The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

In 1911, H. N. Platts, was able to draw on his extensive friendships and family connections in the cutlery world to start Western States Cutlery and Manufacturing of Boulder Colorado. At first only a jobbing business, by 1920 construction and machinery purchases were underway to begin manufacture of knives. Through name changes--to Western States Cutlery Co. in 1953, then Western Cutlery Co. in 1956--and moves first across town and later to Longmont Colorado, the company stayed under the leadership of the Platt family until 1984. In that year, the company was sold to Coleman, becoming Coleman-Western. Eventually purchased by Camillus in 1991, Western continued until Camillus expired in 2007.
stagman
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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by stagman » Sun May 20, 2018 3:39 pm

I have had 1/2 dozen of these 49's,, in my opinion,,a truly great knife as well of the sheaths..
this one I never could figure out, it has a stainless guard, but is only stamped on one side,
Western Bowie U.S.A.
the ones at the start of your post with stainless guard are stamped both sides, I am still confused ???
Very nice as KJ said with you putting the time in to clear up one of the greatest patterns
of knives ever made by a equally great knife outfit... a real (Plus) to AAPK's library of info ::tu::

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by JBfromMT » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:37 am

I saw this forum on the Western Bowie knife. My father was a metallurgist associated this knife as well as others from Western. He passed away in 1970. He worked for Sharon Steel in Sharon PA.

As a token of appreciation for his work Western presented him with a personalized copy that does not have any series markings on it. It included a display plaque and sheath.

After he passed away another metallurgist from Sharon Steel took over the Western Cutlery account and Wester eventually also presented him with a personalized version of this knife. He also married my mother and became my step-father. When he passed away I ended up with both knives that I have kept under lock and key since we had children and if they ever dislodged the knife from the plaque something bad could happen.

However both of my kids are now adults and I thought it was time to display them in my home office. So, when I got them out I searched on the internet and happily found this forum. I thought you might like to hear my connection to this knife and see a picture. I’m honored to know people are still appreciating something my father and step-father had a hand in so many years later. Thanks!!
70B149D3-340C-4FE2-98B8-50FA926284BB.jpeg
[image][/im]

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by Colonel26 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:39 am

Amazing story and amazing knives too! Thanks for sharing.
“There are things in the old Book which I may not be able to explain, but I fully accept it as the infallible word of God, and receive its teachings as inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
Robert E. Lee

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by doglegg » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:47 am

Great story and what a treasure. Thanks for sharing. ::tu::

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by zzyzzogeton » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:57 am

Hey, JB... Great story and Excellent examples of "early" Western Bowies.

Do they have the standard Western ricasso/guard stamps? Or were the knives made stampless? I am assuming they have stamps.

The older version on the left does not appear to have any stamps in the guard or an inverted "BOWIE" on the pile side ricasso, so that would put it as one of my "version 3" bowies from 1965/1966 to 1967.

The slightly newer version on the right would be an S-649. 1968. That version was the only one to have the Delrin fake stag handles and stainless steel blades.


EDIT - Just re-read your post. I am now assuming that your "no series marks" comments means no stamps on the ricassos or guard of the left hand knife. That makes it a little harder to identify the year it was made - The 3 early 1960s version are readily identified by the smaller handle rivets. The 3 versions are identical except for the stamps. We'd have to use your personal knowledge of the timing as to when Western gave presented the knife to your father to get more specific.

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by zzyzzogeton » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:17 am

stagman wrote:I have had 1/2 dozen of these 49's,, in my opinion,,a truly great knife as well of the sheaths..
this one I never could figure out, it has a stainless guard, but is only stamped on one side,
Western Bowie U.S.A.
the ones at the start of your post with stainless guard are stamped both sides, I am still confused ???
Very nice as KJ said with you putting the time in to clear up one of the greatest patterns
of knives ever made by a equally great knife outfit... a real (Plus) to AAPK's library of info ::tu::

Stag
http://www.allaboutpocketknives.com/stagman
Stagman - I apologize for the tardiness of my reply - somehow I missed seeing your post.

That is a 1965/1966-1967 "version 3" Western Bowie, but it has been rehandled and, apparently "re-guarded".

