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Thread: Schrade USA - Parker Frost Preferred Series - 1978

  1. #1
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    Schrade USA - Parker Frost Preferred Series - 1978


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    Contracted by Schrade USA for Parker-Frost


    Brown Bone Set, Muskrat, Trapper, Liner-Lock, Stockman


    Johnny Muskrat


    Mink


    Little Bandit


    Bison

    Nice quality, carbon steel blades, also came in red and green bone. Some sets were serialized.

  2. #2
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    Nice. Quite an interesting story behind these knives too. But I'll let someone else tell it.

  3. #3
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    Nice set!

    I believe Codger is referring to the "1978-x Schrade" tang stamp on the reverse of these blades. They were a surprise that Jim Parker didn't want or order but got stuck with.

    The whole story from Bruce Voyles:

    Quote Originally Posted by TennKnifeman View Post
    Jim Parker was an antique knife trader/gun dealer who decided when the 1968 Gun Control Act restricted the sales of guns across state lines that knives were a good alternative. He was credit manager of Sherwin-Williams Paint in Chattanooga at the time. He would also buy modern knives, etc. and one of his customers was Jim Frost, who was working at an Army Ammunition Plant selling knives out of his lunchbox.
    They formed a company in the early 70's, Parker was President of the National Knife Collectors Association and Frost was Executive director. Parker continued selling old knives on his own, Frost sold the new knives, and together their partnership sold commemorative knives starting in 1974 with a set call the Eagle set, which were made by Imperial/Schrade. Not sure which factory actually manufactured the knives, but they were paid for through Schrade. These were 4" 3 blade stock knives (Not 8OT's, as the are not "Old Timers"). They followed up with a three knife set called the Service Series, honoring the founding of the Army, Navy and Marines--these knives were crimped bolster knives made by Imperial. These sets were part of the rush to get knives out for the 1976 Bicentennial.
    At that time W. R. Case & Sons knives were the only knives still being made in the US with bone handles, and there was a huge collector demand for US made bone handled knives. Parker and Frost went to Schrade with the idea, and they produced a series of bone handle knives on existing Schrade patterns. There were a few stags made in the stock pattern as well. They were introduced in 1978 and so dated on the back of the blade, and each knife was given a number as a pattern, Trappers might be a model 3, and would be numbered 1978-3. Stockmen were 1978-5 as I recall, etc. (not sure on the specific numbers as I'd doing this off the top of my head at the moment--should be obvious on the knives themselves though).
    Each major pattern was available in green, red, or brown bone. Saw cut delrin black handles were also made.
    Parker-Frost merged all of their businesses when this set was made, and each owned equally the vintage, modern, and commemorative business. As I recall Parker told me they had borrowed 3 million dollars to order the knives.
    However, the Schrade mark was not supposed to be on the back of the tang--which was not greeted with any enthusiasm when it was discovered. (In fact it was a major crisis and it took quite a bit of talk to keep the lawyers out of it. Eventually they did come to some agreement and the knives were accepted).
    Originally there were only to be four major distributors of the knives: Parker-Frost, Craig Matthews Cutlery, House of Knives in Louisville, KY, and Voyles Cutlery (yours truly). However when sales did not reach projections it was opened up to everyone and the market flooded. At one point the bone handled boxed knives could be bought for $8.00 each, despite the $25.00 retail. The same knife with a delrin handled could be had with a Schrade only tang mark at about half that amount.
    This was supposed to be an ongoing production line to compete with Case on the collector market--but the Schrade name on the knife allowed the collectors to instantly compare the delrin handled Schrade with the Bone handled Parker-Frost and there was price resistance to the additional cost required for the bone handles and Parker-Frost mark up. In my opinion the Schrade mark on the knives was the kiss of death for the line at the time.
    About this time Parker-Frost also started importing knives from Japan, which sold much better than the overpriced Parker-Frost/Schrade-made knives. (And the Japanese knives didn't have the name of the Japanese manufacturer on the back). Once the first few patterns from Japan hit Parker-Frost never looked back and at one point became the largest importer of knives in the US.
    Parker and Frost went their own separate ways prior to 1980, with both continuing to import knives from Japan as Parker Cutlery Eagle Brand knives, and Frost who used the Falcon as his mark.
    Frost continues today, and has brought knives in from nearly every major knife manufacturing company. He is a major supplier of the knives sold on TV sales channels--and has a huge facility alongside I-75 on the north side of Chattanooga, TN.
    Parker went on to buy Cutlery World Stores, W. R. Case, as well as starting a factory in Jacksonville, Alabama which evolved into Bear & Son Cutlery today. Jim Parker passed away a few years ago, his son Buzz continues the family business today, importing Bulldog knives from Germany.
    As far as my background as the source of this info is a quote from legendary gun writer Elmer Keith. "Hell, I was there." While still going to college in Atlanta in 1974-75 I made sales calls for Parker-Frost on their Eagle sets and Service series to Beck & Gregg Hardware. I moved to Chattanooga in 1977 to edit the NKCA magazine and learned much of what I know about knives, people, and life in general from Jim Parker. He is one of the few people who have passed on that I miss a little more every day. He left a huge gap in the knife world.

