Knife History? Western Boulder Colorado, Pat. Appl'd For

Discussion in 'Camillus Collector's Forum' started by varuscelli, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. varuscelli

    varuscelli

    17
    Jan 7, 2018
    I've got an old Western knife that belonged to my grandfather, who lived from 1910-2005. He was an avid hunter and fisherman most of his life, and this knife was part of his hunting gear. It got a quite a bit of real hunting use over the time my grandfather owned it. It was definitely not one that just spent time at the house.

    I've never really done much to research its history since my grandfather passed away and the knife came to me, but from some things I've read here I suspect it might date back as far as the early 1930s. I'm 61 years old and I know it to be older than I am, in any case. I recall it always being there at my grandparents' home from my earliest memories. I suspect my grandfather bought it new at some point in his younger life.

    I'm attaching some pics here in hopes someone might care to add any known specifics about the knife. I'd at least like to try and find out its age range.

    Overall length 8-1/2 inches. Blade length 4-1/2 inches.

    Print on the knife reads as follows (see pics for each actual side view/text):

    WESTERN
    BOULDER COLORADO.

    PAT.
    APPL'D FOR​

    Thanks in advance for any clues on this one.

    My apologies if I misinterpreted the correct subforum to post this thread. It looked as though I could have posted to any one of several and been fairly well on target.

    Al

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    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
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  2. varuscelli

    varuscelli

    17
    Jan 7, 2018
  3. zzyzzogeton

    zzyzzogeton

    Feb 17, 2013
    "Pat. Appl'd For" tells us the knife was made between mid-1931 to sometime in late 1932 or maybe early 1933.

    Note the difference in the time line I apply here. Since I wrote that original post, I have stretched out the "Appl'd For" period based on a couple of esoteric assumptions from reading about the patent process back then.

    Western submitted their application for a patent on the double tang construction in 1931 and immediately started putting out knives with that stamp.

    Sometime in late 1932 or early 1933, Western received notification that patent approval was pending. The stamp then changed to "PAT. PEND."

    The pattern is a 43. The model APPEARS to be a 743.

    The 1931 catalog reprints describe the 243 as -

    No. 243 - 4-3/8" blade. Hand shaped, well rounded, heavy pearl non-breakable composition handle. Notched thumb rest on top of blade.

    No. 743 - Same knife as above, but fitted with thick well rounded solid genuine horn colored composition non-breakable handles.

    I say it "appears" to be a 743. The handle looks like it is trying to simulate either horn or bone on MY monitor. The composition pearl Western used has a creamier appearance, but sometimes with age, appearances can be deceiving. It might be a 243 with a wonky handle.

    Anyway, very nice example of one of the very first double tang construction knives made by Western States Cutlery (official company name at that time).
     
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  4. varuscelli

    varuscelli

    17
    Jan 7, 2018
    Hey, thank you for your reply, zzyzzogeton. That's very helpful indeed! I appreciate you taking the time for such thoughtfully detailed feedback.

    It's interesting how the description of the handle on the No. 743 is worded, saying "solid genuine horn colored composition." Funny way of describing it.

    Are they implying that it's genuine horn or a composition that is merely colored as though it is genuine horn?

    I took some close-up photos of the handle with a better camera -- iPhone used for the first set in the original post, solid genuine dark colored digital SLR used for the second set. ;-)

    Here are a handful that show the handle a bit more clearly, if these might be of interest or helpful in evaluation.

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  5. varuscelli

    varuscelli

    17
    Jan 7, 2018
    On another note, I took some very fine grit sandpaper and wet sanded a small part of the edge of the knife handle, and almost immediately got an odor of camphor.

    So...celluloid handle, I have to guess. Sound right?
     
  6. David Nowlin

    David Nowlin Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Would this be better veiwed on Benard Levines knife identification forum? Just down from the first forum
     
  7. varuscelli

    varuscelli

    17
    Jan 7, 2018
    Good question, David. I've only visited this forum on occasion doing research. When I looked for references on Western knives, they seemed to be somewhat scattered across more than one subforum, including this Camillus discussion area.

    I saw the logic of having certain Western knife questions being asked here in the Camillus area (as some previous folks had apparently done with other questions, I'm assuming because of Camillus having taking over the Western Cutlery Company in the 90s, if I understand the events correctly).

    Seems odd that there's not a Western subforum (or maybe there is?), but I'm sure there's good reason.

    I did indeed consider placing the original posting in the Bernard Levine's Knife Collecting and Identification discussion area, but I was having a hard time finding solid precedent for where to post Western knife questions.

    If an admin or some other person with the the power to make the decision and feels like the thread should be moved, I'm certainly all for it being where it belongs.
     
  8. zzyzzogeton

    zzyzzogeton

    Feb 17, 2013
    No real horn involved, just celluloid plastic. Those close up pics show brown spots/streaks to make it look "kinda like" horn, so yeah, 723.

    "Unbreakable Composition handles" and "Composition unbreakable handles" and "colored composition handles" were interchanged frequently in Western's descriptions for their celluloid knife handles. The options over the years were, pearl, amber, horn, and assorted.