TO MY KNOWLEDGE, Western never used SS for guards on the W49s. And that handle is a rehandle job. And an after-market blade super-buffing job. Nicely done, but Western never put out mirror finishes and they would have NEVER let that handle out the door, not with that large flaw in the left handle slab. The SS guard was probably added when the handle replacement and buffing jobs were done.

Now to the speculation part - I suspect that the handle developed issues - came loose from chopping, etc. and to "save the knife" repairs and changes occurred.

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by JBfromMT » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:39 pm

zzyzzogeton,
I was mistaken and didn't really understand the identifying marks until I re-read all your postings. There are markings on the left side and I will include a photo below. It appears that the newer one had part of the stamping buffed off or was not complete when done. Thanks again for keeping this really amazing knife alive and well.
JB

Reading your posts it appears the wood handle is 1965-1968 and the other is 1968-1969?
Bowie Knives 2.jpeg

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by zzyzzogeton » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:33 am

The wood handled one is late 1965 or early 1966 to middle/late 1967. Late 1967 to early 1968, guard stamping started on the Western Bowie and transitioned to all models by August 1968.

The 1967/68 small rivet version (3rd small rivet/4th overall Bowie), which was the one after yours, had stamps of WESTERN over BOULDER COLO on one side of the guard and BOWIE on the other side of the guard. Then in August of 1968, when the new catalogs came out, the Western Bowie officially became the W49 for advertising purposes and the "BOWIE" stamp was replaced with a "W49" stamp.

Next question for you - is your Delrin handled version stamped S-649 on the guard or on the pile side ricasso?

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by JBfromMT » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:38 pm

Thanks for the update. As far as I can see the Delrin handle one has no "S-649" stamp anywhere on the knife. The only stamp on either side of the ricasso is the partial one in the photo I included in the last post. The other side doesn't have any stamp at all and that side that is the side that is engraved with my step-father's name. There are no other markings on the knife anywhere that I can see.

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by zzyzzogeton » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:31 am

Then that is one they specifically assembled that way, with a blank guard. VERY unusual. Possible that others were made for other special presentation Bowies, but relatively few S-649s as they were only made for a single year.

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by 1967redrider » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:03 am

I've got a Coleman/Western W49 kicking around here someplace. I always think of Crocadile Dundee when I pick it up. Formidable knives. ::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

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by JBfromMT » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:02 pm

Thanks zzyzzogeton,
Reading back in your learned posts, I understand the knife is unique and given the circumstances not all that surprising. So, does in your opinion that make my Delrin knife a Western Bowie #7 Stainless #2 1968-1969?

Thanks for all the help. I am going to put all the information and history on the back of both presentation plaques so it will continue to live on with the knives.

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by zzyzzogeton » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:48 pm

Yes, JB, it does.

Yours is simply a very unique example of a stock item modified by Western for a specific presentation.

You need to make sure you write down the details (like dates, reasons for presentation, etc) for posterity and keep the information safe - like tucked down in the sheaths. What you know about the knives dies with you and then they will become just a couple of old knives with names on them for no reason.

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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by Khopesh » Tue Apr 30, 2019 5:36 am

Hey now,

Hopefully I’m posting this in the right place.
I’m trying to find out more about this particular Western knife.
The pics are a bit shady, and the condition lends to a bit of difficulty reading the stamping.

Could you possibly tell me about this knife?
I believe the stamping says,
WESTERN
U.S.A. SH48A
C

I have uploaded a pic or two in case I have it wrong.
Any and all info I could glean from you about this knife, along with its value in it’s current condition would be greatly appreciated. It seems to be in rough shape from the pics. I have not seen it in person yet,
Thank you!

Respectfully,

K.
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Re: The Western Bowie / W49 Identification Thread

Post by zzyzzogeton » Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:44 pm

We probably need a dedicated B&T thread.

Your knife is at the other end of the scale, re: size, for Western knives. The W49 Bowie was the largest knife Western ever made. The 48A was 3rd from the smallest, with the 28/48C and 48B patterns being smaller.

The "C" in the 3rd line indicates that your knife was made in 1979. The S-H48A was initially produced in 1978. The "S" indicates stainless steel was used for the blade. "H" refers to the Delrin handle material.

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