NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

The Camillus Cutlery Company was one of the oldest knife manufacturers in the United States with roots dating back to 1876. The company manufactured Camillus branded knives and was a prolific contractor for other knife brands up until its last days in 2007 when the company filed for bankruptcy.
User avatar
orvet
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 16087
Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 6:23 am
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon

NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby orvet » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:43 am

NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

It is a daunting task to chronicle the history of a company that spreads into three different centuries, especially when I am on the opposite side of the country from Camillus New York. I think perhaps a good way to share the bits and pieces of information that I get would be to start a topic dealing with the history of Camillus in the sort of piecemeal fashion (as it often comes to me) from a phone conversation here, an e-mail there and sometimes from printed documents. Later on I hope to organize this into a coherent body of information. But for now I will share the information piecemeal, as I get it.

Yesterday I spoke with Tom Williams briefly on the telephone. For those of you who are new to AAPK, Tom worked for Camillus for 30 years and was the Historian for Camillus Cutlery Company. You might say, Tom has Camillus in his blood. In addition to his 30 years with Camillus, his mother worked for Camillus for over 50 years and retired as a departmental vice president, (if memory serves me right). His uncle worked for Camillus for many years and his father also worked there for a few years. There are few people alive today who know Camillus better than Tom.




Camillus #165 Stockman

The first piece of historical information I have to share has to do with the knife I recently purchased: a Camillus #165 Stockman. This knife is 3 1/4 inches with jigged Delrin handles; the blade is etched with crossed swords and the words RAZOR EDGED STAINLESS. Tom explained that this was one of their best knives and as such had the sword brand etch on the blade and crossed swords on the escutcheon. The liners are brass and the bolsters are nickel silver.

Camillus 165 b.jpg



This knife came in a box with a pocket steel, 3-3/4 inches in length. The artwork on the box insert is red, white and blue. The box is cardboard, colored gold on the outside, with a plastic sleeve that slides over the length of the box holding the knife in place. The color scheme (red, white & blue) are like other Camillus boxes I had seen from the mid-to-late 1970s. Remember the U.S. Bicentennial was in 1976 and red, white & blue was often seen in various venues then.

Camillus 165 a.jpg



One very interesting piece of information that Tom shared with me has to do with the guarantee that was printed on a piece of heavy paper that wrapped around the bottom and one side of the box and was held in place by the plastic sleeve. This piece of paper gave the new owner instructions on "How to Use Your Sword Brand Pocket Steel," and on the left side of the paper was the Camillus guarantee for Sword Brand Knives. It said Camillus would sharpen your knife and keep it in first class condition if you would send it with $1 to cover postage and handling.

You can see this piece of paper in the picture below.

CAm 165 Guarantee.jpg



Now, this is where things get interesting. When Tom started working at Camillus one of his jobs was in the Mail Room receiving the knives that came in for repair or sharpening. He said this guarantee and sharpening service was dropped in the late 1970s or early 1980s. The reason it was dropped? It was too expensive for Camillus to offer the service. Camillus figured it was more cost-effective to give the customer and a brand-new knife than it was to take the used knife down to the line and have one of the workers sharpen it and take it back to the mail room and mail it back to the customer. Someone figured it was cheaper in the long run to just give the customer a new knife each time. Well, like all good things there were a handful of people who abused it, so this practice was discontinued. But if you are fortunate enough to find a Camillus Sword Brand knife that is still in the box and has the guarantee with it, this information may help you date when your knife was made.


I will be posting tidbits of information in this thread as I come across them. Typically these tidbits do not come in any predictable pattern. I may have a lot of things to post in a short period of time and it may be weeks or months until I posted I. But I will try to share these nuggets of information as I get them.

I hope this is helpful to those of you who are a crazy about Camillus knives as I am. :mrgreen:
Please feel free to add your questions and comments and we can all learn more about Camillus knives together.


Dale
Dale
AAPK Administrator

orvet@comcast.net
Please visit my AAPK store: www.allaboutpocketknives.com/orvet

"Buy more ammo!" - Johnnie Fain

User avatar
orvet
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 16087
Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 6:23 am
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby orvet » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:49 am

Camillus #66 Stockman

Camillus #66 Stockman

The Camillus #66 Stockman came up in my most recent conversation with Tom. The 1972 catalog lists the #66 as a Premium Stock Knife, 3-7/8 inches with "grain white handles." I recently found one of these knives so I have included some pictures. The white handles are some type of plastic that is softer than Delrin. Tom wasn't sure what the material was as Camillus had used a number of different plastics for knife handles.

