"Old Knives"

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by VCM3, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. afishhunter

    afishhunter Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 21, 2014
    That's what I heard. I also heard that those made offshore in the 1970's "were appropriately marked".
    Since this example has neither "Made in ___" or "USA" on it, I'm guessing it is 1930's production. :)
     
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  2. r8shell

    r8shell Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jan 16, 2010
    Something cool showed up today.
    Friedmann & Lauterjung Celebrated Cutlery (1864-1909) according to Goins.

    It's a cute little pen knife, with a missing shield. I guess that's what happens if a shield is glued, rather than pinned. It's bound to come out after 100 years or so. ;) I'm a little surprised that the shield wasn't pinned, since the covers look like ivory to me. In which case, I wouldn't think it was a budget line knife.

    It also looks like someone used sandpaper to clean it. :confused: I don't know if I should leave it as is, or take some finer sandpaper to get the scratches out. I have some 1000 and 1500 grit.

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  3. waynorth

    waynorth Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Nov 19, 2005
    "{quote}It's very possible that they were done by someone afterward. I've never seen an absolute mint knife with those marks. You can see that the stag is actually below the liner edge on a couple of the pruners yet the marks are still there. It's definitely a bit of a mystery to me. @ea42{end quote}
    Here is that "filed Stag" knife, Eric, open!! Very little use if any, just rub marks! (The plot thickens!!:eek::D) Saynor Stag 1.jpg Saynor Stag 2.jpg Saynor Stag 3.jpg
     
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  4. paulhilborn

    paulhilborn Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    That's very cool r8shell, I know we say it often here in the vintage knife thread but "Man if that knife could talk" someone cared for that knife but also honestly used it. It may sound odd but I'll look at very worn knives and think if that was my only knife and if it would carry me to my end dayso_O:)
     
  5. r8shell

    r8shell Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jan 16, 2010
    Thanks, I know what you mean.
    None of my new knives will gain that kind of honest wear in my lifetime.
     
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  6. ea42

    ea42 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 1, 2006
    Charlie it certainly does! Geez that's a gorgeous knife! I also note how the cuts are all dark, as if they were hit with compound or PM afterward. It's very puzzling for sure. Maybe it was a common way of roughly trimming the wilder pieces of stag that couldn't be fitted perfectly. We may never know.

    Sure would be nice if these old timers were still around, I'll bet they'd have some answers:

    “Billy” Morehouse, age 77, bent and infirm, was a “groinder” at the old American Knife Company, Reynolds Bridge, Thomaston, and his father before him was a “groinder” who left Sheffield, England, like many of his [kind?], midway in nineteenth century, to ply his trade in busy New England, Morehouse pere came to Lakeville, Conn., where in years gone by there was a thriving knife business, moved to Winsted, thence to Northfield and Thomaston, like others of the peripatetic craft, returned once to the old country on a “visit” which lasted three years, but came back to Connecticut where he was eventually killed as the result of an accident peculiar to his calling.

    “Billy”, feeble, “hard of hearing” but mentally keen still lives in the house his father built high on a hilltop overlooking the Watertown Thomaston road at the western end of the “village.” He switches off his favorite rade program—the National league [game?] broadcast from Boston this afternoon—to answer questions about his vanished trade, first bringing out for inspection a ferocious appearing hunting knife with a blade eight inches long and solid bone handle, and a [combina?]-knife fork and spoon made for the Grand Army of the Republic in wholesale [lots?]. These, he declares, are the only mementoes he possesses of years spent as a knifemaker.

    “Made the huntin' knife myself,” he says, “fifty years ago. Look at it. Just as keen and shining as it was the day I finished it. And this other thing here— “ Mr. Morehouse, by deft manipulation, converts the army knife into knife and fork—two pieces where one had been before. Another sleight of hand performance results in the appearance of a spoon, small but serviceable, Folded, the implement appears to be an ordinary, if old fashioned, wooden jack knife, gives no hint of its surprising utility.

    “I just kind of drifted into the business,” says Mr. Morehouse. Traces of

    the broad Sheffield dialect, refined in these second generation knifemakers, are barely perceptibly in his speech, consist mainly of dropped aitches.

    “In the old days, you know, you followed in your father's footsteps as a rule, and that's what I did. That was especially true of knifemakers. My father was a ‘groinder’, and so I became a ‘groinder’.

