Ivory help

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tongueriver
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Ivory help

Post by tongueriver » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:39 pm

I cannot for the life of me decide whether this is ivory or celluloid. The pen knife is 3 1/4 inches closed. All advice is appreciated. There is no invisible areas to be monkeyed with.
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LongBlade
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Re: Ivory help

Post by LongBlade » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:57 pm

::hmm:: ... Well Cal this is somewhat of a toughie :) ... I believe it is French ivory celluloid (or ivoroid) - the parallel lines in the handle are not as distinct as on some but I have not seen any grain in true ivory that would resemble that pattern of parallel lines...
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Re: Ivory help

Post by BFORSE » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:58 pm

Looks like celluloid. Ivory has a depth in its ununiform logitudinal striping. It is easier to see in sunlight. Slowly turn the suspected piece of ivory in the sunlight to see the striping gradually change. If it is ivory the darker stripe will change between darker and lighter shades. At least that has been my experience. Celluloid on the other hand does not change shades when tilted in sunlight.
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Re: Ivory help

Post by orvet » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:24 pm

It's really hard to tell what those handles are from the pictures. It's a little easier to see when I click on the pictures and enlarge them. The lines are a little too even which makes me think it is celluloid. Looking at the pivot pin for the master blade there appears to be a crack that runs into the pin, there is also what appears to be a scratch near the pin as well. That crack across the grain would lead me to think that it is celluloid also. The third hint that leads me to think celluloid is the pitting to the blades. Something is cost a good deal of damage to that knife, and I am thinking it's probably the celluloid.

I am 90% convinced it celluloid, but have enough uncertainty that I'm not 100% sure.
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Re: Ivory help

Post by tongueriver » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:40 pm

Thanks all for the good advice. ::tu::

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Re: Ivory help

Post by Paladin » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:41 pm

It is faux-ivory of some sort and I am going with a composition material rather than celluloid. The handles are typical of that sort of pen knife.

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Re: Ivory help

Post by knife7knut » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:46 pm

Looks to be the same type of celluloid that was used on early razor handles and the corrosion on the blades is not from celluloid degradation.Here is a picture of a razor by Thomas Noonan Co. showing the razor and a closeup of the handle showing the "grain"
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Re: Ivory help

Post by edge213 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:36 am

Looks like French ivory celluloid to me.
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Re: Ivory help

Post by Gunsil » Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:35 pm

LongBlade wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:57 pm
::hmm:: ... Well Cal this is somewhat of a toughie :) ... I believe it is French ivory celluloid (or ivoroid) - the parallel lines in the handle are not as distinct as on some but I have not seen any grain in true ivory that would resemble that pattern of parallel lines...
ALL elephant, mammoth, and mastadon ivory shows fairly straight parallel lines when cut along the length of the tusk and shows a "mandala" pattern when cut across the tusk. I for one think the knife in question is real elephant ivory. The lines in 'french" or imitation celluloid ivory are usually very uniform in width and are usually fairly straight. The grain lines on Cal's knife show an uneven pattern and the lines curve a bit across the length of the knife. I have carved elephant, mammoth, walrus, hippo, and warthog ivory and am pretty familiar with the properties of all of them, I would love to have the knife in hand to examine it with a glass, I would be sure if I could, but from the photos provided I think it is the real deal.

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Re: Ivory help

Post by doglegg » Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:39 pm

Gunsil, I'm glad you piped in as I kinda think it's Ivory as well. Thought I might be wrong until you spoke up. ::handshake::

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Re: Ivory help

Post by orvet » Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:28 pm

Gunsil, I see the curve you mentioned, I missed that. Upon reexamining the pics, I do believe you are correct, I think it is real ivory, though I am not personally familiar enough with the different types of ivory to know the source.

That is a nice old knife Cal. ::nod::
After looking at the damage to the blades, if the handles were celluloid and the source of the damage to the blades, I think the handles would at least show some discoloration. I don't see the signs of discoloration I would expect from celluloid.
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Re: Ivory help

Post by LongBlade » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:20 pm

I think as Gene said up-close in hand observation with a loupe would be best ::tu:: ... the slight reflection off the handle in the photos makes it hard for me to follow the lines... if you enlarge the photo of just the end of the knife the lines do look symmetrically spaced though it definitely lacks the distinct demarcation of lines seen in some french ivory which in "some" cases is so very distinct but on some others abit fuzzy in terms of clarity - just a search on AAPK will show you many looks of French Ivory Celluloid in terms of definition and symmetry... I would guess there was abit of difference in appearance of celluloid based upon maker as well or even how those slabs were cut ::shrug:: ... It is a later IXL with "Oil the Joints" for what it is worth...
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Re: Ivory help

Post by tongueriver » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:32 pm

The plot thickens; I appreciate all the comments. I have begun a course of action that might result in an answer in January.

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Re: Ivory help

Post by kootenay joe » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:41 pm

Well the knowledgeable members have already said it all but i feel like chiming in.
Very good to read Gunsil's post because this 'parallel lines = imitation ivory' is over stated. The grain in ivory depends upon where in the tusk the piece comes from and the direction in which it was cut.
I have quite a few vintage Sheffield knives with similar handles that are difficult to be certain about. If they are imitation then some manufacturer figured out how to imitate ivory almost exactly.
Pin cracks are common with ivory handles. If you doubt this, try dropping a shadow pen knife with ivory handles onto a hard floor.
The imitation ivory handles i do have show no sign of off gassing. It seems to be a stable celluloid.
Sometimes there is ivory that is rather white and shows no obvious grain. I wonder if this is ivory from towards the center of a tusk ?
There is also 're-manufactured' ivory, made from ivory dust collected in a cutting room and mixed with epoxy. This has no grain and can be seen on some of the more recent German made folding knives.
So, what is O.P. knife handle ? I dunno. Certainly could be ivory.
Calvin have you tried the rotating in outdoor light to look for changes in appearance as per a post above ?
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Re: Ivory help

Post by BFORSE » Wed Dec 11, 2019 3:50 am

Hopefully this will help. Pay close attention to how the change in angle changes the striping in real ivory vs. plastic
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Notice the change of striping in the straight razor.
The Pike’s Peak letter opener has some pretty convincing ununiform striping, but there is no change in striping value when tilted.
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13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God...

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