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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:52 pm 
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NOTE FROM AAPK STAFF-

I first met Rich Langston about 6 years ago in another knife forum.
Our mutual interest and love for Schrade knives brought us together and we soon became good friends.
Rich has helped me in researching and studying Schrade knives ever since. He had been my mentor as well as my friend.

It is my pleasure to help him announce the first phase in opening of the Wawarsing Historical Society Knife Museum.
Rich began work on this project long before we met, but I am delighted he is finally seeing the first fruits of his labors.

The letter below, gives you some background and history to the projects as well as to the knife industry in the Hudson Valley.
There are a couple pictures and an application form should you like to join the Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum.
I encourage you to join, even if you live across the country, as I do.
Your membership will help preserve this history so important to this hobby we all love.

Dale Vincent, a.k.a. orvet
AAPK Administrator



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Hello, I am Rich Langston

Some of you may remember me from my postings. I am a retired NYS Peace Officer who lives in the Hudson Valley in NYS. My abiding passion for the last 55 years or so has been the products and history of the cutlery industry in this country. I am particularly a student of the Northeastern knife firms, which were the first real producers of knives, excluding blacksmiths and private individuals who made knifes mainly for themselves and friends. These early firms began in the 1830s in the New England states due to the abundance of waterpower and the importation of skilled help from England and Germany. These craftsmen were fed up with the conditions of Europe and sought the freedom of the new country. They brought not only the burning desire for freedom, but ability, quality work ethic and the fire of the forge to produce some of the finest quality cutlery ever made. Due to a dispute at the Waterville Knife Company in CT a small group of disgruntled cutlers left this firm and began what was the first major firm in the Hudson Valley area. It was New York Knife Company at Matteawan in 1852, now called Beacon, (due to a consolidation of two smaller local areas Fishkill and Matteawan), on the eastern side of the Hudson River across the Newburgh Bay from Newburgh NY. In 1856 this company was moved by the local residents of Walden NY, (desirous of having this industry in their village), to the Western side of the Hudson to a property on the Wallkill River at High Falls in Walden. This firm began a segment of what was one of this country’s most fascinating histories. This little village of Walden produced what eventually became 3 major knife companies who produced as much as 80 percent of all the knives sold in this country. The Hudson Valley has been the home to some of the finest cutlery firms that have ever existed in this country. Names like Schrade, New York Knife, Walden Knife, Napanoch, Ulster and many others are quite familiar to anyone who appreciates the fine steel and amazing history of these companies. While the products of these firms are in themselves an amazing study of Americana, the most important part are the people and familys that comprised the story.

My interest began at the age of 8 when we had moved to Walden. I had to walk across High Bridge every day and stare down at the ruins of New York Knife at the bottom of the Wallkill Gorge. I would wonder about what stories and secrets those ruins held. When I retired from NYS I assisted at the Schrade Knife Company in Ellenville New York. They had moved from Walden to Ellenville about 20 miles away in 1956, (all part of the story but impossible to relate here and now). Nonetheless at Schrade I helped as Curator and Antiquarian and did some product shows on the East Coast. Schrade had a wonderful company knife collection. Unfortunately in 2004, upon the closing of Schrade, the Schrade collection was acquired by a private firm and since has been disseminated to the four corners of the world, lost forever. I was quite familiar with the Schrade collection. I will not go into some of the nefarious actions that caused Schrade’s demise or the loss of the history in that collection, however I will say that I found the loss of this history intolerable. Not only to myself but also as part of our American heritage. Luckily, as I will explain later, this will not happen.

Now all this being said, I must digress. About 10 years ago I wrote a book; The Collectors Guide to Switchblade Knives, published by Paladin Press. I did this since this type of cutlery has long been a favorite of mine partly due to two of the largest producers of them coming from this area; Pressbutton knife, (Walden Knife company), and Schrade cutlery. There had really not been reference material or price guide written in about 20 years, which was sorely out of date. My book is still being published and is available. I was able to produce the book because unlike most writers I own all the knives shown in the book. It should also be mentioned at this point that due to the nebulous nature of the automatic knife laws in NYS, there was no definitive legal procedure for the display of these artifacts, which are certainly a viable part of this cutlery history. To that end, and after 8 years of legislative nonsense, a bill which I helped engineer has now been passed into law. It should be noted that while the Schrade collection was sold and lost, my personal collection of these artifacts, (which is considered second to none), remains intact thus preserving the majority if this history, as I mentioned previously.

