An older Old Timer!

Codger_64

Moderator
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
60,846
Back in '08 I made a strange discovery. A line of kitchen knives made prior to 1953 by Landers Frairy & Clark under their "Universal" branding with "Old Timer" heat embossed in script on the wood handles. I bought both a pareing and butcher knife as examples.

2a5d4ie.jpg

a3gppy.jpg


http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/570971-A-different-Old-Timer!?highlight=Landers

Of course this flew in the face of the "Old Timer" name creation myth put out by the Baer brothers and their Schrade Sales Manager Bob Ernst, known as "Deacon".

Yesterday I was cruising a thread started by Blues in the Traditional Forum of old catalog and ad postings when something jumped out at me, a c. 1945 magazine ad by Kabar posted by Trent Rock.

30nklrn.jpg


I don't hold out much hope of finding a surviving example, particularly given that the "Old Timer" identifier on the Kabar is a blade etch, not a more durable emboss or shield. But I thought you guys would like to see a bit more of the genesis of the "Old Timer" brand name. And the ad suggests that this is a post-war reintroduction of the branding. Anyone seen a pre-war ad for a Kabar Old Timer?

article from the May 1980 Old Timer Almanac for your enjoyment:

What The Old Timer Line Really is...

Back about 20 years ago, Uncle Henry Baer, President of the Schrade Cutlery Corporation was driving back from the Ellenville plant where the Schrade knives are made to New York City with his brother Albert Baer, Chairman of the Board of The Imperial Knife Associated Companies Inc., talking about the product that they had just seen being made at the Ellenville Plant. Uncle Henry mentioned to his brother that what was needed in those days besides a good five cent cigar, was a good old fashioned type of knife. His brother replied, "That's a good idea Henry, and that wouldn't be a bad name for a knife line either - Old Timer.

And so the Old Timer line was born in a name, at least. However it took a little longer than that to develop the knives. First, Uncle Henry talked to people who used knives throughout the country. From farmers, ranchers, hunters and fishermen. What he was looking for in a knife was something that would combine beauty and function, and would perform better than any other knife on the market. Right from the very beginning, Uncle Henry decided that there would be no compromising the quality of his new line. In a time when stainless steels were becoming the rage because they kept their good looks, he insisted on a working man's blade of high carbon cutlery steel that would hold it's edge and yet resharpen easily. With the concept of the carbon steel blade in mind, he added solid nickle silver for bolsters, solid brass for linings, and a rugged saw-cut handle for sure grip and easy handling. Knowing that the finest materials needed the surest touch of the best of craftsmen, Uncle Henry insisted that only the top cutlers in the factory worked on his new line of Old Timer knives. These cutlers, many second and third generation masters of their art, combined the raw materials that Uncle Henry procurred with over 100 hand operations to produce the first Old Timer knives some 6 - 8 months after the first conversation during that drive to New York City.

Today the philosophy that began some 20 years ago still holds true, and Uncle Henry, the original Old Timer, still oversees the making of his line of Old Timer Knives.
 
Last edited:

Codger_64

Moderator
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
60,846
Shamelessly stolen pictures from the interwebz...

2eow8rn.jpg

2l9732c.jpg

3026ukm.jpg


Proof that they did and do exist.
 

Mack

Expert Ultracrepidarian
Platinum Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2007
Messages
38,420
Thank you for informing us about them. I will be looking more intently at antique stores for these.
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
1,196
Veeeeeery interesting! So the truth might be closer to this?

"Hey Albert, check out this new Ka-Bar. "Old Timer" would be a fine name for us to use on a knife line. Let's see if it's been copy-righted."
"Nice one Henry! I bet bet we can use it regardless as it's a common term. We need a great story though..."

Once again the "three sides to every story" rule comes to mind. My story, your story and the truth. Thanks for sharing this Codger and thanks for the stolen proof pics as well. How big was Ka-Bar back then? Am I right to assume that the Baer brothers would have been well aware of the competing knife? They were planning and doing big things at that time in the knife business and I would think they would have been regularly checking out competitors lines. 1946 as we all know was a big year in the Schrade saga.
 

Codger_64

Moderator
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
60,846
Union Cutlery was well established in the business by the time the war came (I've seen mention of UCC catalogs from the 1920's, but haven't researched the company's history, the Union Razor Company changed to Union Cutlery Company in 1909 ). It is likely that neither Union nor LF&C registered the mark and had abandoned it before the Baers adopted and registered it. For sure, LF&C was out of the knife business entirely before that time.
 

Codger_64

Moderator
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
60,846
At an expert's suggestion, I submitted a direct inquiry to Paul Tsujimoto, the company historian. Hopefully he will be able to fill in a few blank spots in this interesting story. They may even have early archived records and catalogs showing the pattern and etch usage.
 

Codger_64

Moderator
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
60,846
Well, no joy from Kabar yet. Paul did reply in a timely manner, but his search of their archives did not turn up any real answers. At least not beyond the suppositions already expressed here. But rest assured, I'll keep worrying with this ribbone until something cracks, the bone or one of my remaining teeth! I am still pestering Mr. Tsujimoto for further archive searches. Perhaps Dave Swinden has something to add to the story of the "Old Timer" mark genesis. Or an earlier or later Kabar ad might come to light showing earlier or later usage of the mark.

