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Thread: Questions and info about: "Old Faithful Companions II" -Gift Set for 1979

  1. #1
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    Questions and info about: "Old Faithful Companions II" -Gift Set for 1979


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    I recently bought a very nice gift set from 1979. I first saw these sets in "Phil's Photo Gallery" (Thanks for posting your fine Imperial collection Phil!) in the Georgia edition. Here's that link:

    http://www.collectors-of-schrades-r....er-Georgia.htm

    The set I purchased is not a "Georgia" set though. It is the "Florida" edition with matching serial numbers "0515". I have more than a few questions about it:

    1. I assume these sets (and all Frontiers of this period) were hand-made (see great links at bottom of post) in Providence R.I. not Ellenville because it was long before 1985 when Baer consolidated operations in New York. This was an "Imperial Knife Associated Companies Inc." set with all three names "Imperial Knife Co. Inc.", "Ulster Knife Co. Inc. and "Schrade Walden Cutlery Corp." on the box and not just a Frontier offering though which is why I ask. These certainly look just like the Double Eagle 4515 and 4715 models but with "Ol' Ivory" delrin handles and are most certainly stamped "Frontier". Were these truly hand made in Rhode Island?

    2. Which States were these made available to? All of them or just a few?

    3. How many sets per State?

    4. Anybody know what these sets sold for back then? (or were they perhaps sales-man's give-away only for important accounts?)

    5. How rare are these sets now?

    6. What is the set worth right now?

    7. Anyone else have examples from States other than Georgia and Florida? I'd like to check out the etchings.

    8. If this is "Old Faithful Companions II" set then what was included in the first "Old Faithful Companions" set and when was it offered?

    I do really like the size and shape of these (3" and 4" closed like the "Nugget" and "Sportster" Double Eagles). They are very "pocketable" as Imperial said in 1977 (http://www.collectors-of-schrades-r....es/FT-77-7.htm). It's a good example of going with current market trends how Imperial went as far as to say big lockbacks in sheaths made no point (might as well have fixed blade on your belt) in 1977 but after Schrade's unprecedented "Ultimate Lockback" success in 1978 they changed their tune for 1978 and put out the "Big Horn" to sell in department stores etc. where the LB-7 wasn't marketed.

    I guess I want to learn all I can about these is the bottom line.
    Thanks guys!

    (box lid)


    (inside lid)


    (knives)


    (here's great info, thanks again to lrv's awesome efforts, on Frontier brand and how it relates and is very comparable in quality to Schrade brand. "Uncle Henry" and Albert Baer, it seems, ran the whole Imperial show and used proven Schrade techniques and even old equipment moved from Ellenville to Providence R.I. plant to "penetrate" expanding market for high quality knives. Nothing better than having only yourself for competition!)

    http://www.collectors-of-schrades-r....es/FT-76-4.htm
    http://www.collectors-of-schrades-r....es/FT-76-5.htm

    http://www.collectors-of-schrades-r....pages/FR76.htm
    http://www.collectors-of-schrades-r....ges/FR76-2.htm
    http://www.collectors-of-schrades-r....ges/FR76-3.htm
    Last edited by Dave Thinkstoomuch; 10-17-2009 at 03:30 PM. Reason: fixed error, "rust-resistant carbon" is code for stainless

  2. #2
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    those are really pretty Dave. the blade is much shaplier than the LB-7 isn't it. not a bad thing just different.

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    Nice!!
    a fellow Imperial collector!!!




    Those look really cool
    I hope , for you, they did not make all 50 states!!!
    That would be a LIFELONG obsession/search for ME

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    That Frontier Old Faithful Companions set looks like it might have shared an etch with the Dixie Series, which had an LB8 (usually with an LB7 stamp) and 144UH in it.

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    Hal, good call, I noticed that myself. Was that set called the Old Faithful Companion set as well? I'm wondering since this Imperial set has a II in the title. Not sure myself though, Dixie Series does make more sense, and I don't recall the title on the package.

    I believe those UH sets were sold in the following states: Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Those flowers on the etches are the state flowers.
    I believe there were initally 500 sets for each state offered. I have no idea if this was mimmicked with the Imperials, but I would bet that the same states were offered.

    Eric
    Last edited by ea42; 10-15-2009 at 11:11 PM.

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    Thanks for your comments guys! Seven sets to go. Woe is me.

    delmas2nd: I love the lines of these knives. They are best compared to the LB-3 and LB-5. The smaller 3" one (Frontier's "Nugget" size) came with cool pocket not belt sheath to protect it from change or keys etc when it was in you pocket. The larger 4" one (Frontier's "Sportster" size) is I think perfect front pocket size. They are slim but blade it big and tough enough to get the job done. "The Frontiersman" was not telling lies when he said it was pocketable in '77.

