Saturday, 23 February 2013

More On Period Knives.

More On Period Knives.
Today a friend in the States contacted me and asked me about knives, he had been watching the History Channel, and they had shown a knife with rivets securing the handle. Glen remembered what I had said regarding period knives being pinned and not riveted and so contacted me to see if I had any more to add to my previous research. Here then is what I have so far.
20th Century riveted knives.

The semi-tubular rivet was invented and patented in 1876 by American engineer and

manufacturer, Melon Bray. 
The former Tubular Rivet and Stud Company was one of Quincy's largest manufacturing companies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The foundation for the company was laid in 1874 
Rivets were added in 1874 so the pockets carrying all those rock specimens could hold up better.
with the invention of the “big fat” brass cutler's rivets of the 1890s.
Even in the early 20th century butcher knives were being made using pins and not rivets.
19th Century Russel knives.

Modern copy of a 19th century Sheffield butcher knife.

Wilson catalogue knife circa 1900ad.

This to me looks like a typewriter written page, yet it is still listing knives with pinned handles, not riveted.

Three of my 19th century knives with 5 pinned handles.

18th Century Blades:

Two copies I made of 18th century butcher knives using 20th century carbon steel butcher blades. Both using just three pins to secure the handles.

17th century knives. A variety of 17th century knives, with 5,4 and 3 pins securing the handles, but unlike the 19th century knives, these pins are all in-line.


Jenny said...


It's most amazing to see how they just get used and used and used down to nothing! Granted I'm no fanatic about sharpening, but I still have my Mom's Old Hickory kitchen knife, and it looks pretty much the same as it did when I was little.

... they must have been using those things hard.

Can you talk some about the folding knives when you have another moment? Are there any good reproductions you know of, and did any of the period lock open?

Keith said...

I will see what I can do Jenny.
Regards, Keith.

Philip said...

The most used knife in my kitchen is an Old Hickory butcher, reminds me a lot of those you posted but riveted not pinned. It takes a bit more maintenance, but that carbon steel beats junk stainless knife 3 times the cost

Tornillator said...

Hi, I have a 5 pinns? knife just like the ones you have, it doesn't look so old, but I would like know more about it, can I send you a picture of mine?

Keith said...

No problem Jose.
Regards, Keith.

Unknown said...

Some of the blades look to be made of completely wrought iron is this traditional? Or would they have had a steel insert welded in? I forge knives amd am very interested in 17th and 18th centurytechniques

Keith said...

Difficult one for me to answer Jake.I can only say that the period blades I have are steel & not iron.
Regards, Keith.

The Doctor's Companion said...

now i understand what you meant by "no rivets"! it looks like i've been doing it proper after all. well, just wanted to say again how i really appreciate you sending me the link to here on your blade ware video. cheers mate.

Keith said...

My pleasure The Doctor's Companion.
Regards, Keith.

Unknown said...

Hello Mr. Burgess - regarding the two pictures of the 20th century riveted knives, would you mind telling me the make and year of the top one? I believe I found that exact knife in 12" and 14" in my great-grandfather's things. Thanks much, Lisa

Keith said...

Good day Lisa. This knife was made by John Wilson at some time between the first quarter of the 19th century to 1849, & it is hand forged.
Regards, Keith.