My first KA-BAR find

The KA-BAR brand originated as a trademark of the Tidioute Cutlery Company. Tidioute was later taken over & renamed the Union Cutlery Company which continued making the brand until Union eventually adopted it as the company name in 1952. Cutco Corporation later acquired the company in 1996.
Bfeldman
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My first KA-BAR find

Postby Bfeldman » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:55 pm

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I picked this up at an antique shop in the neighborhood that’s packing up shop for $8. It was pretty rough when I got it but I cleaned the rust and funk. It still needs a little more work but at least it’s respectable. Other than the nick in the blade the blades are in pretty good shape as is the bone. It’s a solid one. From what I can tell the stamp was in use from 1950-1970.

Can anyone shed light on the age or model number?
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Jeffinn
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Re: My first KA-BAR find

Postby Jeffinn » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:03 pm

Nice find at a great price! You cleaned it up really nice!
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zzyzzogeton
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Re: My first KA-BAR find

Postby zzyzzogeton » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:30 pm

I'll put the knife as being made during the 1953 to 1954 time frame.

Reasoning -

- 1952 Union Cutlery changed their official name to Kabar Cutlery, so it was made AFTER Union Cutlery was no longer included in the stamp.

- Over 1953 and 1954, the KABAR stamp transitioned to Kabar as new runs were made on the various models still in production. By late 1954 or early 1955, all models were using the Kabar stamp.

Model numbers on the blades began around 1966 after Cole National acquired Kabar.

Someone else will have to pull the model number out as I'm not that into folders.

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OLDE CUTLER
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Re: My first KA-BAR find

Postby OLDE CUTLER » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:36 pm

Nice match strike pulls on that one.
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Re: My first KA-BAR find

Postby Gunsil » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:18 pm

Union Cutlery was dropped from all the stamps during WW2, probably in 1943. It was dropped on some knives around 1940. The stamp became KA-BAR over Olean, NY about 1943 (when that mark became standard on the military issue KA-BARs) and was used for a couple years after the war. The stamp changed to KA-BAR over USA in the later 1940s and was used up to about 1952 when the company changed it's name to KA-BAR Inc. Any knives left in stock at the corporate name change in 1952 would bear the KA-BAR over USA mark since that had been in use for the previous five or so years. I do not believe there were any knives made with the Union Cutlery Co stamp after 1943. The knife in question appears to me to be late 1930s-1942 by the stamps, the dentate pulls (you cannot strike a match on them, try it) and the bone and shield. It is not a post war knife.

"Matchstriker" pull although a common term comes from the same folks who called a prestolite key hole in a blade a skate key in the earlier days of modern knife collecting. One cannot strike a match on them, it is a misnomer. These dentate (toothed) pulls can be found on Sheffield knives made well before our modern matches were made.

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Re: My first KA-BAR find

Postby Bfeldman » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:54 pm

Thanks for the kind words and info from everyone. Gunsil, I’m curios about this part of what you said:
Gunsil wrote:The knife in question appears to me to be late 1930s-1942 by the stamps, the dentate pulls (you cannot strike a match on them, try it) and the bone and shield. It is not a post war knife.


I agree that the bone, pulls and shield suggest an earlier knife but The stamps do not include Orlean, NY or any other location info. Was that left off some knives?

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Re: My first KA-BAR find

Postby Gunsil » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:01 pm

There is a short period before WW2 that they seemed to stop putting Union Cut Co on the backs of blades. I see this on hunting knives as well as pocket knives. These knives, like yours will have the early attributes like the large bold letters on your stamp and the other things mentioned. These are between the KA-BAR with the Union Cut on the back and the KA-BAR over Olean, NY marked knives. The WW2 era folding knives with the KA-BAR over Olean mark are not the same quality as the pre-war knives and no newer knives improved in quality. The KA-BAR over Olean folders don't have shields on most or any of them and the blade grinds are not as nice as the pre-war knives. The KA-BAR over USA knives went back to having shields but a lot less bone was used and rough black became prevalent. I think these pre-war knives without the Union mark on the back were only made for a few years, likely from the very late 1930s-1942 or 43.

Of course when they began the collectors club knives which were made by Queen old marks were utilized again with the KA-BAR over Olean NY and Union Cut Co being used again. Sometime shortly after Cole bought the name, I don't think they ever made another folding knife themselves. Many of the Cole era tang stamps showed up in the Schrade factory and it looks like Schrade may have been making the pocket knives for KA-BAR under the Cole ownership.

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Re: My first KA-BAR find

Postby Bfeldman » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:22 am

Thank you Gunsil. That’s very helpful information. It’s definitely a very well made knife. Despite some abuse over the years it has cleaned up quite well, which is a testament to the quality of the manufacturing.

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Re: My first KA-BAR find

Postby Bfeldman » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:59 pm

For anyone interested this knife is now up for sale on eBay. You can find the link in my profile.


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