Now about the "Uncle Henry" mark... Was it an old English cutlery mark referring to Henry VIII? :D
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2005
Messages
2,156
....now there's a thought Codger, Henry VIII was known to be very adept with the use of a blade......particularly every time he fancied a new wife..<you could say they lost their hearts to him followed by their heads..his second and fifth wives anyway>...perhaps he used I*XL bladeware...one of their earliest I*XL slogans from 1787 on was...... ..."'Always cut it with an I*XL, The Cutlery that was famous when your father was a boy"....all the knife manufacturers appeared to appeal to the buyers' emotions when considering a knife purchase/usage...<and no doubt HenryVIII's as well!>....one thing is for certain once old Albert adopted a marketing term, he so saturated the market with it that no-one else could possibly use it thereafter......good luck with your ongoing research......Hoo Roo
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
1,196
...rest assured, I'll keep worrying with this ribbone until something cracks, the bone or one of my remaining teeth!

Major chuckles and respect towards your tenacity Codger. It couldn't be in better hands.

Henry VIII? I loved (and recommend) watching all of "The Tudors" and there were blades aplenty but they tended to be very big especially the one that cut off the head of Anne Boleyn! That Henry collected wives and mistresses like we collect these knives lol

"It's good to be the King." - Mel Brooks, History Of The World, Part One
 

Codger_64

Moderator
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
60,846
Shamelessly stolen pictures from the interwebz...

2eow8rn.jpg

2l9732c.jpg

3026ukm.jpg


Proof that they did and do exist.

Paul looked at this one and identified it as a postwar production #62118 with root beer brown stagged bone handles.

This next one he identifies, by the Delrin covers and slant mark, as being modern #1030 (1033 marked tang), 1960-70 and possibly made for them by Camillus.

2wfuwxk.jpg


So there is now the known spread of the Kabar use of the "Old Timer Trappers Knife" blade marking so far. Both before and during the Baer's use of the mark for the Old Timer knives. Ain't that a kick in the pants!?! Add in the prior use by Landers Frairy & Clark on their kitchen cutlery. Now we know that everything we thought we knew about the mark was wrong!
 

Codger_64

Moderator
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
60,846
Paul Tsujimoto is a man after my own heart! I just heard from him again. He pulled out an old Union Cutlery catalog from the mid-1930's and looked up the #62118.

Some more info on the #62118.

I dug up an old Union Catalog #34. Printed in the mid-1930s. So now we know it goes back to Pre WWII.
Union lists the knife as: designed by E. W. Conklin, famous Adirondack Guide and Trapper. Called the "Old Timer". Retail was $1.75.

Best Regards,

Paul Tsujimoto

Sr Engineer
Product Development and Quality
KA-BAR Knives

So now we know. At least according to the Union Cutlery legend, there was an actual Old Timer, E.W. Conklin. For some reason, that last name is familiar to me and relates to either Schrade or Camillus.

So for now, until I hear back from Camillus' Tom or Phil, the trademark usage by Union Cutlery/Ka-Bar is c.1934- 1960-70.
 

Codger_64

Moderator
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
60,846
E.W. Conklin and Son was listed as a seed and chemical merchant in Binghamton, New York c. 1915 est. 1872, inc. 1908. Further, they held a trademark on the word "IMPERIAL" in the catagory of chemical products, "PARAGON", "ATLAS" and "COMET" for grass seed.. Searching... searching...

Burt Conklin, &#8220;the greatest trapper.&#8221; is listed in the book, "Adirondack Charactors and campfire tales". Searching...
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 15, 2001
Messages
3,247
I have a Kabar identical to the Delrin handled one in the last photo, except it is marked "1030", and I do not see any "Old Timer" on the bladeDoes anyone know why the one in the photo is marked "1033". Thanks. John
 

Codger_64

Moderator
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
60,846
John, I marked that photo that way when I saved it to my computer archives because that is the number on the tang stamp on that knife in the picture.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2006
Messages
920
I have a Kabar identical to the Delrin handled one in the last photo, except it is marked "1030", and I do not see any "Old Timer" on the bladeDoes anyone know why the one in the photo is marked "1033". Thanks. John

John,

Good question. In our collection, we have the same knives stamped as 1030 and 1033. Could be any number of reasons. Welcome to the world of knife collecting. LOL.
I'll see what I can find out.

Codger, good discussion.

Best Regards,

Paul Tsujimoto
Sr Eng
Prod Dev and Qual
KA-BAR Knives
 

Codger_64

Moderator
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
60,846
Thank you Paul for the time and effort you have put into answering my questions!

Paul sent me a scan of the cut of the knife in question from the archived catalog #34.

nwbk8h.jpg


We see that they did not bother to illustrate the etch, but illustrators often took liberties adding or deleting details.
 

Motey

Platinum Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
296
I have this knife. I forgot when I obtained it, but I bought it at a hardware store, probably in the late 80's or early 90's;

oxcq.jpg



I've carried it off and on over the years. It's tang stamped 1030.
 
Top