Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Winchester entered the knife market as a manufacturer in 1919 by acquiring two existing knife companies; Eagle Knife Co. of Connecticut & Napanoch Knife Co. of New York. Winchester stepped away from the market in 1942 to focus on war related manufactured products, but re-entered in the late 1980s by licensing its name to Blue Grass Cutlery. Blue Grass had high quality knives made by Queen Cutlery that featured the Winchester brand name for a handful of years until the license arrangement ran its course. Winchester eventually started licensing to other companies & now you will find the brand name used by several knife manufacturers by way of license agreements.
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1967redrider
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Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by 1967redrider » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:27 pm

I was looking through Price and Zalesky's Official Price Guide to Collector Knives, 15th Edition and found it interesting that Winchester made knives for E.C. Simmons, if I'm reading this correctly. So does that mean Keen Kutters tang stamped E.C. Simmons were actually made by Winchester or was there a different tang stamp that was used? Attaching a picture of the page from the Price and Zalesky book along with some of the Keen Kutters that I have that are stamped E.C. Simmons.

I should have probably looked in Sellens' Keen Kutter Pocket Knives (Schiffer Book for Collectors) and Heuring's Collector's Guide to E. C. Simmons Keen Kutter: Cutlery and Tools, Identification & Values as well for more info, will probably do so tonight if I get a chance.
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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by Robo » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:45 pm

Thanks for this topic. I always interpreted what I've read on Simmons/Keen Kutter/Walden/ Winchester as: Walden being the producer of Simmons Hardware Keen Kutter brand knives. Walden still produced their own Trademarked knives while producing the exact same ones for Simmons. When Winchester bought out Walden Walden ceased to exist as a brand but their machinary (and probably some former Employees) was used to make both Winchester and Keen Kutter Brand cutlery until Winchester got out of the Harware Cutlery game at the outset of WWII. At that point the Keen Kutter brand knives were made by Shrade Walden and perhaps other companies. I've read and re-read the texts you mention and I'm still not confident I have it right but I enjoy the conversation--thanks again.
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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by 1967redrider » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:54 pm

Robo wrote:Thanks for this topic. I always interpreted what I've read on Simmons/Keen Kutter/Walden/ Winchester as Walden being the producer of Simmons Hardware Keen Kutter brand knives. Walden still produced their own Trademarked knives while producing the exact same ones for Simmons. When Winchester bought out Walden Walden ceased to exist as a brand but their machinary (and probably some former Employees) was used to make both Winchester and Keen Kutter Brand cutlery until Winchester got out of the Harware Cutlery game at the outset of WWII. At that point the Keen Kutter brand knives were made by Shrade Walden and perhaps other companies. I'll post pictures of my examples.
Thanks for the reply, interested in seeing what you have. ::tu:: ::tu::
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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by Robo » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:04 pm

1967redrider wrote:
Robo wrote:Thanks for this topic. I always interpreted what I've read on Simmons/Keen Kutter/Walden/ Winchester as Walden being the producer of Simmons Hardware Keen Kutter brand knives. Walden still produced their own Trademarked knives while producing the exact same ones for Simmons. When Winchester bought out Walden Walden ceased to exist as a brand but their machinary (and probably some former Employees) was used to make both Winchester and Keen Kutter Brand cutlery until Winchester got out of the Harware Cutlery game at the outset of WWII. At that point the Keen Kutter brand knives were made by Shrade Walden and perhaps other companies. I'll post pictures of my examples.
Thanks for the reply, interested in seeing what you have. ::tu:: ::tu::
My Pleasure. I added them to original post. Unfortunately I couldn't get a shot of the faded Keen Kutter tang stamp that was worth a dang.

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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by msteele6 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:00 am

Here are a few Keen Kutters and a Winchester. The top knife is a K53 5/8, the next a Winchester 2949, then a K53 and finally a Keen Kutter K53 3/4. The top knife is a Camillus made knife. The rough black knife is, I believe, the oldest, Walden made, it is slightly smaller than the others. The other two are Walden made, one stamped Winchester one Keen Kutter.
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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by 1967redrider » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:41 pm

Thanks for the replies and great looking knives!

