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Thread: Western W49 Bowie

  1. #1
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    Western W49 Bowie


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    Looking for the authenticity of this Western Bowie. From my research Western stamped on the blade not the guard. Please chime in if you know if this is a knock off and if not what year it might be and blade material.

    Thanks!




  2. #2
    Yes it's the real deal. Western started making the W49 in 1964. In 1977 Western started the practice of adding a date code to most of the knives they produced. That practice continued after the Platt family sold the company to Coleman in 1984 thru to 1991 when Camillus bought the rights to Western at auction. I've identified at least 6 variations and I think there may be a 7th between the years 1964 and 1977. The first two variations in the W49 were marked on the blade and they didn't include the stock code (W49) but did have the name Bowie on them. In Western's 1968 catalog they say that all of their fixed blade knives are marked on the guard with the stock number of the knife. I have fairly good evidence that the W49 of the 2nd version, (blade marked on the name side of the blade only with WESTERN/BOWIE/U.S.A., in 3 lines), was still the knife being produced in 1967. IMHO, contrary to what the catalog states, I believe the first guard marked W49 had BOWIE stamped on the pile side of the guard rather than W49 when they made this change in 1968.
    The markings on your knife appear on both (what I call), the 4th and fifth versions. These are the guard markings that were on the W49 when they changed from the original handle to the version in your pictures. This is why I identify it as version 5. I haven't found a precise record for the dates of each of these versions, but at this time IMHO I believe your knife is from around 1972. This is based mostly from correspondence with other owners and collectors and is still an opinion.

  3. #3
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    Thanks SAC so if your opinion is correct it would most likely be a carbon steel blade?

  4. #4
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    I agree with sac troop. The W49 I have is a K or 1987. Mine is high carbon steel as yours is also. If you want more Western info, my catalogs are posted on http://www.collectors-of-camillus.us...rn/Western.htm and there are pictures of some of my Western knives.

  5. #5
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    Here is where you can find some pictures of my Western knives http://edbeau.multiply.com/photos/al...estern_Cutlery If you want a stainless Western, you will have to buy a Westmark knife http://edbeau.multiply.com/photos/al...estmark_Knives Could you take a full picture if your knife for us Western nuts? Include the sheath!

  6. #6
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    Thanks so much for the input. Here is my one and only Western.


  7. #7
    Actually there are two options out there for a Western Bowie in stainless steel. The easiest to find with be the Camillus made W49. The blades on these are marked WESTERN/W49 U.S.A.. In 1968 Western introduced a knife with the stock number of 649S. It looks like the W49 with a stag handle. The blade is stainless steel and the handle is made from delrin. I don't know why this knife wasn't the success that the W49 was but it was only made for a few years compared to the 42 years that the W49 was made. Needless to say they are harder to find.

  8. #8
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    I am quite happy knowing that mind is CS. Sac troop do you know what kind of CS they made the earlier ones with?

  9. #9
    I've never run across anything like a materials engineer would use to describe the steel used. Chrome Vanadium steel is the description most used. Definitely a high carbon steel. I like these earliest W49's the best.

  10. #10
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    I was looking on the collectors-of camillus site and the 2006 dealers catalog calls the knife WW49 and states it is High Carbon Stainless. The cost was $129.00. I have never seen a newer Camillus/Western so I don't know if the blade stamp was W49 or WW49.

  11. #11
    The stamp on the blade was W49. Camillus placed a W in front of the number for all of the Western knives. So the Camillus stock number was WW49 in the price sheets and I believe on the boxes too.

  12. #12
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    The Western knives made by Camillus sometimes used different model numbers than the original Western Cutlery Co. The "W" indicates a Western knife and the second letter could be another "W" for wood handle or "L" for a leather handle. "WW49" indicates a Western knife with a wood handle. A "WL66" was a Western fixed blade knife with a leather handle. A "WR2" was a rubber handle hunting knife. One of the nicest Bowie knives made by Camillus had a crown stag handle. I believe that we made these for Remington. I had one in my desk at Camillus when the company closed in February 2007. Someone at the auction most likely acquired it.

    I have the blueprints for the wood plaque that was offered with the Western model #W49 Bowie knife.

    Tom Williams

  13. #13
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    Have seen some plagues for sale on the bay and they look good.

  14. #14
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    KC, looks like you are missing the top part of the sheath. There should be a loop of leather and a "D" ring. I had to buy a sheath for mine.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by edbeau View Post
    KC, looks like you are missing the top part of the sheath. There should be a loop of leather and a "D" ring. I had to buy a sheath for mine.
    It is there just folded under to fit all in the picture

  16. #16
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    Question

    So no one knows what type of steel the blade is on a circa 1972 W49?

  17. #17
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    Looking at the catalogs, i would say Chrome Vanadium Steel or Carbon Steel (High Carbon Steel). Looking at the catalogs, I see both terms mentioned. It is for sure not stainless as the later ones are not. The 1980 Catalog states Carbon Steel as the blade material. Some research of the terms could bring you the answer you want but the answer is not in any of the catalogs.

  18. #18
    I have recently discoverd an old Western Bowie I thought I had lost. What is interesting is it has the synthetic faux bone handles, likely Delrin, as seen on the
    S-649. What is strange is the blade is not staniless, I can tell from the pitting from rust. The brass s guard has "BOWIE" on one side, and "WESTERN, bolder, colo. usa" on the other. So its apparently from the 60's. So it looks like a 60's vintage W49, without the w49 markings, and has the faux bone handle like the
    S-649. Any one seen this varaition? Thanks for any feedback.

  19. #19
    I recently discovered an old Western Bowie I thought I had lost. The blade appears to be of carbon steel, as it has rusted and pitted. The brass S guard has
    "BOWIE' on one side and " WESTERN Bolder Colo. usa" on the other. So far it looks like an early W49, but it has the faux bone handels as seen on the S-649.
    This looks like a vairant W49 of 60's origin with 649 handel treatment. Any one seen this set up?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Harpman2000 View Post
    I recently discovered an old Western Bowie I thought I had lost. The blade appears to be of carbon steel, as it has rusted and pitted. The brass S guard has
    "BOWIE' on one side and " WESTERN Bolder Colo. usa" on the other. So far it looks like an early W49, but it has the faux bone handels as seen on the S-649.
    This looks like a vairant W49 of 60's origin with 649 handel treatment. Any one seen this set up?
    All I can say is pictures Please! There is the possibility that this would be a (approximately 68) W49 with a custom handle. The pictures would allow for the discussion as to it having possibly being done by the factory or (more likely in MHO) done after the knife left the factory.
    The original Western Company tended to stick pretty closely to their stock number protocol. After Coleman bought the company they were known to have offered W49's with non wooden handles and not adjusted the stock number. Heres an example.

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