The 153UH debuted at the juncture of Schrade Walden/Schrade in 1972-1973. The first ones were tang-stamped Schrade Walden but there were probably 2000 or less with that stamp. So here are some notes, a little random at times, regarding those first Schrade Walden 153UH knives.
NOTES MADE BY A SCHRADE EMPLOYEE REGARDING THE UPCOMING PATTERN 153 UH AND THE CRAFTSMAN VERSION:
11-29-72 sears craftsman same as we will make the 153uh the blade will be stamped craftsman USA etched on pile side 2-lines custom skinner aca edge use 165 sheath made of elephant grain leather. Yearly estimate 3000 pieces.
12-8-72 new items-153(code#79) this is the new uh pattern hunting knife. All displays and hunting knife line should be ready for shipment between March 15 and April 1
We do have the end of year production reports. They indicate the totals shipped by the end of the year and in some cases the number of completed knives still in inventory. The early years of this pattern read thus:
1973 - 3485
1974 – 7048
The change was made to stainless in late 1995. It required new guards, handle tube moldings and blades as the stainless was thinner stock. The components did not interchange. New "+" tang stamp given to production control by 5/5/95. Butt piece and washer changes made inhouse. Tool room modified existing handle cores.
* Blade from .165 carbon to .135 stainless
* Grind switches from flat to hollow
* Guard closes up (old guards do not interchange).
* Same for new handle moldings.
Per memo dated December 2, 1994. Last of the carbon blades were being blanked at that time. The memo mentioned a production forecast of almost 1,000 knives per week for 1995. The forecast was off by quite a bit. For 1995, 22339 pieces shipped for the combined old style carbon knives and the new tooled stainless. For 1996 it was 21012 of the new design and for 1997 17,241 pieces.
Going back again: It would appear all the 'Bear Skinner' box's were simply made for the 172UH Bear Skinner...not all were utilized for their intended purpose when the 172UH was replaced by the 153UH in that ' Schrade Name' transistion period....so Schrade used their existing supplies for the earliest 153UH's manufactured/sold... and in the interim until they had their new 'Golden Spike' box's finished/ready they must have put the gold sticker <on a few?> over the original Bear Skinner wording which cannot be seen because the gold foil sticker is quite thick
Going forward again: The #02616 Schrade is 1973 production and the #403419 is 1992 production. That gives us our most current high and low for Schrade 153UH serializations. 2000? Hmm. If other production runs of patterns are any indicator, they liked to make production overruns of 10% or so for warranty replacements and to cover rejects. So perhaps 2,200 or so Walden 153UH? Also it appears that serialization may have ended either with the change to stainless or shortly before. Records indicate the change to stainless was done in mid to late 1995.
We know from Larry Vickery <lrv> who quotes from the end of year Schrade Walden report that only 1 153UH escaped in 1972 and 3485 were shipped in 1973 so it follows from our known serial Numbers, it's likely the 3485 shipped comprised of the Walden tang stampings AND the new Schrade stampings.....and in all likelihood those 3485 were shipped in both 'Bear Skinner' brown box's, Golden Spike 'Sticker' brown box's and maybe some of the new fangled Golden Spike gold embossed new box's if they were ready sometime in 1973
SW serial numbers found so far: