FINE & RARE SHEFFIELD 1820s CAST STEEL. 15 FOLDING CAMP KNIFE / BOWIE with PROVENANCE. PLEASE VISIT MY NEW WEST COAST TRADING POST STORE! IN THE UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER OF MY LISTINGS. LARGE 15 FINE & RARE SHEFFIELD 1820's CAST STEEL BLADE.INTEGRAL BOLSTERS & LINERS PISTOL GRIP PRY TOOL & LONG PICK. BIAS CUT BOVINECOWHORN SCALES FOLDING BOWIE / CAMP KNIFE. ASK A MODERN KNIFE MAKER IF HE COULD HAND FORGE, HAND GRIND, HAND TEMPER, HAND FIT, HAND POLISH KNIFE BLADES & SPRING LIKE THIS, USING ONLY SIMPLE HAND TOOLS SUCH AS HAMMERS, FILES, GRINDSTONES AND DRILLS; AND, HOW MUCH WOULD HE CHARGE? The Butler heritage as Sheffield Cutlers began in the 17th century when the firm first registered their well known "Key" trade mark registered in 1681. Butler was recorded to be the largest Sheffield Cutlery firm during the early 1810 - 1814 period.
Their Trinity Street address dates from 1848 until they relocated to larger works on Eyre Street in 1864; previously occupied by the Cutlery firm of Corsan, Denton & Burdekin from 1852 - 1860. The firm's impressive 4 story location was named Trinity Works, and was one of the largest firms in Sheffield with a London office at 60 Holborn Viaduct; next door to Joseph Rodgers at #62.
By 1890, the firm employed abut 400 Craftsmen. Butler achieved an excellent reputation for it's hand forged, hand ground cutlery at home and in it's Major overseas markets in Australia and India. Butler's pocket knives were first class; and it's cut-throat razors and other cutlery also had a excellent reputations. Presentation sets of cutlery were made for the Royal family, and Butler won prize medals, including gold, at several Exhibitions. In the 1920's, Butler was still producing hand forged pocket knives, but was slow to adapt to the mass marketing era; and went into liquidation by 1952.This is a very high quality, very fine condition overall, very early 1820's, Large Sheffield Cast Steel Folding Clasp Knife / Camp Knife / Bowie / Self Defense Weapon by Butler, Sheffield. All Frontiersmen, Trappers, Hunters, Adventurers and Sportsmen of this early 1820's period used black powder muzzle loading cap and ball hunting rifles. They would also carry a Large Bowie knife or Large Folding Clasp Knife for clearing a campsite, dressing big game, and for self-protection against animals, snakes, Native Americans, bandits, et al.. Thus, this large knife falls into the category of Big Game Knives; and have the accompanying romance and history associated with this period of History where Large knives were a required and necessary accouterment for hunting and as a weapon. Almost all knives of all types at this time, from Bowies, Dirks, Daggers, Folding Dirks, Folding Bowies and Clasp Knives, came from Sheffield; the knife capitol of the World, and for hundreds of years prior. All Sheffield knives were completely hand forged, hand ground, hand fitted & hand polished by Master Craftsmen who toiled at the same job for decades, using only simple hand tools. This Huge Knife is about 8 1/4" long closed, 15 1/8" open x 1 3/8 wide at the widest part of the pommel. Weight is 8.1 ounces or 231 grams. This has an early style hand forged spear blade made from Cast Steel, that swells from the ricasso towards the tip, has the early tiny nail nick, and note the the extremely thin early border blade grind at the pivot point, with no ricasso for a blade stamp. There is also the early style kick on the ricasso that is found on knives from the 1790's that is ground to set the depth of the blade inside the hilt when closed. The 6 13/16" x 1/8" thick blade flat is hot stamped "BUTLER" and "CAST STEEL" in two lines. Sheffield Cutlers only used hand made Cast Steel in their best knife blades due to the superior quality & temper of the steel; and was laborious and expensive to create. SEE ARTICLE BELOW ON CAST STEEL. This blade also has a half stop, i. The blade back is ground to half close; a feature found on high quality knives. There are no nicks to the blade edge when you run your finger along the edge, and has a full tip. The blade has a light, even grey patina with a few spots of naturally occurring aging, one tiny spot of light pitting on the obverse, and a few light areas of sharpening marks to the edge.
As expected, the blade has extremely fine vertical and horizontal lines from nearly 2 centuries of use; but overall is in remarkable condition for it's extreme age. This Big blade has a very strong spring with a thunderous snap, that would do serious damage if a finger were under the blade when snapped shut. Note: It is not necessary to snap the blade; just ease it into the closed position.
With a strong spring, a big blade could misalign with the liner/scale and crack or brake the scale, break the blade tip, or bottom out inside the hilt and chip the blade edge. This piece has the early style line hand line hand engraved Iron Bolsters and early Iron liners found mostly on 1830's and pre-1830's Sheffield folders.