In order to preserve these artifacts and the memories of these people and their contributions, a group of us, (collectors and interested parties), took it upon ourselves to create a museum and historical society where all of this can be maintained for posterity. While this is a simple concept and a very easy statement to make, it is however quite a project. It has taken years and has gone against all odds. We are a fledgling group and quite limited in number, however we are now at the stage, which has prompted me to write this and explain what is going on.

Our name is the Wawarsing historical society and knife museum. We have been moving along for several years trying to establish our goal of a sanctuary for these artifacts and this history. Attached you will find a letter from our executive board which shows the progress we have made, the State charter, funding, ect. Believe me, it took a lot of legal and other legwork. However. that is not my end. I am the curator and Vice president. .

Presently we have most of the documentation and legal legwork completed. We also have a large building, which while having been refurbished still needs more work. We also have, between my collections and those of other well-known collectors, some of the finest and most complete collections of knives and other related artifacts available.

Recently the board approached me and suggested a membership drive. I explained that while we had accomplished a lot we really had no physical plant to show prospective participants and members. I explained that in this economy it was unreasonable to ask for donations (no matter how valid the cause) on simple good faith that down the road there will be a fully maintained functional museum. I then suggested that perhaps we should use the facilities at my personal residence as a temporary museum to allow prospective members, or anyone who had an interest, the opportunity to take a free-guided tour of this history and these artifacts. Especially since I had informally been offering such tours for some years having had many people from as far away as Australia and the UK. In fact some of whom who had visited are right from these very forums.

A while back I posted pictures on this site of the new facility for the history of Schrade at my home. It spans Schrades entire 100 years and is either the best or among the best collections of this subject in the world. There are many unique and one of a kind items as well as a plethora of other memorabilia relating to this history. I also have numerous other collections, including one of the finest automatic collections and NYK kitchen cutlery collections dating from pre Civil War, in the entire world. Therefore it was decided that not only would we offer these tours to prospective members but also to anyone who had an interest in this subject.

Therefore it is my pleasure to officially offer a chance to come see and hear about this segment of Americana and experience a chance for a better understanding of this history. Tours will be by individual escort and must be arranged in advance. Unfortunately this is a temporary facility and as such space is limited therefore it is necessary to contact myself to make specific reservations.

My email is lt632ret@frontiernet.net - We are located in Wallkill NY, 12589, about three miles from Walden NY. There is no cost for a tour and anyone with an interest is invited upon making a reservation for time and date. There is no cost but I am obligated to say that donations are accepted and that we are always looking for new members who want to become part of our effort.

Thanks again for you time

Yours with regards
Rich Langston
BOX #462
Wallkill NY 12589

lt632ret@frontiernet.net



A picture of the side of the temporary home of the museum with Schrade banners on the side-
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A letter from the Board of Trustees of the Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum-
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Application for Membership-
Click to enlarge. Print application and mail with check or money order in the amount of $25, to:
Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum
PO Box 2
Napanoch, NY 12458


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Graphics from some of the knife companies represented-

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:53 pm 
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I urge you to join the Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum in their efforts to preserve the history of Schrade and other knife companies of the Hudson Valley area.
Once this history is gone, there will be no way to recover it.
Much has been lost already, lets keep what still remains.

Dale

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:20 pm 
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Rich,

I am glad to see the progress being made on this. This is a great cause.

You can count on my support.

Glenn


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:42 pm 
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Wow...it appears that Membership has been available since 2009! How come we're just hearing about this now? Doesn't matter, we know now but I could have joined back then and been a member since it's inception. I will definately be sending my membership application in!

Thanks Rich and thanks to you as well Dale for getting us introduced to this wonderful opportunity!

How about a Lifetime Membership????

Tom


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:08 am 
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Actually while the organization was begun in 2009 we have not solicited membership until now when we could offer something to show those with an interest. The general feeling was that even thought we ( the original group ) felt that the simple saving of this history was enough for us . It would not be fair to solicit members without some concrete and positive movement to show. As stated a lot ofthe legalese is out of the way and the temporary museum is well worth the visit. None the less thankyou for your sentiments, sometimes it is nice to know that others feel as you do and you are not just beating your head against a wall. Please come visit us. Also as a point of clarification Wawarsing is in the township where Ellenville is located ( home of Schrade Ulster and now Canal street cutlery. Our future permanent building is also in this township and is about two blocks away from the old original Napanoch knife company building ( which still stands ). LT PS Since we got a late start membership is good through 2011 so you get the remainder of this year and next. Life membership has come up but frankly with so much to do was not at the top of the agenda.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:48 am 
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Here are some more pictures of the temporary museum, which is on LT place.

