Friday, October 7, 2016

D.R.G.M. Jagdspringmesser - Daniel Peres, KG, Stahlwarenfabrik, Solingen, Germany

Here is a Leverlock camper model from the 1930s with a main blade, a pen blade, shot shell extractor (the hole is for extraction of pin-fire cartridges), and a corkscrew. The blade is stamped with Peres’ name and trademark barrel.
Peres registered his company in 1878. The company mostly made scissors, razors, pocket knives, and flatware. This Leverlock was most likely made as a contract knife by W. Weltersbach, and not made by Peres. The D.R.G.M. stamp was referenced in an earlier Vom Cleff article

1930s D.R.G.M. Jagdspringmesser - Daniel Peres. Courtesy of Muskrat Man -

These are some of Wilhelm Weltersbach's Leverlock models, with similar camper models listed as Nr. 23 and Nr. 34.

Comparison of three pre-WWII Leverlocks; top - Gebrüder Gräfrath, middle - D. Peres, bottom - Vom Cleff & Co. (made by Weltersbach -

Rear view.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Imperial and Hammer Brand toothpick knives on reproduction Sportsmaster cards

Below are two reproduction cards with an assortment of shell-wrap toothpick knives.  Apart from one knife with an Imperial stamp, all knives have Hammer Brand stamps.  However, Hammer Brand was essentially the Imperial Knife Company.  As shown in the figure below, the company started out as the Imperial Knife Company in the 1920s. In the mid-1930s the name was changed to Hammer Brand – and then in the mid-1940s, it was changed back to Imperial.

Two common Imperial stamp-guides used by collectors.

Although most of these knives are from the 1950s, some of the stamps are pre-WWII.  The dating of the Hammer Brand stamps are somewhat difficult in that there are many variations of the Hammer Brand stamp, and some have yet to be documented.  Therefore, the dating below is somewhat tentative and I would welcome any additional information from readers.

Sportsmaster Hammer Brand (Imperial) reproduction card with six shell-wrap toothpicks.

Imperial (top) and Hammer Brand knives (middle and bottom) from the Sportsmaster card above.

Sportsmaster Hammer Brand (Imperial) reproduction card with six shell-wrap toothpicks.

Six Hammer Brand knives from the Sportsmaster card above.

Imperial Knife Company stamp -  Hammer Brand - 1955 or younger?

Imperial Knife Company stamp -  Hammer Brand - 1955 or younger?

Imperial Knife Company stamp -  Hammer Brand - 1955 or younger?

Imperial Knife Company stamp -  Hammer Brand - used from 1938 to through 1941.

Imperial Knife Company stamp -  Hammer Brand - a very small stamp - 1945 to 1955?

Imperial Knife Company stamp -  Hammer Brand - stamp used 1936 and 1937.

Imperial Knife Company stamp -  Hammer Brand - 1955 or younger?

Imperial Knife Company stamp -  Hammer Brand - 1955 or younger?

Imperial Knife Company stamp - circa 1946 to 1956.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

German shellpuller hunting knives - Jagdmesser mit Patronenzieher

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.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

German Leverlocks - Contract knives of Type I-III by Weltersbach, Bonsa, and Anton Wingen Jr.

The Type I Leverlock

One of the most popular German knives ever made is the Leverlock knife.  The model has a long history, with relevant German patents (DRP, Deutsches Reichspatent) and patent registrations (DRGM, Deutsches Reichs-Gebrauchsmuster) by Wilhelm Weltersbach (1882, #20316; 1897, #73661), Otto Schallbruch (1934, #35274), Anton Wingen Jr. (1956, #1715228), and Günter O. Melcher (1959, #1790344), to mention a few.  With roughly a hundred known tang stamps, a few different sizes, varieties of blade, lever shapes, liners, bolster shapes, bolster stamps, bails, and groove markings; there is a lot of variation on this seemingly simple model.

Wilhelm Weltersbach, 1882, German patent #20316.

Otto Schallbruch, 1934, German patent #35274.

Günter O. Melcher, 1959, German patent #1790344.

