Harvey Platts in his book said that they did not make any fixed blades until 1928. Those would for the most part have the tried-and-true split nut at the pommel. I have handled an early one that was identical to a couple of early KABARS I have seen. I think for several years Platts was bringing knives out West from his connections in the East.
Here is some info from a fellow Western collector who has done some careful research:
"Western applied for the dual tang patent in 1931. Knives made in late 1931 and early 1932 were marked "Patent Applied For" (sometimes with Patent and/or Applied abbreviated.) Knives in late 1932 and 1933 were stamp "Patent Pending" or "Pat Pending". After the patent was granted, from 1934 to 1953, the word "Patented" or "PAT'D' or some version of the word Patented w/ the patent number 1,967,479 was stamped on all knives constructed with the dual tang. Late 40s to 52/53ish, the stamp could be "PAT'D Made in USA"."
Western replaced "Boulder Colo" with "USA" as part of the stamp in 1972/3 and shifted the model # from the guard to the mark side along with "year code" letters (A=1977, B=1978, etc) in 1977. The model SHOULD be stamped into the guard. Western started putting model numbers on their knives around 1955ish on the pile side ricasso and shifted them to the guard in 1968.
In reply to someone on his military '46' pattern knife:
That an L46-5, not an L66.
L46-5 on the left and an L66 on the right - notice the blade swedge differences
Also, the L46-5 has a 4-3/4" to 5.0" blade (slight variations by year) and the L66 sports a 4-1/2" blade.
The L46-5 was made from about 1947 or 1948 until 1973 or 1974. It is not in the group display of all Westerns knives in the 1975 marketing brochure.
Prior to WW2, the model number was G46-5 (there was also the G46-4 and the G46-6) and the knife had the "old style" mushroom shaped pommel of the 20s-30s that preceded the "modern bird beak" pommel. Western introduced the bird beak pommel style in 1931 on the Model 248.
During WW2, the G46-6 and G46-5 were made using the bird beak pommel in aluminum and brown swirl plastic with steel or brown swirl plastic guards.
BY CONVENTIONAL THOUGHT.... With that stamp, there are 4 options -
If the knife has a patent number as part of the stamp, then the knife is from 1946/7 to 1952 (maybe to 1955 - more below).
If it does not have either a reference to the patent or a model number stamped on the pile side of on the guard, then the knife is maybe/allegedly from 1952 to 1955.
If the model number is on the pile side of the knife, it is from 1955 to 1967.
If the model number is on the guard, it is from 1968 to 1973.
Per Western President/CEO in his 1977 book "The Knife Makers Who Went West", he states that reference to the patent was dropped in 1952 and that model numbers were added to the knives in 1955. I took this as gospel until a few knives popped up with both the patent number and a model numbed stamped on the ricassos.
A 1965 L46-5 was my first fixed blade, given to me by my grandfather when I was 10 y.o.
It is not any newer than 1973 because that is the year that BOULDER COLO was dropped from Western ricasso stamps on fixed blades. Don't know when it was dropped from folders, but probably about the same time frame.
One note about that stamp chart - it's not completely accurate. Some of those stamps only appeared on folders and some only on fixed blades, while some were used on both, but at different times. The chart shows it only happened once. Nope. And some info is incorrect or lacking, at least with respect to fixed blades. As an example, the 1961 - 1977 stamp, at least for fixed blades, is wrong in that there were at least 3 variations of stamps within that time frame. Two "errors" are that the reference to "Boulder, Colo." wasn't dropped until 1973 and no mention is made of the model numbers being stamped into the guard from 1967ish to 1976.
Cal Pruett is my name; trad knives is my game. Always interested pre-war Schrade CutCo knives & always have dozens others eclectic mix to trade/sell