John Russell was born March 30, 1797 in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Little is known of his early life, except that he received a good education.
Steps in the process included: forging a blank piece of steel into the rough shape of a knife and hardening and tempering the steel; grinding and polishing the blade; finally, fitting a handle.
By February 1836 Russell had purchased land and moved the factory to a location on the Green River (Massachusettes).
The new location came complete with buildings, a dam and was set up for utilizing water power.
The starting wage at the Green River Works was per month for the first six month.
After that the worker could elect to be paid on a piecework basis.