If you’ve been around folding knives for many years you’ve no doubt seen some of the vintage metal handle knives. And if you grew up in the 1950’s or 60’s you most likely owned a couple as well. Rather then the traditional bone or wood handles, the scales were fashioned from metal panels. This greatly simplified and reduced the production cost.
The metal handle most frequently had a ‘jigged bone’ type of pattern worked into it. Recently, a friend forwarded some interesting photos of some of the old dies that were used to create these handles. The dies of these two Imperial Knives are probably familiar to most all of us as these were really common patterns that we’ll still see regularly at shows and flea markets. It would be interesting to know just how many of these patterns were run over the years.
These dies were used to stamp out the covers for the knives. No need for bolsters, wood/bone panels or concerns over spun pins. Just a slick metal sleeve to finish things off.
It’s interesting to note the die stamp indicating the proper orientation on the handle as well as the date.
It wasn’t’ that many years ago that you would see a display box sitting on the counter at your local hardware store with a variety of handle and color options. The main attraction was price. I don’t have it anymore but I remember having a medium size ‘scout’ style knife with the metal handles. The discussion I recall was how tough a knife it was being all “STEEL”. No chipping or cracking!!!! And considering all the games of Stretch and Mumblety-Peg we played, that was a consideration!
Here are a couple more contemporary metal handle knives. Some of the releases tended to get a bit more interesting with different designs and patterns in the handles. These two examples are a bit newer consisting of just a flat panel attached without a liner.
Thanks to our friend for sharing the pix of the dies with us. It’s always interesting to see how things get made.