In the early 1900s most shotguns did not have shotshell extractors. This could be a problem because early shotshells were made of paper, not plastic, and often got 'stuck' once the shotgun was fired. And because they were hot, hunters were less than happy to pull them out with their fingers. As a result, cutlers began making pocket knives with extractors using gauge sizes 12, 16, and 20.
Most 1950s shellpuller knives had the shotshell extractors integrated with the top bolster. This was the case for most German Leverlocks as illustrated below.
Three 1950s Weltersbach shellpuller Leverlocks.
Here is a pre-WWII Weltersbach camper Leverlock (note: main blade is a replacement blade) with both a front bolster shellpuller and a shellpuller 'blade'. The hole in the shellpuller blade was used to extract pin-fire cartridges.
Contrary to the front bolster extractors, some knives had the shellpuller integrated with the bottom bolster. One example is a rare German hunting knife with a shellpuller and a corkscrew, manufactured in both Lever-release and Leverlock configurations.
From old catalogs we know that several cutlery companies like Feist, Wingen, Gräfrath, Hammesfahr, and Weltersbach advertised this model from the 1920s to the 1930s - although it is very likely that the model is much older. Similar to the German Leverlock, it is also very likely that the model was a contract knife and therefore produced by a single maker.
The shellpuller hunting knife with stag scales, corkscrew, and Lever-release mechanism. The size is approximately the same as the large German Leverlock. Unstamped blade.
The shellpuller knife as advertised by Feist &Co, A. Wingen, Gebr. Gräfrath, G. Hammesfahr, and Wilhelm Weltersbach. The three knives at the top and the one at the bottom are all Lever-release knives, while the second knife from the bottom is a Leverlock.
The Lever-release mechanism has been used on many knife models since the 1800s. Well-known examples are the large (5171 L) and small (5161L & 6161L) Lever-release hunting knives made by W. R. Case & Sons and the smaller (model 6061 & 119) Lever-release made by J. A. Henckels of Solingen.
W. R. Case & Sons 5171L (left) and 6161L (right) Lever-release mechanisms.
The 5171L Lever-release model (bottom right) as advertised in a 1945 W. R. Case & Sons catalog.
J. A. Henckels Lever-release knives (model 6061).
The model 6061 Lever-release knife as advertised in an 1898 J. A. Henckels catalog.
In the pictures below we can see a close-up of the two shellpuller mechanisms; Lever-release versus Leverlock, in a side by side comparison.
The Lever-release (left) and the Leverlock (right) mechanisms.
Below are the two examples of the shellpuller hunting knife illustrated in the Feist, Wingen, Gräfrath, Hammesfahr, and Weltersbach catalogs. While the Lever-release model is an older design than the Leverlock, it seems that both mechanisms were produced during a period from the 1920s to the 1930s as indicated by the Hammesfahr and Weltersbach advertisements.
The top and bottom knives are Lever-release knives while the middle knife is a Leverlock. Besides the open/close mechanism, the front bolster, and the corkscrew design, the knives are almost identical. All three knives are unstamped.
If any reader has more information about this model I would very much like to hear about it.