Camillus 66 b.jpg



Tom said there is an interesting story that goes along with the number 66 Premium Stock Knife.
It seems that Francis Ford Coppola made a movie called the Black Stallion. Tom said it's been years since he saw the movie and couldn't remember all the details, and I don't remember it either, but it is a story about a young boy and the Black stallion. At some point in the movie and the horse is tied up, (I think to a sinking ship) and the horse is drug down underwater. The boy jumps in the water, swims down to the horse pulls out his trusty Camillus #66 Premium Stock Knife and cuts the rope, frees the horse, and gives the movie a happy ending.

Some years later the movie production company decided to make a sequel to The Black Stallion so they called Camillus and wanted some #66 Premium Stock Knives. As often happens, that pattern had been discontinued some years before, but Tom said he would see what he could find. He went out into the factory, dug around in some parts bins and found enough parts to make several #66 knives. He sent the knives to the movie production company complements the Camillus Cutlery Company.


Well, now you know as, Paul Harvey used to say, "The rest of the story."


Dale
Dale
AAPK Administrator

orvet@comcast.net
Please visit my AAPK store: www.allaboutpocketknives.com/orvet

"Buy more ammo!" - Johnnie Fain

User avatar
Miller Bro's
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 10281
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:22 pm

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby Miller Bro's » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:50 pm

Very interesting stuff Dale!

I just found this thread, I can`t believe no one else posted here in a month ::shrug::

This is the information I like about knives and the companies that made them.

I will help if I can. Do you know how many different variations of the Camillus stamp was used up to the end of WW II?

Dimitri
AAPK Janitor

User avatar
wishful
Posts: 549
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:02 pm
Location: Northern NY

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby wishful » Wed Nov 03, 2010 12:39 am

Thanks for sharing orvet. I have many Camillus knives, but I don't know a lot about the history of them even though the Camillus factory was only 160 miles from me. Please keep up the great work. ::tu::
Life would be meaningless if we couldn't wish for anything.

User avatar
orvet
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 16087
Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 6:23 am
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby orvet » Wed Nov 03, 2010 12:53 am

Miller Bro`s wrote:Very interesting stuff Dale!

I just found this thread, I can`t believe no one else posted here in a month ::shrug::

This is the information I like about knives and the companies that made them.

I will help if I can. Do you know how many different variations of the Camillus stamp was used up to the end of WW II?

Dimitri


I am glad you like the thread. I like this sort of historical nuggets too!
I am currently researching Schrade tang stamps and have identified over 20 variations from 1973 to 2004.
This has occupied my time the two weeks I was gone caring for my parents, so I haven't had much time to research the Camillus stamps yet. I am looking at 2-3 surgeries (hand and shoulder) early next year and will be unable to work on knives then, so I plan to work more on the Camillus stamps then. Camillus is one of the hardest companies to date by tang stamp so wish me lick with that. :lol: :lol:
I am currently waiting for more info from Tom Williams. I expect it in the mail any day now.


wishful wrote:Thanks for sharing orvet. I have many Camillus knives, but I don't know a lot about the history of them even though the Camillus factory was only 160 miles from me. Please keep up the great work. ::tu::


I am glad it is helpful. Stick around there will be more coming from several of our members. I didn't know much about Schrade or Camillus until I started collecting and researching them about 6 years ago. Most anyone can do it, it just takes time, patience and lost of research.

Dale
Dale
AAPK Administrator

orvet@comcast.net
Please visit my AAPK store: www.allaboutpocketknives.com/orvet

"Buy more ammo!" - Johnnie Fain

User avatar
Toejammer
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:09 pm
Location: North Platte, NE

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby Toejammer » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:01 pm

Just snagged a #66 off the bay for $10, identical to yours. Nice little knife.

I was wondering though, if the handles are considered celluloid or delrin ? Knife hasn't arrived yet, so I can't do the steel wool test.
A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
Bruce Lee

User avatar
orvet
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 16087
Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 6:23 am
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby orvet » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:16 pm

The catalog in the 1950s said "Grain White Pyroxylia."
Not sure what it is other than some type of plastic.
I think they may have gone to Delrin in the 1970s.

I will be anxious to see what you have when it arrives.

