Old Cold Steel Ads

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Jan 28, 2007
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I was sorting some old magazines recently and ran across a couple of Cold Steel ads that I thought you guys might enjoy. I don't believe we have a repository for such things, so please feel free to add to this thread any advertising that you find.

From a January 1984 Inside Kung Fu, which means that this ad was created in 1983. It's not actually Cold Steel's ad--in fact, Cold Steel isn't even mentioned--but it's fun to see the whole lineup from back when the whole lineup consisted of five knives!

IMG-6812.jpg



I thought I'd include this classic from the February 1985 issue of The Blade Magazine. Cold Steel's insistence on performance, as well as its willingness to test competing models, was there from the beginning. It may not have won the company many allies in the industry, but it sure did win over a lot of customers, including me!

IMG-6828.jpg



This Special Projects ad from the Winter 1994 issue of Knives Illustrated isn't particularly exciting, but it's somewhat informative. The cover mentions the introduction of the Voyager series and the return of the Trail Master (I didn't realize that it ever went out of production). It's interesting to see an early rendering of the Arc Angel, too.

IMG-6822.jpg



Cold Steel's ad was sandwiched in between ads for knife-fighting training/videos from James Keating and from Paul Vunak. Good luck finding advertising for such fare in modern issues of Knives Illustrated! I don't mean to sound like an aging curmudgeon, but sometimes I really miss the Good Ol' Days....

-Steve
 

jlauffer

Tempt not the Blade
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Funny, in that first one the Shiv and Hunter labels are swapped
 
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What is the knife that looks like a clip point kukri on the Special Projects cover? MAKE IT AGAIN!
 

nephron

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Nice, I am getting quite a collection of these old ads. Appreciate the clarity too.
 
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Funny, in that first one the Shiv and Hunter labels are swapped

Good catch! I hadn't even noticed. You know, after all my years as a Cold Steel aficionado, I've still never seen an Urban Hunter in real life. For that matter, I haven't seen non-advertisement/catalog photos of one, either. In the age of the Internet, there are only a few models about which I can say that.

Thank you for re-posting your 1981-2 ad here. I was hoping you would.


You are no curmudgeon Whip, those were the good ol' days!

Ha! Maybe you're right, MWNN, maybe you're right!


Thanks, Steve. I definitely remember and participated in the Good Ol' Days ...... before the acceptance of PC as a way of life.

Perhaps not everyone has accepted Political Correctness as a way of life just yet, Mike. I know of at least one knife company that still refuses to kowtow!

To prove my point, I think it's time to unveil the infamous "severed finger" ad that I referred to awhile ago in a different thread. Now that Cold Steel no longer advertises with Blade, I don't think it's inappropriate to post it here. It appeared in the November 2017 issue.

WARNING: The ad contains a graphic (but fake) simulation of a severed finger.






IMG-6837.jpg



It was short-lived. By the following issue (Fall 2017), Cold Steel ran this, a much tamer ad bearing a similar message without the visceral punch.

IMG-6838.jpg



They did resurrect the finger ad a couple months later for the annual military issue, however. I guess they figured it wouldn't offend the sensibilities of that issue's target audience quite so easily. I think it also ran in multiple issues of Recoil magazine, presumably for the same reason.

By the April 2018 issue, Cold Steel had gotten serious, running a full-page Blade ad for the first time in decades.

IMG-6841.jpg



This might help to explain why I've actually seen Cold Steel products mentioned in the magazine's pages lately, also for the first time in decades....


-Steve
 

Mike Sastre

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[QUOTE
This might help to explain why I've actually seen Cold Steel products men
tioned in the magazine's pages lately, also for the first time in decades....
-Steve[/QUOTE]

Articles written about your products in different Knife and Gun magazines usually depends on if you are an advertiser. I know from personal experience.
 

jlauffer

Tempt not the Blade
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Good catch! I hadn't even noticed. You know, after all my years as a Cold Steel aficionado, I've still never seen an Urban Hunter in real life. For that matter, I haven't seen non-advertisement/catalog photos of one, either. In the age of the Internet, there are only a few models about which I can say that.

Thank you for re-posting your 1981-2 ad here. I was hoping you would.




Ha! Maybe you're right, MWNN, maybe you're right!




Perhaps not everyone has accepted Political Correctness as a way of life just yet, Mike. I know of at least one knife company that still refuses to kowtow!

To prove my point, I think it's time to unveil the infamous "severed finger" ad that I referred to awhile ago in a different thread. Now that Cold Steel no longer advertises with Blade, I don't think it's inappropriate to post it here. It appeared in the November 2017 issue.

WARNING: The ad contains a graphic (but fake) simulation of a severed finger.






IMG-6837.jpg



It was short-lived. By the following issue (Fall 2017), Cold Steel ran this, a much tamer ad bearing a similar message without the visceral punch.

IMG-6838.jpg



They did resurrect the finger ad a couple months later for the annual military issue, however. I guess they figured it wouldn't offend the sensibilities of that issue's target audience quite so easily. I think it also ran in multiple issues of Recoil magazine, presumably for the same reason.

By the April 2018 issue, Cold Steel had gotten serious, running a full-page Blade ad for the first time in decades.

IMG-6841.jpg



This might help to explain why I've actually seen Cold Steel products mentioned in the magazine's pages lately, also for the first time in decades....


