Old Timer Knives were a line of knives produced by the Imperial Schrade Corporation. Beginning as Schrade Cutlery in 1904, the Old Timers consisted of traditional jackknives, fixed-bladed knives, folding knives and other pieces that captured the spirit of the nation's pioneering backwoodsmen. The company closed its doors in 2004. Masterpieces of their kind, Schrade Old Timer Knives are prized by collectors and outdoor enthusiasts.
Prices of authentic Old Timer Knives vary considerably according to the style of the knife. A small one-bladed jackknife sold for as little as $5 in 2009, while a Woodsman with a hefty 9 1/2 inch blade and sheath commanded more than $50. Combination knives tend to sell for more than single-bladed examples, but it is the overall size and weight that most influences cost. The Woodsman, for example, with clip, sheepfoot and spey blades, can be bought for less than $30, while the very similar Senior knife sold for approximately $40 because of the difference in handle style--not its greater age. Older examples are not necessarily worth more than later models.
Genuine Schrade Old Timer knives are fully serviceable and are priced similarly to brand new examples. When Imperial Schrade closed its doors, much of the Old Timer line was purchased by Taylor, LLC. Taylor continues to market spring-loaded knives as Old Timers. These pieces are similar to the older varieties, but typically cost in the range of $10 to $20.
Schrade Old Timer knives retain their value over time. Knives in good condition regularly appear on specialty sites like The Knife Auction and also on more general auction sites like eBay and BizRate. $10 to $20 is the typical final price for most models here as well, with larger versions going for as much as $50 or more.
Old Timer Knives are made of high-quality AISI 1095 carbon steel. Containing from .95 to 1.05 % carbon, the blade holds a keen edge and is especially easy to sharpen. Older blades tend to discolor if not properly cleaned. Using them on meat and fish darkens the steel. Carbon steel is not stainless steel; it must be thoroughly dried after cleaning. Periodically, Old Timer blades should receive a light coating of oil.
Not all Old Timers are hunting knives. Schrade produced numerous multi-purpose pieces. Blades are shaped to their specific use. Knives with more than one blade serve a variety of functions, with each blade moving seamlessly over the adjacent ones by means of crinks, or slight bends, that prevent the blades from hitting each other. Pointed and sharp-edged blades are useful to both craftsmen and hunters. Squared-off blades double as screwdrivers or coping tools, while unusual shapes provide can openers and punches.
Brian Adler has been writing articles on history, politics, religion, art, architecture and antiques since 2002. His writing has been published with Demand Studios, as well as in an online magazine. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Columbia University.