S&W engraved knives (serialized)?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Apple a Day, Mar 15, 2017.

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  1. Apple a Day

    Apple a Day Member

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    image.jpeg image.jpeg can anyone steer me towards info and possibly value of some old engraved Smith and Wesson fixed blade knives? There is a set of 4 with presentation boxes
     
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    I think those date back to the Blackie and Michael Collins days.

    Bladeforums could help.

    Post pics of the entire set.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  3. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Nice!

    When was the last time S&W sold knives actually made in the US?
     
  4. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    See the italicized sections below on the Collector Series you have indicating you may have one of 800 sets produced.

    [QUOTE =The Knives of Smith & Wesson by Clarence E. Rinke 1990]
    The Knives of Smith & Wesson
    Smith & Wesson began to examine the knife market in 1972 in an effort to provide a full line of law enforcement and sportsmen products. President William
    Gunn met and discussed designs with Blackie Collins, a knife designer. Blackie submitted several samples and drawings of various styles of fixed blade knives to meet the needs of the public. Blackie Collins was an American knife maker who designed and popularized the assisted opening mechanism and various automatic knife designs within the art of knifemaking. He is cited by other knifemakers and collectors as one of the most innovative knife designers in the world and was an author and the founder of what became Blade Magazine. Collins died July 20, 2011 in a motorcycle accident near North, South Carolina. In 1972 Smith & Wesson was approached by the Texas Ranger Commission to build a commemorative revolver in honor of their 150th anniversary. While attending these meetings, Roy Jenks of Smith & Wesson Collectors Association and a Smith & Wesson Historian, proposed what could be offered in the way of a commemorative handgun. At this time, the Commission was also considering the purchase of a commemorative service knife.
    Roy, and John Wilson, a member of the Texas Commission, developed a design, similar to an early style Texas knife, for a Bowie knife. This pattern was
    presented to Smith & Wesson and the Bowie knife, designed by Blackie Collins, was modified closer to the style originally used and purposed by Mr. Wilson.
    Smith & Wesson felt an excellent entry into the knife market would be the Texas Ranger Commemorative Bowie knife. A package deal consisting of the Smith & Wesson Model 19 revolver and a Bowie knife was presented. The idea was accepted, production was initiated, and in 1973 Smith & Wesson announced the Texas Ranger Commemorative. Production plans called for the manufacture of 8,000 knives cased with a Smith & Wesson model 19. In addition, 12,000 individual knives in their own presentation case were offered. The Texas Ranger knife, identical to all the early Smith & Wesson knives, was produced from a forged 440 series stainless steel and handcrafted in a series of 47 different manufacturing operations. Each knife was serial numbered on the top of the blade beginning at serial number TR1 through TR20,000. The Texas Ranger Bowie knife was the only one marketed by Smith & Wesson in
    1973. Plans were made, however, to announce Smith & Wessons entry into the knife business.

    The factory geared up production to manufacture a standard Bowie knife similar in design to the Texas Ranger; a general-purpose hunting and camping knife with a 5 inch blade and an emergency equipment cavity in the contoured handle. This was called the Outdoorsman. To increase their versatile knife line, Smith & Wesson manufactured the Survival knife. This also had a hollow handle cavity covered by a solid brass screw-on cap. The handle was round and blended into a double quillon cross guard for maximum workability and production. The 5 inch blade had a wide flat spine and a sharpened false edge. The factory hoped that this 10-ounce knife would gain popularity with campers and back-packers. A 3 inch dropped point blade knife, designed for Smith & Wesson by Blackie Collins, and was offered to the hunter. Its handle was tapered and contoured to fit into the hand for ease in skinning large or small animals. This was called the Skinner. For the individual who did not like fixed blade knives, the factory offered a 3 inch blade lock-back knife called the Folding Hunter. This was a rugged, handsomely made knife with nickel silver bolsters and sold with a belt sheath.

    The factory did not have the capability to manufacture this particular item; therefore, they contracted with Alcas or Bowen Knife to produce the folding
    hunter according to Smith & Wessons specifications. In 1972 Alcas Cutlery Corporation became a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcoa. Ten years later, a group
    of company officers purchased Alcas Cutlery Corporation from Alcoa, taking the company private. Shortly after the management buyout, Alcas Cutlery
    Corporation purchased Vector Marketing Corporation, which became the distributor of CUTCO products in North America. In 1990, CUTCO Cutlery
    Corporation was created to be the manufacturing subsidiary alongside Vector Marketing Corporation, and the parent company's name was changed from Alcas Cutlery Corporation to Alcas Corporation. Bowen Knife was started in 1973 by Walter & Michael Collins. They worked with Camillus and Alcas in the early days, making many folding and straight knives. Today the company is much smaller and specializes in making belt knives. Now I
    know why I always have to take my belt off when going thru security.

    To complete their line of knives, the factory offered the fisherman two fixed blade knives. These were called the Fisherman Fillet, designed with a 6 inch blade, and a general-purpose knife with a stiffer 5 inch blade simply called the Fisherman knife. These seven styles rounded out the Smith & Wessons complete knife line.

    The company had put together a group of knives with broad appeal that would offer advantages of custom-made products but at reasonable prices.
    Everything was done to build in quality and custom appearance. The blades were forged, utilizing 120 plus years of experience in steel forging. The guards and pommels were hand fitted and silver soldered to the blade. The handles were hand fitted and made of a special pressure impregnated natural wood called Wessonwood, which gave maximum durability for a long-lasting life. The edge of each knife was hand honed by individuals specially trained to complete this operation and provide a sharp edge blade direct for the factory.