I think this pretty well answers the question, "How can I best display my knife collection?"
Gust did like LT did and build a museum to display your collection in. :lol: :lol:

Dale


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:52 am 
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More pictures of the temporary museum....


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:55 am 
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Still more pictures of the temporary museum....


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:09 pm 
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For those who are automatic fans here are some older pics of some exhibits. Plus a few of the newer entrys which include an 1800s flintlock with spring loaded triblade ( these guns were the first beginnings of switchblades,) a Korn truly nice in stag, A lingard peacoft MOP pen release, Next to a pearl French, an added to Case display a few new ones . There is a pic of a mint ( brand new old stock ) press button mechanics knife ( what a find from an old hardware store in Manhatten ( Brand NEW ) sat on a back shelf in a corner for over 100 years. Fines like this are what it is about. Also a set of Schrade Cut and Schrade Walden in real pearl. It is not widely known that Schrade did about a half to a dozen of these mainly for local residents ( employees) children when they went into WWII and later Korea. They also gave a couple of these to some vips again only a few in real pearl ever made. Since I had always wanted a set I had a friend of mine make them. I gave him frames and some very large (almost impossible to find now) MOP slabs and the blades . This was about 4 years ago . I had given my friend some stuff in trade for doing the knives . Then he got divorced and moved away but he assured me that someday he would finish them about 6 months ago he presented me with them. These are just a few of the artifacts and there are collections of edged and vintage Barber items , A dozen sets of NYK knives and forks spanning from the civil war until NYKS demise. Even webbing from NYK from when we took a metal detector on an expedition into the Wallkill gorge bout 10 years ago when It was a dry year and we could approach the falls . Just before they redid high bridge with giant machinery and pretty much tore every thing up. It is difficult to explain alot of the items they must be seen . Many other collections as well. If you look at the pics posted by dale you can see the original corner stone from Ulster Knife you may have seen pics of it sitting on Henry Baers desk. Also the desk in the pics is a Wooten originally owned and used by Dwight Devine at Ulster knife bought around 1876. There is much much more. Hopefully we will be seeing some of you. Oh yes one more thing I wanted to point out if you look you will see a display of guages ( in pics posted by Dale ) . These are really quite a part of history. Prior to 1903 when George Schrade left Walden knife where he was the manager of the press button knife division and started ( with his brothers ) the Schrade Knife company ). Knife making was done almost entirely by hand. This was done by craftsmen using an apprentice system. You come in work under the tutaledge of a skilled cutler and after 20 years you were a cutler then you worked another 20 or 30 years breaking in other people. Usually these guys would specialize in a half dozen or so specific patterns. As such they did not have to take a lot of guff from managment they just picked up and left often starting a new company. That is why you had sheffield to Waterville to NYK to Walden Knife, to Ulster, ect this vein runs through all of this early history ( Until Schrade ). Remember this is 1903 and new production methods and inventions were on the move . Edison, Tesla, Ford ect. Well that is when George came up with an idea . Say some kid comes into the plant looking for a job. he says sir I have 5 kids and need a job I can sweep up or do anything you need. George would look at him and say tomorrow you will be a cutler. The kid probably would start stuttering that he knew nothing about knife making . George would just hand him his invention a gauge and tell the kid . to take a piece of steel hold it in this groove until it was ground down to the right tolerances then turn it another way and grind there until after several turns he had created a blade. In effect turning the kid into a cutler over nite. And the beauty was that instead of being able to just do 6 patterns he could do any pattern given the right gauge. In one stroke he had done away with the tyranny of the cutler employee. That is why after that Schrade never had or needed a union for the next hundred years. There really is alot to this history stop by and I will tell you about it. I can only get ten pics on a posting and I have taken enough of your time today. There is sure a lot more I havent shown Kabars , rems and a whole array of other automatics. there is a display of vintage pocket knives beginning with Lyman Bradley and following the entire time line of this history and really to much to post. Remember is is only the beginning until our permanent home ( which may be a while.). We probably have ( although presently not on exhibit ) the largest collection of Napanochs in the world. Some patterns you would never guess were made by them but actually they made them first even though later other companies made them and they became synonomus ( pardon my spelling ) with those other firms it is another small piece of this history. I hope if this topic is interesing to you . Perhapes you may be able to visit or at least post something so that I know someone is out there. Also please be aware there is no cost or obligations for a tour any donations are strictly voluntary. Thanks for your time LT