    Trent Rock: "That would be a LIFELONG obsession/search for ME ": yeah, I'm toast... Glad to see it's bout the quality and history and not just the letters that spell Schrade. Imperial was world's biggest manufacturer of pocket-knives back in the day. That's super impressive and since 1942 when Baers took over everything Schrade and Imperial mos def go hand in hand. Rhode Island or New York still American made and huge part of local history in those places. I love the P-1. On the boxes of those P-series knives from early '80s it says "The knife of the future"...available now. That kinda stuff always makes me chuckle seeing how we live in that future now and every new knife doesn't look like that but they sure look "80s" to me.

    Hal and Eric: Good call about etchings. I totally agree about resemblance to Dixie sets and I thought those were a Christmas 1978 offering as proclaimed on box-top. I doubt that these were "Old Faithful Companions" one though. The 144 is a bit big to be a "constant companion": just a guess. The blade etched State name and flowers were likely done where ever the Schrade Dixie sets were because as we all noticed they are soooo close. Totally Schrade looking. I didn't know what list of Dixie set States was so that's real good info for me. 500 per State can't be right if mine is serial # 0515. I would bet that Eric's right that this set was offered to same States as Dixie set because I'm sure it was driven by marketing and research: lots of Southern knife collectors and shows it seems.

    Here's a wild guess I'd love someone to confirm or disprove. Maybe this was truly an example of quality from all three divisions because it was a part-Ulster design made by Imperial in R.I. and etched by Schrade in Ellenville. Who knows? Lets all keep digging...
    Last edited by Dave Thinkstoomuch; 10-16-2009 at 10:18 PM.

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    Funny timing getting these both now or I never might have noticed:
    The blade on the larger of these two knives is nearly an exact match both in size and profile to the clip blade in my "Harry Gant" trapper discussed in another thread. Seems to me a good example of the sharing of ideas between the three Imperial divisions. This 1979 carbon Frontier blade looks almost identical to the 1992 stainless Schrade blade. Just me?

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    Dave,

    All three companies were basically one and the same. Kind if like Pontiac, Chevy, and Buick all being under GM's wing. There was a ton of parts sharing, with everything made just different enough that there was minimal competition between knives. Not only that, but different stages of build on a single knife might have taken place at the two factories. 15OT's were blanked at Schrade, sent to R.I. for heat treat, and then sent back to Schrade for building and grinding, then sent back to Providence for satin finish. This was a big reason for the consolidation into Ellenville, to avoid the delays in sending parts back and forth.

    Eric

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    Quote Originally Posted by ea42 View Post
    Dave,

    All three companies were basically one and the same. Kind if like Pontiac, Chevy, and Buick all being under GM's wing. There was a ton of parts sharing, with everything made just different enough that there was minimal competition between knives. Not only that, but different stages of build on a single knife might have taken place at the two factories. 15OT's were blanked at Schrade, sent to R.I. for heat treat, and then sent back to Schrade for building and grinding, then sent back to Providence for satin finish. This was a big reason for the consolidation into Ellenville, to avoid the delays in sending parts back and forth.

    Eric
    Thanks Eric. I knew they are all basically one and the same but I think many new collectors may not. I had always assumed the Ellenville consolidation was just to cut out excess management salaries and to raise money by selling the assets. I thought the different divisions were more autonomous. I didn't realize they were sending stuff back and forth on a regular basis. That does sound extra costly indeed.

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    scans and sheaths

    Here are some better pics of the knives in these sets and the sheaths that came with them. I'm now able to include the North Carolina set as well as the Florida.








  11. #11
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    I recently found an Alabama set and it arrived in the mail today. It was too tarnished for my liking so I cleaned it up. I also cleaned up my North Carolina set since the last photos.

    Here are "before" pics of the Alabama set and an "after" pic of the happy 6-knife family. I hope it continues to grow!





  12. #12
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    just call me strange but the tarnished photos look nice shows off the white of the handle.

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    To each their own, delmas. I know a lot of collectors like the aged look too but I'm not one of them. Cheers!

  14. #14
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    now don't get me wrong i keep my LB 7's nice and polished also. and probably in person the polished as new look is the way to go. just in the photos the contrast shows up so well.

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    That brass has to be polished up constantly if you like it shiny. I am not a fan of brass bolsters period. Bad choice of material in my opinion. That being said, I do like the blade profile on both of those Frontiers.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by thawk View Post
    That brass has to be polished up constantly if you like it shiny. I am not a fan of brass bolsters period. Bad choice of material in my opinion. That being said, I do like the blade profile on both of those Frontiers.
    Brass does age unevenly on these. If it was an even patina it would be fine but big black spots are over my line. Cheers!

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