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Old 28th September 2022, 02:59 AM   #1
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Default Puzzling Pocket Knife

Hi All,

I bought this lock back pocket knife because of its atypical features. The blade measures about 3.75" (9.525cm). It is stamped "No6" and "KING" by the nut and "BEST STEEL" just behind the nail nick. The "BEST STEEL" stamp is crooked and the L and the top of both T's are missing. Other than that, the grind lines, crisp stamping and smoothly symmetrical nail nick indicate that the blade was machine made. The shape and grind of the blade (which I have read is called saber) is the same as some of the No6 Joseph Rogers folding bowies. All of the above is consistent with a blade made in a Western factory. The blade doesn't appear to ever have been sharpened.
The hilt components on the other hand appear to be entirely hand made (and assembled). The bolster and butt are brass. The scale behind the bolster is horn and behind that is a wide brass band. A multi-colored band (presumably plastic) is reminiscent of some hilt scales I have seen on recently made Pichoks and separates the butt from the brass band. The brass bale is also interesting because it is rather delicate and ornately decorated. In contrast to the unsharpened blade, the hilt is silky smooth as if it rode in a pants pocket for a lifetime. The hilt measures about 4-7/16" (11.27cm).
So, my main questions are:
1) Is this a Western made blade on a non-western hilt?
2) If the answer to 1 is yes, where was the hilt made?
3) If it is a Western made blade, who was the maker?

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Old 28th September 2022, 06:24 AM   #2
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I believe you have an early/mid 20th C. India made knock off of a Rodgers Sheffield knife. Hope I am wrong, but I've seen a lot of that type of knife.
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Old 28th September 2022, 07:00 AM   #3
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I don't think you're wrong, Rich.
I've seen my fair share of Indian made Springers/Lever locks. They have a certain home-made look to them.
As for 'best steel' you can see 'pure steel' on some Talwars of later years.
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Old 28th September 2022, 06:07 PM   #4
Bob A
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The multi-colored plastic insert is reminiscent of the late 20th century "Clown Barf" guitar/mandolin picks.
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Old 29th September 2022, 02:09 AM   #5
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Default Not At All Disappointed

Actually, if the multi-colored bands are indeed plastic, even early 20th century is unlikely but see my response to Bob A below. When I bought the knife, I had every belief that it was a mid to late 20th century piece. One look at that delicate bail was enough to tell me that it would have been long gone had the knife been from the 19th century. So, the when comes as no surprise. The where was my primary question. What you say is plausible. Mid to late 20th century India certainly had factories capable of turning out folding knife blades with modern industrial quality stamping and grind lines. What I find puzzling is that the hilt apparently isn't factory made. Could it be that the factories found it more profitable to sell just the blades and the traditional knife makers found it more cost effective to buy the blades from a modern factory while making the hilts themselves? The "No6" stamp notwithstanding, I don't think that my knife was made as a knock off though. First, it is far smaller than the Joseph Rogers folding bowies and, AFIAK, the Rogers pocket knives didn't have that type of blade. And second, save for the "No6", neither of the other two stamps (BEST STEEL, KING) really look like Rogers stamps. Consider this, a 59 Caddy had fins so did Fords. Neither was trying to look like the other or trying to make people believe they were anything other than what they were. Fins were simply a look that people expected and that motivated them to buy. In much the same way, I think the stamps on my blade were just meant to give a look of quality rather than to make a buyer think he was getting a Rogers knife.

I haven't seen any "Pure Steel" stamps on tulwar but I have seen a good number of Indian daggers with "Pure Steel" acid etched on one side and "Victory" acid etched on the other. I have also seen a good number of these daggers being sold as Revolutionary and Civil War items.

Bob A,
Your info makes an early 20th century date possible because, from what I have read online, the original clown barf picks were celluloid (turtleoid and mother of toilet seat were other color variants). The modern made reproductions are plastic.

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