Anton Wingen Jr., 1956, German patent #1715228.  This is an interesting model – it’s a ‘Leverlock’ knife except that it has a ‘sliding button’ mechanism instead of a ‘lever’. I have included the patent here as it shows an interesting evolution of the traditional Leverlock model.

Although tang stamps are interesting from a collector’s perspective, the tang stamps don’t always tell us who the maker is.  As a matter of fact, the majority of Leverlocks have tang stamps that are names or symbols of import companies or distributors rather than manufacturers.  A minority of Leverlocks have stamps from known cutlery companies.  However, even if a knife has a stamp from a well-known cutlery company it does not guarantee that the company in question actually made the knife or even made any parts of the knife. 

The German cutlery industry (like so many other industries) has always operated under a subcontracting model.  This was described in detail by Louis Sabin—representing the Union of Solingen Manufacturers’ Association—and many others during a 1909 congressional hearing [1].  The Solingen cutlery industry has always operated in two different ways: via production in the cottage industry (off-site facilities and workshops) and via production in the regular cutlery factories.  The Solingen cottage industry was enormous, with an estimated 75% of the total production by workers producing services and goods in their own homes.  One home shop ground blades, another hardened and tempered the blades, a third made bolsters and liners.  This was great for company owners: Why pay a huge overhead in factory maintenance, worker salaries, and local taxes when you can pay directly for knives or knife parts at a fixed item price?

The Leverlock has always been a contract knife.  This is clear from the large number of identical knives with different tang stamps.  In three previous articles, I described three of the most common contract models, arbitrarily labeled the Type I Leverlock [1a], the Type II Leverlock [1b], and the Type III Leverlock [1c].  While there are still other Leverlock contract models, these three types are the most common models from the 1950s.  The Type I Leverlock came out of the Wilhelm Weltersbach Stahlwarenfabrik – Solingen.  The Type II Leverlock came out of the Böntgen & Sabin AG, Stahlwarenfabrik – Solingen.  And, finally, it seems that the Type III Leverlock came from the Anton Wingen Jr. Company.  Here, I provide a summary of the information presented in earlier articles.

The similarity among vintage German Leverlocks

Most vintage German Leverlocks from the late 1940s to the early 1960s are very similar.  For most Leverlocks, there are only minute differences in the blades, levers, scale materials, bolsters grooves, and bolster shapes, similar to the differences found on single-blade knives with shell extractors.  Many of the vintage Leverlocks also have 'SPRINGER' stamped on the bottom bolster, with some variation in the letter size and style.

A while back I examined a Leverlock with picked bone scales and plated bolsters.  The tang was stamped: 'PAX' over 'SOLINGEN.'  PAX was a brand name of the German company H. Eicker & Söhne, Solingen-Wald.  The company was founded in 1908 but is still in business today, mainly advertising and selling hairdressing tools stamped 'Eicker'.  Curious about their Leverlocks, I contacted the company to ask for more information.  I was told by a representative that 'many years ago' the company indeed made knives stamped PAX.  Unfortunately, Eicker had no additional information about their Leverlocks nor did they have any old PAX catalogs or advertisements.

With the limited information from the Eicker Company I was particularly interested in finding out more about the maker of the PAX Leverlock.  I suspected that the PAX knife could be a contract knife, and not an Eicker product.  

This 11cm (open) vintage Leverlock is stamped 'PAX' over 'SOLINGEN' on the front tang, and 'SOLINGEN' over 'M. I. GERMANY' on the rear tang.  PAX was a brand name used by the German company H. Eicker & Söhne.  The knife has plated bolsters and picked bone scales.

I began to compare the PAX Leverlock with other Leverlocks from the same era.  Some of the Leverlocks had the same 'SPRINGER' text as the PAX knife.  Many of them were also stamped 'SOLINGEN' over 'GERMANY' on the rear tang, but had no stamp on the front tang.  Others had the bottom bolster stamped 'SPRINGER' over 'KÖNIG' – or a blade stamp 'RAYCO' over 'CHICAGO' and a tang stamp 'SOLINGEN' over 'M.I. GERMANY'.  Other Leverlocks had tang stamps like: Hubertus, Bonsa, Wingen, Gräfrath, and Schlieper.  All these knives were likely produced during the period between the late 1940s to the early 1960s.