    Bruce Voyles

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    I would like to know whether the blades in the preferred series and in the original Eagle stockman series were stainless or not. I have the Eagle set with matching numbers, boxes, etc. but no ugly plaque. Anybody know?
    Always looking for larger Schrade Cutcos, cattle knives & lovely old bone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Thinkstoomuch View Post
    Nice set!

    I believe Codger is referring to the "1978-x Schrade" tang stamp on the reverse of these blades. They were a surprise that Jim Parker didn't want or order but got stuck with.

    The whole story from Bruce Voyles:
    Yes, that is the story from Bruce Voyles point of view, as a protoge of Jim Parker. There is, of course, another side of the story. Very few people took advantage of Albert Baer and got away with it scott-free. A further search of the BRL forum will reveal a part of this other story. Eventually, regardless of Parker's fame and fortunes, the Baers refused to have further business dealings with him. Remaining former principals of Imperial Schrade know the story from the Schrade side, but I doubt any of them would be willing to discuss it today.

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    Cal, I see a little stain on these. I think they are carbon steel. I love that story too.

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    Beautiful scales on this set. Seem well fitted too. And every bit Schrades, regardless of who they were an SFO for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Codger_64 View Post
    Beautiful scales on this set. Seem well fitted too. And every bit Schrades, regardless of who they were an SFO for.
    Thanks Michael. I've picked these four up over the course of several years. I was looking for one brown bone of each and no serial number on the bolster. Johnny Muskrat had evaded me for quite some time. I'm not positive, but it seems like it was mentioned once that Schrade obtained the bone for these from Boker. But maybe that was for the Tradesman series.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Codger_64 View Post
    Yes, that is the story from Bruce Voyles point of view, as a protoge of Jim Parker. There is, of course, another side of the story. Very few people took advantage of Albert Baer and got away with it scott-free. A further search of the BRL forum will reveal a part of this other story. Eventually, regardless of Parker's fame and fortunes, the Baers refused to have further business dealings with him. Remaining former principals of Imperial Schrade know the story from the Schrade side, but I doubt any of them would be willing to discuss it today.
    Hmmm, interesting... I found the quote in this forum but I will dig around in the BRL forum next. I'd like to hear the "other side". You are being pretty cryptic on this one Codger, but I like a mystery. Thanks for handing me a juicy one. Jim Parker seems to have been quite a "character" in the US knife saga.

    Hal, Codger spoke to the Boker/Schrade connection here: http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...ighlight=boker

    "Also, at least as late as the Heritage Series of Schrade knives, Schrade did buy much of their processed (dyed and jigged) bone handle scales from Boker in Germany. Perhaps this continued to the end, but I have not come across communications, purchase orders and shipping receipts to prove that yet."

    Thanks again Michael for being the great source that you are!

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  11. #11
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    Dang. Codger killed the forum again!

  12. #12
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    What a good read! Take note of brief mention of a couple of villains still operating. I am NOT referring to AG Russell.
    Always looking for larger Schrade Cutcos, cattle knives & lovely old bone.

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