The Marble's USA Thread

Smithhammer

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After a diligent search through 6 years of past threads in this forum, I was surprised to find that we don't have an all-inclusive thread dedicated to the long history of Marble's USA-made knives. Various things have appeared here and there, but I thought it would be great to get it all in one thread. So here it is - please share your knowledge of Marble's USA history and examples of the fine folding and fixed-blade knives of one of the most legendary knife manufacturers in U.S. history. I hardly claim to be an expert, just an avid student. ;)

I'll start it off with a few historical ads/posters. The first is a well-known ad that outlines the early offerings of the Marble's line-up, including knives and other "Outing Equipment:"

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The Marble's "Ideal" from the 1908 catalog:

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From the 1906 catalog:

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(** Please - if you are unsure if a particular Marble's knife was made in the USA or not, verify that elsewhere before posting it here - let's keep this dedicated the USA-made knives only, as the history of this company changed dramatically when US production ceased. Thanks).
 

Smithhammer

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Mike Stewart (more recently the founder of Bark River Knife and Tool) was the vice-president of Marble's and was in charge of knife production from August of 1997 to August of 2001. Many collectors agree that the Marble's knives produced during this period were of excellent quality, and mint-condition 'Stewart-era" knives continue to garner prices equal to, or at times exceeding, their original sale value.

Between 1997 and 2000, Mr. Stewart decided it would be useful to have a dating system for the knives being produced, and rather than a mere date stamp, a creative solution was reached - the year of production during this period would be identified by the unique combination of stacked washers. For those interested in these highly-collectible knives, I thought this might be useful:

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Smithhammer

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Here is a Marble's "Bob Loveless-approved, Sport 99" fixed blade knife. The knife was produced in Gladstone, MI in 1999. Mike Stewart and Bob Loveless were good friends and had a close-working relationship, and Mr. Loveless provided input for this classic and versatile design.

Overall length: 8-1/4"
Blade length: 3-3/4"
Steel: 52100

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Old Hunter

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I only have a few to show; The one on top belongs to an old friend of mine, he is in his mid 80's and cannot remember when he bought the knife, but says he was a young man and bought it for hunting. The MSA-01 pocketknife is one I found in a pawn shop a few years back, it was in new condition but without any packaging - I believe the handles are synthetic. The last knife is a modern USA made Marbles I bought at SMKW while visiting Gatlinburg TN with my wife after my return from OIF in 2003; bought myself several gifts on that trip - this deer skinner was one of them. I don't have a good picture of it except this one which only shows the blade in silhouette, skinning a deer with one of my hunting buddies, it has a nice drop point and plenty of belly - one of my best deer skinners. Marbles is a brand I would like to know more about and own more of. OH

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I had an EO jack made by Marbles while Mike was there, I think I traded it to a buddy for his son. I did find a Marbles collectors book with some great ads and catalog illustrations, published in the 80s I believe. I have to find it and take some pics. Found it for about 5 bucks at a used book store after visiting the knife show and knife shop in Frederick MD one year ;).

Pic taken from a Google Image search

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Markesharp

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Being from Michigan I am interested in Marble Arms knives. That hunting knife is very nice Old Hunter. I see them go for $300.00+ on the bay. It's great to see these well made knives.
Great thread Smith Hammer. :thumbup:
 

Smithhammer

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Old Hunter - thanks for sharing. That old Ideal has a few stories to tell!

And that folder is a real looker. I'm a sucker for a matchstrike pull. ;) Truth be told, I don't know a whole lot about Marble's folding knife history, I'm much more famliiar with their fixed-blade patterns. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will chime in.

Sak Guy - Your Fieldcraft is a beauty. Judging by the spacers, it looks like it was built in '99. I've been on the look out for one of those - I think it's one of the most versatile and useful hunting knife patterns ever created. :thumbup:
 
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Found a pic of the book on a Google Image search.

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Horace Kephart designed my favorite fixed blade, the Kephart, but in his book Camping and Woodcraft, he designated the Ideal as the best knife you can get. Don't know if that was before or after he designed the iconic Kephart pattern ;) .
 
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Markesharp & Smithhammer

Thanks guys! :) My fav fixed blade, a gift from my daughter. :thumbup:

And Smithhammer, thanks for the info!!!:)
 
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Markesharp

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I would like more info too Smithhammer. I am not sure they made many folding knives in the early 1900's. They also made some highly sought after guns and had many patents on their products.
 

Smithhammer

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Glad to see this thread has legs!

I'm hoping Double Ott and MT Damascus will chime in and share some of their Marble's beauties.
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:D

From the little I know of Marble's folding knives (and please feel free to correct me if anyone knows more), in the early days there were the old 'safety' folding knives - the standard pocket knife, and the 'safety hunter' such as the example below:

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and then the tri-fold "fish knives:"

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and more recently (late 90's/early 2000?) Dave Shirley, in conjunction with Queen, produced Marble's folding knives, during the time that Mr. Shirley owned the "MSA" mark. Old Hunter - I'm guessing your Marble's pocket knife is from that period?
 

STR

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My small collection of easy open tear drop jacks by Marbles circa 2000/2001 are among my favorites in my collection. Each one pieces of perfection. I particularly like the bull horn but the bone and pearl are great also.
 

Markesharp

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Here's one of mine, from the series produced in the 1990s with vintage blades:

Poor knife deserves a better picture than this...
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Nice Bob. I really like the stag pommel. :thumbup: :)
 
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Here's one of mine, from the series produced in the 1990s with vintage blades:

Poor knife deserves a better picture than this...
MarblesExpert.jpg

Gotta ask, is the guard a tiny bit loose on yours?

I have two 90's Marbles Woodcrafts left..

The Mini and the special run Thin Blade model








Standard woodcraft in the center flanked by the mini and thin.
 
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Gotta ask, is the guard a tiny bit loose on yours?

No, not at all. Nor is the blade face as coarsely finished as it looks in that scanner-created image; the scanner light reflects off of smooth surfaces.

I've also got the two-piece "Depression Hunter" set from the same era of Marble's Knives. The blades were found found in storage and finished with old wood to the exact pattern as were made during the American Depression. Supposedly there are no known examples of the original production, and the number of 1990s sets was limited by the number of blades available. I don't recall the exact number, but I seem to remember reading there weren't many.
 
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