Using a digital caliper (Cen-Tech Model 98851), I measured a set of standard distances between features on each knife such as the length, thickness, and the width of the blade.  I also measured the distances between the pins on the Leverlock body, the thickness and the width of the bolsters, and the lever and the lever opening.

From left to right, a comparison of four 11 cm Leverlocks: [a] PAX, [b] Wingen ('A. WINGEN JR' over 'SOLINGEN – GERMANY' on the front tang, and 'ROSTFREI' on the rear tang), [c] Bonsa ('Bonsa' over 'SOLINGEN' over 'GERMANY' on the front tang, and 'ROSTFREI' over the 'foot and football' logo on the rear tang), and [d] Hubertus ('Hubertus' over 'SOLINGEN' on the front tang, and 'ROSTFREI' on the rear tang).  All knives have stag scales except knife [a] which has scales of picked bone.

From left to right, a comparison of four 11 cm Leverlocks: [a] Weidmannsheil ('WEIDMANNS' over 'HEIL' on the front tang), [b] SPRINGER KÖNIG (same knife as in the figure above, shown here for comparison), [c] GRÄFRATH ('G. GRÄFRATH' over 'W' over 'SOLINGEN' on the front tang), and [d] SCHLIEPER ('C. SCHLIEPER' over the 'eye' logo and 'SOLINGEN' on the front tang, and 'ROSTFREI' on the rear tang).

The pin configuration distances were measured from the center of the a) pin that goes through the lever spring and the spring cover to the b) two front scale pins, the c) front bolster pin, the d) pin that goes through the scales and the backspring, the d) two bottom scale pins, and the e) bottom bolster pin.  The bottom bolster profile was measured from the center of the bottom bolster pin to the edge of the bolster following the 12 o'clock analogy.  This creates 12 radii measures that correspond to the 12 clock hour positions.  Taken together, I used 19 measures from each Leverlock to determine the pin configurations and bolster shapes.

Handle pin configuration (top) and bottom bolster shape (bottom) measuring points.

Using the pin configuration and bolster shape measures I computed correlations (r values) that were populated into a confusion matrix. This analysis revealed several interesting results.  First, the handle pin configurations for the Bonsa, Hubertus, PAX, RAYCO, Solingen, and the Weidmannsheil Leverlocks were all identical (r = 1).  Second, although very similar, the Schlieper, Gräfrath, and the Wingen pin configurations were not identical to any of the other Leverlocks.  Nor were the Schlieper, Gräfrath, and the Wingen Leverlock pin configurations very similar since the r values for these comparisons only ranged from .94 to .96. 

The resulting r values for the bottom bolster profiles showed that the bolster shape was identical for the Hubertus, PAX, RAYCO, Solingen, and the Weidmannsheil Leverlocks.  Again, the most dissimilar bolster shapes were found for the Schlieper, Gräfrath, Wingen, and the Bonsa Leverlock comparisons with r values ranging from .91 to .98.  Although the Bonsa had an identical handle pin configuration to the Hubertus, PAX, RAYCO, Solingen, and the Weidmannsheil Leverlocks, the Bonsa bottom bolster shape is different.

Below are the Leverlocks with identical pin configuration and bottom bolster shape as the PAX Leverlock.  These Leverlocks constitute the Type I Leverlock model.

Illustration of the characteristic shape of the bottom bolsters on four Type I Leverlocks.  From left to right, these knives have the following stamps: [a] 'PAX Solingen' front tang, [b] 'RAYCO' over 'CHICAGO' over 'MADE IN GERMANY' blade – 'SOLINGEN' over 'GERMANY' rear tang, [c] 'SOLINGEN' over 'GERMANY' rear tang, and [d] 'SOLINGEN' over 'GERMANY' rear tang.  These knives have 'SPRINGER' stamped on the bottom bolster except knife [c] which is an example of a Type I Leverlock with the 'SPRINGER' over 'KÖNIG' stamp.  All bolsters are made of plated steel except knife [c] which has nickel silver bolsters.

