Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Schrade Cutlery Company was founded in 1904 by George Schrade, and his brothers Jacob and William Schrade. In 1946 Imperial Knife Associated Companies, (IKAC; an association of Ulster Knife Co and Imperial Knife Co) purchased controlling interest in Schrade Cut Co and changed the name to Schrade Walden Cutlery. In 1973 the name was changed to Schrade Cutlery. In 2004 Schrade closed due to bankruptcy.

This forum is dedicated to the knives that are the legacy of this company. This forum is not the place to discuss the replica knives currently being imported using the Schrade name.
Post Reply
usmc69
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:16 pm
Location: East of the Stick Marsh, Florida

Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Post by usmc69 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:44 pm

I have a small Imperial pocketknife that was being used as a watch fob. It appears to be sterling, whether plated or solid I do not know. On the blade is "IMPERIAL PROV R.I. USA with a Crown", which I believe by the dating chart is 1936-1952. My real question on the loop of the knife looks to have "RSTER" imprinted on it. Any ideas as to what that means?

User avatar
tongueriver
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 5771
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:01 pm

Re: Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Post by tongueriver » Sat Mar 27, 2021 8:46 pm

Some images would really be helpful. Although the word "sterling" can sometimes be worn off, it always was stamped into sterling silver pieces. The crown dates you give suggest sterling or plated silver would be more unlikely on that knife. More likely stainless steel shell construction, with a thin sheet of celluloid which is long gone over the top. ?????

User avatar
OLDE CUTLER
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 2760
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:11 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Post by OLDE CUTLER » Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:34 pm

There is no such thing as "plated sterling". If it is stamped sterling, then that is what it is. Some pictures would be very helpful.
"Sometimes even the blind chicken finds corn"

kootenay joe
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 12278
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:36 pm
Location: West Kootenays, B.C.

Re: Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Post by kootenay joe » Sat Mar 27, 2021 10:45 pm

Pictures of the knife, blades closed and blades open plus an in focus enlarged picture of the letters on the loop would all help to get your question answered.
I have seen these loops marked "GF" for gold filled or "12K" for 12 karat gold but i have not seen "RSTER" but it does suggest "Sterling" meaning pure silver.
Up until 1937 Imperial made pocket knives of quality similar to other USA cutlery manufacturers of the time, i.e. very good quality.
In 1937 Imperial patented a way to make the handles much more cheaply and most of their production switched over to this "shell handle" type of handle construction. They did continue to make small 'Gent's style' pen knives with solid metal handles, usually stainless steel, but they may well have made some with sterling silver handles.
However without good pictures nothing definite can be said. Experienced collectors can 'read the knife' rather than just the markings.
kj

usmc69
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:16 pm
Location: East of the Stick Marsh, Florida

Re: Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Post by usmc69 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:13 am

Will take some pictures and figure out how to post them here a bit later. Thank you for the responses so far.

usmc69
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:16 pm
Location: East of the Stick Marsh, Florida

Re: Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Post by usmc69 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 1:00 am

download/file.php?mode=view&id=515592&s ... 6638d6118b

He carried this knife every day attached to his Longines pocket watch.
Attachments
BrucesKnife1.jpg
BrucesKnife2.jpg
BrucesKnife3.jpg
BrucesKnife3.jpg (38.47 KiB) Viewed 418 times

kootenay joe
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 12278
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:36 pm
Location: West Kootenays, B.C.

Re: Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Post by kootenay joe » Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:49 am

It looks like the handle has a thin covering of another metal that has largely worn off. The handles could be silver plated nickel. They are not sterling silver.
I don't know what the marking on the 'loop' is referring to.
Note, i know very little about various metals. Would be helpful for someone knowledgeable to post and either confirm or correct what i have said.
kj

User avatar
tongueriver
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 5771
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:01 pm

Re: Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Post by tongueriver » Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:59 pm

The Schrade CutCo and Schrade Walden catalogs show similar knives, usually in what we call 'nickel silver.' I have also seen them in something they called 'gun metal,' aluminum and stainless steel. Whenever sterling (92.5% silver) was used by anyone, it was usually embellished with some sort of design as well.

User avatar
1967redrider
Silver Tier
Silver Tier
Posts: 7990
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:23 pm
Location: Alexandria, VA
Contact:

Re: Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Post by 1967redrider » Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:47 pm

Nice full blades, I'd clean it up and carry it thinking about my grandfather as I did so. ::tu:: ::tu:: I have a pocket knife from each of my grandfathers and one from a great-grandfather. I don't carry them but do cherish them. ::nod::
Pocket, fixed, machete, axe, it's all good!

You're going to look awfully silly with that knife sticking out of your @#$. -Clint Eastwood, High Plains Drifter

usmc69
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:16 pm
Location: East of the Stick Marsh, Florida

Re: Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Post by usmc69 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:07 pm

Thanks for the information, gentlemen. Will put some oil on it and clean it the best that I can with no abrasives. I will not carry it, it is still attached to a watch chain.

User avatar
Papa Bones
Bronze Tier
Bronze Tier
Posts: 2471
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:29 pm
Location: Alabama, Roll Tide Country

Re: Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Post by Papa Bones » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:16 pm

usmc69 wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:07 pm
Thanks for the information, gentlemen. Will put some oil on it and clean it the best that I can with no abrasives. I will not carry it, it is still attached to a watch chain.
Nice looking knife. I would try getting some mothers and a soft cloth. It looks like heavily tarnished stainless to me. Even Stainless Steel depending on the mix will tarnish different ways. I also wonder if the knife could have been made in Germany and the Stamp on the bail is some sort of abbreviation for the German word "Rostfrei" The stamp could actually be "RSTFRI"
Sometimes I Sit and Think ::hmm:: .... Other times I just Sit
I May Grow Older, But I refuse to Grow Up!!
I'll sharpen it for you, but I don't give out band-aids!!

Smitty

usmc69
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:16 pm
Location: East of the Stick Marsh, Florida

Re: Grandfather's Imperial Knife Question

Post by usmc69 » Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:38 am

Papa Bones wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:16 pm
usmc69 wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:07 pm
Thanks for the information, gentlemen. Will put some oil on it and clean it the best that I can with no abrasives. I will not carry it, it is still attached to a watch chain.
Nice looking knife. I would try getting some mothers and a soft cloth. It looks like heavily tarnished stainless to me. Even Stainless Steel depending on the mix will tarnish different ways. I also wonder if the knife could have been made in Germany and the Stamp on the bail is some sort of abbreviation for the German word "Rostfrei" The stamp could actually be "RSTFRI"
Do not see any "Germany" stamps on it, just the "IMPERIAL PROV R.I. USA with a Crown". The knife was being used as a fob on his pocket watch chain. He bought the watch in 1947 IIRC.

Post Reply

Return to “Schrade Legacy Forum”