Knives made by the Schrade Cutlery Company are still prized and sought after by collectors and fans of knives all over the world. Since Schrade made knives for a full century, at first glance, it may be hard to determine any knife’s year of manufacture. Collectors’ forums and old catalog images are great resources for narrowing down the knife’s age.
Clues on the Tang Stamp
The easiest way to narrow down an age range for a Schrade knife is a glance at the knife’s tang stamp. This stamp, located near the base of the knife blade, identifies the brand of the knife. Schrade Cutlery Company changed the tang stamp, or logo, numerous times over the years. Collectors use the changes as a way to determine the general age of a specific knife.
The oldest of the tang stamps, used only in 1904, shows the words “Schrade Cut. Co” on the first two lines, followed by “Walden, NY” on a third line, with “Germany” beneath it. From later in 1904 to 1917, the company spelled out “Schrade” in an arc, with “Cut. Co.” on a straight line beneath it, followed by “Walden, NY” on a third line. From part of 1917 through 1946, the same words were used in the tang stamp, but the name “Schrade” was written in a straight line.
Numerous other tang stamps were used by the company over the years, with some stamp years overlapping one another, depending upon the knife model. Look for printouts of tang stamp charts online, as these offer the best way to find out more information about any of Schrade’s knives.
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Name Change Clues
Schrade also changed the words used on its tang stamps and advertisements over the years. In the mid-1940s, “USA” was added after the Walden, New York, company information, specifically on tang stamps. In 1973, the name Walden was dropped from the tang stamps and literature entirely.
Antique Old Timer Knives
One of Schrade’s popular knife lines, the Old Timer, began in 1959 with the release of the 20T model. Schrade made more than 75 different models and iterations of its Old Timer series from 1959 to 2004, when the company closed.
The model number helps differentiate antique Old Timer knives from newer models, although the models don’t entirely follow numerical order. The Schrade 34OT, for instance, was made from 1964 to 2004, while the 33OT, a similar knife, was produced from 1976 through 2004. The “OT” on the knife indicates an Old Timer model, while “UH” on the model number indicates an Uncle Henry model.
Find your Old Timer knife’s model number on the tang stamp near the state or country of origin. Look up that number on collector sites to help pinpoint the age range of the model. Some collectors have gone to extensive lengths to properly catalog the years of each Schrade knife model’s production. Old Timer knives’ values vary greatly from one to the next, depending upon how rare and desirable they are.
Read Print Materials
Print materials such as old company catalogs, magazine ads and even the literature included in the box with a Schrade knife are excellent ways to pinpoint the creation date of a Schrade knife. Such paperwork usually includes images and details that come in handy when determining the age or even the specific type of Schrade knife, in the event the knife is worn, broken or too damaged to identify it easily. Even Schrade collectors have a hard time pinpointing specific ages of knives, using print materials as a fairly good way to narrow things down.
Newer Schrade Knives
Some “old”-style Schrade knives are actually much newer than they seem, which could make it harder to verify their true worth. Schrade released several anniversary-edition knives over the years, which look almost exactly the same as the older originals.
After Schrade closed in 2004, Taylor Brands bought many of the trademarks and reissued some of the more popular Schrade models. Taylor was later acquired by the Smith & Wesson division Battenfeld Technologies. Battenfeld still manufactures knives under the Schrade brand, including Schrade’s Imperial, Old Timer and Uncle Henry product lines.
If your knife is one of the newer Battenfeld Schrade models, look up its information on Battenfeld’s website for production information. Some of the Battendfeld or Taylor Schrade models have their own, new model numbers created after the closure of the original Schrade company.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer and avid DIYer. She has written numerous recipes for grocery store chains, as well as articles tool and paint manufacturers and travel sites. She also writes about the best neighborhood restaurants and bars for upscale real-estate firms around the country. Her work also appears on USA Today Travel, Hunker and Landlordology, among other sites.