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Question about Schrade and Wostenholm connection

Discussion in 'Schrade Knives Collectors Forum' started by alan62, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. alan62

    alan62

    82
    Dec 26, 2005
    Does anyone have information about George Wolstenholm and Sons and the tie between them and Schrade.Did Schrade buy out Wostenholm?
    Thanks
     
  2. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    In 1977, Schrade bought Richards holdings in Sheffield, England which included:
    Richards on Moore Street, a 180,000 sf factory making scissors, pocket knives and kitchen cutlery.

    Rogers Wostenholm on Guernsey Road making two famous brands, the Jas. Rogers “Star and Cross“, and the I*XL brand.Schrade IXL products produced at Morse Street factory until 1982.

    Also the Richards hollow ware factory “Satinsteel”. Mr. Tony Gibbs was given the managing directorship of these factories.

    According to member Sebago, The Schrade/I*XL knives were made at the Richards of Sheffield, factory, Moore Street in 1980/81. Five patterns were made and the bolsters were stamped (hallmark fashion) S W (head device) 0. The zero would indicate 1980 production. The S W would indicate Schrade / Wostenholm. According to Phil Gibbs, the lock backs were made at Camillus, sent as skeletons to Sheffield where they were hallmarked on the bolsters, the handles were added, & the knives were finished. The patterns were; Three different size lockbacks (White micarta. Stag and Red Bone, as well as a three blade stockman in Red bone and a three blade* canoe in Stag. The knives were sold singly and in serial numbered sets with a display case. The faces of the blades were etched with a "Schrade Wostenholm" banner. Many were later sold without a serial number.

    The factories were sold by Imperial in August of 1982 to a British firm, Western Knives. It closed in October of 1983. The late James Parker leased the I*XL trademark from the people that held it for a short while (c.1983/4). The Egginton Group purchased both the Rodgers and the I*XL trade marks in 1986. I noted with interest that Joseph Rogers knives are currently advertised in the Australian collector's magazine Knives Australia.

    Michael

    PS- Here is the thread where the convoluted history of the marks are discussed in the Levine forum here:
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=477491&highlight=Wostenholm
     
  3. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
  4. alan62

    alan62

    82
    Dec 26, 2005
    Thank You Codger_64
    Very informative
    I have a secretarian style desk that was a presentation gift by Geo Wostenholm and Co to an employee in 1936. I use it to display my collection and I am trying to keep it all relevent to Wostenholm
    By the way thank you also for the information on the 49er's .
    I kinda revived that thread because of a 491s I found last weekend at a garage sale
    Here's a pic of the desk
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    Yes, I remember your researching the desk some time back in the Levine forum. Beautiful! And about the 491... well, I'll add a tidbit to that thread for you...

    Michael
     
  6. rprocter

    rprocter Banned BANNED

    Jan 19, 2007
    below are pics of 3 Schrade IXL Wosentholm knives and 1 IXL George Wosentholm barlow knife.
    #1 4 3/4" LB with micarta ? handles serial# M1119
    #2 4" LB with bone handles, scrimshaw sailing ship & whale, no serial #
    #3 3 5/8" 2 blade canoe in stag serial# 00209
    all 3 have same hallmark: S, W, profile of man's head?, 1. S=Schrade, W=Wostenholm; head?=?; 1= 1981?
    the blade etch: Schrade IXL Wostenholm/ Sheffield England is on both LBs and on canoe is only Schrade IXL Wostenholm.
    all 3 have same tang: I-XL-SCHRADE/Wostenholm, but font on canoe is larger.
    #4 3 3/8" 2 blade barlow, no hallmark, blade etch or serial#. tang:I-XL george/wostenholm/sheffield/england. this was purchased from a v. knowledgeable,long time Schrade collector. if i understood correctly, this knife came from Bill Gardiner, given to him as an example (or sample) of a knife that could be made bearing Schrade IXL Wostenholm markings. it is the best of the 4, great stag, incredibly tight, but smooth.
    any comments from the experts on any of these will be appreciated e.g. hallmark on these is 1 not 0; micarta ?; no serial# ?; 2 (not 3) blade canoe; profile of man's head?.
    and finally (humbly) disagree with Mr. Levine "the original Schrade-Wostenholm knives are junk" and " Look at one. They are junk. But one would have to be able to read knives to realize it".
    maybe i still can't read. roland
     
  7. Rusty1

    Rusty1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    Roland, I certainly don't think they are junk either, some knives made today are not made with the same quality as the Schrade Wostenholm knives of Twenty Five years ago. IMO

    Rusty
     
  8. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    While Mr. Levine and others who have "served in the trenches" of the knife industry for many years are very knowledgable and I often defer to their judgement, in the case of his assessment of the SW quality, I do not agree. Phil Gibbs, in the same thread, stated his own opinion of the SW knives. He was there at Camillus when the skeletons were made. He saw the bulk of the finished product firsthand (not a few examples which may or may not have had problems) and attests that they were well designed and fitted knives.

