Schrade Cutlery, while being an ancient company, is still renowned for producing the most precious and sought-after knives among collectors and admirers worldwide. Considering the company has a lengthy history of producing knives, it might be difficult to determine the knife’s manufacturing year at first glance. Still, there are a few methods to find out. Let’s examine them in this article.
Challenges Dating Schrade Knives
Schrade knives’ iconic American designs reflect their origins in New York, where the firm was founded in 1904. George Schrade was renowned as a trailblazer during this epoch. Some of his concepts provided the foundation for modern sports knife designs.
The recognized brand, which is currently owned by Taylor Brands LLC, has sold knives to generations of customers throughout the globe for almost a century.
Despite this lengthy voyage, it is thought that the business lacked accurate production records for their blades. This is not their fault, as they have manufactured so many knives over the past century.
Hence, it is difficult to reduce the manufacturing period to a single year unless the item was only created in a single year. It is known that Schrade discontinued utilizing bone, a material used to make handles, in the early 1960s. Nevertheless, neither a definite day nor year is known; it depends on when the knife scarcity began.
However, later SFOs or Special Factory Orders, such as the Tradesman and Heritage collections, had bone handles. It is thought that the bone material in these knives originated in Germany.
Despite the fact that Schrade did not keep records, its tang marks may assist determine the year of creation for some knives. In addition, if the knife has a serial number, you may focus your search even further. Yet, it is essential to note that the firm only utilized serial numbers when touting its Uncle Henry (UH) knives’ one-year warranty against loss.
Ways to Date a Schrade Knife
It is stated that the tang stamp and cover materials are suitable for determining the exact manufacturing year of a Schrade knife. Nonetheless, there are a few methods for dating a Schrade knife. Let’s explore all possibilities immediately!
Looking at the Knife’s Tang Stamp or Logo
This is the easiest way to determine the approximate age of a Schrade knife. The tang stamp, which indicates the brand, is often located toward the blade’s base. The Schrade Corporation has altered the tang stamp on many occasions. These adjustments help collectors determine the age of a particular model.
Schrade Cut. Co. appeared on the earliest stamps, which were used solely in the early days of the brand’s founding year. After this sentence is “Walden, New York” and “Germany.”
This altered from late 1904 to 1917 to “Schrade” printed in an arc, followed by “Cut. Co.” in a straight line and “Walden, NY” below.
From 1917 through 1946, identical sentences were utilized, but the brand name was no longer curved.
The brand added “USA” after “Walden, New York” in the mid-1940s.
1973 saw the removal of “Walden” on tang stamps and marketing materials.
From 1947 through 1973, the knives had the mark “Schrade Walden.”
From 1973 to 2004, Schrade knives were marked with “Schrade N.Y. USA” or “Schrade USA.”
Many additional stamps were utilized, with a few stamp years superimposed as per the concept. The following tang stamp chart is the most accurate source of information on any Schrade knife.
You will need a magnifying lens in a well-lit area to see the pattern and marks on your knife.
The first thing to look for on a knife is its engraved name. For instance, “Schrade Cut Co.” and “Walden, N.Y.” in an arc form indicate that the Schrade knife was manufactured between 1904 and World War I.
If “Schrade Cut Co.” appears in a straight line, the instrument was manufactured between World War I and 1947.
Here are other ways to date a Schrade knife.
Looking for Particular Markings: The Old Timer (OT) and Uncle Henry (UH) pocket knives by Schrade bear the marks “OT” and “UH,” respectively. Blades on OT models are often made of carbon steel. Similar vehicles were built between 1958 and 2002. The UH knives have blades composed of stainless steel and were manufactured between 1965 and 2004.
Identification of the Serial Number: The blade of a Schrade knife is likely to include a four-digit serial number. The first digit signifies the number of blades, the following two represent the design of the handle, and the fourth represents the material of the handle. Below the serial number are a few letters that indicate the kind and color of the handle. To determine the name of that exact knife, you can consult the brand’s catalog or an antique cutlery book using the serial number. If the name is known, the era of creation can be simply determined.
Inspecting the Material of the Handle It is known that between 1920 and 1965, knife handles were made of bone. From 1965, the majority of Schrade knife handles were fashioned from synthetic materials. A few Schrade knives created in the mid-1970s with bone-colored brown, green, or red handles are the lone exception.
Examining Pictures on Handles: The handle of a Schrade knife might reveal whether or not it is a commemorative model. If so, it is simple to determine the manufacturing years, as certain items were manufactured in specified years.
Examining the Print Items: Magazine advertising, vintage catalogs, knife manuals, and a help guide or booklet included in the box where you purchased your Schrade knife are good resources for determining the period of manufacture. Often, these documents contain information and images that might assist you to assess the age or kind of a broken or worn Schrade knife. Nonetheless, even Schrade aficionados find it difficult to date a Schrade knife based just on its appearance. Also, they discover that employing printed materials is a superior method for determining age.
Browsing the Internet: To learn more about your knife, you might search for websites and forums devoted to antique or ancient knives, notably Schrade. Even earlier catalogs are accessible online. Also, it is feasible to seek antique stores or local knife collectors to check if they have any information.
Antique OT Knives
The OT knives remain one of the brand’s most renowned collections. Their manufacture began in 1959, with the 2OT model being the first to be produced. From 1959 through 2004, the firm published approximately 75 models and variations of its OT series. Hence, if you own an OT model, its model number will help you recognize it from newer models.
Unfortunately, these knives are not strictly in numbered sequence. For instance, 34OT was manufactured between 1964 and 2004, but 33OT was manufactured between 1976 and 2004.
Check for the model number near the nation or state of origin on the tang stamp. Now, look for this number on collector websites to determine the knife’s age range. Few collectors have made an enormous effort to document the manufacturing era of each Schrade knife. Depending on a model’s scarcity and desirability, its OT value varies substantially.
Modern Schrade Knives
A few older-looking models are really more recent than they appear. This can make it more difficult to determine their genuine value. The firm has released many anniversary-edition knives with identical aesthetics to the historical originals.
Taylor Brands LLC bought Schrade in 2004, reissuing several of its most popular knife models and acquiring a few of its trademarks. Nonetheless, Battenfeld Technologies’ Smith & Wesson division eventually surpassed Taylor Brands LLC. Battenfeld now manufactures knives under the Schrade brand, including the OT, Imperial, and UH lines.
If your knife is one of these Battenfeld Schrade models, you may find information about it on the Battenfeld website. Certain Taylor or Battenfeld Schrade models include new model numbers that were released following the demise of the Schrade corporation.
In conclusion, Schrade knives are more than simply a solid tool; they may also be a thoughtful and distinctive present for a loved one. Whether you’re commemorating an anniversary, a birthday, or any other special occasion, a Schrade knife may serve as an enduring token of your affection and gratitude. With their durable construction, stylish designs, and configurable features, Schrade knives are a thoughtful and practical way to express your affection. So why not consider dating a Schrade knife for your significant other? That is a present that they will treasure for many years.