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My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:50 am
by PvtRossi
Hello all,

My search for a civilian or boy scout pocket knife (preferably with can opener and lanyard ring) dating to the 1920s or 1930s that I could use for a 1941-1944 US army soldier impression continues. Some have already helped me out in understanding that for soldiers in non-specialized roles (i.e. paratroopers, engineers, signal corps etc.) there was no military issue knife at least until 1944 with the Knife, Pocket, General Purpose (which probably didn't actually reach the lines well into 1945). So a civilian or a boy scout knife coming from home would be more historically accurate.
I am no expert on the subject (and actually very ignorant) so I please bear with me. I appreciate if you could give me some guidance in telling if a knife is pre-WWII manufacture or post-war.

I've found this anonymous-looking Ulster knife that fits my budget and needs for sale. Can anybody tell me if it looks like pre-WWII manufacture or if it's a postwar knife?
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Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 7:43 am
by eveled
IMHO, and it could be wrong. Look for funky can openers. The hook shaped can opener on the knife you show I think first appeared in ww2. Then everyone (except SAK) used it going forward. The older scout knives had various other types. Usually 2 piece can openers.

Also the ww2 knives that had the hook can opener would have had a longer bottle opener/ screw driver.

The one you show looks like 1970’s and up to me.

Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:24 am
by ScoutKnives
Here are a few Ulster examples that would fit your criteria , all pre WWII .

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... any+dwight

Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:48 pm
by tongueriver
If the handles are bone on a given 'scout' or utility knife, the odds are extremely high that it is pre-WWII. There were a few war knives in bone by Ulster USA. Speaking of which, if a tang stamp says Ulster Knife Co. (not Ulster Knife USA) it is pre-1941. With the above exception, these utility knives had abandoned bone by the time the war started, and didn't pick that natural material back up again after the war. There are exceptions. On Ebay, there are so many 'scout' knives for sale that it boggles the imagination. Exceeded only by electrician knives. If you see a bone one, come here for corroboration of pre-war status.

Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:22 pm
by PvtRossi
Thank you all! This forum truly is a source of wisdom and knowledge!
I will ditch the first knife posted.
I guess the Ulster Model 1502 (manufactured 1923-26) would be perfect for me: https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-ULSTER ... Sw7UBdiBuA

What saith thou?

Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:43 pm
by Gunsil
The ebay one you show would be a good one to have and it is actually in very nice condition other than the patina/rust. It would be a good one for your authentic WW2 re-enactment.

By the way Cal, Ulster knives made for the military in WW2 carried the early Ulster Knife Co marks, not the Ulster USA marks. Once again the tang stamp charts fail miserably. Just look at the mark on an Ulster "mountain troops" knife only made during the war and they all have the early mark. Baer did buy ulster in 1941 but the mark did not change until after the war.

Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:47 pm
by tongueriver
Gunsil wrote: By the way Cal, Ulster knives made for the military in WW2 carried the early Ulster Knife Co marks, not the Ulster USA marks. Once again the tang stamp charts fail miserably. Just look at the mark on an Ulster "mountain troops" knife only made during the war and they all have the early mark. Baer did buy ulster in 1941 but the mark did not change until after the war.
Excellent info. Are you sure that SOME of the 1941-1945 knives did not change the stamp?

Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:37 pm
by Gunsil
I do know that Ulster made several models of pocket knives for the military during WW2 and they all carry the earlier mark. I consider it highly unlikely that they would change tooling for some and not others. Also since Baer bought the company in 1941 and a war was on why bother changing stamps at all? Kind of like Case Tested is said by some to have ended in 1940 yet all their pocket knives made for the military during the war carry the tested mark. I think both companies changed their marks when the war and all it's changes to manufacturing were over.

Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:54 pm
by tongueriver
This is welcome info, Gene; glad to have it.

Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:21 am
by PvtRossi
Both Ulster Model 1502s I had my eyes on are gone.
I very much like to get one of those, but since the Army issued P-38 can openers ad nauseam,having a knife with a can opener is not a conditio-sine-qua-non for me. So I was looking at other models that would also be historically accurate for the period 1941-1944.
What do y'all think about this?
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Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:33 am
by KnifeSlinger#81
PvtRossi wrote:Both Ulster Model 1502s I had my eyes on are gone.
I very much like to get one of those, but since the Army issued P-38 can openers ad nauseam,having a knife with a can opener is not a conditio-sine-qua-non for me. So I was looking at other models that would also be historically accurate for the period 1941-1944.
What do y'all think about this?
s-l1600.jpg

That is a 1936-1952 era stamp, so it could be authentic ww2 era.

Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:37 pm
by doglegg
PvtRossi wrote:Both Ulster Model 1502s I had my eyes on are gone.
I very much like to get one of those, but since the Army issued P-38 can openers ad nauseam,having a knife with a can opener is not a conditio-sine-qua-non for me. So I was looking at other models that would also be historically accurate for the period 1941-1944.
What do y'all think about this?
s-l1600.jpg
One of my favorite knifes. Tough, useful and beautiful. ::nod:: ::nod::
Does it have steel liners?

Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:10 am
by Old Hunter
The Imperial EO is an excellent choice - very popular knife at the time and many were made. I have that knife in both bone and black synthetic - both still walk and talk beautifully and take a keen edge. OH

Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Sat Oct 26, 2019 2:19 pm
by PvtRossi
What do y'all think about this bad boy? I haven't bought it yet.
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Re: My search for a pre-WWII civilian/boy scout knife

Posted: Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:34 pm
by Mumbleypeg
That looks like a nice one. Missing its bail though if that means anything to you.

Ken