    Mr. Levine, like all of us, makes errors. No one is perfect in their knowledge or opinions. I certainly am not and learn something new every day about Schrade knives, history, and the history of knives in general. Any one of us can easily point to errors in information posted or published by any expert in the field. More so by us amatuers. But that does not keep the opinions and information each brings to the table from being worthy of consideration and discussion.

    I have to wonder about the unfinished and unmounted blades left over when Schrade divested itself of the England holdings. More so if they might have been acquired by Parker and assembled. Or if any emerged from the 2004 liquidation of Schrade or the 2007 liquidation of Camillus. In our view of a perfect world, when a historically significant company like Schrade went under, the marks would be retired for all time, the dies and molds broken, excess parts melted to their base material. But we know from our experience that this is just fanciful thinking. As long as there is a dollar to be made producing knockoffs, ersatz knives, phony "prototypes" etc., someone will step in and make that buck. Some do it with honest intentions, some have no concern for honesty and integrety, not able to differentiate between half truths and outright lies.

    Michael
     
  9. rprocter

    rprocter Banned BANNED

    Jan 19, 2007
    Michael, i have been thinking just what you posted and was hoping you might give an opinion on the knives i presented as to which are likely to be of original Schrade IXL Wostenholm production, i.e. 1980 - 81. is the presence of the hallmark sufficient, or is this also sold along with rights to copy etch and tang stampings ?
    i assume if knife has hallmark, correct tang stamp, full etch (incl. "Sheffield England"),and serial #, then it is original, not a later assembly of unused parts. if so then only #1 of mine may be original.
    i know of 1 other 2 blade canoe, but have never seen a 3 blade. are you sure that the original was actually produced as a 3 blade ? but then, as i said, tang stamp font on this canoe is larger than on other 2. is this significant ?
    as for "junk" or not; well if that statement discourages other bidders, so much the better for the rest of us. roland
     
  10. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Your information is spot-on Codger 64. Here's a knife from the period under discussion (apologies for the quality of the pics.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It was given to me in 1981 by a boyfriend of my sister, and my father was given a similiar smaller knife. Our benefactor had started as an apprentice knife-maker with Rodgers, moved to Wostenholm when they bought out Rodgers, and then went to Richards. He told me the Schrade knives were strictly 'export only' and I've never seen them on sale in the UK.

    By coincidence my father had worked for Richards as a machine-tool fitter, and some of my earliest memories are taking him his lunch there. My first penknife was a Richards 'Little Chief', but the firm produced low-quality junk, and probably made a large contribution to the demise of the Sheffield cutlery industry in my opinion.

    Sadly the Wostenholm name means nothing these days, and along with Rodgers and the IXL mark has been used on some very inferior knives. The Schrade knives were probably the last time the Wostenholm name was used (however inappropriately) on a quality knife.
     
  11. redshanks

    redshanks

    711
    May 8, 2005
  12. lrv

    lrv

    Sep 14, 2003
    my .02 the Schrade production knives were well done. I specially like the big M40. They made some that were similar to these that had fit and finish problems. I have 3 where the bone has curled away from the handle. Just my .02. TTYL
    LArry

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    Roland, you are correct about the blades on the canoe as you can see by Larry's post of the original flyer. I don't think that knives from this group that are missing mark details like serials are fakes or late constructs. They might have been singles sold, or rejects held. And evidently the IXL and Wostenholm marks both predate and postdate Schrade's involvement with this set. Parker had some of his made in Japan. IIRC, SMKW had some assembled as well. I'm not certain that any of these copied the originals of the set.

    Michael
     
  14. rprocter

    rprocter Banned BANNED

    Jan 19, 2007
    thanks guys, very interesting info and a big help. this bit of convoluted history is not well known and neither are these knives. i like them (the real honest originals) and have a Schrade I*XL Commemorative, limited edtion stockman, complete with box and 3 papers coming. i think this is Mr. Big at 4 3/4 in. roland
     
  15. Rusty1

    Rusty1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    That's a beefy knife Roland, please show us pictures when your's arrives.

    Rusty1
     
  16. lrv

    lrv

    Sep 14, 2003
    Larry H just sent me a bunch of IXL photo's. Great stuff.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. rprocter

    rprocter Banned BANNED

    Jan 19, 2007
    Irv & Larry, what a fantastic display and useful reference. how is it possible to get all those knives in original state ? have been a knife collector back in '80-'81 ? 5 lifetimes on ebay ? wow ! roland
     
  18. lrv

    lrv

    Sep 14, 2003
    must be all the knives are just arriving down under..Postal service is just a bit slow. He's sent me a bunch more to display. great stuff.
    Larry H is in OZ.
     
  19. CAMCO

    CAMCO Moderator Moderator

    539
    Dec 29, 1999
    I remember when Camillus made the IXL skeletons during the 1980's. I probably have the manufacturing records in my collection. When I locate them I will send copies to Codger to post here.

    Tom Williams
     
  20. Rusty1

    Rusty1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    That sounds great Tom, always interested in learning about details of history that only the makers are usually privvy to.

    Rusty1
     

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