Bowie knife hallmarks

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by Curiosities79, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    I see a good pic of "WR" in a box, a couple of possible stars, and an "S" in a circle.
     
  2. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    We get quite a few enquiries like this on The Porch, often from new posters, so I thought I'd just mention some suggestions for anyone else who comes across this thread, and is looking for information on an old knife. First of all, search to see if a similar knife has already been discussed here on Bladeforums. If you feel you need to start a new thread, read the sub-forum guidelines before doing so (and indeed before posting), ask politely, and don't ask about value. Take clear, well-focused, high resolution photos, showing all sides of the knife, including any stamps and markings. Post PHOTOS (not links), using an image hosting service such as Imgur. Very sensibly, many posters will be reluctant to click on links provided by a new poster, and many will simply ignore your post. Say as much as you can about the knife, including how you acquired it if possible (eg it was given to you by your German grandfather in the early 1960's, you bought it on ebay, etc). With Sheffield knives, you will be lucky if your knife can be dated to the correct decade, only in a few cases could it be dated more precisely. The input you give may well define the information you find out about your knife :thumbsup:

    As all our regular posters will know, this is NOT a Bowie knife. It is a bit of a odd-looking thing to be honest, which is why I'd like to see a bit more of it. While there was a Sheffield cutler named William Rodgers, the name is most commonly associated with John Clarke & Son, along with the related 'I Cut My Way' mark. Clarke's date to 1848, being launched by the eponymous John, then aged 43, but not having yet served a cutlery apprenticeship! Something he did not complete until 1856. When Clarke died in 1873, the company only employed six workers, but his son Thomas, who had joined the firm in the 1860's, expanded the business, and by 1881 (the year of the census) the workforce had increased to 20. Thomas sold a full range of cutlery as well as acting as an agent recruiting cutlers for cutlery companies in the USA.

    As well as their Sheffield works and showroom, Clarke's opened agencies in London, New York, and Melbourne. In addition to their original 'NEVA' mark, which John Clarke had been granted in 1856, they used the 'EXPRESS' and 'NEVA' marks on razors, and Clarke's also marketed the American 'GEM' safety razor. By 1901, the firm had relocated from their original premises on Harvest Lane at Neepsend (Sheffield) to Mowbray Works on Mowbray Street (about half a mile away), overlooking Sheffield's principal river, the Don. Thomas Clarke died in 1902, and two years later, the company became 'Ltd', being run by Thomas's sons, John Roome Clarke and Thomas Edward Clarke. Another son, George William Clarke was a shareholder.

    Even before WW1, Clarke's were supplying regulation Army knives and scout knives. About 1910, they acquired the 'I Cut My Way' mark. This mark had originally been registered, in 1870, by another Sheffield cutler, Thomas Hobson, but along with the mark, Clarke's acquired the associated name of 'William Rodgers'. Capitalising on the name's echoes with the more prestigious and better known Joseph Rodgers name, Clarke's used the William Rodgers mark as a 'stand alone' brand, even in preference to their own mark. Knives and table cutlery of all types were produced under the William Rodgers name, ranging from inexpensive 'Town Pattern' Bowies and Army Clasp Knives (these patterns being produced in the tens of thousands) to medium-priced penknives and jack knives. They are generally of reasonable quality, some are better, but they are common. Like some others cutlers, they sometimes used a mark which has a passing resemblance to a silver hallmark (it is NOT an assay mark). The 'W R & S' or 'W R S' simply stands for William Rodgers & Sons.

    John Clarke & Son was liquidated in 1964, and in the 1980's the marks passed to the short-lived Meteor Industries, and thence to Eggington, who own them today, together with the marks of other once prestigious Sheffield cutlery firms.

    I am relying heavily on the research of Prof. Geoff Tweedale for most of the dates given above.

    A few more knives with the William Rodgers mark, and the marks themselves:

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    knowtracks, Cambertree, kai76 and 5 others like this.
  3. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    Mister Paranoia here never thought of that. From now on I'm not looking at anybody's links!
    Hope it isn't too late.
     
    Jack Black likes this.
  4. vintagebob

    vintagebob Gold Member Gold Member

    89
    Apr 2, 2019

    This is an amazing post. You spent a good bit of time on it. I will thank you for the OP! ; )
     
    knowtracks, Cambertree and Jack Black like this.
  5. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Thank you very much Bob, I wonder if the OP will come back?
     
  6. Curiosities79

    Curiosities79

    12
    Aug 21, 2019
    Hi there. I’ve just found my email with the new posts!

    Thank you Jack for the detailed reply. It’s very interesting the plotted history of the company. A wealth of knowledge.

    I am new to this site so the heads up on how to use it is very much appreciated. I respect what you say.

    Regards to the knife I have taken a few more pics for you and registered with imgur. I was given the knife as part of an inheritance but no information came with it. I was badly informed about the style of the knife, any more enlightenment on this particular knife would be super. Hopefully I can link to the pictures I’ve posted in my feed there to here...

    https://i.imgur.com/zquc6pA.jpg
    https://i.imgur.com/tVu062X.jpg
    https://i.imgur.com/Zuqtgtb.jpg
    https://i.imgur.com/1lYgPAk.jpg
    https://i.imgur.com/8wO4xuS.jpg
    https://i.imgur.com/Qbr8fGQ.jpg
     
  7. Curiosities79

    Curiosities79

    12
    Aug 21, 2019
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    willc and Misplaced Hillbilly like this.

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