Last updated

Founded1930;93 years ago (1930)
Founder Sundel Doniger
Westerville, Ohio, United States
Products Utility knives, office supplies
Parent Elmer's Products, Inc.
Website xacto.com

X-Acto is a brand name for a variety of cutting tools and office products owned by Elmer's Products, Inc. Cutting tools include hobby and utility knives, saws, carving tools and many small-scale precision knives used for crafts and other applications.


An X-Acto knife equipped with a "Number 2" blade. X-Acto-knife.jpg
An X-Acto knife equipped with a "Number 2" blade.

X-Acto knife

Parts of the Exacto Knife from left to right: (1) Handle, (2) Collar, (3) Collet, (4) Blade Exactoknifeparts.jpg
Parts of the Exacto Knife from left to right: (1) Handle, (2) Collar, (3) Collet, (4) Blade

An X-Acto knife may be called an Exacto knife, utility knife, precision knife, or hobby knife. It is a blade mounted on a pen-like aluminum body, used for crafting and hobbies, such as modelmaking. Before the availability of digital image- and text-processing tools, preparing camera-ready art for use in printing (literal cut and paste or paste up) depended heavily on the use of knives like the X-Acto for trimming and manipulating slips of paper.

A knurled collar loosens and tightens an aluminum collet with one slot, which holds a replaceable blade.

There are numerous other knives on the market with very similar designs. Blades are typically interchangeable between different brands.


The original knife was invented in the 1930s by Sundel Doniger, a Jewish Polish immigrant to the United States. He started a medical supply company in 1917 producing medical syringes and scalpels with removable blades. [1] This would later be his inspiration for the X-Acto brand of knives. [2] [3] He had planned to sell it to surgeons as a scalpel but it was not acceptable, because it could not be cleaned. His brother-in-law, Daniel Glück (father of poet and 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Louise Glück), suggested that it might be a good craft tool.

In 1930 a house designer asked Doniger if he could create something for him that would help him crop some advertisements, Doniger agreed and created what we now know as the X-Acto Knife. [2]

X-Acto office products

In addition to knives, blades, and tools, X-Acto produces office supplies including pencil sharpeners, paper trimmers, staplers, and hole punches. X-Acto sharpeners are electric, battery, or manual. X-Acto has three types of trimmers: razor, rotary, and guillotine.

Boston brand

Through 2012, X-Acto sold ceramic and convection space heaters and fans under the Boston brand name. [4]


The use of the X-Acto knife had gained notoriety in May 2012 as it was used by Luka Magnotta who killed and dismembered Lin Jun in an Montreal apartment. During the trial in 2014, the knives were recovered but it is possible the X-Acto knives could be definitively linked to the murder. [5] [6]

See also

Related Research Articles

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A utility knife is any type of knife used for general manual work purposes. Such knives were originally fixed-blade knives with durable cutting edges suitable for rough work such as cutting cordage, cutting/scraping hides, butchering animals, cleaning fish scales, reshaping timber, and other tasks. Craft knives are small utility knives used as precision-oriented tools for finer, more delicate tasks such as carving and papercutting.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Knife</span> Tool or weapon with a cutting edge or blade

A knife is a tool or weapon with a cutting edge or blade, usually attached to a handle or hilt. One of the earliest tools used by humanity, knives appeared at least 2.5 million years ago, as evidenced by the Oldowan tools. Originally made of wood, bone, and stone, over the centuries, in step with improvements in both metallurgy and manufacturing, knife blades have been made from copper, bronze, iron, steel, ceramic, and titanium. Most modern knives have either fixed or folding blades; blade patterns and styles vary by maker and country of origin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scalpel</span> Sharp bladed instrument used for surgery

A scalpel, lancet, or bistoury is a small and extremely sharp bladed instrument used for surgery, anatomical dissection, podiatry and various arts and crafts. Scalpels may be single-use disposable or re-usable. Re-usable scalpels can have permanently attached blades that can be sharpened or, more commonly, removable single-use blades. Disposable scalpels usually have a plastic handle with an extensible blade and are used once, then the entire instrument is discarded. Scalpel blades are usually individually packed in sterile pouches but are also offered non-sterile. Double-edged scalpels are referred to as "lancets".

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blade</span> Sharp cutting part of a weapon or tool

A blade is the portion of a tool, weapon, or machine with an edge that is designed to puncture, chop, slice or scrape surfaces or materials. Blades are typically made from materials that are harder than those they are to be used on. Historically, humans have made blades from flaking stones such as flint or obsidian, and from various metal such as copper, bronze and iron. Modern blades are often made of steel or ceramic. Blades are one of humanity's oldest tools, and continue to be used for combat, food preparation, and other purposes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Penknife</span> Small folding knife

Penknife, or pen knife, is a British English term for a small folding knife. Today the word penknife is the common British English term for both a pocketknife, which can have single or multiple blades, and for multi-tools, with additional tools incorporated into the design.

Dremel is a multinational brand of power tools, focusing on home improvement and hobby applications. Dremel is known primarily for its rotary tools such as the Dremel 3000, 4000 and 8200 series which are similar to the pneumatic die grinders used in the metalworking industry by tool or moldmakers. Dremel later expanded its product range and now produces butane tools, benchtop and hand-held saws and oscillating tools.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kitchen knife</span> Knives intended for use in the process of preparing food

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sharpening</span> Creating or refining the pointed edge of a cutting tool

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Butcher knife</span>

A butcher knife or butcher's knife is a knife designed and used primarily for the butchering or dressing of animal carcasses.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ceramic knife</span> Knife with a blade made out of non-metallic material

A ceramic knife is a knife with a ceramic blade typically made from zirconium dioxide (ZrO2; also known as zirconia), rather than the steel used for most knives. Ceramic knife blades are usually produced through the dry-pressing and firing of powdered zirconia using solid-state sintering. The blades typically score 8.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, compared to 4.5 for normal steel and 7.5 to 8 for hardened steel and 10 for diamond. The resultant blade has a hard edge that stays sharp for much longer than conventional steel blades. However, the blade is brittle, subject to chipping, and will break rather than flex if twisted. The ceramic blade is sharpened by grinding the edges with a diamond-dust-coated grinding wheel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Knife making</span> Process of manufacturing a knife

Knife making is the process of manufacturing a knife by any one or a combination of processes: stock removal, forging to shape, welded lamination or investment cast. Typical metals used come from the carbon steel, tool, or stainless steel families. Primitive knives have been made from bronze, copper, brass, iron, obsidian, and flint.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Knife sharpening</span>

Knife sharpening is the process of making a knife or similar tool sharp by grinding against a hard, rough surface, typically a stone, or a flexible surface with hard particles, such as sandpaper. Additionally, a leather razor strop, or strop, is often used to straighten and polish an edge.

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  1. Busta, Hallie (25 February 2014). "A Slice of Design History: How X-Acto Built a Better Knife". Architect Magazine.
  2. 1 2 Stamp, Jimmy (11 March 2014). "For 80 Years, X-Acto Has Been on the Cutting Edge of Edge Cutting". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  3. "Seder ritual" (PDF). beureihatefila.com. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  4. "Ceramic Heaters | Heater with Fan | Convection Heater | X-ACTO". 24 May 2012. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  5. Luka Magnotta called courteous and cultivated by French witness CBC. Retrieved March 13, 2023
  6. "Crown's last in-person witness testifies at Luka Magnotta trial". CTVNews. 27 October 2014. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.