Cattaraugus knives are favorite among knife collectors or enthusiasts. They like to add these knives to their collection for their rich history and rarity.
Are you wondering, how to date a Cattaraugus knife? Well, it is difficult to date such knives since they are practically the same during the whole run, from 1886 to 1963. There are various challenges like lack of documentation, inconsistent stamping, and overlapping design features. However, you can date your Cattaraugus knife accurately with the right methods.
In that context, we will be describing these 5 effective methods in detail. So, stay tuned.
- 1 A Brief History About Cattaraugus Knives
- 2 The Challenges of Dating a Cattaraugus Knife
- 3 How to Date a Cattaraugus Knife in 5 Proven Methods?
- 4 How to Date a Cattaraugus Knife FAQs
- 5 Final Verdict
A Brief History About Cattaraugus Knives
It will be unbiased if we don’t talk about the rich history of Cattaraugus knives, which is the main reason they become sought-after collectibles. We believe it will help you become an expert in dating Cattaraugus knives by discovering the fascinating history.
To begin the history, we would say the company was a prominent American knife manufacturer. John Champlin founded the company in 1886 in Little Valley, New York. He was accompanied by his son, Tint. They ran the company from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s.
They became popular for making a variety of knives for both domestic and international markets. With excellent craftsmanship, these knives were produced with high-quality materials and innovative designs. And to stay ahead of the competition, they adopted new technologies, such as mechanized production methods and improved steel alloys.
For their durability and reliability, it didn’t take much time to gain more reputation. Aside from regular people, these knives were popular among outdoorsmen, hunters, and soldiers. As a result of this, the company even produced thousands of knives for the U.S. military during World War II, including the famous Mark 2 combat knife. They received an “E” seal of excellence from the military for their simplicity of use and high quality.
However, the company had made some mistakes, like declining demand for traditional pocket knives. Additionally, there were many knives from cheaper imports, which increased the competition. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt in 1963 for all these.
The Challenges of Dating a Cattaraugus Knife
Dating Cattaraugus knives can be challenging due to several reasons. These include the followings:
- Lack of Documentation: There are no comprehensive records of knife production and its corresponding dates given by the company. Therefore, it is very hard to determine the exact age of a Cattaraugus knife accurately.
- Overlapping Features: Some knives across different time periods may overlap in terms of design features. For instance, you may notice the same handle material or blade shape in Cattaraugus knives from different decades.
- Inconsistent Stamping: Consistently was not maintained while stamping the model numbers, production dates, or other identifying marks on Cattaraugus knives. This lack of consistency makes it hard to pinpoint the specific production year.
- Changes in Ownership: The company was under several ownerships during its existence. This has a significant effect on the dating of knives. Moreover, changes in ownership also lead to changes in design or production methods, which makes it challenging to date these knives accurately.
- Lack of Experts: It is difficult to find reliable information and opinions on dating a Cattaraugus knife for the scarcity of experts. This can also lead to the misidentification of knives or misinterpretation of their age.
How to Date a Cattaraugus Knife in 5 Proven Methods?
So you know dating a Cattaraugus is not easy for the lack of information, experts, and so on. However, we have found 5 methods that have proven to be useful for dating these knives. So, let’s get started:
Method 1: Forget About Tang Stamps
While tang stamps may work for other knives, they are pretty much useless for Cattaraugus knives. If there is a tang stamp, you can date it easily even if the ownership or design has changed. Hence, it is promising.
However, a tang stamp in a Cattaraugus knife doesn’t contain much information. Regardless of the model of the Cattaraugus knife, you may notice something like the below in the tang stamp:
- Cattaraugus Cutlery Company, Little Valley, New York
- CCC Co. Little Valley, NY
- A circle containing “3C”
Since it is not so helpful, you can always get rid of the tang stamp.
Method 2: Read the Catalog
Cattaraugus knives haven’t been changed much in terms of style and production. Therefore, a catalog can help a lot in dating these knives. The problem is finding a catalog is not easy. You may need to contact experienced dealers, ask other knife enthusiasts, or attend various knife shows to get one.
If you are lucky, you may find a catalog eventually. No matter how you find one, the first thing you should do is check the knife’s model number so you can date it.
Method 3: Get an Expert Opinion
If you are desperate about dating Cattaraugus knives, you should go to knife collectors. A knife seller or a typical knife enthusiast may never claim to master all the 100 models of Cattaraugus knives. It is impossible because all these models were produced in a very short period of time.
While approaching, you should reach out to multiple knife collectors instead of just one. Although a knife collector might have invested a lot in knives, a single collector is still unable to provide details on every model. With that said, you may not find any luck in various online forums.
Method 4: Go Different for World War Models
For being popular, the Cattaraugus knife company was producing knives, specifically for the military at one point rather than regularly. It began during World War 2. During the same time, the 225Q knife was also released by the company.
Along with that, they started making larger folding machetes. We believe, these were the only 2 models produced by the Cattaraugus knife company during the Word War II era. Hence, if you have any of these knives, be aware that it probably dates from the early to mid-’40s.
Method 5: Guides or Reference Books May Work
There are plenty of guides and reference books online, highlighting knives from different generations or knives with rich historical backgrounds. We have heard that some of the fine books broadly talk about Cattaraugus knives.
For example, Romance of Collecting (1978) by Lavona A. Ferguson is a good reference if you want to learn about Cattaraugus knives deeply. By gathering knowledge from such books, you may be able to date a Cattaraugus knife.
How to Date a Cattaraugus Knife FAQs
Curiosity among people never gets away when it comes to something historical. The same goes for Cattaraugus knives. Here are some answers to some common questions,
How can I identify an authentic Cattaraugus knife?
Certain characteristics will distinguish an authentic Cattaraugus knife from a fake one. These may include specific blade markings, handle materials, and design features. Furthermore, you can research the history or reach out to collectors who can vouch for the authenticity of Cattaraugus knives.
Are Cattaraugus knives still in production today?
No, Cattaraugus Cutlery Company went bankrupt in 1963. Since then, it has not been in operation. However, there are many vintage Cattaraugus knives still available on the market for collectors and enthusiasts.
How do I determine the age of my Cattaraugus knife?
It can a daunting task for denting a Cattaraugus knife. However, some clues can help you determine the age of your knife, such as the design, the blade material, the war variant, and so on. Moreover, you can consult with Cattaraugus knife experts, read the catalog, or go through historical records to verify the production dates.
In summary, we would suggest experimenting with the tang stamps of Cattaraugus knives since they can prevail much information on the specific model. This includes the factory pattern number, the number of bolsters, handle types, alphabet codes, and so on.
Read More: How to date a kissing crane knife.
How to date a Cattaraugus knife? Well, you are familiar with some ideas now. We hope you are also aware of the challenges in dating these knives after reading this far. So, good luck with dating your Cattaraugus knife.