An older Old Timer!

Discussion in 'Schrade Knives Collectors Forum' started by Codger_64, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    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.


    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.


    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?

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
  2. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    Shamelessly stolen pictures from the interwebz...


    Proof that they did and do exist.
  3. Mack

    Mack Expert Ultracrepidarian Platinum Member

    Aug 19, 2007
    Thank you for informing us about them. I will be looking more intently at antique stores for these.
  4. Dave Thinkstoomuch

    Dave Thinkstoomuch Banned BANNED

    Jun 15, 2009
    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.
  5. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    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.
  6. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    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.
  7. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    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
  8. Larry303


    Jul 28, 2005 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 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!> 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: Aug 6, 2012
  9. Dave Thinkstoomuch

    Dave Thinkstoomuch Banned BANNED

    Jun 15, 2009
    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
  10. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    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.


    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!
  11. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    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.

    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.
  12. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    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: Aug 7, 2012
  13. John A. Larsen

    John A. Larsen

    Jan 15, 2001
    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
  14. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    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.
  15. Toooj


    Aug 8, 2006

    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
  16. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    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.


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

    Motey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 1, 2011
    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;


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

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