Weltersbach Fur Puma 

At this point we have a set of Leverlocks with identical pin configurations and bottom bolster profiles - called the Type I Leverlock.  But the question is: who produced these Leverlocks? 

A 1950s Wilhelm Weltersbach catalog illustrating the Type I Leverlock as model 25 ½.

Looking at 1950s Weltersbach catalogs we see a Leverlock, model 25 ½, that seems to have identical bottom bolsters as the Type I knife.  As it turns out, this similarity is more than coincidental.  The answer to the Type I question arrived one day when a collector sent me a picture of an unused Leverlock with the blade etch: "Weltersbach Fur Puma."  Every aspect of the knife was identical to the PAX knife.  Not only was it a Type I Leverlock, it was also Wilhelm Weltersbach's proposal for a Puma Leverlock (as all Puma Leverlocks are contract knives).

Wilhelm Weltersbach Stahlwarenfabrik - Solingen

We know from older catalogs that Wilhelm Weltersbach started his Stahlwarenfabrik in Solingen in 1882, as many Weltersbach catalogs have 'GEGR. 1882' printed on the cover.  For sure, old Wilhelm was not a one-trick pony.  His innovative designs, prolific production, and cost-effective thinking made his mark on the world-wide Leverlock scene.  Few Leverlock cutlers are his equal.  The Type I knife with all its variations is a perfect example.  They are available in various blade shapes including the clip blade, with or without a nail nick.  Bolsters are frequently plated, but are available in solid nickel silver as well both in the regular and the shell extracting versions.  A rear bail was also an option, although most Type I Leverlocks do not have one.  The scales come in various materials like picked bone, picked wood, and stag.  Besides the Weidmannsheil-stamped knives, the Type I knives without a stamp, and the Type I tang stamps shown in this article, there are other Type I stamps like: B. Svoboda, Carl & Robert Linder (C. & R. L), CCC and Cleveland Cutlery Co., F. A. Bower, and Kaufmann K55K to name a few.  All in all, the Type I Leverlock is available in a large number of variations.  So when early 1930s Weltersbach catalogs state on the front: 'Spezialität: Springmesser', we have no reason to disagree.  But all good things come to an end.  The Weltersbach Company has ceased its operations and the last remains were sold off in the early 1990s.

The Type II Leverlock

The Type II comprises a group of knives that all share the same bottom bolster profile and the same body pin configuration.  As outlined above, the hallmark feature of the Type I Leverlock is the bottom bolster.  It is only available in one bolster profile with a specific size and style of the ‘SPRINGER’ text.  Also, all Type I bottom bolsters have the exact same style of the bolster grooves. 

The bottom bolster is also the hallmark of the Type II Leverlock.  However, the Type II is just one specific configuration out of many similar configurations from the same maker.  Among the variations are the presence or absence of grooves, the number of grooves, the style and font used for the ‘SPRINGER’ text, and whether the bottom bolster has a ‘flat’ or ‘rounded’ surface.  Additionally, bolsters can have visible pins or pins that have been ‘leveled’ with the bolster surface. 

Here, I focus my review on the most common style of the regular one-blade Type II Leverlock in the larger 11.5 cm size (4.52”; closed knife).

The figure below shows a comparison of the bottom bolsters of the Type I and the Type II Leverlocks.  By visual inspection, we can easily see the differences between these two bottom bolsters.  The Weltersbach-produced Type I on the left has a distinct straight vertical edge on the left that ends in a sharp point.  It also has distinct bolster grooves and a characteristic style for the ‘SPRINGER’ text.  The Type II bolster on the right however, has a rounded profile, lacks grooves, and has a different location, size, and font style for the ‘SPRINGER’ text.  

Bolster comparison of the Type I (left) and Type II (right) Leverlocks.

