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Help with ID'ing Hallmark on Awesome Looking Silver Knife

Hello, I have a pocket knife that is marked W & D. Sterling on the outer handle and on the inner blades (the knife has two blades), the blades are marked W&D Germany. I cannot seem to locate any information on this Germany maker. I would have thought this one would be easy! Anyway, thanks in advance! Any information would be greatly appreciated![/img]
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Hi there olewheat and thanks for joining us. Your pocketknife was probably made by the Whiting & Davis Co. of Plainville, Mass. sometime after 1907. That company made a number of novelty items such as pocket knives and souvenir spoons. It was common back then for one company to make the silver handle and have another compnay make the blades. German steel was considered superior about the turn of the 20th century, so identifying the blades as such was a badge of quality.

Regards,

Uncle Vic

so is the blade silver, or steel? Im not trying to be hypocritical of your post, just i’m learning all these marks :astonished:

Hi Vic, Thank you for replying to my post! So, why would the handle and the blades both have W&D marked on them? Wouldn’t that be awful ironic for both the blades and the handle to be made by two different companies with the same initials? Am I missing something here??? And you are saying that the blades are made of steel and they were considered better than silver, back in the day? I’m sorry if I’m misunderstanding your reply. Thanks again for the info! I really appreciate you taking the time to respond and help me out! Have a nice evening!

Oh, one more question! I know it does not apply here but since I got your input on the knife I thought I’d ask you about my other piece. I posted a questions a day or so ago about silver buttons. They have a 4-leaf clover within a horseshoe hallmark. They have a pearl or mother of pearl surface and the rest is surrounded by silver. i included a photo on my original post but here it is again so you don’t have to search for it. Can you help again? Do you know who this maker is? Thanks in advance!
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Olewheat, your pin was made by Parks Brothers & Rogers of Providence, RI and New York between 1896 and about 1930.

The answer to your and CharityCollector’s questions about why the blades are steel and not silver is a simple one - silver is too soft for a cutting blade, it would bend and does not hold an edge well. About the only kind of knife you will see with a solid silver blade is a butter knife.

Silver manufacturers would typically contract out the making of their knife blades to firms that worked with steel. The silver makers would often mark the steel as their own, but sometimes allow the actual steel blade maker to use its own mark. Think of it as early “private branding” like a can of peas at Wal Mart.

Stainless steel - the ideal material for flatware knife blades - was not in wide use prior to the middle of the 20th century so most flatware knife blades were carbon steel that was silver plated. These corroeded and pitted badly in normal use. Many silver collectors - myself included - have had their silver plated flatware knife blades replaced with stainless steel. I recently had a set of Mauser dinner knife blades replaced with stainless by a firm that had a wide selection of blade styles in stainless, so was able to retain the “old fashioned” look of the original but gain the functionality of stainless. And no, for flatware that is used often, the replacement does not diminish the value; if anything it enhances it.

Regards,

Uncle Vic

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your input and wisdom are greatly appreciated! If you don’t mind, is there anyway for me to contact you for future questions? I promise not to drive you crazy. I do have one additional piece that I’m really stumped about too! I believe it was made by Samuel Kirk & Son. If you don’t mind, can I ask you about that as well?

Is there a way for me to post to the forum that will somehow notify you that there is a post for you?

I didn’t even think about silver being used for knife blades! Makes total sense! Thanks for explaining everything so well. Have a nice evening!

Sincerely,
Summer
olewheat

thanks vic, it makes sense now, didnt seem to even bother me a blade of silver would bend!! Thanks again.

You folks are quite welcome. I usually check this forum often unless I’m at our weekend place (no computer, and like it that way) or away on a fishing trip. I’m retired so time is my commodity…you may contact me directly,

Regards,

Uncle Vic

Sorry - my email is royvictor@cox.net

Regards,

Uncle Vic