Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

This forum is dedicated to the discussion and display of old knives. The rich history of all the many companies that made them through the early years will be found here as well as many fine examples of the cutlers art. Share pictures of your old knives and your knowledge here!
Post Reply
User avatar
dhillbilly
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by dhillbilly » Sat Sep 13, 2014 3:47 pm

I am not a knife expert. I bought a couple Waterville knives and was curious. Between the Goin's book and internet searching this is what I came up with on Waterville. I'm sorry my references aren't better. It wasn't originally for public consumption, but I found more than I expected so I figured I'd share. Please add to or correct anything you see.
Thanks
----------------------------------------

Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Company / Waterville Cutlery

1843 Waterville? - Founded (*1)(*8)(*10)(*12)
1847 Waterville? - Bankrupt (*1)
1847 Waterville Manufacturing Company - New incorporation Aug 17; Green Kendrick president; capital $50,000; Taken over by Ives, Kendrick & Company (a button maker) (*1)(*21)
1848 Waterville Manufacturing not listed for award of medal; In fact no award was given for pocket cutlery but Holley & Merwin, Salisbury, Conn., did win for best small cutlery. Gold Medal
18?? Waterville Manufacturing Company - Made metal buttons marked "Waterville Mfg Co" (*7)(*9)
1849 Waterville Manufacturing Company - "F.G Wheeler, 85 William street, New York, agent for the Waterville Manufacturing Company, Waterbury, Conn." (*15)
1849 Waterville Manufacturing Company - "Waterville Manuf. Co. Waterbury; G.Kendrick, President; Gilt & Plated Buttons & Pocket Cutlery" (*15)
1849 Waterville Manufacturing Company - "Waterville Manufacturing Company, Waterbury, Conn., for the best pen and pocket cutlery. Gold medal." (*11)
1850 Waterville Manufacturing Company - "Waterville Manufacturing Co., Waterbury, Conn., F.G. Wheeler, 7 Gold-street, agent, for the best pen and pocket cutlery. Gold medal." (*10)
1850 Waterville Manufacturing Company - "Eight years since, the president...and its originator, (G.Kendrick, Esq.,) ...conceived business; ...workmen...earned experience in English shops; ...first four years about fifty men...last four..two hundred, ... about one-half are Americans; dependent upon hand labor...produced entirely in their own shop. No portion of their knives is partially manufactured abroad;...capital $125,000, and manufacture about $150,000 per annum." (*10)
1851 Waterville Manufacturing Company - "Waterville Manufacturing Co., Waterbury, Conn., F. C. Wheeler, agent, 7 Gold street, for best pen and pocket knives. Gold medal." (*12)
1851 Waterville Manufacturing Company - "...case of fine pocket cutlery from the Waterville Manufacturing Co., Waterbury, Conn., ... judges thus report, " we say with confidence that they rank with the best makers of Sheffield."...employment two hundred men,...one-half are Americans. ...this year in value $150,000 of pocket cutlery; the blades, and all other parts of the work, are made in their own factory. The proprietors of this establishment have been engaged for nine years.." (*12)
1851 Waterville Manufacturing Company - Manufacturers of pocket cutlery Waterbury,Conn (*2)
1852 Waterville Manufacturing Company - F G Wheeler & Co, agents, 23 John-street, for the best variety of pocket cutlery; a gold medal having before been awarded; diploma (*6)
1852 Waterville Manufacturing Company - Workers strike over cost cutting; Sixteen leave to found New York Knife Company (*1)(*16)
1853 Waterville Manufacturing Company - Private Act permitting company to change its business (*1)
1853 Waterville Manufacturing Company - Billhead of F.G. Wheeler, general agent for Waterville Mfg. Co, makers of pen and pocket cutlery, Waterbury, Conn dated June 6,1853. Bill is for knives. (*5)
1853 Waterville Manufacturing Company - F.G. Wheeler 25 John street, for a case of superior cutlery, a gold medal having being awarded, diploma (*18)
1854 Waterville Manufacturing not listed for award of medal; "Union Knife Co., Naugatuck, Conn., S. J. Dennis, agent, 40 Dey-street, for the best pocket knives. Gold medal." (*13)
1855 Waterville Manufacturing Company - Closed; B.H. Morse took over knife portion of business (*1)
1855-65? B.H. Morse; knives were made for Lamson & Goodnow Manufacturing Co; Some marked Lamson & Goodnow on master and B.H Morse on small blades (*1)
1865 Morse sold factory to Sprague & Boydon (*1)
1865 Waterville Company? - Sprague & Boydon (*1)
1871 Waterville Company? - H.H. Welton partner; Sprague, Boydon and Welton (*1)
1876 Waterville Company? - Welton left firm (*1)
1877 Waterville Company? - Capitalized with $25,000; Sprague and Boyden (*1)
1890 Sold to W.Summer Babcock and George J. Babcock (*1)
1890 Waterville Cutlery Company - Incorporated Dec 1890 with $25,000 capital (*1)(*21)
18?? Waterville Cutlery Company - Made straight razors (All seen "Waterville Cutlery Company") (*7)(*8)
18?? Waterville Cutlery Company - Made scissors "WATERVILLE"(line 1) "CUTLERY Co" (line 2 with dash under "o") (*7)(*8)
18?? Waterville Cutlery Company - Made shears (*8)
1901 Waterville Cutlery Company - Pocket Cutlery; factory inspection (*17)
1903 Waterville Cutlery Company - Constructed small building for storage of benzine and rebuilt a store house; cost $1000 (*3)
1903 Waterville Cutlery Company - W.Summer Babcock died, his attorney, N.R. Bronson became temporary president (*19)
1904 Waterville Cutlery Company - George Babcock became president; brother of W.Summer Babcock (*19)
1910 Waterville Cutlery Company - George Babcock, President and Treasurer; William H. Kenney, Vice-President, and Otis L Fuller, Secretery. F.G. Wheeler agents (*4)
1913 Waterville Cutlery Company - Dissolved; Lawrence L. Lewis appointed receiver to dispose of property; court approved sale (*19)
1913 Sold to Clark Brothers of Kansas City, Missouri; Used "Waterville K.C. MO." until 1914 (*1)(*7)(*14)
1913 Clark Brothers also bought American Shear and Knife Co. announced plans to combine with Waterville Cutlery but a fire at Am Shear canceled those plans (*4)(*14)
1914 American Shear and Knife Co. Fire destroyed factory June 27, 1914 (*4)


