CNJ Knife Company History Trivia- Slogans

triviapursuit

Knife Company History Trivia

It’s that time again- time for the CNJ Knife Company trivia and today we’re going to look at a knife company slogan.

This particular knife company began in 1898 and located their factory in a unique area known as one of the machine tool hubs of the United States.

The company’s slogan was

When better knives are made, the _________ Knife Company will make them.

 

For the answer click more

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Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 11:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Case Brothers Knife History- An extremely rare find

Had an opportunity to buy a knife recently. Well, I didn’t really get a knife, only a part of it. A blade actually. But at least it was the masterblade.

CaseBrothers51blade

It looks like an elephant toenail blade, or does it?

Case Brothers 2250 005 cropped

Case Brothers Standard Style Ebony 2250 Toenail 3 7/8"

A friend  sent a pic of this blade telling me it was a toenail blade, in case I was interested. It was a Case Brothers Cutlery Co. of Little Valley, NY (c.1900- 1915)- one of my all-time favorites.

When I opened the picture attached to his email, I thought- that isn’t a toenail blade. I expected to see the typical CB toenail blade – short, fat and with a long pull like the one pictured here.

While it was a spear point type blade, and it did resemble an old toenail blade, it clearly wasn’t for the typical CB toenail. “Wait a minute, could it be…..?” flashed in my head. Case Brothers was one of the very few firms to make toenails in two different styles. The most common was the “standard style” – the ’50 pattern (2250, 5250, 6250, 7250 & 8250), but they also made a longer version called the ’51 pattern.

Everybody and their brother(s) made the standard style toenail back in the early 1900s, but the longer variety was another matter.

007 Case Brothers Little Valley NY 2281- 04 copy

Case Brothers Ebony 2251 4 1/2"

You should have seen me dart to where I keep my Case Brothers toenails. Grabbed my ’51 patterns and ran back. Couldn’t get them open quickly enough and when I did- it was a match– the same swedge, the single pull and even the TESTED XX matched one of mine.

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Case Brothers 2251 pictured in 1904 Catalog

Do you know how rare it is to find an old blade that is full? I’m talking about the fullest of full. And yet, this blade represented so much more than simply a full toenail blade to me.

OK, call me nuts if you want, but I value this baby right up there with the best of the best I have. It has it all- my favorite brand, a significant artifact from cutlery history, a toenail masterblade and the rarest of the two varieties at that. It also represents the fullest ’51 pattern masterblade I have ever seen.

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The Case Brothers Ebony 2251 Pattern Toenails

In case you are wondering….

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Published in: on October 30, 2009 at 9:10 am  Comments (1)  
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Knife Company History- Northfield Knife Company advertisement 1884

October 4, 1884 Northfield Knife Company advertisement

October 2, 1884 Northfield Knife Company advertisement

Source: The Iron Age- October 2, 1884

Published in: on October 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm  Comments (3)  
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CNJ Trivia- Pocketknife and the President of the United States

Knife Company History Trivia

Knife History Trivia

Today’s CNJ Trivia revolves around with the office of the President of the United States and one of our favorite subjects- a pocketknife.

pres-seaCan you name which President was carrying a pocketknife at what historians call “the time of his death?”

While this President is known for many things, one of the aspects we remember is what he was inflicted with that ultimately caused his death.

click to see the answer

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Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 7:34 am  Comments (8)  
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Cutlery News Journal Makes History!

knives2010Cutlery News Journal (CNJ) is recognized by Krause Publications’ Knives 2010– The World’s Greatest Knife Book by making their Knife Publication list.  Cutlery News Journal is the first blog to make the list. All other knife publications shown are traditional print media.

CNJ began last year and is the first independent knife collector news blog. Blogs are web media outlets published electronically. All articles are stored for easy topic search by their subscribers.

Krause Publications is a subsidiary of F + W Media, the leading enthusiast content provider and marketer of magazines, including Blade, books, conferences, and interactive media properties.

Photo credit: Krause Publications

Pieces of cutlery history travel down through time- together

puzzleMany collectors of vintage knives also collect old knife company memorabilia- the knife boxes, letterhead, ads, catalogs, buttons, signs, letters, photographs and those type things from their favorite knife company of days gone by. These rare items are pieces of the puzzle to help us get a better glimpse into the life and times back then.

Anytime we can link two or more items directly, like a knife box marked with the our favorite knife pattern number, an old ad illustrating our favorite knife or an old invoice with our knife’s pattern number on it, we go nuts.

Not long ago I had the opportunity to purchase some knife company memorabilia from a collector- old knife boxes, billheads, invoices, postcards and the like from many of the granddaddies of American cutlery firms. I didn’t study them at the time, instead I put them in plastic sleeves and then in notebooks labeled for each of the knife companies.

Only later when I was looking up some knife history factoid did I realize two of the items directly linked. Yes, they were both from the year 1900 and also both from Case Brothers Cutlery Co., Little Valley, NY, but to me the direct link is they were both addressed to a Mr. G. C. Monchow in Marilla, NY and are about the same knife order.

casebrothersmonchow

On Oct 29, 1900, Case Brothers issued an invoice to Mr. Monchow showing the order and shipment method initialed by the salesman “JRC” (John Russell ‘Russ” Case- the eventual founder of W R Case & Son). Then on Nov. 12th, 1900, Case Brothers mailed a postcard to Mr. Monchow acknowledging his payment on that specific order.

