Mystery knives

not2sharp

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Jun 29, 1999
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With Halloween swiftly approaching, I though that it would be fun to look at those knives that we seldom talk about. Show me knives that we will forever know little or nothing about. They will remain forever in mystery because they are unmarked, or if marked, were made in such small quantities that little or no information survives.

This is a particularly interesting area, because it forces us to evaluate the knife at face value. There is no maker’s name, or fad steel type To help us along, nor any articles or YouTube reviews. It is just you and the unknown knife-like object on the table.

There are plenty of knives like this out there. Some were made by servicemen, their families, or simply hobby enthusiast who worked out of a small home shop. Some have been made by very talented machinist, who simply had no interest in producing knives commercially and only made a few for their close friends. while others are just junk made by someone who had a little time to kill. The only thing they share in common is that we know nothing about them. They will forever remain a mystery.

So show us your pictures and tell us what it was about the knife that first attracted your attention.

n2s
 
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flatblackcapo

Part time maker, very very part time
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Mar 25, 2012
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9,040
Here's one that falls into that " junk made by someone that had a little time to kill " .
16486017436_458447ee3f_h.jpg
 

not2sharp

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Amature knives.JPG

It is interesting that many of the knives I come across have the clip treatment as knife Flatblackcapo posted. Perhaps too many of them were watching Hollywood Simbad movies.

Here are a couple of different ones. The top knife is very solid and heavy and has thick brass scales.

n2s
 

not2sharp

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Jun 29, 1999
Messages
18,252
IMG_0229[1].JPG.png

Here is an example with an interesting back story.

It is marked:
UHS014
J. L. Lane

Mr.Lane was a high school teacher in Nebraska. He taught a Machine Shop class for many years and early on he made this knife as an example of what they were capable of producing in the shop. The knife is said to have been on display at the school for many years, until Mr. Lane's retirement; and was then eventually sold by his estate.

I have no way of verifying the story. But, it is a good story and a good knife.

n2s
 

not2sharp

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Joined
Jun 29, 1999
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18,252
L.B. Atkins 1994.jpg

Here is another mystery knife. The owner's name appears on the knife, but not the maker's.

There are generally 5 types of knives that end up in this category for me:
1) Amateur made knives, including theater made knives
2) Professionally made knives, made by machinist who are not dedicated to knife making
3) Knife makers who failed before they could gather any recognition
4) Knives made by professional knife makers who simply forgot/neglected to apply their stamp
5) Ethnographic knives from areas which do not mark the knives in ways that are legible to us.

n2s
 

afishhunter

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Oct 21, 2014
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8,515
I gave it away maybe 10 years ago, but I had a vintage 1950's/1960's medium stockman with only a "MADE IN USA" tang stamp.
Not that it really mattered then, or matters now, but I was unable to determine which of the dozen or so potential manufacturers was responsible for it.
However, I strongly suspect it was one of the Schrade companies. With Imperial and Camillus being the top suspects.
 

eveled

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Mar 11, 2016
Messages
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View attachment 1418057

Here is an example with an interesting back story.

It is marked:
UHS014
J. L. Lane

Mr.Lane was a high school teacher in Nebraska. He taught a Machine Shop class for many years and early on he made this knife as an example of what they were capable of producing in the shop. The knife is said to have been on display at the school for many years, until Mr. Lane's retirement; and was then eventually sold by his estate.

I have no way of verifying the story. But, it is a good story and a good knife.

n2s

Great knife great story. If you could figure out which school and what years he taught.
it would be interesting to try to track down some of his students and ask them.

It also could have been one of the schools that made knives for the troops at the beginning of ww2. Which would also be a sub group of your #1) group Amateur knives.

The California San Fran Bowie in post 8 is simply beautiful, reminds me a lot of an early Randall. Interesting sheath it has.
 
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not2sharp

Gold Member
Joined
Jun 29, 1999
Messages
18,252
I gave it away maybe 10 years ago, but I had a vintage 1950's/1960's medium stockman with only a "MADE IN USA" tang stamp.
Not that it really mattered then, or matters now, but I was unable to determine which of the dozen or so potential manufacturers was responsible for it.
However, I strongly suspect it was one of the Schrade companies. With Imperial and Camillus being the top suspects.

Made in the USA was a Sear’s brand. It was used on knives made by the usual suspects.

n2s
 

JPD1998

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Oct 18, 2004
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3,046
I bought this knife 20 years ago at a local knife shop in Rhinebeck NY.
It's about the size of a paring knife and came with a hand sewn leather sheath.
The shop owner told me it was made by a Culinary Institute student and forged from a motorcycle chain.

IMG_0844.jpg
 

afishhunter

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Oct 21, 2014
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Made in the USA was a Sear’s brand. It was used on knives made by the usual suspects.

n2s
I thought the no name "Made in USA" were sold at Western Auto, Firestone, Goodyear, Goodrich, feed lots, and places like Farm and Fleet.
Sears had Craftsman, and Ted Williams branded items.
I forget who Montgomery Wards and W.T. Grant had endorsing their sporting goods.
 

jfk1110

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Mar 9, 2013
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It's a funky folder! That's really the name. There were a few people/makers who produced them. Best bet is to enlarge the makers mark on it and search it!! Good luck and cool knife! Enjoy it!!

James
 
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Apr 17, 2020
Messages
63
I think this is my most mysterious and forgotten knife that googling didn't help much with identifying. I recently found it while doing some basement cleaning.
It is one of the first knives I had as a small kid. Other than the blade it has cap lifter, small fork, spike, and some kind of hook. I'm trying to fix it and it worked for the blade so far, but after many years in the basement they are dirty or rusted so much they can't be opened without pliers.
Other than this bird logo it has no stamp, name, steel type, engraving or anything like that anywhere.
It is 30+ years old and probably soviet or chinese production, back then here it couldn't have been anything western, at least for cheap price and easily available. I remember many kids had folders similiar to this and other cheap knives even OTFs, street vendors had cardboard boxes full of them and they cost around the same as 2-3 2L sodas.



 
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