In the figures below I show some examples of the most common Type II Leverlock.  All these knives have exactly the same bolster profile and body pin configuration.  The only variations on these Leverlocks are the color of the picked bone, the blade style, and the tang stamps.  Most of these Type II knives have a spear point blade but some were also made with clip blades. 

From top to bottom: (1) "SOLINGEN CUTLERY" over "B. SVOBODA" over "GERMANY", (2) "STAINLESS" (rear tang "IMPORT"), (3) "Bonsa" over "SOLINGEN" over "GERMANY", and (4) "HELMUT HARTENAU" over "SOLINGEN-GERMANY".

From top to bottom: (1) "SOLINGEN CUTLERY" over "B. SVOBODA" over "GERMANY", (2) "G.C.Co." over "GERMANY", (3) "F. A. BOWER IMP. CO." over "GERMANY" (rear tang "SOLINGEN" over "BS"), and (4) "SCHOEPFER" over "N.Y. CITY" over "GERMANY".

The Type II Leverlocks shown above are found with a variety of tang stamps.  This variation is interesting from the perspective of contract knives, as these knives were not produced by a multitude of German companies.  In fact, most of the tang stamps are of companies that never produced Leverlocks.  Even more interesting, some of the tang stamps are of companies that never produced knives at all.
In the pictures above we have Leverlocks with the tang stamps: ‘B. Svoboda’, ‘Helmut Hartenau’, ‘F. A. Bower’, ‘G. C. Co.’, and ‘Schoepfer N.Y.-City’.  From [2] we know that ‘B. Svoboda’ was a name used on cutlery by the Liberty Organization from Montrose, California.  In Slavic languages, the word ‘svoboda’ means ‘freedom’.  The Liberty Organization was a cutlery importer, not a producer. 

The tang stamp ‘Helmut Hartenau’ was used by Oscar Hellmut Hartenau (1905-1986), an importer and wholesale distributor from New York [3].  Among other products, Oscar also imported cutlery with his patented trademark ‘GOLDCREST’ as well as cutlery marked with ‘HART’ and a stag deer symbol.  An interesting ‘Helmut Hartenau’ multi-blade Leverlock is shown in [4] on page 61.
The stamp ‘F. A. Bower’ is mentioned in [2] without any additional information.  However, ‘F. A. Bower Import Co.’ knife advertisements are common from the 1950s, from an importer located in Jacksonville, Florida.
The ‘G. C. Co.’ stamp was used by the Gutmann Cutlery Co. [2] of New York, an import company originally founded by Kurt Gutmann.  Besides Puma knives, the company imported and sold a variety of knives from Italy, Germany, USA, and Japan.  There were many ownership/name changes to the Gutmann Company over the years.  In 1981 the Gutmann Cutlery Inc. was acquired by Hyde.  During 1997 to 2003, Gutmann Cutlery Inc. was operated independently out of Bellingham, Washington, but was subsequently absorbed into Woodstock International Inc. [5]. 

The ‘Schoepfer N.Y.-City’ stamp was used by Gustav Schoepfer (1891-1988) from New York, a taxidermy supply store owner and a manufacturer and exporter/importer of glass eyes for toy makers, opticians, and taxidermists [6].  Gustav also imported and sold a variety of German and US cutlery including knives from Schrade and Wüsthof. 

Finally, we have a Leverlock with the tang stamps ‘Stainless’ and ‘Import’.  This knife was imported into Sweden before 1959, but the stamps tell us nothing about the import company or the manufacturer.  We can only be sure of one thing.  It wasn’t made in Sweden.

Seven examples of Type II tang stamps are illustrated in this article, but there are many others.  For example, I have seen this Type II Leverlock with stamps like ‘IMCO’, ‘Puma’, and ‘RAMON’.  The tang stamp ‘IMCO’ is listed in [2] without any additional information.  However, it seems that IMCO was an importer that operated out of New York City.  Puma is of course a well-known cutlery company but all Puma-stamped Leverlocks are Type I and Type II contract knives that were not produced by Puma (one example mentioned above is the Type I Puma Leverlock made by Wilhelm Weltersbach).  I have not found any information on the ‘RAMON’ stamp, but it is likely an American cutlery importer or business firm.

