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Thread: Your oldest Camillus fixed blade?

  1. #1
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    Your oldest Camillus fixed blade?


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    Surely someone here collects old Camillus/Kastor fixed blades. What is your oldest blade?

    I think these are my oldest made at Camillus, sometime in the 1930's. A “Special Factory Order”, they were made for P.G. Franz, buyer for F.W.Woolworths (originator of "five-and-ten-cent" stores) and stamped with their "KENT / N.Y. City / U.S.A." mark. Albert M. Baer was put in charge of sales in 1930. From what I have been able to learn, this small inexpensive hunting knife was made between 1931 and 1939. The most expensive items Woolworths sold in the stores until that time were 10 cents in the east, and 15 cents in the west. Then with Camillus knives sold to them by Baer, in 1932 they rocked the stock market by announcing goods for 20 cents!

    When the knives hit the stores, they were a sensation. The sales were enormous. You could go and count how many they sold per hour. In fact, I did just that, and we started to mechanize the Camillus factory as a result of the Woolworth order.




    These rosewood handled Kent "Sportsman's Knife" is plain ground and full tanged with two brass pins through the handle scales. They are 7 1/2" long with 4" blades.
    Last edited by Codger_64; 03-25-2010 at 08:14 PM.

  2. #2
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    My next oldest Camillus made fixed blade is, coincidentally, a #5559 "Sportsman Krome Plate" which Tom Williams tells us was introduced in 1939. These have bone handle scales and are riveted instead of pinned.



    I have two of these also, but they have different bone jigging.


  3. #3
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    Now my oldest Adolph Kastor & Bros. knife is a copy of the Marbles Fish Knife. One is marked " W.H. Morley & Sons / Germany"



    The other is marked "A.W. Wadsworth & Son / Germany"



    Both date, I believe, from prior to 1915 and were made in the Germania Cutlery Works in Ohligs, Germany.

  4. #4
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    Beautiful examples Codger!
    Probably some of the nicest I have seen.

    Thank you so very much for sharing them with us!
    Фил Гиббс
    Jack of all Knives....
    Master of None!

    Quote Originally Posted by james terrio View Post
    I'll jimp anything legal, if the price is right

  5. #5
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    Thanks Phil. I like looking at (and owning and handling) the blades that made Camillus the "Quiet Giant" it became. My best examples to date have been found in the SFO genre which is largely ignored by collectors.

    Here are a few more patterns I have run across which were made for the Kastors in Germany or Nixdorf Bohemia/Austria/Mikulasovice, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic).

    By way of explanation,
    The mark AUSTRIA usually means that a knife was made in Nixdorf, Bohemia (now called Mikulasovice, Czech Republic), between 1891 and 1914.... Czechoslovakia was created after WWI... From 1891 to 1915 its items made there for export to the USA were marked AUSTRIA. The English blockaded American ports in 1915 stopping importation of German goods. After 1918 they were marked CZECHOSLOVAKIA.... Morley was not a company. It was an import brand used by A. Kastor & Bros of NYC.... The brand was used circa 1913-1927.... Morley brand pocketknives were made in Solingen-Ohligs Germany, and in Nixdorf Bohemia, in the Austrian Empire -- now called Mikulasovice, in the Czech Republic.
    W.H. Morley and A.W. Wadsworth were both brandings and shell companies owned by the Kastors to facilitate larger importation quotas and provide Anglicised names for their imported knives (Kastor was originally Koester in Germany). All together, Adolph Kastor & Brothers (Nathan, Sigmund and August) became the nation's largest importer of knives.

    The Kastors had their own factory in Solingen-Ohligs , Germany to produce pocket knives, but they still had other folding and fixed blades made and marked for them by other German cutleries in and around Solingen. Nathan Kastor was in charge of this factory, Germania Cutlery Works, and was also the Kastor's buyer for cutlery from the area and also from Nixdorf.



    This is a list of Nixdorf culeries active in 1928:
    Jakob Dittrich
    Joh. Edward Dittrich
    Jos. Drasche & Sohn (at Wolmsdorf)
    Franz Frenzel
    H. Knoth
    Julius Pilz Sohne
    Ig. Rosler's Nach
    Ig. Rosler's Sohne

    Of these, Ignaz Rosler's Nachfolgerei (successors) is still in business, now called Mikov.

    A.W. Wadsworth & Sons - Czechoslovakia



    Last edited by Codger_64; 03-26-2010 at 11:56 AM.

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