    Learned my trade from 'im. Pierpont and Morse ran the company then—that's the old shop in the village I mean. There was the Thomaston Knife Company up on the main road. I worked there for a while, too, when Warner ran it. Then I left knifemakin' one time and went to work in the watch shop.

    “They' 'ad a strike down were 'ere in ninety two. The grinders and the finishers struck. That was when Dr. Feguson owned the place. They tried substitute workmen, but of course some of them didn't know what they were doin' and spoiled a lot of work, so the doctor got tired of it and sold out to a firm in Newark, New Jersy. Then I went to work for Warner. I worked up in Northfield for a while, too.

    “The shop in the village 'ere burnt down twice the same year, did Dunbar tell you that when you saw him? I think it was in seventy six. Burnt down once and they rebuilt it and eleven months later it burnt down again.

    “My father? Oh, it's kind of a long story. He came 'ere from the old country and went to work up at the Holly Manufacturing Company in Lakeville. Then not long afterwards the Civil War broke out and he enlisted in the Eleventh Connecticut and lost a toe at Fredericksburg. Why'd 'e enlist? Hell, I don't think 'e 'ad any outstandin' reason. He was a militiaman in the old country, he was always [attracted?] to soldierin'.

    “I was nine months old when he brought 'is family over 'ere. We lived in Goshen for a while, and then in Northfield. 'E worked up there quite a while before 'e came to the village. 'E was quite a drinker, my father was, like most of the old timers in the trade, and very independent. But 'e was a good worker. It wasn't

    anything for him to do three and a half and four dollars a day in the days when two dollars was good pay. But 'e'd go on a spree about once a month and stay out a week or so, so 'e never 'ad any more comin' than the ones that worked steady.

    “'E'd be on a [bet?], and run out of money and down 'e'd go to the office and ask them for an advance. If they said no, he'd say, all right by God he wouldn't be back. Then they'd give it to 'em, for 'e was a good worker.

    “ 'E finally got killed at 'is work. Up in Winsted it was. A grindstone burst under 'im. It knocked 'im clear to the ceiling, and down the opposity wall, and onto the floor. A piece of the stone hit 'im in the forehead. Well, couple of the men picked 'im up and rushed 'im right to the doctor, and in the meantime 'e come to. At the doctor's 'e bagan to joke about it, and even walked upstairs without 'elp. Wouldn't let them touch 'im. Doctor examined 'im and said 'e seemed to be all right, and 'e went home, and ate 'is supper that night, though 'e didn't eat very much. Followin' day 'e complained of feelin' bad, and soon after 'e was dead. It's my belief 'e 'ad a concussion. They didn't know any too much in those days, the doctors didn't.

    “My father wasn't a very tall man, but 'e 'ad a pair of shoulders on 'im like a bull, and 'e was plenty strong. A lot of the grinders would drop off with the con. ‘Groinders' complaint’ they used to call it. It probably would've got me, if I'd worked steadier at it. But I worked in between in the watch shop, you see. I was never as husky as my father, only weight about 127 in the summer and 135 in the wintor. It was very unhealthy work, grindin' was.

    “Never 'ad any protection. They used a hankerchief over their noses when they ‘faced’ a stone—that is, trued it up. They were forty two to fifty inches in diameter, the stones were, and had a face about four and a half inches. You'd hang 'em in a trough and true 'em up. Used sharpened steel to true 'em and it made an awful dust. Very unhealthy.

    “Used to use English sandstone, mostly, or American bluestone. The sandstone would cut better, but it was apt to break on you. You know 'ow we used to work, sittin' right over the grindstone on a block of oak, with the stone runnin' between the knees and the work in the center. You can see what was likely to 'appen if the stone burst. I 'ad one break on me one time, but as luck would 'ave it I wasn't workin' on it. I was sittin' back readin' a novel at lunch hour, and when they started up at one o'clock I was almost through. I wanted to finish the book,'so I kept on readin'. And damned it my stone didn't go up.

    “First thing you 'ad to watch for when you was truin' [em?] was crack or flaws. That's what made 'em break. You might get one almost done and find a flaw in it, and have to start on another. These Lake Huron stones used to give good cuts and some were as [?}]hard as hell's steps,’ they used to say. The Germans, I've heard, worked in front of the stone, some way.

    “Well, strikes and fights, and cheap foreign knives were what ruined the grinder's trade. They got strikin' too much around this section, and first thing you know they were doin, the work by machine.

