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Continental Cutlery Co

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by Gevonovich, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. Gevonovich

    Gevonovich

    Jan 17, 2011
    As far as I can tell Continental Cutlery Co. has deep roots and a convoluted history as per usual for the Obscure Brands.


    According to @CNoyes, Goins has them in England, then New York, and then St. Louis or Kansas City. The inclusive dates of operation are 1915-1920. He has in his possession a letter from The Robeson Cutlery Company to a dealer/customer re' a shipment of Continental knives. The letter is dated 1914, one year or so prior to Goins' beginning date for the brand. It seems Robeson made knives with the Continental Cutlery Co N.Y. stamp.

    @Codger_64 notes:

    Blade's Guide To Knives and the earlier edition of John Goins book state that Continental Cutlery Co. was a merchant branding of Clark Brothers who bought Northfield Knife Co. in 1919 and operated it until 1929 when they went bankrupt. It was a branding they used 1915-1920. They were both a manufacturer and importer 1895-1929.


    ref.
    https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/new-company-name-to-me-but-an-old-knife.1165395/

    The good Mr. @Jack Black notes:

    The good Professor Tweedale tells us that the Continental Cutlery Company was a mark of Alfred Field & Co Ltd. Alfred Field was born in Leamington, England in 1814, the son of a clergyman. After being privately-educated at the school run by his father, he began a hardware business in Birmingham, with his brother Ferdinand, in 1836. Four years later, a branch office - Field, Parker, & Field - was opened in Platt Street, New York City. After Parker left the business a few years later, and Robert Ibbotson joined the firm, it became Field, Ibbotson & Co, and was now at Pearl Street. In 1863, Ibbotson retired, and the company now became Alfred Field & Co.

    In 1842, Alfred Field had wed Charlotte Errington, originally from Yarmouth, England, in New York. Their son, Henry Cromwell Field, was born there in 1853, but a year later, Field decided to return to England to manage the business from Birmingham, relying on partners in New York to manage the operation there. By 1872, Alfred Field & Co had a Sheffield address in Headford Street/Milton Street, but almost immediately occupied premises at 23 Westfield Terrace. According to Prof. Tweedale, it is clear from advertisements in the local press, for buffers, whetters, and warehouse workers, that the firm were merchants rather than manufacturers, selling English, French, and German hardware and cutlery, with an office in Solingen managed by Walter Klass. Field's was also the US agent for Joseph Rodgers & Sons, and for Joseph Elliot. By the time of his death in 1884, aged 70, Field had established himself in the US as a major 'foreign merchant', leaving his family an estate of over £90,000.

    After Field's death, the firm continued under his son, Alfred Cromwell Field and Alanson Henry Saxton, the manager of the New York office. The Sheffield address of Westfield Terrace remained, but by 1888 Field's had acquired two new trade names - 'Continental Cutlery Co' and 'Alex. Fraser & Co'. the names 'Collins & Wallace' was also listed. Field's chief mark was a heron's neck, but in 1890, it also bought the 'Prototype' and arrow mark of Edward Gem, as well as the marks of Joseph Kirby & Sons. 'Stoner & Compy' was another trade name, and Field's also marketed American pocket knives under their own name, with the trade mark 'Progress'. They also used 'Criterion' and Maple 'Leaf'.

    Alfred Field & Co remained at Continental Works, Westfield Terrace, Sheffield until 1913, and still had its Birmingham and New York offices. Field's became a limited company in WW1, moving to a succession of Sheffield addresses, being finally in Eyre Street in 1931, where they apparently ceased trading a couple of years later, Henry C Field having died in 1929. In the US, Field's was incorporated in 1922, and they continued to trade there after the Sheffield office ceased business.

    ref.

    https://www.bladeforums.com/threads...itional-barlow.1009441/page-660#post-15884561

    Here is a sold one c. 1870-1880s

    https://picclick.com/Antique-Continental-Cutlery-Co-Sheffield-Multi-Blade-Horseman’S-Knife-352309688665.html

    Below is one I recently acquired. I would like to see your Continental knife, paper work, box, and hear any history you can add :D:thumbsup:

    Continental / Cutlery Co. / Sheffield c. mid to late 1800s is my best guess
    Horseman / Coachman knife

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    More photos tomorrow in next post
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  2. Gevonovich

    Gevonovich

    Jan 17, 2011
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
    danno50, Jak3, dantzk8 and 11 others like this.
  3. kamagong

    kamagong

    Jan 13, 2001
    That looks to be a very intriguing knife Gev. Looking forward to this thread's development.
     
    Gevonovich likes this.
  4. Pàdruig

    Pàdruig Live and Let Die Platinum Member

    Dec 1, 2016
    A fascinating knife, Gev, and equally interesting history. I look forward to more pictures.
     
    Gevonovich likes this.
  5. Peregrin

    Peregrin Traditional Forum Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    Great looking Horsemen's Knife, @Gevonovich ! That Stag has some wonderful color! I look forward to some more pics too!
     
  6. Gevonovich

    Gevonovich

    Jan 17, 2011
    Thanks Christian, Dylan, and Gary !!! I missed the window on the stump today so the pics above will have to do for now. Thanks again !!
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  7. Will Power

    Will Power

    Jan 18, 2007
    As I mentioned in another post, a truly astounding relic and artefact, thanks for not only showing it but also for all the background scholarship about the company.

