Town Carves A Name For Ginsu Knives

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The town of Warwick, R.I., has named a stretch of road Ginsu Way — after the knives made so popular by late-night infomercials. The name change is in honor of two local business men who discovered the knives and made Ginsu a household name.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Can you use a Ginsu to cut through traffic? You can now. Rhode Island has named a stretch of road in Warwick - Ginsu Way, to honor local businessmen Ed Valenti and Barry Becher. In 1978, they discovered a nice set of knives made by Scott Fetzer in Ohio, knives so tough they can slice through a tomato, a garden hose, even a nail. But who'd buy a knife called Fetzer? So they renamed it Ginsu, hoping to evoke samurai swords and the dashing knife-work in Japanese steakhouses.

But wait, there's more. Their ads, showing the small knife cutting through logs and tin cans, became a staple of late-night TV, inspiring parodies, sales, and a whole new school of marketing that encouraged people watching television alone late at night to - call now, operators are standing by, supplies are limited, which didn't prevent Ed Valenti and Barry Becher from selling about three million Ginsu knives.

But wait, there's more: the miracle slicer, dura-steel mixing bowls, and vacu-fresh storage containers.

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