    For FIXED BLADES, Western's model numbers were one or two letters/numbers, followed by 2 numbers.

    2 was composition pearl
    7 was "genuine horn colored" composition
    A was for amber composition
    G and L were used for leather
    5 was for genuine stag
    6 was bone stag
    X and GX was used for composition pearl over a black underlayment
    BX was used for bakelite

    Folders used the same system EXCEPT there were additional letters and numbers used and some of the letters had different materials associated with the letter, e.g., A was for Agate.
     
  9. David Nowlin

    David Nowlin Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Well i didnt know that Camillus Western connection? Learn something new everyday....
    Thanks
    DN
     
  10. zzyzzogeton

    zzyzzogeton

    Feb 17, 2013
    Western's are sort of the bastard step-children. Posts will show up here, in Bernard's forum, General Knife or Traditional Knives.

    I'd love it if we had a dedicated Western forum (and a Military Blades forums as well). But that would mean coming up with an extra moderator or two, or saddle additional duties on existing ones.
     
  11. varuscelli

    varuscelli

    17
    Jan 7, 2018
    zzyzzogeton, thanks very much for all the great information. In two or three posts, you've passed along a lot more than I thought I'd find.

    As a small aside, this slim KA-BAR was in my granddad's knife drawer for as long as I can remember, too. Where one was, the other was...both then and now.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. zzyzzogeton

    zzyzzogeton

    Feb 17, 2013
    Looks similar to a Kabar 1232, but I don't know what they were called back them, or if it is the same as one. What's the blade length? Hopefully @gunsil will wander into this forum. He's the old Kabar guru. You might pot the pic in the Kabar forum to get his attention sooner.
     
  13. varuscelli

    varuscelli

    17
    Jan 7, 2018
    Yeah, I'll post the Ka-Bar to the appropriate forum and see what folks have to say.

    But in the mean time, to answer your question, the Ka-Bar blade length almost 4-1/8 inches (maybe 4-1/16 inches) and 7-5/8 inches overall.

    Imprinting on it reads:

    KA-BAR
    REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.

    UNION CUT. CO.
    OLEAN, N.Y.

    I've seen examples like this one in a couple of different places (eBay and the like) but never saw any actual production dates associated with those.

    Al
     
  14. varuscelli

    varuscelli

    17
    Jan 7, 2018
    Meaning to say, regarding the Ka-Bar, I want to post some pics as soon as I've got them done and posted to my regular site for upload. Probably shortly.
     
  15. varuscelli

    varuscelli

    17
    Jan 7, 2018
    I would also like to find a suitable sheath for this Western knife.

    The original one is cracked and split and missing the pommel snap strap. I'd like to find something roughly equivalent design-wise to the original sheath for the knife.

    I'd actually like to find an old sheath that might roughly fit the the era when the knife was made, but a newer one would also work.

    I'm curious as to which one of the blade forums here would be a best bet to post a question about sheaths for this knife. This Camillus Collector's forum or another?

    Thanks,

    Al
     
  16. zzyzzogeton

    zzyzzogeton

    Feb 17, 2013
    You will not find an 88 year old sheath in really good condition "just lying around".

    You really only have 2 options for a replacement sheath - make one yourself using the existing sheath as a pattern or pay someone to do it for you.

    There is a sheath/leather forum where you will get more responses quickly. There are several excellent sheath makers there.
     
  17. varuscelli

    varuscelli

    17
    Jan 7, 2018
    Thanks.

    There are always options that pop up here and there for folks who keep their eyes open. I'm not expecting to find something just lying around...but I bet I can come close with a little patience.

    As a for-instance, this was on eBay just a couple of days ago as a relisting of a knife and sheath that originally didn't get any bids and could have been had for about $60 (knife and sheath). It sold the next time around with a final bid of less than $70. I considered buying it the first time it was listed, but passed. I'm pretty sure others like this will show up somewhere or other.

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    I'm also fortunate enough to live in an area where there are relatively large gun and knife shows on just about a weekly basis where knife sheaths old and new can be found.

    I talked to a long-time leather craftsman about what he could make for me at one of the gun and knife shows this weekend. None of his sheaths that he had at the show would fit the rather fat handle on my Western, although a couple came close. He told he could make one based on his favorite design that would fit my knife perfectly. His sheaths were top notch, and I might go that route if I can't find what I'd like in an older sheath that might be more of an accurate period match. If I'm going to have one made, I kind of like the idea of putting the knife in the hands of the sheath maker for best possible fit.

    I dunno...there are a few options for me on this just off the top of my head.

    I'll post to one of the leather forums here and see what kind of responses I might get.

    Thanks again for the feedback.
     
  18. Christopher D Patrick

    Christopher D Patrick

    2
    Mar 4, 2019
    [​IMG] can anyone tell me about this knife
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  19. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    Since those two knives have always been together. I would consider a twin custom sheath. It would be a nice tribute to your Grandad and would be a way to tie them together for the next generation.

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    Triple K makes a nice sheath in 3 sizes that are nice users and go well with older knives.
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  20. Wjohnson33

    Wjohnson33

    2
    Dec 16, 2019
     

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