Knifemaker to the Knifemakers

Discussion in 'Camillus Collector's Forum' started by OldKnife007, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. OldKnife007


    Dec 15, 2009
    The title of this post was Camillus Cutlery's self-proclaimed credo for a long time. How long was it true? Long time, I find. Here is a pretty beat up little knife with a broken off blade. Tang stamp tells me it is a Fred Biffar. Biffar was based in chicago. In the early 1900s, he was Sears, Roebuck gun department manager. Between 1917-1922, he sold knives with his name as the brand or, 'Dixie Switch' (the tang stamp). In 1928 he had a large mail order business, selling guns, knives, outdoors equipment. He ended his working career as the treasurer of a jewelry company.

    This old knife, according to Levine's, was made by Camillus. Mr. Levine tells someone at least once a week at his forum that the name on the tang is probably not the maker of a knife, but it is the brand. Camillus made it possible for large firms and small ones (like Biffar) to get into the knife business for a realtively small investment.

  2. bojak9


    Sep 12, 1999
    Hi OldKnife007, I was just browsing and found your post. I have an old Biffar that I had never researched so I found your post very interesting. If I can I'll post a picture of it. In any case thanks for posting for everyone.
  3. Baker's Dozen

    Baker's Dozen

    Jun 12, 2009
    I realize this post is old as the hills, but if you search "Fred Biffar" and "Dixie Switch" Google puts this one close to the top. So I feel compelled to make the following correction: The knife shown here is not a Fred Biffar Dixie Switch made by Camillus as oldknife007 states. The knife shown was made by Union Cut Co. and contracted to Biffar in the manner and for the reason Oldknife007 accurately describes. I own three Biffar "Dixie Switch" knives. Two were made by Union Cut Co. and one was made by A.A. Wadsworth, Checoslavakia. I waited until I had a decent example of the knife pictured here so I could be sure of my facts and I finally found one. For further proof, if you search "Ka-Bar Tang Stamps", you'll find a bunch of them drawn by a collector to show the large variety of stamps Union/Ka-Bar used over the years and two of those stamps are "Fred Biffar, Chicago". This is not to say that Camillus didn't also make Knives for Biffar. They may very well have and the Kastor connection to Camillus may be a clue . But the knife pictured here is an early Union Cut Co. I will attempt to supply photos after I figure out why I can't just drag and drop them in.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  4. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    Very interesting stuff. You need a paid membership to post photos directly.

    Alternatively you need to use a third party hosting site

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