Hand Tools have developed over the years to become the handy, safe and functional product we ship all over the world. 

In post-war Japan, Mr Yoshi Okada was working in the paper cutting industry. He was struggling and realised that there were no suitable blades to aid him in his craft, so he decided to invent his own to help all future tradesmen. The inspiration for Yoshi’s snap-off blade cutter came from two very unusual sources; snapping blocks off a bar of chocolate and studying the snapped, sharp edges of a broken piece of glass. From these materials, the idea of Olfa blades was born. Along with his brother, Yoshi established his own company and developed over 3000 blades ready to distribute across Japan. In what came as a surprise to the Okada brothers, their blades sold out immediately. Over the last 63 years, Olfa blades have developed to become the worldwide standard for the correct length, width and blade of hand knives. 

The well-known brand name ‘Olfa” began as ‘Olha” – Japanese for ‘breaking a blade’. As the company grew a strong worldwide reputation, different languages were unable to pronounce the ‘h’ and the company name naturally transitioned into what we recognise today, Olfa. The iconic yellow colour of the knives was a game-changing decision by Mr Yoshi in 1967. After rooting around in a toolbox, he discovered that every tool was a dark colour. By creating knives with a striking yellow tone, similar to that of an egg yolk, not only were they more noticeable in a toolbox, but also ensured higher levels of safety. This idea has created the recognisable colour of Ofla blades today and introduced new safety standards to all producers of hand-held knives.

For more information on Olfa Hand Tools, click here to see the range and buy online