    Look like the one that inspired Ken Ericsson when he made his Horseman/Sportsman's knife about 6 years ago?

    But that leather like, roast pork Stag :cool: offset by grey blue patina...:)
     
  8. Gevonovich

    Gevonovich

    Jan 17, 2011

    Thank you kind sir ! I remember swooning over Ken's fine craftsmanship. What a knife !!!!! I gave the stag a light oiling and it perked right up ;)
     
    Will Power likes this.
  9. Will Power

    Will Power

    Jan 18, 2007
    Oil to light the lamp of illumination Gev :thumbsup: A truly great beacon of a knife :)
     
  10. Gevonovich

    Gevonovich

    Jan 17, 2011
    Will Power likes this.
  11. Will Power

    Will Power

    Jan 18, 2007
    Has Ken stopped making and retired then?

    A fantastic talent:cool:
     
  12. Gevonovich

    Gevonovich

    Jan 17, 2011
    I just don't know, Will. I saw the @Blues posted today and I suspect he knows ?
     
  13. Blues

    Blues Lapsed SuperMod / Cattle Knife Rustler Staff Member Super Mod

    Oct 2, 1998
    Honestly, I don't know. I think it's safest to say he's on a sabbatical or hiatus. I've skirted around the edges of the topic during our last few conversations but I've never come out and asked directly.

    Ken has dealt with a lot in the past several years, and it seems he's taken some time to regenerate and to explore and appreciate new experiences, some of which he has shared with me.

    Personally, I hope he does get back in the shop eventually but that is entirely his choice, of course. The fact that he has expressed contentment doing and exploring some new things makes me happy. If anyone deserves good things, it's Ken.

    So, I apologize that I can't give any kind of definitive answer to the question...but at least I can report that Ken appears to be doing well on a personal level and seems content from our telephone and email conversations.
     
    Will Power and Peregrin like this.
  14. Gevonovich

    Gevonovich

    Jan 17, 2011
    Thank you Sir ! I wish him his share of laughter and happiness. Sounds like a wise path
     
    Blues and Will Power like this.
  15. Lostball

    Lostball Gold Member Gold Member

    849
    Feb 28, 2015
    I also want to thank you for the photos of the beautiful knife and the history surrounding it. Let's us join in this magnificent find.
     
  16. Gevonovich

    Gevonovich

    Jan 17, 2011
    So kind of you to say !! The biggest part of it is the sharing :) I hope to see more specimens and ephemera :D Thank you, Lostball !
     
    Lostball likes this.
  17. herder

    herder Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    That's a beautiful Horseman's knife Gevonovich, which looks be be between 2-3/4 to 3 inches long closed?
    I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that it dates from the 1870s to 1887, and no later than 1890. Alfred Field became the sole agent for Joseph Rodgers in 1891, which was a bit of bad timing since the United States Tariff Act put the hammer down on imported knives also in 1891. But interestingly, before Fields was awarded the Rodgers contract, they were agents for Wostenholm. Wostenholm offered a very similar Horseman's model and size to your Continental (picture enclosed) that would have been in direct competition to the Continental model which Fields owned the name rights to since 1888. Knives bearing the "Field" and "Wostenholm" names prior to 1891 (and Joseph Rodgers after 1891) were Field's "first" and most expensive line of cutlery. The "Continental" brand was in their "second" line, with brands such as "Alex Fraser" following into their "third" and least expensive line. So, while it's possible that Field offered the Continental horseman model as a slightly less costly alternative to a Wostenholm model, I don't believe that was the case. I think that your Continental was produced before Field bought the Continental name rights in 1888. Either way, we can assume it was made prior to 1891 without an "England" stamp below Sheffield (unless it was not intended for export to the United States) and I would place it in the 1880s as compared to other known similar models.

    BF Wostenholm Horseman Small .jpg
     
  18. Gevonovich

    Gevonovich

    Jan 17, 2011
    You are a scholar and a treasure, Herder ! Fantastic insight into its origins. Thank you so much !!!

    The Continental measures 3 & 1/2"s ( to the end of the protruding center liner ) and 3 & 1/4"s to the end of the bolster. Oh so reminiscent of the Wostenholm you picture. I can't describe the feeling of holding a piece of history such as this in my hand. Is there any information on who owned the name rights to Continental and hence possibly produced the knife, prior to 1888?
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  19. herder

    herder Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Thanks Gev. and while Tweedale's book doesn't confirm this, I believe that Alfred Field acquired the "Continental Works" name from "Josh. & Robt. Dodge" of Sheffield after they liquidated in 1884.
    There were many Dodge family members who were in (and out) of the cutlery business throughout the 1800s. It appears though that the "Continental Works" trade name (as applied to cutlery) came about in 1875 when "J. & R. Dodge" absorbed the "W. I. Horn" company who owned the name previously. It doesn't appear that "W. I. Horn" had produced any pocket knives. "J & R Dodge" was listed as a pocket knife manufacturer among other cutlery items in a Sheffield directory from 1879.

    So, my bet would be that your knife was made (or contracted to another maker) between 1875 and 1884 by "J. & R. Dodge" in Sheffield, England.
    Or possibly by Alfred Field for a very short time between 1888 and 1890.

    BF Sheffield Dodge Continental 1879 sml.jpg
     
  20. Gevonovich

    Gevonovich

    Jan 17, 2011
    Icing on the cake, Herder ! Just tremendous !! I can't thank you enough...wow !!!!!!!! :):D
     

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