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How To Date A Schrade Knife? [2 Effective Techniques]

Last Updated: June 16th, 2022

Schrade Cutlery has been manufacturing premium-quality knives for over a century now. As a result, it’s quite hard to distinguish between the old and new models nowadays. So, how to date a Schrade knife? Is it something you can determine right at home?

Well, if you have access to the appropriate knowledge, then you certainly can. Other than the intended differences in design, some special features will help you out in this matter.

However, it’s also true that you’ll come across lots and lots of red herrings while investigating. 

But don’t worry. You can definitely track down at least the make and model of the knives, if not the specific manufacturing year. First, let’s find out why it’s so difficult to date a Schrade knife. And then, we can come up with ways to tackle the difficulties one by one. 

Problems You’ll Most Likely Face While Dating Schrade Knives

Here’s why it takes this much patience when you sit down to date a Schrade knife.

Bad At Record Keeping

Schrade is known for its great services over the years, but record-keeping is not one of them. And understandably so, since the brand has been running its operations since the early 1900s. People didn’t really have access to all the different record-keeping methods like now.

Again, whatever record they kept, they didn’t get to survive the natural calamities due to a lack of proper preservation. And that brought about a pretty severe problem later on. Schrade lost control over the proper manufacturing date and year of its knives.

Hence, it’s even harder to track down the correct information nowadays. Plus, with time, the situation’s not getting any better. You won’t even find as many people who have access to the right info about the past knives. Not even in the dedicated online communities.

Using Indistinguishable Materials

Quite similar to the bad record-keeping phase, Schrade didn’t mark out the specific shipping materials either. They didn’t keep track of anything in matters of the handle designs and relevant stock materials.

But it’s relatively hard to blame them for such an occurrence. For one – it was literally ages ago, and they were practically still a blooming company. On top of that, they suddenly became a lot popular due to their effective and efficient knife designs.

Thus, supply and demand were continuously an issue with them. Amidst such circumstances, they didn’t have the time to sit down and sort out all the materials. They just used what they had access to at the time and went through with it. 

How To Date A Schrade Knife?

Despite the challenges, it’s not totally impossible to date a Schrade knife. Here are a few ways to try out if you’re looking to date one such knife. Make sure to have enough time and patience on your hands, though!

Check Out The Tang Stamp

When it comes to dating Schrade Knives, you should check out the tang stamps first and foremost because they’re the closest to specified records maintained by the brand. Therefore, looking at them might give you a pretty vagrant idea of the knife’s origin.

Plus, with a proper tang stamp, you can end up pinning down on the original manufacturing year as well. And here’s why. This stamp has been modified multiple times over the years. The ones they use now don’t have many similarities with the ones they used before.

So, if you know the time period of each stamp, you can pinpoint the manufacturing year of that knife. Here’s a brief overview of some of the stamps’ duration to help you out.

Time Period Primary Signature  Secondary Signature
Preliminary Stamp Design ‘Schrade Cut. Co’ crafted on the stamp Walden, NY, and Germany on bottom
1904-1917 ‘Schrade’ crafted in an arc, ‘Cut. Co’ in a straight line Just Walden, NY
1917-1946 The ‘Schrade Cut.Co’ phrase entirely in a straight line Same as before but added the USA alongside in the mid-1940s
1973 Same as before Walden was removed from the tag stamps. Before that, ‘Schrade Walden’ was crafted on them. 
1973-2004 Just ‘Schrade’ NY, USA, or the just USA

You can find several other stamp charts online to mix and match the data derived from your knife. Plus, the online communities sometimes come up with these detailed charts full of personal experience and observations.

Such charts are practically goldmines in determining the origin of an antique Schrade knife. Remember, you can find out about the tang stamp by looking at the blade’s base. After that, you have to look through all the examples to see which generation your knife belongs to.

Special Markings

Sometimes, the tang stamps will have some specific engraving that you might miss out on at first glance. So, sit down with your magnifying glasses and light bulb boxes to thoroughly check their signature designs.

The OT and UH ones are the most common Schrade knife markings. Here’s a brief overview of their differences.

OT (Old Timer) UH (Uncle Henry)
Manufactured from 1958 to 2002 Manufactured from 1965 to 2004
Primarily made with carbon-steel blades Primarily made using stainless steel blades
Considerably antique design Considerably modern design

Many such markings can shed light on the Schrade knife’s origin. All you have to do is to keep a detailed record of such findings. And then research extensively via the personalized charts, which will ultimately lead you to their manufacturing period.

Can You Date A Schrade Knife Down To Its Manufacturing Year?

You can, actually. However, there are a few conditions for that to happen. For instance, if it’s a –

  • time-limited design/ discontinued manufacturing after a single year or so
  • knife with a proper serial number
  • promotional design for a specific brand collaboration

Other than these, you can also test the actual material to date a Schrade knife. Even if they didn’t keep a solid record, they did use different materials after the ’60s. They shipped them in from different countries as well.

Thus, if you desperately need to determine the manufacturing period, you can try out extreme measures like these. But we’d highly recommend against it since tests like these tend to give out variable results.

Alternative Ways You Can Try Out To Date A Schrade Knife

Here are a few more ways that can come in handy if you’re looking to date a Schrade knife.

Handle Markings

Over the years, Schrade has been using different materials to make knife handles. For instance – they used bone for the first few decades of production. Later, they moved on to using synthetic materials.

They reverted to using bones somewhere in the mid-1970s. After some backlash, they colored it to make it look more synthetic, but it didn’t stick that long. So they ended up going back to the synthetic materials again.

Collector Catalogs

Even now, there are loads of collectors with antique Schrade knife collections. They tend to keep a documented overview of the knives they collected throughout the years.

Therefore, you can check out their catalogs to see if anything stands out design or marking-wise. It’s a little hard to pinpoint the specific year with just pictures, but it’s not entirely impossible either.

Final Words

So, have you figured out how to date a Schrade knife yet? Turns out, if you have some time to spare, it’s not that troublesome of a job after all.

Just make sure to avoid the red herrings while researching Schrade’s history. If needed, consult a professional to fasten up the process.

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