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Two unusual Sheffield patterns

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by Jack Black, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Here are a couple of unusual Sheffield patterns, which most posters here have probably never seen before.

    The first is the Sheldon Knife, which is a traditional one-hand-opening friction folder. I last saw them on sale in the late 1970’s, when they were sold as ‘The Original One-handed Knife’, and were popular with plumbers, electricians, and other workmen. You can see how the blade might lend itself to stripping wire or cutting through plastic or rubber hose.


    The Sheldon Knife seemed to disappear from favour, or at least it stopped being manufactured. I can recall some years ago, discussing the pattern (the name of which I could not then remember), and nobody knew what I was talking about, not even our esteemed Sheffield experts. I was relieved when I eventually came across an example of the pattern made by Albert Oates, a firm which was last listed in directories in 1959. It was a simple knife, and must have been very inexpensive to manufacture.


    Sometime later, I picked up a Wade & Butcher version. While very similar to the Oates knife, this was more nicely made, with the addition of brass liners. Wade & Butcher (or W. & S. Butcher Ltd) made stainless knives in the 1920’s, but faded away in the 1940’s (though the marks were still owned by razor manufacturer Durham-Duplex into the early 60’s).



    When I was visiting the Arthur Wright factory the other week, the gaffer there, John Maleham, showed me some Sheldon Knives, which were left over from a special order sometime before. I purchased a couple as I find the pattern interesting. The Wright knife has an etch on the blade, but does not have the stampings of the other two Sheldon Knives. Though in better condition, its similarity to the Wade & Butcher knife is striking.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to find a name for the unusual Pruner pattern below.

    Sometime ago, ADEE posted these photos in Charlie’s Pruner thread:

    There was more than a little scepticism that these Pruners by Taylor’s Eye Witness were anything other than badly-made or broken (over-bladed) knives. That was my own reaction when I saw the first knife ADEE found, (and indeed it was Stan Shaw’s reaction, when I showed him one of these knives yesterday). However, since posting in Charlie’s thread, ADEE has found other examples, also made by TEW, and a couple of weeks ago, I found this one in a York antique shop.




    I think it should now be very clear that this is an actual pattern, possibly exclusive to TEW. Comet were a maker of equipment used in the mining industry, including conveyor belts, and the name also appears on older bone-handled knives I have seen online, such as these:


    I wonder if the knives might have been for cutting the mining belts in an emergency, or simply for when replacing them, but as yet I am still investigating. I might have to speak to some old miners ;)
  2. VashHash


    Aug 11, 2009
    I really like that jigging pattern on the last 2 bone handled knives. Thanks for the info Jack.
  3. Shaggy


    Jan 30, 2012
    Thanks for sharing, Jack. Interesting blade-frame alignment on those pruners.
  4. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Cheers guys :thumbup:
  5. Ernie1980

    Ernie1980 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2012
    Some neat information, thanks! I particularly like that Wade and Butcher friction folder:thumbup:
  6. philllll


    May 23, 2013
    I've seen that friction folder pattern a few times on auctions and thought of picking one up. It's an interesting pattern for sure.

    That second pattern... wow! I would have never guessed that the blades were angled so drastically backwards like that on purpose. If you showed me one I'd have assumed it was either shoddily taken apart and put back together, or left un-oiled for so long that the spring or tang wore down.

    Very interesting Jack, thanks for sharing with us!
  7. ADEE


    Jan 9, 2014
    Jack Interesting patterns for sure. The TEWs are curious but now we have FIVE so that must mean something. bobbee posted the picture of two of these knives in the TEW thread and he mentioned the Comet name too.
    Good work Jack .. as always.
  8. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    I hope you can find some miners.
  9. Bartleby


    Oct 28, 2005
    Looking at the angle of the blades, I would venture a guess that the knives were used to scrape off hardened muck on the belts in the mines. I cleaned muck off belts on excavating conveyors with a putty knife when I was a young guy, and that looks like it would have been much more ergonomic for such a task than what we had. Of course there's guessing and then there's knowing as a wise fellow would say!
  10. Old Engineer

    Old Engineer Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 30, 2014
    Makes good sense to me Bartleby .

    Jack : Thanks for keeping the questions about Adee's knives alive . It looks like you have re-discovered an old pattern that was useful as a work knife . As you know , I am always happy to see more old TEW's. Those Brown Jigged Bone ones seem to not have the ENGLAND stamp on the tang whereas the black handled ones do . Did the manufacturers have the option of putting the ENGLAND on the tang if the product was being sold within the U.K. ??? Or is it pretty safe to assume that if they did not have the ENGLAND stamp that they were made prior to the 1891 or 1892 date ??? I would really like to see a collection of the different Eye Witness tang stamps .

  11. supratentorial


    Dec 19, 2006
    Neat finds, Jack :thumbup: If you get a chance, I would find it interesting to see a photo of the run up. ...maybe in the half stop position you could see both the spring and the run up. I'm just curious to see what it looks like.
  12. PNWJimbo


    Sep 29, 2015
    Top notch post as always JB. Love that super clear wade tang stamp

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
  13. Misplaced Hillbilly

    Misplaced Hillbilly Gold Member Gold Member

    May 16, 2018
    Hope nobody minds a bump on this one. I'm from a coal mining region of the Appalachian mountains. Hawkbill knives were regularly issued as part of a coal miners tool kit here. Recently I was talking with my Dad who worked in the coal industry above ground. On coal yard, where different grades of coal was stockpiled to be sold for various purposes. He had to deal with conveyors regularly,as do underground miners. He said there was no better way to cut the heavy thick belts than a good Hawkbill. While I've never seen the "oversprung" type here I'm sure that was the purpose of at least the one marked with the conveyor company name.
  14. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Thanks for the info David, much appreciated :thumbsup:

    Not sure why I missed the prior replies, but sorry about that guys :( :thumbsup:
  15. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    I thought I'd missed this whole thread, but I see my doppelganger didn't. There's no way that many knives broke to that extent and stopped short of swinging off the bladestop, IMEO. (That's "Exalted" instead of Humble, just for a change of pace.)
  16. abcdef


    Oct 28, 2005
    I only see the last pic. Still, interesting.
  17. wlfryjr

    wlfryjr Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 20, 2011
    This is one of the best parts of knife collecting.

    But not this, I can't see any of ADEE's pictures.
  18. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    That's strange, I can see ALL the pics, assuming I'm not alone in that :confused:
  19. 5K Qs

    5K Qs Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 20, 2014
    I only see the very last photo in the original post. Every other image has the white "?" in a blue field; clicking it takes me to a blank image at the PhotoBucket site.

    - GT
  20. Ramrodmb


    Jun 9, 2010

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