The 50OT and 58OT, Ulster Old Timers were built on a 3-1/4” frame, the only Old Timers in the series built on a frame that size. The 3-1/4” frame was used extensively by Imperial, especially in the Frontier series of knives, but in other finishes as well, including in shell handle versions. But the 3-1/4” frame is rarely used by Schrade.
Ulster made several knives on the 3-1/4” frame, but I am not sure whether Ulster used that size before Imperial or if both companies used that size independently of one another prior to the formation of Kingston Cutlery Company in WW II. Ulster, purchased in 1941 by Albert Baer, formed an association with Imperial called Kingston Cutlery Company. The purpose was to have a third company (owned by Ulster & Imperial) that could bid on War contracts and increase the allotment of materials such as brass and steel that were rationed by the government as necessary war supplies. Having a third company increased the accessibility to the rationed materials for both Ulster & Imperial.
I think after that time they Ulster, Imperial & Kingston may have begun sharing patterns and perhaps making parts or maybe even complete knives for the other brands much like they did after Albert Baer owned Schrade (1946), Imperial (1983) and Camillus (1963). After Albert Baer owned Schrade, Ulster, Imperial & Camillus we know there was a lot of cross manufacturing between the brands. I have seen Ulster & Imperial knives that were made with the Swinden system, which was unique to the Schrade factory. Therefore those knives had to have been made in the Schrade factory. What I have never seen is a knife with a Camillus tang stamp that was made with the Swinden system, but I have seen a Camco knife made with a shell handle and stamped Ireland. Which means it was made in Imperial’s factory (the Stag factory) in Listowel, Ireland. That knife is one of the rare exceptions where another of Albert Baer’s companies made a knife for Camillus. Mostly Camillus supplied parts and completed knives to Imperial and Schrade.
Sorry for the long rambling history lesson, but I felt it was necessary to put the knives in a historical context. I think Imperial MAY have used the 3-1/4” frame before the other companies, but I cannot confirm that.
There are a number of knives built on the 3-1/4” frame from the Imperial Schrade Corp, or the companies that were merged into ISC in 1983 or 1984.
Imperial used the 3-1/4” pattern extensively in the Frontier series.
3-one quarter inch- Frontier knives.jpg [ 884.44 KiB | Viewed 357 times ]
Here are some 3-1/4” Ulster patterns I have:
I think there are others in this size too.
3-one quarter inch-Ulsters.jpg [ 473.2 KiB | Viewed 357 times ]
The only knives I have seen in the 3-1/4” size with the Schrade name on the tang are the 855RB, of the Razor Blade Stainless series and several commemoratives including the Liberty Bell, Paul Revere, etc. I have not had one of these knives apart, so I do not know if they are made with the Swinden System, or if they were perhaps made by Imperial or even Camillus.
3-one quarter inch- SW Cut Liberty Bell.jpg [ 184.9 KiB | Viewed 357 times ]
I don't have a pic handy of the 855RB, but you can see it here: http://collectors-of-schrades-r.us/Open ... /855RB.htm
In this picture we have a Kingston, an Imperial England, (shell handle), probably made at Richards of Sheffield, an Imperial USA shell and an Ulster, a #50 I think.
3-one quarter inch-Uls-King-2 Imp.jpg [ 420.03 KiB | Viewed 357 times ]
I have never heard of a connection between Schrade or Ulster and Robeson.
I suspect someone came across some blades after Robeson closed and found some Ulster frames after Schrade closed and decided to put them together.
It is easy to do.
I would contact the seller of your knife and see if he will tell you where the knives came from.
From what I know of the seller (by reputation) he is a pretty straight shooter. He might be able to clear up the mystery.
I am inclined to agree with Charlie; “One such knife is curious. Two are even more curiouser.” And half a dozen are even more curious yet, but that does not mean Schrade or Ulster assembled them or were going to make them for Robeson.
I think Charlie feels about Robeson the way I feel about Schrade; When the company closed in 1965 Robeson knives ceased to be made.
Just as when Schrade closed their doors in 2004, Schrade knives ceased to be made. Just because someone bought the name and now makes knives in China that say Schrade and sort of resemble the old Schrade knives after a fashion, that does not make them real Schrade knives.