REFERENCES:
(*1) Goins Encylopedia of Cutlery Marking 1998
(*2) 1851 New England Business Directory (via*1)
(*3) Public Docs State of Conn 1903
(*4) American Scissor and Shears 2013
(*5) Transcript from Ebay sale 11/14/2008 (Worthpoint?)
(*6) American Institute of the City of New York for the year 1852(published 1853)
(*7) Ebay Pictures
(*8) Waterville box stamped "ESTABLISHED 1843 MANUFACTURERS OF Shears and Scissors
THE WATERVILLE HAND FORGED POCKET KNIVES AND RAZORS."
(*9) Various metal detecting websites
(*10) American Institute of the City of New York for the year 1850(published 1851)
(*11) American Institute of the City of New York for the year 1849(published 1850)
(*12) American Institute of the City of New York for the year 1851(published 1852)
(*13) American Institute of the City of New York for the year 1854(published 1855)
(*14) The Iron Age Volume 92 July-December 1913
(*15) The New England Mercantile Union Business Directory 1849
(*16) NY State Museum: The New York Knife Company — Industrial Archeology in the Village of Walden, NY
(*17) State of Connecticut Report of the Inspector of Factories 1901
(*18) Transactions of the American Institute of the City of New York for the year 1853(published 1854)
(*19) History of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley Conn 1918
(*20) American Institute of the City of New York for the year 1848(published 1849)
(*21) The Town and City of Waterbury, Conn, From The Aboriginal Period to 1895(Pub 1896)

MARKINGS:

(A) "WATERVILLE MFG.CO." (on metal handle straight marking)(also seen on brass buttons)
-----------------------------------------------------------
(B) "W.VILLE.M.Co.WATERBURY" (on metal handle straight marking)
-----------------------------------------------------------
(B2) “W.VILLE.M.F.G.Co.WATERBURY (on metal handle straight marking)
-----------------------------------------------------------
(C) "WATERVILLE" (line 1)
"MANUFG. Co (line 2 - small dash under "o")
"WATERBURY" (line 3)

NOTE: (C) Font is intricate/detailed, maybe older style

----------------------------------------------------------------
(D) "W.VILLE (shaped in an arc)
-----------------------------------------------------------
(E) "WATERVILLE" (shaped in a arc)(line 1)
"Co" (inside arc) (line 2)

NOTE: (E)and(H) seen together on same knife

-----------------------------------------------------------
(F) "WATER-" (line 1)
"-VILLE" (line 2)

NOTE: (F) was seen on a celluloid handled knife (Celluloid used commercially after about 1872)
NOTE: (F) seen with long pull blades (after 1880ish?)