    At first, the knife program was well received and sales were promising. In fact, interest was such that the factory produced a special series of highly decorated knives called the Collector Series. This program was announced in 1975 and four knives were offered; Bowie, Outdoorsman, Survival and Skinner. Each knife was to be serial numbered 1 to 1,000. The blades wee to be acid etched, picturing a game scene, and the guard and pommels sculptured of sterling silver. Each would be packaged in an individual presentation case. To enhance and complete this program, the company planned to offer all four knives in a single case. The Collector series began in full swing in 1975. Blackie Collins finished the special knives and the factory quickly wrote orders for production of 1,000 units. Plans called for the four knives to be built beginning with the Bowie, Outdoorsman, Survival and finishing with the Skinner. The program was designed to last for at least a year. Each distributor ordering a knife was to receive the same serial number in each of the four models. This plan was great, but manufacturing and vendor problems led to many delays. This caused loss of interest, and distributors began to cancel their orders. Smith & Wesson found they were left with many incomplete sets. This distracted from the value of the program, but for the knife collector it added to the value of the sets that were sold complete. It is estimated that only 800 complete sets were sold by the time the program was complete in 1980, five years later.

    Late in 1977, Robert Ferraro, an engineer, was requested to develop a new line of medium of popular priced folding type and new fixed blade knives. This
    development took nearly three years from the time the designs were first drawn. The wait was well worthwhile, for in 1980 Smith & Wesson announced its new general purpose-folding knife called the Maverick. This knife was available in both a Clip and Drop point versions.

    In 1980, the market saw another Smith & Wesson knife design. This was the Ultra Thin, a small all stainless lock blade pocket knife. It was just the right size to slip into a pocket. Immediate success of these two knives caused the factory to discontinue their original line and concentrate on development and production ofa complete new series.

    Total discontinuation of the original knife line left the collectors some reasonablerare knives to seek and add to their collection. As of 1980, the production figuresof all original knives were approximately 108,000 units (this does not include theTexas rangers Bowie).

    Here are the production numbers.
    Texas Ranger Bowie – 20,000
    Bowie 6010 – 15,000
    Outdoorsman 6020 – 13,000
    Survival 6030 – 17,500
    Collector Series – 3,752 (800 complete)
    Skinner 6070 – 15, 500
    Fillet – 4,500
    Fisherman 6040 – 4,500
    Fisherman 6050 – 4,500
    Folding Hunter 6060 – 35,000

    The old knives are now a thing of the past, fine knives built like custom knives to help Smith & Wesson understand the business. From this early experience,
    Smith & Wesson has developed a new series of fixed blade knives called the American series, which was introduced in 1981. This series consisted of four knives each having a Posi-Grip handles of rubber and molded directly onto the blade assembly with a heavy brass hilt to protect the hand. These were offered in four popular blade styles, called the Large Upsweep, Small Upsweep, Light Duty, and Heavy Duty. To round out their line, the factory introduced the Shooters Knife; a slightly thicker variation of its stainless Ultra Thin, except it has a screw driver blade as well as a knife blade.

    Smith & Wessons philosophy that it is better to develop in house ideas has resulted in a new style of knife called the Swing Blade. This unique folding knife
    was offered in two versions, a sportsman and a boot style. The swing blade weights 4 ounces and when closed is only 4 inches long and 5/16 inch thick.
    The Sportsman features a clip point blade and the Boot a double edge. This new design enables each operation with just one hand. To open the knife, push the swing blade and lock protector out in a straight line, then allow the protective blade cover and lock to swing around the blade thus locking the blade into
    positive position. In 1995 Smith & Wesson developed a new 3-blade pocket knife called the Stockman. The first year, the master blade was marked “First Production Run, 1995".

    A search on eBay for “Smith & Wesson Knife” returned 3,990 items. A search on the same site for “Smith & Wesson Texas Ranger” returned 14 items.

    In recognizing the problems they had, Smith & Wesson refined and expanded their knife industry. Development of new ideas and products enabled them to be a success in the knife business at time and before selling license to their name to Taylor Brands and offer the sportsman a better series of knives to meet their various needs.
    Source -
    The Knives of Smith & Wesson by Clarence E. Rinke 1990 (Limited publication of 1,000 books).

    [/QUOTE]
     
    bannockburn and Gordon like this.
  5. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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  6. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    hso

    Thanks for the great article on S&W knives. I found similar information from a piece written by John Henderson in the Second Edition of Knife Digest, edited by William L. Cassidy. At the time when they came onto the market I knew they were well designed and well built knives but didn't have much in the way of extra money to spend on knives as most of it went for guns, ammo, and accessories. So I picked up the Survival Knife as it seemed to me to be the most versatile knife in their line-up. Should have bought one of their Folding Hunters back then as I felt that was one great looking and nicely made knife.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Apple a Day

    Apple a Day Member

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    Thanks a bunch for the info! A friend inherited them from her dad who worked for S&W ages ago and had some neat memorabilia like the knives, posters , and such
     
  8. Apple a Day

    Apple a Day Member

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    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg Here are the other blades
     
  9. Dog Soldier

    Dog Soldier member

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    I have owned 4 of the S&W Bowie knives. The S&W Bowie could skin an elk being stoned only twice. That is a good knife. My Texas Ranger Bowie has never seen tough elk hair or blood.:D

    IMG_0309.JPG
     
  10. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Dog Soldier

    The S&W Bowie knife is another one that I would have loved to bought when they first came out but alas, financial circumstances at the time didn't allow for such a purchase.
     
  11. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Apple a Day

    Awesome looking knives! Your friend's knives reminds me a lot like an old Rigid knife a friend of mine got me as a Christmas present many years ago.

    [​IMG]
     
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