Two Old Folding Dirks/Daggers - Sheffield and Frosolone

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Two Old Folding Dirks/Daggers - Sheffield and Frosolone

Postby LongBlade » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:32 pm

Here are a few different old knives for this thread and I say with a grin not associated with cutting apples but I guess someone could if they wanted :D .. Two old dirks or maybe more appropriately daggers with different origins but both with that classic swedge associated with these single edge cutting blades running along the spine from tang to tip (though the Frosolone knife is technically called a sfilato from its Italian roots)…. Just as an aside I think the terminology is somewhat cloudy and confusing for dirk vs dagger and it no doubt depends on who you read - I believe technically these are dirks (despite some who define daggers as double cutting edge knives) - small daggers in Scotland are called dirks and are single cutting edges – yet large pointed symmetrical blade that are almost short swords are also called dirks or daggers again depending who you read.... guess I’ll go with dirk for the first knife which can be defined as a small dagger GRIN ….


This first dirk found on a local antique barn hunt appears that it was most likely made in Sheffield or one of the other areas for cutlery in the UK though I can’t rule out early American either (showing to a few other collectors I heard Sheffield as most likely and recently I saw an old Sheffield made jack that was a barehead and squared off as seen in this knife so essentially the same design – so at least the style was possible from Sheffield) – absolutely no signs of a tang stamp or makers mark so tough to identify in terms of a maker… anyway all iron construction including liners, bolster and lockback… still a very functional knife with snap and solid, and the lock-back works perfectly. This knife no doubt was well carried for years – the stag is very pocket worn and no doubt thin from years of carry which to me is pretty cool – it does look like there was 2 pins added to the mark side handle and done very cleanly which probably reinforced the stag to the liner but have no clue when along the way this was done as a means to preserve the handle cover (from a personal standpoint it is not something I would do but this knife may have lost the mark side stag if not for the extra pins so in a way I’m good with it :) – no doubt rest of pins are all original… my guess on age of knife is +/- mid 1800s… no doubt this was the type of knife carried as a weapon but probably could have seen some other cutting purposes as well… Closed length is 4 & 1/2”…

Closed Mark Side DSCN7469.JPG


Closed Pile Side DSCN7485.JPG


Blade Open DSCN7502.JPG



The second is not one I ordinarily collect as it is outside my geographic collecting zone :lol: but I couldn’t resist it a few years ago when discovered on another local hunt at an “antique” barn – I categorize these knives as my “special opportunity” area :) … The knife is stamped and made in Frosolone (Italy) and Frosolone was no doubt an important center of knife making in the world in the latter 1800s - early 1900s and still today has some active cutleries though not as numerous as the past.. I believe in 1900 there were more than eighty cutlery shops in addition to a big steel industry… Like the first one this also has all iron construction and despite the crack and few marks on horn handles it is a very solid knife (that crack in the horn on mark side is solid and not going anywhere and most likely occurred with age and drying)… These knives were termed sfilatos in Italy and many cutlers made this design. Interesting that the stamp of “Frosolone” is upside down in terms of what is normally seen on tang stamps in addition to no maker mark… as I read about Frosolone in the late 1800s it was in a sense very much like Sheffield with many makers and shops, lots of apprentices etc, and thus very hard if not impossible now to nail down the maker… knives from Frosolone were known for blade stamps or etches rather than found conventionally on the tang but I suppose both were done pending the cutler – additionally not all cutlers used their name as some only stamped Frosolone… Frosolone still has some knife makers today and I sent photos of this knife to a current Frosolone cutler who appears to be well versed in Frosolone history – he confirmed the knife was made in the latter quarter of the1800s and no later than very early 1900s… he noted it was a classic design in all ways for that time period based on materials etc. Some other background reading noted that when lockback knives became illegal in Italy in 1871 this folding sfilato was developed and continued as a style still associated with Frosolone today… Closed length is 4 & 7/8” …

Closed Mark Side DSCN7543.JPG


Closed Pile Side DSCN7537.JPG


Blade Open DSCN7564.JPG


Tang Stamp DSCN7630.JPG


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Lee
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Re: Two Old Folding Dirks/Daggers - Sheffield and Frosolone

Postby FRJ » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:40 pm

Beautiful old knives Lee, and some interesting history too.

I love those old knives. I'm glad they are in your care. ::tu::
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Re: Two Old Folding Dirks/Daggers - Sheffield and Frosolone

Postby knife7knut » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:26 pm

Nice pair of knives! When I first saw the stag handled one I thought it might be French due to the crescent shaped nail mark but then I thought it may just be that way due to over sharpening. The false edge going all the way to the tang is a bit unusual but I have seen it on some large English dirks so it likely is Sheffield made.Are the liners and bolsters one piece or are they soldered on? The one piece liner/bolsters were used on pruning knives well into the twentieth century but on regular knives that usually indicates mid 1800's manufacture.
The second knife is also a nice example of an Italian folding knife of the turn of the century(late 1800's). I have a similar one that has brass bolsters on the pivot end only and a bail and is a real handful!
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Re: Two Old Folding Dirks/Daggers - Sheffield and Frosolone

Postby LongBlade » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:54 pm

Thanks Ray and nice Sfilato you posted as well ::tu:: ... the stag handled one does not have integrated liners and bolsters so I am thinking made somewhere from Civil War era up to later 1800s... I recently saw a Sheffield made folding knife with a rare maker that dated 1860-1880 (can't remember the name ::dang:: ) and the backend of the handle was exactly the same as this knife - squared off and no bolster...
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Re: Two Old Folding Dirks/Daggers - Sheffield and Frosolone

Postby GerryD » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:45 pm

Heres my contribution for what its worth.
This is a knife i had initially thought was to do with the UK military around 1910 -1930 ash. I base that only on the fact I bought a job lot of knives described as stag handled knives in the auction catalogue. There were a lot of knives (70 ish) ranging from really good to things like this one. It had rusted between the scales and the liners and the scales had lifted. My intention is to eventually fabricate new liners and free off all the pins through the spring if it is a spring. I can't see any maker but i would guess its a Sheffield knife.
Just one more thing its about 10" open and half that closed.

Gerry
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Re: Two Old Folding Dirks/Daggers - Sheffield and Frosolone

Postby wlf » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:16 pm

Thanks for the information Lee, very informative as always. Frosolone ,Sheffield, and Soligen , big names in knives.
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Re: Two Old Folding Dirks/Daggers - Sheffield and Frosolone

Postby LongBlade » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:28 am

Thanks Lyle ::tu:: ::tu:: ... You know as well as I there is something about old knives and their background histories, stories etc... ::nod:: :)

Gerry - Nice knife and certainly similar in design to mine - given the condition I would certainly try and restore it the best you are able for your enjoyment ::tu::
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