The only Leverlock in the figures above that has a stamp of a known cutlery company is the Leverlock with the ‘Bonsa’ stamp. 

Böntgen & Sabin AG, Stahlwarenfabrik

The ‘Bonsa’ stamp was used on cutlery from the Böntgen & Sabin AG Stahlwarenfabrik, originally founded by August Böntgen and Louis Sabin (1851-1914) around 1870 and registered in 1876 [2] [7].  Very little information is available on August Böntgen.  From genealogy databases we know there are five August Böntgens during the relevant time frame.  An educated guess is that our man August was born in 1852 or 1853.  Information on Louis Sabin, on the other hand, is plentiful.  Among the most interesting things is that Louis was a member of the German Reichstag and also represented the Union of Solingen Manufacturers’ Association.

The Böntgen & Sabin Company is of interest since it is very likely they are behind the production of at least some versions of the Type II Leverlocks.  My initial hope was to retrieve original purchase or order transcripts from [3] and [6] to verify the origin of the ‘Hartenau’ and the ‘Schoepfer’ Leverlocks.  But despite an effort to locate such 1950s documents, in the end, I was unable to obtain this information because each respective company was not able to find any such documents in their files.  However, there are several reasons why the Böntgen & Sabin Company is the maker of the Type II Leverlocks.  First, the Böntgen & Sabin Company has more than a 100 year long history of knife production.  Second, there are various Leverlock models with the ‘Bonsa’ stamp available, not just the Type II.  Third, the ‘F. A. Bower’ Leverlock shown above also has a rear tang stamp that reads ‘Solingen’ over ‘BS’.  This is in addition to the ‘F. A. Bower’ front tang stamp.  The ‘BS’ stamp is a known Böntgen & Sabin stamp.  An older version of this stamp is shown in [7].  Lastly, the 1950s Böntgen & Sabin catalogs undoubtedly show Type II Leverlocks among available models. 
Bonsa 1956 catalog.

The Type III Leverlock

In the preceding sections I have described two of the most common contract models, arbitrarily labeled the Type I Leverlock and the Type II Leverlock.  Here, I describe the Type III Leverlock.  This Leverlock is a hefty knife with steel bolsters (usually plated), steel liners, and bolster grooves that were made in the casting process.  

The Type III Leverlock, front. From top to bottom: ‘WINGEN Jr’ over ‘SOLINGEN GERMANY’; ‘GY’ (on a ring) over ‘GARANTI SOLINGEN’; ‘SOLINGEN CUTLERY’ over ‘B. SVOBODA’ over ‘GERMANY’; ‘UNSCO’ over ‘SOLINGEN’; and ‘A&K’.

The Type III Leverlock, back. From top to bottom: ‘A&K’, ‘UNSCO’ over ‘SOLINGEN’, ‘SOLINGEN CUTLERY’ over ‘B. SVOBODA’ over ‘GERMANY’; ‘GY’ (on a ring) over ‘GARANTI SOLINGEN’, and ‘WINGEN Jr’ over ‘SOLINGEN GERMANY’.

Among the tang stamps on the knives shown above, the ‘GY on a ring’ stamp is perhaps one of the more interesting and unusual stamps.  It was a knife made for Gylling Hansen, an importer from Copenhagen, Denmark.  Allegedly, the Gylling Hansen import company was not in operation at the end of WWII, which would date this knife pre 1945. 

The ‘GY on a ring’ stamp - made for Gylling Hansen, an importer from Copenhagen, Denmark.

The A&K knife was made for the A&K Trading Company out of Cleveland, Ohio.  The B. Svoboda knife also has an interesting feature; the ‘SPRINGER’ bolster stamp.  Besides this knife, I have never seen this bolster stamp on a Type III Leverlock.  Finally, notice the placement of the backspring pin on the Wingen knife with the clip blade; it is displaced towards the bottom bolster at a location that is quite different than the backspring pin location on the other four Type III knives.  As we can see on the Type III Leverlock in the Wingen catalog from 1965, it has the same backspring pin placement.  