From Sellens book, he mentions that Winchester bought Simmons Hardware in 1922 and the Keen Kutter knives were made by Winchester from 1923 to 1929. I think the "1929" date is a mistake and should be 1939. If not, who made the knives from 1929 to 1940 when Shapleigh took over? ::shrug::

I'm just trying to figure out if there's a clearcut way to identify which Keen Kutters were definitely made by Winchester, based on tang stamp or something else. Sellens also provides dates particular patterns were produced in his book, not sure where he is pulling that information from either. But I don't think no one made Keen Kutter knives for Simmons from 1929 to 1939/1940 so his 1929 end date cannot be correct.

I'm happy to see what you guys think regarding this, thanks for your replies in advance. ::handshake::
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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by stockman » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:25 pm

Two knives, Top Winchester other KK. I have always called this shield a "Winchester shield" Don't remember how I started this. Probably AAPK.

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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by wlf » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:46 pm

Interesting conversation John, Dan may chime in. I don’t know anything to help.
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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by 1967redrider » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:14 pm

wlf wrote:Interesting conversation John, Dan may chime in. I don’t know anything to help.
Thanks, Lyle. ::tu::
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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by woodwalker » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:03 pm

Here is a EC Simmons Keen Kutter that Danno thinks was probably made by Winchester. Thanks for looking. :)
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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by 1967redrider » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:52 pm

woodwalker wrote:Here is a EC Simmons Keen Kutter that Danno thinks was probably made by Winchester. Thanks for looking. :)
Great looking knife, thanks for posting. ::handshake::
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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by Bilbo » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:17 pm

I recently had two Keen Kutter barlows that appeared identical - same frame, same pattern number (K2881), same feel, but one was stamped EC Simmons KK on the tang while the other had just the KK logo without the Simmons name. These barlows had the distinctive size, shape, and heft of a Camillus barlow. Winchester barlow frames were smaller, lighter, and more rounded than these.

The fact that one of them did not bear the EC Simmons mark led me to think that these were probably made near the end of Simmons Hardware, and after 1929 Simmons Hardware contracted with manufacturers other than Winchester to make Keen Kutter knives.

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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by Mumbleypeg » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:16 pm

I’ll attempt to clarify some of these questions to the best of my ability. My sources are a magnificent book called Standard Catalog of Winchester and Goins Encyclopedia of Cutlery Markings, the latter of which many of you are familiar. The first book is a compilation of cuts from old catalogs covering all things sold under the Winchester brand, from sporting goods to hardware, appliances and even paint! Included are 52 pages of pictures and text on Winchester pocket knives. The book covers Winchester knives produced up until WWII.
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I posted some of this recently in another thread. Prior to 1919 there were no Winchester brand pocket knives. That year Winchester acquired eight different companies including Napanoch Knife Company and Eagle Pocket Knife Company. Which put Winchester into the pocket knife business. However it seems Winchester in their rapid expansion had bitten off too much. They needed an infusion of cash, which they got in 1922 through a merger with the Associated Simmons Hardware Company. Simmons already owned Walden Knife Company at the time, and production of cutlery was combined under the Winchester arm of the merged companies. So within 3 years Winchester went from having zero cutlery to being a major player. Most Walden designs became Winchester designs.

The merger with Simmons lasted several years but in 1931 Winchester and its operations was purchased by Western Cartridge. Production of cutlery was dropped at that time. It was later re-instated. The particulars of when, where and how it was re-instated are not provided. Winchester’s production of cutlery then ceased again a few years later with the advent of WWII. It was never restarted. Winchester branded knives produced since then have been made by others.

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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by 1967redrider » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:33 pm

Greatly appreciated, Ken! ::handshake::

More from Price & Zalesky's 15th Edition on the subject, I hope you can read my picture. No cutoff date mentioned as to when exactly Winchester stopped making knives for Simmons. ::shrug::

John
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Re: Keen Kutters Made by Winchester

Post by Bilbo » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:26 pm

Ken -
The fact that Winchester stopped production of knives, then restarted might be linked to the observation that early Winchesters were stamped on all blades, while others knives were only stamped on the master blades.
B

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