MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

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MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by Buckeye_CRAZY » Wed Nov 10, 2021 3:44 am

Hello ::handshake::

First off, i thank you all for your knowledge & love for knives! I recently picked up this old beauty & was hoping someone may have some history to share. It’s a MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois tang stamp (All 4 blades), which according to Goins dates between 1919-1938. It’s a Congress pattern, 4” closed with stag handles, brass pins & Liners, Nickel Silver(I think) pinched bolsters & crest shield. Doesn’t appear to have a pattern # on it. Seems to be a VERY well made knife, that had held up EXTREMELY well. I believe this was a hardware store with the knives being produced elsewhere. Where? I don’t know. I haven’t been able to locate a single reference to any other knife with this tang stamp. Absolutely ANY info would be helpful & much appreciated! Thank you!!!

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Chad
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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by edge213 » Wed Nov 10, 2021 4:18 am

New one on me.
Good looking knife.
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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by Desert Golfer » Wed Nov 10, 2021 9:53 am

Your Knife resembles a Winchester 2908 Knife I have. Bolsters are similar. Blade tangs look similar. 8)
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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by ea42 » Wed Nov 10, 2021 1:43 pm

Chad nice knife!

An interesting and rather unusual feature I notice on your knife is the fact that the shield has two pins. Most manufacturers used one pin through the center for that style shield. If you can find a similarly pinned crest shield on one of the major manufacturers' knives you might have an answer to who made it.

Eric

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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by 1967redrider » Wed Nov 10, 2021 1:47 pm

Gorgeous knife, thanks for posting it. ::tu:: ::tu::


Good eyes on the double-pin, Eric. ::nod::


I wonder if Boker made this? ::shrug::
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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by Buckeye_CRAZY » Wed Nov 10, 2021 3:32 pm

::tu:: Eric your a genius! That’s why I love AAPK!! I also thought pen blades & their tangs looked a bit unique.

It does have a Booker look to it. Wasn’t sure about the crest shield though ::shrug::

Love that Winchester. Nice knife! I don’t recall seeing more square pinched bolsters on a Winchester congress, I know they had a couple other patterns with them though.

Chad

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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by jerryd6818 » Wed Nov 10, 2021 3:41 pm

From Google: Another article says they rebuilt and were bought out in 1939.

Several photographs from the August 22, 1909 Morehouse & Wells fire that took out nearly a block of downtown Decatur businesses. The fire started in the Morehouse & Wells building on East Main and destroyed half the block bounded by Merchant, Prairie, Water and East Main St. The fire was thought to have originated in the elevator shaft of Morehouse and Wells and quickly spread from that building to the surrounding buildings. In total, twenty-one business buildings were destroyed and nearly forty offices were destroyed, including the Shade-Lokey Shoe Store, Hirsch and Elwood & Handlin stores, Rodgers & Clark store, and the Bachrach Building. From the time the fire was discovered to the time the fire was completely extinguished seven hours and forty-five minutes elapsed. The estimated total damage to commercial business was $1,000,000. The fire brought out a lot of interested crowds, including an estimated 20,000 out of town visitors. This was one of the largest fires to occur in Decatur.
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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by Buckeye_CRAZY » Wed Nov 10, 2021 5:01 pm

I read that also (Missed the rebuilt in 1939). One of my big questions: if such a big hardware store ran for 20years, why so little info about them?

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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by Buckeye_CRAZY » Wed Nov 10, 2021 5:07 pm

I also thought possibly a Miller Brothers ::shrug:: Blades & Nicks looked similar to a few I looked at, as well as bolsters.

Like having a rock in my boot! I’ll keep looking.

Chad

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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by Buckeye_CRAZY » Wed Nov 10, 2021 9:01 pm

Here’s a pic of a Miller Brothers that I was looking at…
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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by 1967redrider » Wed Nov 10, 2021 9:40 pm

I said Boker mainly because of the blade types used on your knife. ::nod::
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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by peanut740 » Thu Nov 11, 2021 12:56 am

If it was made by Boker, it would be stamped Germany.I also doubt Miller Brothers because of the stag handles.
Roger

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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by 1967redrider » Thu Nov 11, 2021 1:38 am

peanut740 wrote:
Thu Nov 11, 2021 12:56 am
If it was made by Boker, it would be stamped Germany.I also doubt Miller Brothers because of the stag handles.
I thought there was a small period where Bokers were USA made? ::shrug::
Pocket, fixed, machete, axe, it's all good!

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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by tongueriver » Thu Nov 11, 2021 6:09 pm

1967redrider wrote:
Thu Nov 11, 2021 1:38 am
I thought there was a small period where Bokers were USA made? ::shrug::
Yes; for decades.

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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by peanut740 » Thu Nov 11, 2021 11:00 pm

1967redrider wrote:
Thu Nov 11, 2021 1:38 am
peanut740 wrote:
Thu Nov 11, 2021 12:56 am
If it was made by Boker, it would be stamped Germany.I also doubt Miller Brothers because of the stag handles.
I thought there was a small period where Bokers were USA made? ::shrug::
Not in that era.They were later.
Roger

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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by tongueriver » Thu Nov 11, 2021 11:32 pm

Boker U.S.A. made (some of this info is German and/or Argentine, but Boker made knives in the U.S. for a very long history:
Hermann Boeker immigrated to New York in 1887 and founded H.Boker & Co., Boker also owned Valley Forge cutlery and were also contracted to make knives for many other cutlers including Case.