Anton Wingen Jr., 1965 catalog (courtesy of Ken Whitfield).

The Wingen Type III Leverlocks with clip blades are late versions of the Type III model.  However, I have seen Wingen-stamped Type III Leverlocks with the ‘normal’ backspring pin placement and a ‘normal’ Leverlock blade which tells us that Wingen-stamped knives were also made much earlier than the 1960s.

To the best of my knowledge, the Type I Leverlock can only be found with stamps that relate to one major cutlery company besides the multitude of importer stamps; Wilhelm Weltersbach.  Likewise, the Type II Leverlock can only be found with stamps that relate to one major cutlery company besides the abundance of importer stamps; BONSA.  On the Type III Leverlock I have seen stamps from two major Solingen cutlers; Anton Wingen Jr. and Carl Schlieper.  It’s very unlikely that both companies made the exact same model, so most likely one of the two were behind the Type III distribution.  One interesting note is that on the Schlieper-stamped Type III knives, the Schlieper name stamp always seems to be on the back of the tang while it’s always on the front tang on the Wingen-stamped knives.  A similar stamp convention is also found on Type I contract knives by Weltersbach.  And while I haven’t been able to find a Schlieper catalog that shows the Type III Leverlock, we do have Wingen catalogs with the Type III model.

Comparison of the Type I, Type II, and Type III bottom bolster profiles.

Anton Wingen Jr., Stahlwarenfabrik, Solingen

There is a lot of available information on the Wingen Jr. Company [7].  It was founded in 1888 and registered in Solingen on November 11, 1901.  The production ended in 1995 and the company closed its doors in 1997.  Among the many stamps used by this company are: ‘Othello’, ‘A. Wingen Jr.’, and ‘Anton Wingen Jr.’

In his ‘Betting on horse racing for dummies’, Richard Eng [10] tells us about the mechanics of placing a bet, the types of bets you can place, and your odds of winning.  I rarely place bets on anything, but if I do it’s always on high-probability events (where I always win) like who’s turn it is to take out the trash, clean the litter box, or cut the grass.  But I’ll make an exception to my betting practices here and place a bet on Wingen Jr. as the distributor of the Type III Leverlock.  I could be wrong of course, and if you find evidence that I placed my bet on the wrong horse please let me know. 


[1]      Washington, DC. (1912). Schedule C, Metals and Manufactures of Metals: Hearings and Statements Before the Committee on Finance, United States Senate, on the Bill H.R. 18642, a Bill to Amend an Act Entitled "An Act to Provide Revenue, Equalize Duties, and Encourage the Industries of the United States, and for Other Purposes," Approved August 5, 1909, Sixty-second Congress, Second Session. Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

[1a]    Ahlstrom, U. (2011, January). The Type I Leverlock. The SharperDeal Newsletter, 2(1), pp. 2, 8-11.
[1b]    Ahlstrom, U. (2011, October). The Type II Leverlock. The SharperDeal Newsletter, 2(4), 7, 10-13, 16.
[1c]    Ahlstrom, U. (2014, July). The Type III Leverlock. The SharperDeal Newsletter, 5(3), 14-16.
[2]      Goins, J. E., & Goins, C. S. (1998). Goin’s encyclopedia of cutlery markings. Horizon Printing Company: Indianapolis, Indiana. Published by Goin’s Antique Knives.
[3]      Personal communication with the Hartenau family.
[4]      Federico, V. (2003). Foreign Spring Steel Collectors Guide Vol. 1. Vincent Federico and R & M Graphics: Hackensack, New Jersey.
[5]      Personal communication with Todd Young, National Sales Manager for Woodstock International Inc.
[6]      Personal communication with the Schoepfer family.
[7]      Carter, J. A. (2015). German knife and sword makers: The definitive directory of makers and marks, from 1850 to 1945. Gilette, NJ: Tharston Press, an imprint of International Military Antiques, Inc. ISBN 978-0-9960731-0-3
[8]    Eng, R. (2005). Betting on Horse Racing For Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, Inc. ISBN: 978-0-7645-7840-3