All the types of knives and the firms that made them

You know by now, I enjoy reading through old cutlery publications and early American knife company history. I’d like to start this week off by sharing with you something I found extremely interesting.

But first let me ask you-

Can you imagine how difficult it would be to attempt to classify all the different kinds of knives made around 1900, in addition to identifying all the different cutlery firms that made each kind?

Do we even know how many different types of knives were made back then? Plus, how exactly do we know a knife’s intended use? All you have to do is read Bernard Levine’s Whut Izzit? column in Knife World each month and his expert attempt at identifying and classifying knives (among other things) to see how difficult it must be.

Cutlery makers and the types of knives they made

cutlerymakersofamer1919headingRecently, while I was doing my pleasure reading, I came across a classification of all knives made around that time. It was published in September 1919 and was compiled by The Cutlery Publishing Company, publishers of The American Cutler.

The publication is The Cutlery Makers of America.


“Official Directory of the Cutlery Trade of the United States classified according to the kinds of knives and blades made, constituting a reliable and comprehensive handbook for cutlery buyers at home and abroad.”

While there are no pictures (other than in the advertisements), the list of the types/classifications of knives is very interesting.

Today, we may call a certain type of knife by another name, or no name at all, but this directory lists the types of knives and the firms who made each as classified by this official directory.

Take for example this classification- Pocket Knives: Advertising-

  • Canton Cutlery Co., Canton, Ohio
  • D. Divine & Sons, Ellenville, N. Y.
  • Golden Rule Cutlery Co., Chicago, Ill.
  • Lackawanna Cutlery Co., Nicholson, Pa.
  • Novelty Cutlery Co., Canton, Ohio
  • Schrade Cutlery Co., Walden, N. Y.
  • United Cutlery Co., Canton, Ohio
  • Wiebush & Hilger, New York

Incidentally, the next classification in the directory is Pocket Knives: Advertising- Safety Push Button- The sole maker listed is Schrade Cutlery Co., Walden, N. Y.

And, Pocket Knives: Revolver- U. S. Small Arms Co., Rochester, N. Y. (I wonder if they made the one for Case Brothers too?)

Today, I simply wanted to introduce this invaluable directory for those of us into American cutlery history. I’ll highlight a couple of other topics you will like later this week.

Published in: on December 15, 2008 at 6:30 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i have a very old knife and would love to have any information on where it comes from or any thing on it’s history. It is a press button knife,and has two blades, one on each end. The name on the small blade is hard to read , but i think it says bess litton knife co. alden,on the other side it has u.s. pat. 470605. On the large blade it says press button and has the same u.s.pat.470605. The knife is 2 7/8″ long closed and has sterling handles.
    I would like to thank you in advance for any information,Bill Prather

    • Bill
      From the patent number your knife was submitted for patent by George Schrade in 1892. I’ve emailed you a link to info that will help.

  2. I have this real old knife that is in good condition on one side of the blade it says press Botton Knife Co,Walden,NY and on the other side of the blade it has US,PAT. 470,605 I was wondering if any one could tell me how old this knife is and how much is it worth

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