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Thread: Hammer Brand serpentine jack

  1. #1
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    Hammer Brand serpentine jack


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    A couple of days ago my brother was looking in an antique store at some old pocket knives. there were a lot of colonial scout style knives an electricians knife, and some other assorted cutlery in ok to poor condition. He came out with what appears to be a Hammer Brand serpentine jack. it has grey or olive cracked ice celluloid handles, a 2.5 inch clip point main blade and a 1.5 inch pen blade. both open from the same end of the handle.

    I don't know how old the knife is, but it says hammer brand on the ricasso of the main blade and has patent numbers on the ricasso of the pen blade. The main blade appears to have an insignia between the two M's in Hammer. The word Brand is offset to the right beneath the word Hammer. On the ricasso of the pen blade are: PAT. NOS. and beneath that : 2037943. The third line reads: 2170537.

    The blades appear to be 99% and the main blade may have been sharpened once or twice before my brother got it. the edge on the pen blade appeares sharpened and has scratches from it. The pen blade still has a shine to it and has some stains near the tip. the main blade has a nice nice patina as do the bolsters at each end. the celluloid is thin as are the bolsters and liners. one of the scales appears to be slightly warped and the other has two tabs sticking up from it on the spine side.

    the springs of the knife are still tight and both blades open and close with a snap. The pen blade spring appears to be the stronger of the two, because opening the knife nearly tears my thumbnail off. the clip blade is easier to open and does not have as much of a snap as the pen does, nor does it pull at my nail!

    The main blade has the humpbacked clip and long thumb pull that i have seen on imperial barlow knives and other inexpensive or mass produced slipjoints. the pen blade has the familiar thumb nick. when closed, the pen blade does not seat fully and a tiny portion of the tip protrudes, but the humped spine of the clip blade keeps this covered while the blades are closed. the bolsters are stamped sheet metal it seems and are fastened by a tab folded down into a notch in the liners.

    I like this little knife, and my brother only paid about fifteen dollars for it. I occasionally get into a traditional phase and stick a slipjoint in my pocket, but it is usually an old timer large stockman or a queen cocobolo/D2 two blade congress. I think today though I am going to carry this little serpentine jack and enjoy using it.

    pete

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete1977 View Post
    ...I don't know how old the knife is, but it says hammer brand on the ricasso of the main blade and has patent numbers on the ricasso of the pen blade. The main blade appears to have an insignia between the two M's in Hammer. The word Brand is offset to the right beneath the word Hammer. On the ricasso of the pen blade are: PAT. NOS. and beneath that : 2037943. The third line reads: 2170537...
    pete
    Hi Pete. From your description, you do have an Imperial Knife Company Hammer Brand, made on their Jackmaster patents. It is hard to say what pattern number and give a close date without seeing good pictures, but the first patent number, #2037943 is the 1936 Stiehl "Knife With Handle Casing" patent of 1936, which IKC acquired and added to. The second patent, #2170537 is the 1939 patent granted to Felix Mirando (co-founder and part owner of IKC) "Knife Handle and Components". Subsequent patents were acquired in 1942, 1945, 1954, and 1955, so it is probable your knife was made after 1938 and prior to 1942. I hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    hmm. that's older than I thought. It's in pretty good condition considering its probable age. I don't have a camera or scanner anymore so I'm limited in posting pics, but I would have guessed it to be from the sixties at the oldest. no particular reason for the guess other than the nearly unused condition of the knife. it looks to have been carried, and used lightly if at all. there is slight side to side play in the clip main blade, but the blades are both intact, and the springs very tight. thanks for the info on the estimated age of the knife. I don't think it will prevent me from carrying or using it, as I am pretty pleased with it overall.

    pete

  4. #4
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    Oct 2004
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    These are tangstamp illustrations published in Knife World quite some time back. Maybe they will help confirm the date estimate. Or not. The use of tangstamps was not like turning a faucet on and off, so there was sometimes quite a lot of overlap.

    As for using your knife.... we, as collectors, all too often tend to forget that knives are first and foremost...tools. Designed and manufactured to be used. While it is the inclination of most of us to preserve old knives, I see nothing wrong with your using your knife as was intended. Myself, I've been using the sandbar bowie to cut firewood and Lincoln's knife to play mumbley peg. Your knife is uncommon in it's age, but not a rare thing that has great historical of monetary value. Use it and enjoy!

    Codger

  5. #5
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    Codger- on my knife, the tang stamp design splits the word Hammer into Ham mer with the design's upper portion between the M's in the word. The word Brand is then to the right of the insignia below the word Hammer and the B is beneath the second M. the writing is in all caps as well. I can't make out what the actual design is because of a dark black patina obscuring it. It is similar to all three of the drawings in the condition it is in. again thanks for the information that we know, and I'll be definately using this knife.

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