“We acknowledge with pleasure the receipt of your favor of Nov. 10 enclosing check for $62.08 which has been placed to your credit, in payment of bill of Oct. 29, 1900 for which accept our thanks: cordially inviting your further orders, we remain, yours respectfully,” Case Bros., Cutlery Co.

Pretty cool, isn’t it? It is extremely rare for two directly related items of cutlery history both to have survived and still together after 109 years!

In case you are wondering, Mr. Monchow owned a general store in Marilla (Erie County) New York. The store opened under the name H. T. Foster & Co. in 1865. Mr. Monchow became a partner in 1874. He survived his partner and sometime between 1889 and 1900 changed its name to G. C. Monchow & Co- the name reflected on the billing invoice and receipt from Case Brothers. The store closed in 1938.

Listen to the old knives’ voices

One of the many fun things about collecting old knives is their ability to whisk us back to a place in time. These knives speak volumes of the when and where they were made or the significance of why they were made. All old knives have voices. And if we are quite for a moment we can hear them speaking to us.

Collectors today are but custodians of these knives. We are entrusted with them for only a short time and then they are passed on.

To the original owners these knives weren’t mediums of the past. Instead, they bought them fresh out of the box and put them to work. If a knife survived its originally intended purpose and wasn’t lost or destroyed, it then began its trip down through the years to us today.

Other knives were made to mark a date or happening. While not necessarily exhibition pieces, though some were, many were simply souvenirs or keep sakes commemorating something significant, and these knives’ voices speak out the loudest.

Today, I was spoken to. Even though I didn’t view this knife in person, it spoke to me nonetheless.

1933 World's Fair Chicago- A Century of Progress

1933 World's Fair Chicago- A Century of Progress

world's fairThis wonderful little knife commemorated the 1933 World’s Fair and the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Chicago under the theme of “A Century of Progress,” signifying its technological innovations.

It resides in a collector’s possession today and he shared it over at iKnifeCollector. I am sure there are thousands of similarly significant pieces out there- all of which are treasures of days gone by.

If you ever wonder what the attraction of old knives is- just listen and you’ll hear them speaking to you too.

*****

Knife photo credit: Max McGruder; Poster photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_of_Progress

Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 4:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A lesson from cutlery history: Getting knife buyers to buy

bluelightIn hard economic times what is the most common approach used by retailers and knife company dealers to sell more knives? You guessed it- cut the prices.

Today, there is no doubt everyone involved in selling goods and services is feeling the pinch of consumers pulling back. The tightening of the purse strings started back around October of last year. Since then it seems everyone is running a sale.

Got an email notice from a knife manufacturer just yesterday about a “One-half off for one day only” sale.

One Case dealer in North Carolina ran a special on all Case knives for 20% off. The business owner commented after the sale, “We actually made a few sales that day.”

But this phenomenon of running a sale to move merchandise- and in our case, knives is nothing new. In fact, it was such a problem in the 1930’s a cutlery publication tried to rein in the knife industry through a series of editorials and articles.

painescutjrnlmastheadOne  such example-  June 1932 edition of Paine’s Cutlery Journal reported, “It is suicide, of course, to merely slash prices in order to get business, and the business man who thinks he can beat a cost plus profit basis better give up now.”

In many cases, the answer, according the PCJ was more and continued advertising. If one subscribes to this theory, then today the approach would be broader than simply advertising- running ads- it’s having a strong market presence and brand awareness to help achieve what is called in the marketing world as “top of mind consciousness” among the targeted group. And in a highly fragmented market, like we have today, one of the best approaches knife companies and dealers have is to go where the knife collectors and buyers spend a great deal of time- online.

Young people don’t need knives anymore

Hang around the knife industry for very long and you’ll no doubt hear a conversation about how boys today aren’t into pocket knives anymore. In fact, we here at CNJ have reported on more than one occasion that sentiment as well.

Yes, while it is true times have changed and we can quickly come up with a list of reasons, as we have, why this is the case. Young people don’t need knives they way they did last century, right?

painescutjrnlmastheadwoutdateWell, hold on to your horses there just a minute. This problem is not new to our society, nor our time. Listen to this statement as reported in the December 1930 edition of Paine’s Cutlery Journal.

“One of the leading publications in the advertising profession puts for the question ‘Why in the world don’t the cutlery manufacturers get together and bring back the pocket knife with a smashing advertising campaign to prove to the younger generation that a good knife has innumerable uses besides sharpening pencils?'”

So, there is hope because pocket knives became a rite of passage for most every boy up until the mid-1970’s.

On the other hand, there are lots of younger collectors out there- most of them just don’t carry the traditional pocket knife anymore, but they are definitely into knives just the same.

PS: Check out “Knife Collections” on YouTube to find over 6000 vids. Many of these collections are owned by the younger generation too.


Carrying a pocket knife- the way things used to be

vintage_boy_scou1Kids today carry cell phones, not pocket knives. Unfortunately, most parents today would freak out if their son or daughter pulled a knife out from their pocket.

Clearly that’s not the way it used to be. In fact, we reported in Times have changed and lifestyles have too here at CNJ, pocket knife carrying was almost a rite of passage from the 1800s to at least the middle 1900s anyway.

Want to hear what it was like to be a boy carrying a knife back years ago, then listen to Robert Simpson share with us what it was like when he was a boy. It is entitled- Nostalgia- the fine art of selective memory.

Published in: on April 20, 2009 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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