Back when there was a four-year waiting list for a bespoke Bob Kramer kitchen knife, the impatient proffered thousands of dollars just to skip the line. Today, Bloomberg Pursuits will report in its 2014 issue, would-be customers must enter their e-mail address into a lottery at kramerknives.com/custom-orders, where winners -- chosen at random -- receive the rare opportunity to purchase one of Kramer’s uniquely patterned Damascus blades. Their one-of-a-kind swirls come from hand-forging an amalgam of American, German, Japanese and Swedish steels -- folding, stretching and twisting them like taffy at temperatures up to 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit (1,300 degrees Celsius) before tempering them in a series of molten-salt baths. Each blade takes up to a month to make, comprises as many as 6,000 layers of steel and can slice an onion so thin you can read through it. No wonder Cook’s Illustrated, the Consumer Reports of kitchenware, reported that “the Kramer knife outperformed every knife we’ve ever rated.”
Toyota Motor Corp., whose Camry sedan has been the top-selling U.S. car for the last 12 years, will debut a refreshed model of the car next month as Ford Motor Co. and Japanese rivals gain on the perennial leader.
Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors Inc. has earned the ardor of investors and the highest U.S. safety ratings. It can also add the honor of having the best-reviewed car of the year by automobile testers at Consumer Reports.