Dale
Dale
AAPK Administrator

orvet@comcast.net
Please visit my AAPK store: www.allaboutpocketknives.com/orvet

"Buy more ammo!" - Johnnie Fain

User avatar
Toejammer
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:09 pm
Location: North Platte, NE

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby Toejammer » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:40 pm

One of my books mentioned Pyroxylia also, looked it up and it was a Dupont plastic.

Duponts' website: . "Pyroxylin is a generic name for nitrocellulose compounds that form a film when dissolved in a mixture of ether and alcohol, from which plastics can be produced."

Nitrocellulose sounds a little ominous, but they also mention it was used in the automotive industry, so one would think it had to be resilient.

Heres the eBay auction:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rt=nc&nma=true&item=130473101595&si=rXflvgLe0aeh82CSd1QY%252Boe6jUo%253D&viewitem=&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT
A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
Bruce Lee

User avatar
tjmurphy
Posts: 11214
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:41 pm
Location: South of Cincinnati

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby tjmurphy » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:10 pm

Probably used in the old padded dash boards in the '60's and '70's. Remember how they would disintigrate?
"There are none so blind as those that refuse to see"

God Bless America - Though I don't know why he would want to.

User avatar
orvet
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 16087
Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 6:23 am
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby orvet » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:45 am

Have you ever seen those old steering wheels just crumble and fall apart?
I thought they were celluloid, but maybe some were Pyroxylin.

Dale
Dale
AAPK Administrator

orvet@comcast.net
Please visit my AAPK store: www.allaboutpocketknives.com/orvet

"Buy more ammo!" - Johnnie Fain

User avatar
Toejammer
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:09 pm
Location: North Platte, NE

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby Toejammer » Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:36 pm

orvet wrote:Have you ever seen those old steering wheels just crumble and fall apart?
I thought they were celluloid, but maybe some were Pyroxylin.

Dale


Yeah, now that you mention it......

They always seemed to crystalize, then shatter. I always thought it was a heat related issue though, like they got too hot and brittle from the sun. Maybe my old mans '58 Plymouth Savoy "gassed out " ! ::shrug::
A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
Bruce Lee

User avatar
orvet
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 16087
Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 6:23 am
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby orvet » Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:18 pm

Toejammer wrote:
orvet wrote:Have you ever seen those old steering wheels just crumble and fall apart?
I thought they were celluloid, but maybe some were Pyroxylin.

Dale


Yeah, now that you mention it......

They always seemed to crystalize, then shatter. I always thought it was a heat related issue though, like they got too hot and brittle from the sun. Maybe my old mans '58 Plymouth Savoy "gassed out " ! ::shrug::



In the case of my dad's car, my siblings & I (who rode in the car with dad) thought it was because dad had "gassed out." :shock: ::dang::
Dale
AAPK Administrator

orvet@comcast.net
Please visit my AAPK store: www.allaboutpocketknives.com/orvet

"Buy more ammo!" - Johnnie Fain

User avatar
Toejammer
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:09 pm
Location: North Platte, NE

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby Toejammer » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:16 pm

orvet wrote:
Toejammer wrote:
orvet wrote:Have you ever seen those old steering wheels just crumble and fall apart?
I thought they were celluloid, but maybe some were Pyroxylin.

Dale


Yeah, now that you mention it......

They always seemed to crystalize, then shatter. I always thought it was a heat related issue though, like they got too hot and brittle from the sun. Maybe my old mans '58 Plymouth Savoy "gassed out " ! ::shrug::



In the case of my dad's car, my siblings & I (who rode in the car with dad) thought it was because dad had "gassed out." :shock: ::dang::


::tu::
A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
Bruce Lee

User avatar
Toejammer
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:09 pm
Location: North Platte, NE

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby Toejammer » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:24 am

Here she is, not as purty as yours, but still solid. Main blade closes weak, but everything else walks and talks.

CAMILLUS
_____________
New York
USA

Image

Image

Image
A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
Bruce Lee

gringo
Posts: 2047
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 7:17 pm

Re: NUGGETS OF CAMILLUS HISTORY FOR CAMILLUS ENTHUSIASTS

Postby gringo » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:33 am

i have the remains of one of these stockman, a SWORD BRAND, STREAMLINER. ithe remains of the scales looked like cracked ice...
a blue/green varnish like residue coats the scale side of what is left of the liners...
it went off like a cell...ate through both outer liners...the springs, blades and center liner are salvagable...
sad ..i will post a photo when i can.


Return to “Camillus Cutlery Collector's Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Kai76 and 17 guests