------------------------------------------------------------
(G) "WATER-" (line 1)
"VILLE Co" (line 2)

NOTE: (G) seen with long pull blades (after 1880ish?)
NOTE: (G) seen on aluminum handled knife (Aluminum first produced economically about 1886)

------------------------------------------------------------
(H) "WATERVILLE" (line 1)
"CUTLERY CO" (line 2)
"CONN" (line 3)

NOTE: (H) seen on aluminum handled knife (Aluminum first produced economically about 1886)
NOTE: (G) and (H) seen together on same knife;
NOTE: (E) and (H) seen together on same knife
NOTE: (H) seen with long pull blades (after 1880ish?)

------------------------------------------------------------
(I) "WATERVILLE" (only mark)

NOTE: (I) was seen on a celluloid handled knife (Celluloid used commercially after about 1872)

------------------------------------------------------------
(J) "WATERVILLE" (shaped in an arc) (line 1)
"M.F.G. Co"(line 2)

------------------------------------------------------------

JAMESC41001
Posts: 860
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by JAMESC41001 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 4:11 pm

Thank you for organizing and posting this info. I believe waterville is recognized as the first commercial knife manufacturer in the USA. The workers were from Sheffield England. Can you post some pics of your knives.

User avatar
dhillbilly
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by dhillbilly » Sat Sep 13, 2014 4:29 pm

Thanks for the comment. I hope the research is of interest to some. Here are some pics of my favorite Waterville that I bought from Ebay. It's in pretty rough shape. It looks exactly like some Sheffield knives. This seems to fit right in with Waterville's origins and the imported Sheffield workers. From what I can tell from my research, it is probably the oldest American made pocket knife I'll ever have my hands on. (Could never afford an L.Bradley)
Attachments
707118807_o.jpg
707118812_o.jpg
707118815_o.jpg
707118818_o.jpg

User avatar
dhillbilly
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by dhillbilly » Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:10 pm

Here are some pics of Waterville tang stamps. If you have any not here or better pics, please post them.

Thanks
Attachments
Mark A.jpg
Mark A.jpg (6.1 KiB) Viewed 11609 times
Mark B.jpg
mark B2.jpg
mark B2.jpg (9.3 KiB) Viewed 11609 times
Mark C.jpg
Mark C.jpg (15.63 KiB) Viewed 11609 times
Mark D.jpg
Mark D.jpg (7.06 KiB) Viewed 11609 times
Mark E.jpg
Mark E.jpg (7.37 KiB) Viewed 11609 times
Mark F.jpg
Mark F.jpg (12.97 KiB) Viewed 11609 times
Mark G.jpg
Mark G.jpg (7.45 KiB) Viewed 11609 times
Mark H.jpg
Mark H.jpg (6.8 KiB) Viewed 11609 times
Mark i.jpg
Mark i.jpg (20.19 KiB) Viewed 11609 times

User avatar
Miller Bro's
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 11409
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:22 pm
Location: Earth

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by Miller Bro's » Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:23 pm

AAPK Janitor
369

User avatar
dhillbilly
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by dhillbilly » Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:05 pm

One more tang stamp
Attachments
Mark J.jpg
Mark J.jpg (37.82 KiB) Viewed 11594 times

JAMESC41001
Posts: 860
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by JAMESC41001 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:31 am

Great stamps! Those are a good reference for anyone purchasing a waterville. Good info too I did not know lyman bradley pre dated waterville. Thanx again

User avatar
dhillbilly
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by dhillbilly » Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:31 pm

Thanks for the comment. I can't take credit for this info or pictures. I am just parroting stuff from the Goins book, this forum, google books online, and other random internet stuff that I found while researching a couple of Waterville knives I bought on Ebay. Thought it would be cool to put it in one place. Hopefully the real experts on here will add to it.

User avatar
dhillbilly
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by dhillbilly » Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:06 pm

JAMESC41001 wrote:Great stamps! Those are a good reference for anyone purchasing a waterville. Good info too I did not know lyman bradley pre dated waterville. Thanx again

According to Goins L.Bradley started making knives in 1841 beating Waterville by a bit. (L.BRADLEY & CO. SALEM c.1841-1844) (L.BRADLEY & CO. NAUGATUCK c.1844-1869) (L.BRADLEY KNIFE CO c1856-1876) I hear that the L.BRADLEY knives are pretty rare. The unicorn of knives. He probably didn’t make a huge volume. I read that he was the manager of the Waterville factory. He must not have been considered competition, at least not in the early years. Depending who you talk to or which way you look at it, Waterville could probably be considered the “first” mass produced American made pocket knife.

JAMESC41001
Posts: 860
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by JAMESC41001 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:57 pm

I feel a little better now knowing you don't have one of every waterville stamp. Reading a little bit more about Lyman now there may be a new stamp that has surfaced. Good to see see this info being shared. So many knives so little funds.

User avatar
FRJ
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 14377
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 1:43 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by FRJ » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:49 pm

Here's a nice old Waterville jack. I wasn't sure about the stamp until I saw this thread.

Thanks dhillbilly.
Attachments
IMG_3724.JPG
IMG_3720.JPG
Joe

JAMESC41001
Posts: 860
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by JAMESC41001 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:22 am

That is an awesome knife Joe! I love ebony knives, to have an early example like that is great.

User avatar
Beechtree
Posts: 910
Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 8:17 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by Beechtree » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:25 am

Great organizational work dhillbilly ::tu::
"A tool is but an extension of a man's hand." -Henry Ward Beecher

0078
Posts: 1038
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:37 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by 0078 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:09 am

This is my only waterville, this knife has some of the nicest jigging I've seem. Thank you for the reference material.
Attachments
image.jpg
image.jpg
Where you plant your needs is where your garden grows.

User avatar
FRJ
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 14377
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 1:43 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by FRJ » Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:54 am

Thanks James. Beautiful knife 0078.
Joe

msteele6
Posts: 1945
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 8:29 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by msteele6 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:18 pm

Here's a little pen knife I picked up not long ago. There was no maker's name given, however, I felt sure it was an early American manufacturer and sure enough with a little cleaning I could make out "WATER-" on the first line. The second line is hidden underneath the bolster:
Attachments
WatervilleBalloonPen.JPG

User avatar
dhillbilly
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by dhillbilly » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:51 am

FRJ, 0078, msteel6. Those are some nice knives. I was hoping someone would find the info useful.

Mason
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 735
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:11 am

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by Mason » Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:45 am

Nice organization and timeline on Waterville.
Thanks for the information.

User avatar
dhillbilly
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by dhillbilly » Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:29 am

Here is an 1850 write up about Waterville Mfg.
Attachments
Title 1850 Amer Inst.jpg
Image1.jpg
Image2.jpg
Image3.jpg
Image4.jpg
Image5.jpg

User avatar
dhillbilly
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by dhillbilly » Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:15 am

Here is an 1851 write up for Waterville Mfg
Attachments
Title.jpg
Title.jpg (20.42 KiB) Viewed 6861 times
p75.jpg
p76.jpg
p618.jpg

User avatar
dhillbilly
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by dhillbilly » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:16 pm

A new Waterville Mfg tang stamp. The font is different and there is no line under the "o" in "Co". Thanks FRJ for the pic.
Attachments
IMG_5554.JPG

User avatar
dhillbilly
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by dhillbilly » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:24 pm

Another Waterville Mfg tang stamp. Different font and has "Conn" added below "Waterbury"
"WATERVILLE"
"MANUFG Co"
"WATERBURY"
"CONN"
Attachments
tang1.jpg
tang1.jpg (16.3 KiB) Viewed 6779 times

User avatar
Beechtree
Posts: 910
Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 8:17 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by Beechtree » Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:51 am

^Love it.
"A tool is but an extension of a man's hand." -Henry Ward Beecher

PigSticker
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:37 pm
Location: Burton,Michigan

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by PigSticker » Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:29 pm

Hard to believe they could make a stamp with that many letters on it that long ago---
NEVER DOUBT YOUR DAWG

stockman
Gold Tier
Gold Tier
Posts: 3463
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2006 3:19 pm

Re: Waterville Manufacturing / Waterville Cutlery Info

Post by stockman » Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:57 pm

Thanks for the information. I enjoy the history of The Waterville Co. I have a couple knives both tang
stamped like your example Water- 1st line -Ville 2nd line. That is the stamp I see the most.

Thanks Harold

Post Reply

Return to “Knife Lore - Traditional Knives From the Old Days”