Old Keen Kutter Knives

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danno50
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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby danno50 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:42 pm

Thanks for the kind comments Joe, John, Mike and Roger. Missed you at the show, Mike.
Dan

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galvanic1882
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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby galvanic1882 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:51 pm

Thanks Dan, missed not being there for sure. Glad you got some gems.

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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby kootenay joe » Sat Apr 20, 2019 4:52 pm

Dan you certainly made a good decision in making Keen Kutter brand your collecting focus. They are well made and the variety of patterns is very wide. There will always be ones you have yet to find.
Please excuse my 'confusion' but did E.C.Simmons manufacture these knives or are they contract knives ?
kj

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danno50
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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby danno50 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:50 pm

kootenay joe wrote:Dan you certainly made a good decision in making Keen Kutter brand your collecting focus. They are well made and the variety of patterns is very wide. There will always be ones you have yet to find.
Please excuse my 'confusion' but did E.C.Simmons manufacture these knives or are they contract knives ?
kj


E.C Simmons Hardware Co. was a hardware company who sold pretty much everything. However, they took knives very seriously, having salesman who were dedicated to selling knives specifically. Prior to 1902, a lot of their knives were made by the Walden Knife Co. and likely some other manufacturers as well? In 1902, Simmons bought the Walden Knife Co. From that time until sometime in 1922 the vast majority of their knives were manufactured by Walden. The name Keen Kutter had been use since the beginning and the wedge and bar logo was adopted in 1905. In 1922 Simmons merged with Winchester. Winchester took over manufacturing of the knives and Simmons looked after the distribution. In 1929, Simmons and Winchester went their separate ways. From then until July 1940, when Shapleigh bought out Simmons, knives were manufactured by Winchester and Camillus, and maybe some other manufacturers?
Sorry for the longwinded answer to a simple question. However, to me, Simmons was more than just a hardware distributor of knives, as knives were important enough to the company that they bought a cutlerly company and subsequently merged with another one.

There is more information on this on page 23 of this thread.
Dan

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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby Sharpnshinyknives » Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:54 pm

and maybe some other manufacturers?
Schrade made knives for them as well. More recently Bear has made Keen Kutters.
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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby danno50 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:03 pm

SSK, sorry, forgot to comment on your posted knife. Great that you found blades for it, looks good! ::tu::
Yes, Schrade did make Keen Kutters, but not for Simmons. The Schrade made KKs are from the 1950s after Shapleigh took over the name. I focus on the pre 1940 Simmons Keen Kutters.
Dan

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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby Sharpnshinyknives » Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:14 pm

danno50 wrote:SSK, sorry, forgot to comment on your posted knife. Great that you found blades for it, looks good! ::tu::
Yes, Schrade did make Keen Kutters, but not for Simmons. The Schrade made KKs are from the 1950s after Shapleigh took over the name. I focus on the pre 1940 Simmons Keen Kutters.


Thanks Dan, I lost my book on Keen Kutters and couldn’t remember the time frame for Schrade.
I wish the blades had been the correct size, but it’s hard to find the exact right blades for this one. There are no “donor knives” out there to choose from on this model.
I’m still awed by the pearls that were posted, those are incredible.
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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby galvanic1882 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 11:34 pm

Here is a Walden letter dated 1926 showing they were the sole makers of KK knives.
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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby JAMESC41001 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 2:57 am

Good info Dan, just for the record Simmons did not actually buy Walden knife. When George Weller, a principle share holder retired Simmons purchased his stock in the company. They gained a controlling interest in the company. This was pretty much how Simmons did business. When possible they would gain control of the quality and availability of the products they sold. Many if not all of the reference books state that Winchester moved all the equipment out of Walden and that production in Walden ceased but that is simply incorrect. Mikes letter here is dated 1926 and the auction papers are dated 1928. I’ve read that worked actually ended in 1927. What knives were actually made there Is anyone’s guess. I spoke on the phone not long ago with the Walden historian and she told me that Enders was making knives in there for a time. I’ve read where Enders worked for Simmons and had a unique relationship with them.

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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby kootenay joe » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:33 am

Dan & others thanks so much for these E.C.Simmons/Keen Kutter details. It is a bit complex: Simmons owned the knife company that was making their knives but they did not run the knife company. Depending on how you look at the business end E.C.Simmons might qualify as the manufacturer of the K.K. knives. The relationship between E.C.Simmons and the knife manufacturing companies adds intrigue to collecting these knives. There is a lot to figure out for the beginning collector.
kj

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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby JAMESC41001 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:03 am

KJ, when Simmons gained a controlling interest in Walden knife they installed many of their own people. Especially in the office. It does get a little complex to follow any knife company. This particular story is tough. My approach has been to focus less on the knives and more on the business aspect. Winchester’s grand plan for cutlery was to take their massive manufacturing capacity and purchase Napanoch knife for their quality through skilled workers, Eagle for their advanced assembly line style equipment and Simmons for their massive marketing ability. With Simmons they gained Walden knife and the keen kutter line. So in my opinion the way to figure out how Winchester utilized all the resources is to study the equipment itself. Luckily it is well documented. It does get a little nutty.

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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby danno50 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:13 pm

Thanks for posting that letter, Mike, very interesting that Walden was the sole maker of Keen Kutters that long after the Winchester/Simmons merger! ::tu::
James, that is a lot of great information, where do you find this kind of stuff out? My internet search skills would seem to be very poor, I can never find that kind of information. I bet you could write a great article for Knife Magazine on Walden/Simmons/Winchester.
Dan

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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby JAMESC41001 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:21 pm

Dan, the info is gathered from by piecing together info from multiple sources. Unfortunately I’m spending more these days on books then knives. Check out a book by String Cooper called “Old Walden”. There is a lot of good info in there. Let me know if you can’t find it I’ll send you a link.
Jay

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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby danno50 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:19 am

Jay, I have read the 7 page excerpt from "Old Walden" that, I believe, is on www.schrades-r-us.com? All the internet searching I can do does not come up with any links to the entire book. I have tried googlebooks, ABE books, Amazon and various searches with different key words, however, I can not come up with any reference to the entire book. So, If you could send me a link that would be great.
Dan

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Re: Old Keen Kutter Knives

Postby JAMESC41001 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:27 pm

Dan, I’ve been using excerpts as well. I looked and your right it is not possible to find the book for some reason. I bet the Walden historical society would have a copy but I’m guessing most of the info we are interested in is in the material we have though. I need to figure out how to post a link here. I found some great info on NYK co that relates to Walden knife as well.


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