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Sears - Dunlap Knives


Oct 8, 2004
I've been looking into the Dunlap line of knives made for Sears Roebuck & Co. by Camillus (circa 1938-40), and have acquired a few examples. As mentioned elsewhere, the Dunlap mark was used on the midrange of the three marks made for Sears during this time period, just before they began using the Craftsman mark on knives.

Here is the first one, a #9519 three blade stockman pattern.

And the second, a #9512 "Dunlap Outing Knife", as they called this 4 bladed camp/utility version.

According to the 1939 dated Sears training copy, the handle material on these two is "Unbreakable buck horn type" handles. It looks amazingly like jigged bone. So much so that I was tempted to pass a small flame briefly by it to see it it smelled of bone. NOT!!! This is a sort of pre-WWII plastic which I suspect is what I had read elsewhere about as having been rejected by Sears as a prospective knife handle material because it failed their flammability test. Like...poof!!! Luckily, I caught the first ignition and extinguished it instantly with little or no damage. I'll have to find where I read about this material (I could swear it was here on BF), but what I remember was that it was a composite of crushed, powdered antler or bone, with some sort of plastic (celluloid?) binder that allowed it to closely mimic stagged bone, which this well does.

I have several other Dunlap knives which use solid black jigged plastic handles, sans shielding. These do not appear in the 1939 training manual.

Anyone else have some old Dunlaps to show?

Thanks for the info Codger.

I just scored a Dunlap off of the bay.

I spent most of last night lightly restoring it i.e. removing rust and light scratches, total clean of dust/rust/dirt and a light polish , enough to give it some love :)
It is a two bladed guy , on the clip blade is stamped "high carbon steel U.S.A." , after an hour on various stones the blades are litterally so sharp that I am apprehensive to test them on my fingers :D

If you want I can post pics.


oh and , wierd thing , the scales smell ! they smell sort like .... some years ago we tore up Grandma Reynolds tile to put in carpet and she had laid newprint underneath the tile way back when , you could still read the WW2 era paper , wish I had saved some of it.... anyway , this is what that smells like , old old newspaper.
Wierd huh ?
Yes, I know the knife. Your bid topped mine. Congrats! You still got it at a good price though. Sure, show us a picture of the cleaned knife.

Here ya go Codger.


It was in far worse shape , some flitz and 2000 grit paper helped her out a lot.


I cant get the bolsters to shine up much , I am wondering what they are made from....
I am thinking on bluing the blades since they have some pretty deep rust spots , what do you think ?
Also I re-invigorated the scales which were looking tired.
The walk and talk are near perfect on the clip , the spey isnt as sassy but still works good enough, like I said they both are shaving sharp. :thumbup:

also , lol... I feel bad that I outbid ya :D
Don't feel too bad for outbidding me. If I had really wanted that particular specimen, you would not have, or you would have paid much more dearly for it. I think the scales smell because of their composition. Unlike more modern plastics, the pre-war plastics like celluloid had organic components less refined, such as camphor.

Your new knife is a #9544 Texas Jack. I'm not certain just how long Camillus produced these for Sears, but I am of the opinion that it was not a very extended production.

As I have said, the covers are quite appealing, but they will ignite like gasoline, making me think it might be a celluloid/bone composition. Another reason I believe them to be a variant of celluloid is the degree of steel corrosion I have seen on every example I have come across so far. I still haven't re-found the citation I remembered about Sears Col. Dunlap rejecting a handle material for this very reason. This is one of the major problems of having access to so much research material. And a faltering memory.

Here is the circa 1939 Sears cut for the Sears Dunlap Texas Jack.

Thanks a ton for this information. Years of knowledge cannot be bought. :)
Out of curiosity , what decade round about do you think she was made ? I'm not interested for values sake just for my own GP.
I am guessing from the 50's ? if so I think the knife is not in too bad a shape for something 50 odd years old.

Thanks again.

I think these knives are just a bit older than that. From the information I presently have, 1938-1940 is my best estimation. Hopefully CAMCO will see this and correct me if I am wrong. John Goins dated the Dunlap stamp circa 1938-1942. The Sears training manual above is dated 1939. In the early 1940's civillian cutlery production came to a screaching halt with a very few exceptions. Even before our entry into WWII, there were restrictions on the use of a lot of war materials, including cutlery steel, nickle, copper, brass, and aluminum. With the beginning of 1942, all factories had to comply with the requirements of the War Production Board, and it was nearly impossible to get raw materials without a government contract.