-Steve

Think I saw one Urban Hunter on ebay many years ago.
 

nephron

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Think I saw one Urban Hunter on ebay many years ago.
I think it was 2012/2013 when I started noticing/collecting CS Knives that a set of these two came up there. By the time I decided they were real(and kinda cool), they were gone, never seen them since(loved the cool leather sheaths). Must have not been a big seller.
 

jlauffer

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I think it was 2012/2013 when I started noticing/collecting CS Knives that a set of these two came up there. By the time I decided they were real(and kinda cool), they were gone, never seen them since(loved the cool leather sheaths). Must have not been a big seller.

Don't think anything from that far back was a big seller...they're all pretty rare.
 
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Y'all have to remember that before the internet, there were only "info-mericals" and media you had to get into the hands of consumers. Cold steel marketing genius was to put VHS tapes in the hands of potential dealers/customers that had literally NO MEDIA!

Watching an hour long "show" about knife torture tests before YouTube existed was pretty incredible. For a few years they had no competition in this regard.

As far as Lynn Thompson etc. I have worked in gun/sporting good stores when I was going through college and inevitably every full time adult working behind the counter was a condescending jerk. If you are middle aged and the best you can do is an hourly employee at a retail joint, it's probably not what you dreamed about doing. Stuff happens, and a lot of the guys were just passing through on their way to a better life, but some of the "lifers" that had no ambition of doing anything better had an axe to grind with life in general and Lynn Thompson's attitude appealed to these guys. It was like a professional wrestling make-believe world.

All that said, they made a few really decent knives and products. My last resort defense to this day is an obscenely sharp Back Bear Classic , I don't think it would hold up to any regular use... but for 1-2 strikes it'd hold up.... if someone were to break into my house and wake me from a sound sleep standing over me I have faith this would slow them down 5 seconds until I could draw a firearm.
 

jlauffer

Tempt not the Blade
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Messages
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Y'all have to remember that before the internet, there were only "info-mericals" and media you had to get into the hands of consumers. Cold steel marketing genius was to put VHS tapes in the hands of potential dealers/customers that had literally NO MEDIA!

Watching an hour long "show" about knife torture tests before YouTube existed was pretty incredible. For a few years they had no competition in this regard.

As far as Lynn Thompson etc. I have worked in gun/sporting good stores when I was going through college and inevitably every full time adult working behind the counter was a condescending jerk. If you are middle aged and the best you can do is an hourly employee at a retail joint, it's probably not what you dreamed about doing. Stuff happens, and a lot of the guys were just passing through on their way to a better life, but some of the "lifers" that had no ambition of doing anything better had an axe to grind with life in general and Lynn Thompson's attitude appealed to these guys. It was like a professional wrestling make-believe world.

All that said, they made a few really decent knives and products. My last resort defense to this day is an obscenely sharp Back Bear Classic , I don't think it would hold up to any regular use... but for 1-2 strikes it'd hold up.... if someone were to break into my house and wake me from a sound sleep standing over me I have faith this would slow them down 5 seconds until I could draw a firearm.

You don't think a Black Bear Classic would hold up?:confused:o_O One of my absolute favorites. Are we talking about the same knife?

14bbcj_m.jpg
 
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Yep. What I meant to imply was that because I have young kids, I don't sleep with a loaded handgun under my pillow - but certainly within a few seconds of opening up a safe. I was raised to be paranoid since my father was on a narcotics task force in NJ and our family was harassed by criminals enough that we were constantly around loaded guns- I don't want my kids growing up with that paranoia.
The Black Bear is within a half second of my hand if I get jumped in my sleep, and what I meant to say was that the first couple strokes would put a major hurting on anyone I was defending myself or family from- it's a compliment- I'm not saying it would break, I'm saying that I have supreme confidence the first couple of strikes with this blade would cut through anything except for body armor.
 
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I think maybe they meant flax jackets. Made from delicious and healthy grains. I don't know, and I don't really care that much. If I have to knife someone wearing a flack jacket- or am in a flack jacket getting knifed, first of all I am getting on the phone with Bushmaster and demanding a refund, and then am going to sit down and consider whether or not I might have made some really poor decisions. Or I'll be screaming "WOLVERINES!" as I do it, and then the outcome is in God's hands.
 
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I rediscovered some great old Cold Steel ads in my collection. This first is obviously from 1986.

IMG-8256.jpg



The next is from a 1989 magazine. Yet since it refers to "the founding of Cold Steel seven years ago," I suspect the ad ran when the Trail Master was first offered in 1987 and wasn't updated.

IMG-8259.jpg



I just recently found this ad in a 1987 issue of Soldier of Fortune. I've never seen it elsewhere. Not only is it remarkable due to its unveiling of the Recon Tanto, but it's made even more interesting by the fact that it describes the design features of the new Recon model, but doesn't actually depict one! It's purely a guess, but I suspect that they either hadn't finalized the design or didn't have a prototype to photograph before the ad ran, or both.

IMG-8418.jpg



This is Cutlery Shoppe's 1987 ad rather than Cold Steel's, but it's interesting due to its introduction of the Trail Master. Note that the knife in the photo is unmarked. Is this one of Joe Cordova's prototypes?

IMG-8417.jpg



-Steve
 
Native XF ad, Below bottom BC
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