H. Boker & Co's made knives for C. Platts & Sons in the early 1900's as Platts had been contracting knives out at that period of time, both companies were located in New York.

I found these list of Cutlers Boker has made knives for, don't remember where I found these or how accurate they are:

Arbolito - Spanish for "little tree". South American branch. Argentina.

Boker Plus - Boker's current "international" brand. Made in Tiawan and China.

Boker USA - Started in 1899 when H. Boker & Co. purchased the Valley Forge plant. Ended U.S. production in 1983.

Casa Boker - Hardware store founded in 1865 by Robert Boker. Sold knives and hardware improted from USA, Germany and England. Known as "the Sears of Mexico".

Cinch - Current manufacture in Solingen.

Cooper Group - Purchased Boker USA from J. Wiss in 1977. Moved production to Statesboro, GA. Ended US production in 1983.

Cyclops Steel - Purchased by Barl F. Boker in 1916. Sold in 1926. Titusville, PA.

George Schrade - Purchased by Boker ni 1956. Closed in 1958

H. Boker & Company - Founded in NY in 1837 by Hermann Boker. Imported cutlery from Germany. Began making knives in the US with the purchase of Valley Forge cutlery in 1899.

H. Dorwal - Knives made by Boker in Solingen, distributed by the Remsheid Bokers for the Canadian market.*

Heinrich Boker - Official name of the factory in Solingen. Opened in 1869.

Hen and Rooster - Boker made knives in Solingen for Frost. Recent.

Henry Boker - Brand name associated with the Remsheid Bokers. Mostly sold in Australia. Also used on many hand tools in that country.

J. Wiss & Sons - purchased Boker USA in 1969.

J.A. Henkels - Contracted knives made by Boker Solingen. Dates uncertain (1960 - present ???)

John Newton (Sheffield) - Made by Boker USA, Newark, NJ, circa 1906.

John Primble - knives sold by Belknap. Boker USA made knives sold under the Primble trademark from circa 1940s - early 1980s. Primble knives made by Boker have a star on the pattern number stamped on the tang.

Litton Industries - Owned Boker USA in 1968. Sold to J. Wiss in 1969.

Magnum - Knives made in China.

New Britain - Toolmaking company in Connecticutt. Purchased Boker USA in 1965. Bought by Litton Industries circa 1968.

Olde Stag - trademark patented by Boker in 1975 to identify knives made with "del-bone" (delrin) imitation stag handles.

Radium - Blade etch on some Boker knives from early 1900s. History unknown

Rainbow (Providence, RI) - made by Boker USA circa 1933-1954

Razor Steel - Etched on some Boker USA blades circa 1940-1950

Riverside Cut. Co. NY - Made by Boker USA circa 1918

Tree Brand - The Boker brand, USA and Solingen, as it is sometimes called.

Tree Brand Classic - trademark patented in 1974 - used on knife patterns that have been around for a while...

United Boker - Contract knives made by Boker circa 1984-1994.

Valley Forge - Company purchased by H. Boker & Co. in 1899. Closed original plant in 1921, but continued to manufacture Valley Forge knives alongside Boker USA knives in the Maplewood, NJ plant until the 1950s.

Whitehead & Hoag Co. (Newark, NJ) - Made by Boker USA circa 1900-1959

Wright & Wilhelmy (Omaha, NE) - Made by Boker and Ulster

1. Manhattan Cutlery Company (1868-1906).
2. Trenton Cutlery Company (1880-1906).
3. Regal Cutlery Company (1906).
4. George Dunbar (1901-1906).
5. Eclipse (1887-1918).
6. Hilton (1922-1924).
7. Edelweiss (1903).
8. Hardy Bros. (1884-1885).
9. Bicycle (1894).
10. O.K. Barlow Germany (1867-1917).
11. O.K. Barlow (1896-1917).
12. Red Injun Razors (1902).*
13. Celebrated Knife etched Bokers (late 1800's-early 1900's).
14. X (with an arrow thru it) Boker M R (1850-1875).
15. Baumwerk is Spanish for tree work.
16. Alemania is Spanish for Germany.
17. Radium (patented by Boker in 1904).
18. I'm not positive on these two, but I'm pretty sure Boker made them: W.D. Herbert and Dixon Cutlery Co.
19. Boker also made some knives for Case. The old Case radio or plier knives are identical to the old H. Bokers, as well as an old camp/scout knife pattern.
20. Prentiss Knife Co. New York (1916-1930) VF is stamped inside a circle (Valley Forge when Boker owned them) on the back of the tang.
21. Wyeth's Warranted Cutlery.
22. Bowen (1990's).

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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by 1967redrider » Fri Nov 12, 2021 12:33 am

Lots of Boker history there, thanks, tongue. ::handshake::
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You're going to look awfully silly with that knife sticking out of your @#$. -Clint Eastwood, High Plains Drifter

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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by rustyoldknife » Fri Nov 12, 2021 3:14 am

Very interesting history, Thank You for the Education ::tu:: ::tu:: ::tu::
David

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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by Buckeye_CRAZY » Fri Nov 12, 2021 7:59 am

Some great Booker history, thank you!! ::tu:: There is also a good piece on Booker history in Jim Parkers “Knife Collector’s Encyclopedia” (Pg.20-21).

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Re: MOREHOUSE & WELLS CO. Decatur, Illinois?

Post by Buckeye_CRAZY » Sat Nov 13, 2021 4:23 am

Did Southington Cut Co. have a 4 blade Congress?

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