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:01 pm 
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That is a truly wonderful collection and display of traditional American cutlery. It should be designated a National Treasure. Thank-you very much for sharing with us. I hope that one day I will have the pleasure of visiting with you and touring the museum in person. :D s-k

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:19 pm 
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I just wanted to add another posting for anyone considering a visit. We have installed signs and physical upgrades of which I wanted to make you aware. First notice our driveway sign advising of conditions during rain ect. next due to our only having comfort station facilitys inside the house proper we have installed in the stump of the tree we had to remove for the building a relief facility ( # 1 only please ). Available to all, even wildlife. Also as a fundraiser ( our largest so far ) we have installed the only parking meter in our little hamlet ( to small to be called a village ). This so far has been our biggest money maker it takes nickles. Next we have our front gate sign which we have tried to make explicit in meaning. Also window signs . Tours for those who express an interest may end at the refreshment lounge where you may have the opportunity to meet our resident attendent Tail Gunner Joe the guy with the cigar.

I hope this bit of levity has not offended anyone. Years ago in a prison riot situation during a tense moment I asked my LT for advise on what to do. His answer was KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR although difficult at times I have tried to remember that. It is in this spirit that I have posted this. If anyone is offended by these hopefully humorous signs and wishes to come for a tour please advise and I will cover them for your stay. LT


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:14 am 
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I can't wait to get back up home for a visit and get a first hand look! LT I'll be giving you a call soon!

Tom


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:46 am 
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Sounds good. LT

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:29 am 
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LT,

That Korn switchblade knife looks to be in great condition ::drool::

Is it all original, has it been polished? ::shrug::

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:33 am 
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I am afraid the story of the Korn is not going to improve the general concencus of my trading ability or IQ. However it is the truth so here goes. There are very few examples of domestic ( although some say the Korn although a US patent was actually made in Europe. However I will not not delve into that miasma at this time.) As I started to relate there really is not a lot that I still get that old insensable must have sensation of my early days. ( Wait a minute let me clarify that I am talking about knives. ) Getting a korn was the exception, it was one of those pieces that for years had eluded me. In fact I know a collector who purchased an entire collection of Korns in part so that I would not get an example. I seem to have that effect on some people. Another time I had one at a great price and was five minutes to late. and so it has gone for decades I suppose I could have gotten one reasonable enough 30 or more years ago but I was more worried about feeding my family than exotic old knives back then. While I do not have every model in every variation I do pretty much at least have an example of most ( not all ) of the pieces of this studys history. That being said after many decades I recently came upon the lingard ( see pics) and the english flintlock spring release bayo. These were also two key pieces I had searched for to fill in gaps of the early history of automatics. The flint lock 1800 to 1840 Approx and the Lingard marked 1850. As is oft to happen these came in after looking for years with in a couple of weeks of each other. It made my desire to get a KORN even more rabid. So as it would happen I had cause to contact a very well known dealer about a very rare third size KABAR griz in celluloid. During our discussion I asked if he had a KORN he said that all he had was one in his personal collection. He even had it in a small display case and was put aside for his posterity. These ( KORN ) were made in pearl, stag, and gutta percha. this one was in stag which is the material I mainly try to get. I asked if he wanted to sell and he was quite hesitant. It was then that I had a mental attack and said that I would make him an offer he could not refuse. I offered an even trade of a baby (second size ) griz in yellow cell , a stag kabar 21105 lever , and a case lever 5161L all in super condition even up for the KORN ( probably around, GULP, $8000 retail worth of goods) . Well as my friend and drinking buddy the singer Bobby Bare used to say in his song. I guess that makes me the winner???? Anyway that is the story now after all that I would guess that the knife has been polished since it was born around 1880 ( give or take ) and I do not really know how much more may have been done to it but frankly it is georgeous and getting it scratched, an itch, that I have had for some time. So what the hell that is what it is all about. it is the nicest one I have ever seen. aside from a couple in the collection that I mentioned earlier which were not any better. They are a finiky mech but this one seems quite correct. That is what I know about the KORN whatever its history and someone may very well know more about this piece since they are pretty rare it is just what I had been looking for to fill that gap. By the way I did not buy the small cell griz. Chances are given a couple of weeks to heal up I probably would have gone back for it but it was sold at a show within a couple of days . So that is the rest of the story . Whether it is has had work done on it as long as it was done to original spec in my case ( many collectors do not feel this way ) is in the example of something very rare not as important to me as being able to preserve the history by have an artifact example. My goal is to preserve this American heritage and a picture may be worth a thousand words but a working example in original condition is enough to leave you mute. LT

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LT LTD. Cutlery Collectables


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