However, NOTE: this knife has the extremely early and rare feature of integral bolsters and liners; i. The bolster and liners are made from one piece of Iron. You will see this feature on Sheffield pocket knives from the 1790's. The bolster is thicker than the liner, and the liner is ground down to a thinness for the liner, leaving the thick bolster at the end, that is then fitted to the blade, and hand line engraved; all in one piece. This is an all purpose Large Knife intended for use as a Camp knife to clear a campsite, cut brush, dress large game, and self protection; with the early style pistol grip found on 1830's and prior Sheffield knives.
The handles are beautiful matched select bias cut (cross cut against the grain) dark brown / tan / off white pattern bovinecowhorn scales in fine condition, secured with 10 early style small Iron pins and an Iron Master pin. One scale has one minuscule bug bite on the front bottom edge.The pommel has the original, hidden, 5 3/8 long, heavy duty, hand forged and ground prick and awl useful for removing splinters in the field and punching holes in leather. This piece is made from flat stock, file worked on the end with a nail notch, and tapers from rectangular to a long, sharp point. The pommel end of the back spring is tapered into the shape of a flat head prying tool and can be used as a screw driver for screw rivets carried to mend leather items such as broken reins. The blade, hilt and sheath are tight, and all original and matching condition that only comes from 200 years of proper care. This is what is expected in a fine condition Large Folding Camp Knife / Bowie knife that is old as dirt, but in fine condition; and is exactly what advanced collectors love to see. This Large Camp Knife / Big Game Knife / Bowie Knife is for the advanced knife collector; a rare early knife in original, as found condition, that is rarely seen, much less offered for sale. This handsome very early knife has lots of eye appeal, and is the best I have seen in this style, hand made by an acknowledged Sheffield Master Cutler. This is for the collector that appreciates a fine piece of early knife history, and understands the romance of a 200 year old period Big Camp / Game / Bowie knife intended for a Hunter, Trapper, Frontiersman, Sporting Gent or perhaps a Safari. This piece would be the center piece of many early 19th Century knife collection, and would certainly compliment any Folder, Camp Knife, Bowie, 19th Century arms, Old West, Hunting, Big Game, Safari, Trapper, Frontiersman, Weapon or Edged Weapon collection. PROVENANCE: The Iconic Donald Littman Collection, 1970's - 2008 Old Word Trading Co. A private California collection since 2014.
Cast Steel (crucible steel) was invented in Sheffield in 1740's for making clock springs. By the 1760's it was being used for fine quality cutlery blades, and especially for pocket knife springs which could now be made smaller and more reliable due to the malleable and superior tempering qualities. The skill of making Cast Steel was complex and took years to learn.
It took over a week just to make blister steel used in making crucible steel; and Sheffield steel makers used top quality Swedish Iron religiously. Pot makers made clay for the crucibles by treading clay for hours with their bare feet; and had to be uniform in thickness as thin areas will cool quicker and create internal stress points that lead to steel fracturing. About 60 pounds of wrought Iron and crushed charcoal were mixed in crucibles that were heated in a furnace in the ground.The Furnacemen could read the carbon content by simply looking at the crystalline fracture of an ingot. There were about 8 different carbon content steels used in Sheffield for different types of Cutlery; from about. 08% for table blades to 1.5% for razors. The cellar lads helped below the furnaces and fetched beer from the pubs outside the factory gates as one of the most important raw material for the process. After several days in the furnace, the Iron became saturated with carbon, the crucible would be pulled out of the furnace fire hole by the Puller-out. Cast steel is less fluid, has a higher melting point, greater shrinkage, and is more difficult to pour than molten Iron. The crucible about 27 lbs. , molten steel contents 56 lbs. The Head Melter (Teemer) would pour the molten steel into a 3" square x 30" crucible without allowing the metal to touch the sides where it would instantly set and create flaws in the ingot. Sheffield Cutlers use of Shear Steel for centuries is legendary. Cast Steel was more uniform as it did not contain the slag as in Shear Steel, was more uniform, and kept a fine edge.
Hand made Cast Steel was laborious and expensive to create, and used only for the best quality Sheffield Cutlery. Most Makers would hot stamp their hand forged blades CAST STEEL to denote the superior quality & temper of the steel. In the 1800s, some crucible steel makers specialized in making cutlery steel. IXL bought crucible cutlery steel from Sheffield steel maker Thomas Firth, but Thomas Turner made their own at Suffolk Works, as did Joseph Rodgers in the late 1800's.Cast steel was still created by hand until 1907 when the electric furnace made hand made cast steel obsolete; making 25 tons per melt with better control of the alloy and carbon content vs 60 pound hand made ingots. BANK DRAFTS DRAWN ON A U. BANK CONSIDERED WITH PRIOR APPROVAL. Due to a myriad of International and U. DO NOT DUPLICATE OR COPY! The item "FINE & RARE SHEFFIELD 1820s CAST STEEL 15 FOLDING CAMP KNIFE / BOWIE+PROVENANCE" is in sale since Friday, February 28, 2020. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Knives, Swords & Blades\Collectible Folding Knives\Vintage Folding Knives\Factory Manufactured". The seller is "1knifeguy1" and is located in Fairfield, California. This item can be shipped to United States.