    “They struck up in Northfield, I remember. And Catlin went over to England to bring back knifemakers to run his plant, but the Knights of Labor, or some such organizations got to 'em as soon as they landed 'ere and not one of 'em went to work in Northfield. Catlin was liable, under the law, for bringin' those men over 'ere. I think there was a fine of a thousand dollars a head for the offense.

    But 'e got Senator Hawley workin' for 'im and 'e got out of it pretty cheap in the end.

    “'Owever the boys fixed Senator Hawley for 'is part in it. Next time 'e stood for reelection they sent the senator back 'ome.

    “I wish I could give you more details. I'm no good on dates and names. Dunbar's much better at it. He's older than I am, too, over eighty.”
     
  7. danno50

    danno50 Gold Member Gold Member

    916
    Apr 15, 2008
    Good post, @ea42, I always enjoy reading the interviews with the old timers.:thumbsup:
     
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  8. ea42

    ea42 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 1, 2006
    Dan I think that was an old post from Dimitri that I had copied, great stuff for sure!

    Eric
     
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  9. danno50

    danno50 Gold Member Gold Member

    916
    Apr 15, 2008
    While paging through the Sheffield Golden Era 1830 to 1930, I came across a post by @Cambertree with these photos of Stan Shaw coining liners with a tool he made himself.

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  10. r8shell

    r8shell Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jan 16, 2010
    Neat! Thanks for posting those pictures. That sure is a larger wheel than on the jeweler's milgrain tool, but the same mechanical principle, I suppose.
     
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  11. LongBlade

    LongBlade

    326
    May 8, 2015
    Some great knives posted the last few pages by all :thumbsup: :thumbsup: ... and thanks for posting that interview Eric - quite enjoy that series of interviews that came out of the WPA program from 1936-1940 where multiple folks from the old cutlery industry gave their views and memories on how it really was to work in those companies :cool:...

    Here's a little Saturday morn contribution :) - Waterville Swell-Center Ballon Whittler - 3 & 5/8" - 2 secondary blades and wedged backspring - nice MOP that even has a "pimple" defect on the mark side LOL... still a snappy and tight knife after all these years..

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    Cheers!
     
  12. waynorth

    waynorth Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Nov 19, 2005
    Nice Balloon, @LongBlade !! :thumbsup: Don't be applying any Clearasil to that Pearl!! I like natural defects!!:D
     
  13. LongBlade

    LongBlade

    326
    May 8, 2015
    LOLOL - Thanks Charlie - the hafters loved those pimples and other defects so I wouldn’t consider clearasil :) ... to them it added “pizazz” to the knife :cool: ..
     
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  14. Campbellclanman

    Campbellclanman Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    That's a great Ol' Waterville Longblade- Pleasure to view for sure! They sure knew how to make a knife in those days - thats the great thing about this Thread as well as our other great Thread - "Golden era"
    So much quality and beautiful pieces for us to look at and learn about!
     
  15. CNoyes

    CNoyes Gold Member Gold Member

    661
    May 30, 2009
    Going back a few pages to long pulls that extend through the tang; somewhere, in the deep recesses of my mind and mind those recesses grow deeper every day, I recall reading that the explanation was the pulls were forged, not stamped.

    I don't know anything about forging and precious little about knife making.

    Pretty sure it was BL that stated that, about the forging of long pulls, not my lack of knowledge.
     
  16. waynorth

    waynorth Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Nov 19, 2005
    Nice to hear from you, Charlie N!!
     
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  17. Augie

    Augie Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 23, 2014
    A small pile for Wednesday, a Wallkill River Works whittler, a Northfield swell center jack and a pair of Camillus easy open jacks, the one with bail is a 4 line and the other is a short line.


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  18. waynorth

    waynorth Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Nov 19, 2005
    A nice Antique collection, John!! @Augie :D Some significant History there!!:)
    Worthy of the best accumulations of old Beauties!!;)
     
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  19. Augie

    Augie Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 23, 2014

    Thanks Charlie, been a good couple weeks, have some other rare ones on the way but USPS is holding them hostage.
     
  20. Campbellclanman

    Campbellclanman Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Love that Northfield Augie ( if I can say that as if the other Knives were kinda ordinary :rolleyes: ).
    Nice Haul - That bone is gorgeous on that Whittler.
     
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