Wide open as a Case knife

It’s funny how once you get tuned into something, you all of a sudden start noticing it. Take cars for example, how many times have you bought a new car only then to start seeing your car everywhere. Well, I heard me another new knife saying yesterday.

I was traveling with a new sales rep for our company. We ran to Chattanooga for a meeting and on the way we were talking when this guy said,

“I’m as wide open as a Case knife.”

After about a second, I interrupted him to ask why he said that and what it means. I’d never heard that expression before. I actually thought he used that expression because he knew I am into knives. He went on to tell me it was a saying he always heard his dad use and that he’d never really thought about it before.

Last night I did a search on that phrase. I found it in a Sports Illustrated article where an Alabama-born coach Curley Hallman baffled reporters when he used it. He was describing a quarterback competition and he said- “It’s wide open as a Case knife in a barroom brawl.”

I also found it used by another Alabama coach reported in the Times Daily. Then I found it used by a southern humorist. It was also used on TideFans.com and then again on SECTalk.com used in an Alabama/Georgia football game discussion.

I emailed my friend at Case to ask about what he knew about it. He replied he’d never heard of it either, so I have concluded it is southern expression, possibly even an Alabama colloquialism.

And even though I’m in and from the Heart of Dixie, if I wasn’t a knife guy, I’d probably never noticed it.

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Case Family & American Cutlery History Video Documentary by Brad Lockwood Part I

Introducing a two-part video series on the Case Knife Family

Brad Lockwood, great-great-great grandson of Job Case- the patriarch and icon of the Case family cutlers- produced these videos for all Case and American cutlery history fans to enjoy.

This series is much like a cliff notes narrated version of his fantastic book, “Tested XX – The Case Cutlery Dynasty.” Brad does an excellent job providing us footage of many of the historic homes and knife factory sites in Little Valley, NY- “The Village of Knives,” in addition to Case family history. Members of the Case family either worked for or started 32 different knife companies over the years.

Stay tuned for Part II later this week.

Knife Talk- Case TESTED XX Green Bone

Who said knives can’t talk…

Case TESTED XX Elephant Toenail (1920- 1940)

Published in: on November 25, 2009 at 8:21 am  Comments (1)  
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Another Knife Auction Underway

wardsauctionAnother knife auction is underway and is being conducted by Ward’s Auctions, a collectibles auction company. Eric Ward, President of the firm, contacted me about this sale. He wrote, “We are well known for ammo, boxes, advertising posters & calendars for hunting & fishing, but not so much when it comes to the Knives- NOT YET ANYWAY!”

While it sounds like the firm is focusing more on future knife auctions, the sale they have currently scheduled is a liquidation of knife inventory spread throughout the firm’s next four scheduled auctions. The first is going on now and ends November 20th. The November sale inventory consists of Case, Marbles and Winchester knives and begins with lot #9323.

The other three auctions are set for next year, so if you want to keep up, then bookmark their site or sign up for their email list updates and auction announcements.

Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 4:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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National Knife Collectors Association Prototype Auction

NKCAProtoCrippleCreekPearl204

Cripple Creek Old Fort, Tn USA 1991 Mint, Pearl, Serpentine

The National Knife Collectors Association is having an auction to sell all annual club knife prototypes.

All 181 knives are selling absolute auction and online.

Each year, since 1975, the NKCA solicits prototype samples of the next year’s club knife and commemorative editions from the leading knife manufacturers. This auction contains knives submitted to the NKCA from W. R. Case, Cripple Creek, Kissing Crane, Puma, Buck, Boker, S & M, Blue Grass Cutlery, Fight’n Rooster, Queen, Schrade and others. Each knife is marked “Prototype,” or “NKCA Sample.”

nkcalogoLisa Sebenick, General Manager of the NKCA, is excited about the quality of the offering and said this is a rare auction as all knives are one-of-a-kind. Each buyer will receive a certificate of authenticity.

The auction is online and begins November 12th- 18th, however, fax, phone and email bids are accepted on Nov. 17th & 18th. The auction catalog is available for $15 or it is online now.

Photo credit: Bruce Voyles Auctioneers, Inc.

Famous Knife Factory Fires

If you have been collecting knives for any time you have probably heard stories of the most famous knife company fires. There are quite a few, actually.

I’m sure you have heard about the Case Brothers fire that destroyed their Little Valley, New York factory on February 10th, 1912. But did you know this was actually their second factory to have burned to the ground?

Case Smethport Cutlery 6.11.1910

Case Smethport Cutlery ruins 1910

Two years earlier their Smethport, Pa factory burned. It had only been in operation since Dec. 1909 when they, along with W. R. & Russ Case, and H. N. Platts, purchased the Smethport Cutlery Company. Then on June 11th, 1910,  fire destroyed the entire plant.

Not to digress, but I found the entire set of circumstances of this fire very interesting- almost comical.

  • When the Night Watchman discovered the fire, he reportedly tried to extinguish it by grabbing a pail of water and throwing it on the fire, only to see the flames increase- he had thrown a pail of oil, instead of water.
  • smethport-pa-fire-depart-historyWhen the fire department and hose carts arrived and opened the hydrant, there was no water pressure.
  • “No team (horses) was handy to then haul the fire engine, so a number of firemen started out with it by hand, but the progress was slow and before it was on the ground and in operation this large building was completely enveloped in flames and all possibility of saving any part of it was gone.” Quote from McKean County Miner- June 16, 1910
  • One of the reasons the site was selected for the cutlery plant in the beginning was the location of the hydrant, which was immediately next to the building.

List of Knife Factory Fires

Throughout American cutlery history fire has been a big problem. It is not unusual to discover a knife company didn’t rebuild, instead they went out of business. Other times, I found factories that burned to the ground more than once and rebuilt each time.

Overall I was surprised with what I found. Before I show you, let me ask-

Can you history buffs name one or two other cutlery factory fires?

(more…)

Case lays off additional workers

caselogoBREAKING NEWS- The Pittsburg Post-Gazette reported today, W R Case & Sons Cutlery Co. of Bradford, Pa. laid off 78 more employees. This is the second workforce reduction this year.

Case puts knives on sale in first-ever Spring Sales Event

casespringsaleW R Case announced a “Spring Sales Event” by discounting knives through participating dealers. According to Case, this is the first time in its history to run a spring sales event. Unprecendented times call for unprecedented actions and Case is getting out of its box to increase sales and move inventory.

Published in: on March 20, 2009 at 5:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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