Bradford, Pa., here I come

Well not exactly, not today anyway. Really not until July, but I am going.

Case Collector Appreciation Weekend 2008

Every two years, the W. R. Case Cutlery Company hosts their Case Collector Appreciation Weekend and I’m going.  It’s a fantastic time for any knife nut. Even if you are not an ardent Case fan by the time it’s over, you will be.

Why am I going to travel 900 miles to attend this event? Because Case asked me to, that’s why. Many of you know I’m a fourth generation auctioneer. And while I don’t sell knives in my real job, I can and for this special event- I will.

Case hosts an auction at each of these events. They sell one-of-a-kind knives made especially for their fans. This will be my third year to be their auctioneer…evidently my southern drawl isn’t too noticeable when I chat.

I know it’s a little early  to hit the road now, but do make plans to attend and please let me know when you do. We’ll make time to grab a cup of coffee together.

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Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 9:36 am  Comments (5)  
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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 II

Today is Part II of the video documentary by Brad Lockwood, the great-great-great grandson of Job Case- the patriarch and icon of the Case family cutlers.

This two-part 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.

If you missed Part I, here it is. Check it out. You will like it.

Published in: on December 11, 2009 at 7:52 am  Comments (3)  
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National Knife Collectors Association Prototype Auction

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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.

Knife Museum fundraiser declared a success

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Knoxville paper covers knife museum fundraiser

As a publisher of electronic knife collector news, I love it when the traditional print media covers happenings in our knife world. You know, when a newspaper prints a story about a collector trend, an event or even a significant aspect of our hobby.

This morning, as I was writing/struggling in an in-depth CNJ article on Knife Condition Grades, an email pops in my Inbox alerting me about new knife news. I stopped immediately, clicked though and found a great story in the Knoxville News Sentinel about the National Knife Museum fundraiser held weekend before last.

The event was co-sponsored by Smoky Mountain Knife Works, W. R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company and the National Knife Museum in Sevierville, Tenn.

The point of the story is over $4000 was raised for the Knife Museum. While the museum is a sister organization to the National Knife Collectors Association, it is a totally separate entity and survives from donations and exhibitor fees.

As an aside, yours truly did go to this event but was too busy buying knives to cover the event 🙂 Had my collector hat on that day. Well, what can I say……other than- I had success there too.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel- Knife swap meet raisers $4000 for museum

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.

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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.

W R Case lays off 45 additional associates

caselogoReporting some knife collector news is not fun and this “news” is one of those. Last week, Case announced its third round of lay-offs this year. As reported in the Bradford Era, last Thursday Case laid off an additional 45 associates.

The culprit of the 154 layoffs is the current economic conditions we are in the middle of here in the US. Folks have tightened their belts and are holding off on buying non-necessities, even to the point of purchasing fewer knives.

“Reducing our work forces is an unfortunate outcome of the current economic environment. We will continue to evaluate our staffing needs until the economy regains strength.” said Chief Executive Officer Tom Arrowsmith in the release put out by the company the end of last week and as reported in the Bradford paper.

Case is continuing to develop new knife offerings to stimulate sales and hopes it will be in a position to bring back these associates in the future.

Published in: on July 9, 2009 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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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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Katie Shonts named historian at W R Case

Katie and Fred Feightner

Katie and Fred Feightner cutting up for me in 2006

If you are a case fan, then I know you were sad, as I was, to see Shirley retire as Case’s historian back a couple of months ago. But like the old Case Brothers (1896- 1914) slogan from around the turn of the last century says, “The dawn of a better day breaketh.”

Katie Shonts is now Case’s new historian and archivist. She started with Case some 16 years ago and will be a valuable asset to collectors. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Katie related to Case’s auctions in Bradford. She will do great in this new role too.

Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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