If you’re a collector or enthusiast of vintage knives, you’ve likely come across the Schrade USA 152 at some point. This classic folding knife is beloved for its rugged construction, timeless design, and excellent craftsmanship.
However, if you’re looking to buy or sell a Schrade USA 152, you’ll need to know how to accurately date it.
In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide on how to date a Schrade USA 152, covering everything from the knife’s history to specific dating methods.
History of the Schrade USA 152
Schrade is an iconic American knife brand with a rich history dating back to 1904. Originally founded by George Schrade, the company has seen several changes in ownership throughout the years.
Despite these transitions, Schrade knives have remained popular among collectors and enthusiasts due to their quality, craftsmanship, and design.
The Schrade USA 152 is a classic fixed blade knife that has stood the test of time, making it a sought-after collectible.
Dating a Schrade USA 152
Now that you have some background on the Schrade USA 152, let’s dive into how to date it. There are several methods for dating these knives, including understanding Schrade’s model numbers, tang stamps, handle materials, consulting catalogs etc.
Understanding Schrade Model Numbers
Schrade knives, including the USA 152, typically have a model number stamped on the blade.
The model number is a combination of letters and numbers that can provide clues about the knife’s age, materials, and features.
For example, the “152” in Schrade USA 152 indicates that the knife is part of Schrade’s Old Timer series, which was introduced in the 1950s.
Schrade Tang Stamps
Tang stamps are essential in dating a Schrade knife because they provide information about the company’s history during specific time periods. Schrade used various tang stamps throughout its history to mark their knives.
These stamps typically include the company’s name, location, and sometimes, the production date or model number. Tang stamps are usually found on the knife’s tang, which is the portion of the blade that extends into the handle.
Decoding Tang Stamps
To decode the tang stamp on your Schrade USA 152 and determine its age, you should compare it to known tang stamps used by the company during specific periods. Here is a brief overview of some common Schrade tang stamps and their corresponding timeframes:
SCHRADE CUT CO: This stamp was used from 1904 to 1946, during the early years of the Schrade Cutlery Company. Knives with this stamp were manufactured in Walden, New York.
SCHRADE WALDEN: After George Schrade’s death in 1940, the company name changed to Schrade Walden Cutlery Corp., and this new tang stamp was used from 1946 to 1973. Knives marked with “Schrade Walden” were also produced in Walden, New York.
SCHRADE USA: In 1973, the company moved to Ellenville, New York, and changed its name to Schrade Cutlery Corp. The tang stamp “Schrade USA” was used from 1973 until the company’s closure in 2004.
SCHRADE+: After the original company closed in 2004, the Schrade brand name was acquired by Taylor Brands, and the “Schrade+” tang stamp started being used on knives produced overseas, mainly in China.
Schrade Handle Materials
Schrade knives have been made with various handle materials over the years. Some common materials include bone, stag, wood, and synthetic materials like Delrin.
By identifying the handle material, you can further narrow down the age of your Schrade USA 152.
Schrade Catalogs and Price Lists
Schrade catalogs and price lists can be valuable resources for dating your Schrade USA 152. These documents often contain detailed information about the knives, including production years, handle materials, and other features.
By comparing your knife to the descriptions and images in the catalogs, you can get a better idea of its age and rarity.
Collector’s Forums and Online Resources
Joining collector’s forums and browsing online resources is another great way to gather information about your Schrade USA 152.
Many collectors share their knowledge, expertise, and findings on these platforms, which can help you learn more about your knife’s history and value. Some popular resources include:
- All About Pocket Knives
If you’re still unsure about the age of your Schrade USA 152, consider seeking an expert appraisal. Knife experts and collectors can provide valuable insights based on their years of experience and knowledge.
Keep in mind that appraisals may come with a fee, but the information you receive can be invaluable in accurately dating your knife.
When Did Schrade Go Out of Business?
Schrade went out of business in July 2016. The company had been in operation for over a century but faced increasing competition from other knife manufacturers in recent years.
Schrade was unable to keep up with the changing market and ultimately had to shut down its operations.
Why Did Schrade Go Out of Business?
In 2015, Schrade filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations. The company had been in business for over 100 years. The reasons for its demise are numerous, but can be summed up with a few key points:
Competition from other knife manufacturers
In recent years, there has been an influx of new knife brands on the market, offering cheaper alternatives to Schrade’s higher-priced products. This increased competition put pressure on Schrade’s margins and ultimately led to its downfall.
Poor management decisions
In the early 2000s, Schrade was acquired by Smith & Wesson (S&W), a firearms manufacturer. S&W then sold Schrade to Taylor Brands in 2004. During this time of transition, Schrade struggled to find its footing and made several poor management decisions that hurt the company’s bottom line.
The Great Recession of 2008 hit many industries hard, including the knife industry. Consumers were cutting back on discretionary spending, and this led to a decrease in sales for Schrade knives. The company never fully recovered from the economic downturn and eventually had to declare bankruptcy.
Are Schrade Knives Still Made in USA?
Yes, Schrade knives are still made in the USA. The company has been based in Ellenville, New York since its founding in 1904, and all of its products are manufactured at its factory there.
While the company has changed hands a few times over the years, it is currently owned by Taylor Brands LLC, which is also headquartered in Ellenville.
In addition to Schrade-branded knives, Taylor Brands also manufactures Old Timer and Uncle Henry knives at the Ellenville facility.
Preserving Your Schrade Knife
Once you’ve successfully dated your Schrade USA 152, it’s essential to preserve its condition. Proper care and maintenance can help maintain the knife’s value and ensure that it remains a cherished collectible for years to come. Some basic preservation tips include:
- Cleaning the knife regularly
- Oil the blade and pivot points
- Store in a cool, dry place
- Avoid using the knife for heavy-duty tasks
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Schrade USA 152 still in production?
No, the Schrade Cutlery Company ceased production of the Schrade USA 152 in 2004 when they closed their doors.
How can I tell if my Schrade USA 152 is genuine?
Look for the tang stamp, model number, and other distinguishing features mentioned in this guide to determine if your knife is an authentic Schrade USA 152.
Is my Schrade USA 152 valuable?
The value of a Schrade USA 152 can vary depending on factors such as age, condition, and rarity. Consulting catalogs, price lists, and expert appraisals can help determine your knife’s value.
Can I still use my Schrade USA 152 for everyday tasks?
While the Schrade USA 152 is a functional knife, using it for everyday tasks can wear down the blade and decrease its value as a collectible. It’s recommended to preserve the knife and use a different knife for regular tasks.
The Schrade USA 152 is a beloved knife among collectors and outdoor enthusiasts, and accurately dating one is an important part of its history.
By examining the tang stamp, blade etching, and pattern number, as well as considering other factors like handle material and box design, you can determine when a Schrade USA 152 was produced with relative accuracy.
Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or simply appreciate this classic folding knife, understanding its history and age can add to its value and significance.