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Author Topic: My Huber  (Read 5709 times)
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Ed Fowler
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« on: February 15, 2013, 03:54:53 PM »

About 7 years ago I was introduced to an honest Bowie knife that has probably been in a fight and has proven herself in actual use. I could not afford to own her at the time, but kept up a correspondence with her owner and we became friends, he wanted me to have her so that she could be displayed to the public. This is her first introduction, thanks to PhilL below are photos of her as she is now. The spine has been used as a hammer, the dents in her spine appear to have been caused by one of her early owners using her as a hammer. These dents in her spine appear to have been caused through use at different times. The Blade is Cast Steel which was the best there was at the time she was probably made.

I believe she was made very early in the time of the Huber knife, probably in the early 1830's, before the Alamo. H. Huber Steel Marked knives I believe were made from 1832 to 1833. Her scabbard was made using brass for the throat and tip. The brass is missing from the tip of the scabbard. The frog stud and rivet are made of steel, the guard is brass. I believe she is the work of Henry Huber, his excellence at the forge and grinder are a wonder to study. I have studied the steel in her blade with a microscope for hours and find no faults due to the quality of the steel itself or in the work of the man who made her.

The physical evidence recorded in the blade indicates she was in a fight, there are 5 knife cuts in the right side of the knife about one inch from the tip. There is what appears to be a serious knife cut in the right side of the ricasso that is also seen in the side of the guard. If this cut was made while a man was holding her, he would have suffered a serious cut to his thumb (if he was right handed). This cut would probably allowed him or her to still hold the knife as it could have only affected the extension of his thumb, he still could have held on should he have chosen to do so.

The blade is 9 3/4 inches long, handle 4 1/2 inches long for an overall length of 14 1/4 inches.

   

« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 04:40:17 PM by Ed Fowler » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2013, 04:24:33 PM »

Very nice post Ed.
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Joe Calton
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2013, 01:53:44 PM »

Shes a beauty Ed!!

How far into the handle does the tang extend?
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2013, 02:26:45 PM »

I had her X-Rayed, the tang is 2 & 7/8ths inches long, extends 2/3rds of the length of the handle. The tang is very substantial and kind of interesting, I believe that he was getting too close to the surface of the antler so he ground a little off of the tang to preserve the strength of the handle.

I find myself unable to keep my hands off of her.

She has been sharpened, but only slightly. There is what may be a small knife cut in the edge and a few very slight dents.

You can still see the original grind marks. From the mid line she is very slightly hollow ground.
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davidm
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2013, 05:32:17 PM »

What a beautiful piece of history, Ed! Congratulations to you. Smiley. It is a thing to behold such a nicely preserved instrument of a bygone age. I am happy for you.
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2013, 05:38:27 PM »

Huber knives are believed to be the first American Bowie knife with a true clip-point with a sharpened false edge. According to several authorities on Huber and Sheffield Works bowie knives to date there are approximately 14 to less than 20 Huber Bowie Knives extant.

http://www.warpathmilitaria.com/engine/inspect.asp?Item=55&Filter=Archive
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2013, 06:55:55 PM »

Thanks for adding the research David!

You are very correct, 18 are said to exist, there is one look alike of a Sheffield Works Knife, but that is it. I believe the antler handled ones were made first and she was the first Bowie that was dedicated to function. I only know of three with the antler handle, The Stapelton Bowie, the Campbell Bowie which was in the museum at the Alamo and disappeared and this one, I believe they were made my Henry Huber Jr. They were made to be used and sold as using knives. I also believe that they were made a little prior to 1832 and production of these knives ended around 1860.

The English and Huber's Bowies make up the rest. They were very fancy and made for the folks with money considered 'serious jewelery for men' and not used. They are usually in "mint condition" and very fancy, they have handles I would hate to have to use for any extended time.

The fact that this knife was used hard and stood up well is testament to Henry Huber's knowledge and ability to make a knife that could be relied on when a man actually needed a knife.

I will be adding to this thread, but want to allow others to offer their thoughts.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 10:56:17 PM by Ed Fowler » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2013, 05:25:27 AM »

This is a post I just keep coming back to.
I would love to see this knife in person.
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2013, 08:12:44 AM »

I plan on bringing her to Blade Show, along with my Ames Rifleman's knife and a well used Kyber Knife and maybe more.
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2013, 12:44:46 PM »

See you there Ed .
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2013, 08:28:55 AM »

Wow Rad:
Three Hubers in one place, that is a record. When you look at the "Art" Huber (Sheffield Works) you can readily see where function was no longer a consideration.

The first photo of a Huber looks like what is known as the Campbell Huber. If it is, it was presented to the Alamo Museum by Dr Cambpell and subsequently lost.
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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2013, 10:13:30 AM »

The one in your link is a photo of what I call the Campbell Bowie. The Campbell Bowie is thought to have been given to Don Augustine Berra by James Bowie in 1835, Dr A. R. Campbell was a grandson if Berra. That link you provided that PhilL put together is the best photo I have ever seen of the knife. I cannot recall where PhilL found the photo. Maybe he will join in - hint, hint.

I believe Henry Huber made the ones for actual use, while James English made the fancy ones for collectors. Both types of knives could have been made during the same time frame, but not until James English joined the outfit.

Looking carefully at the sheath I can see no indication that there was ever a tip piece. The frog stud on my sheath is made of steel, not brass. My Bowie also used steel pins to attach the handle instead of brass seen on others.

The above are photos posted through the help of PhilL, he is a master at putting photos together and a top hand at KTO, thanks PhilL  The scabbard was very dry and about ready to fall apart. I doctored the old leather with Pecard Antique leather dressing and it seems to be great for old leather.

I believe that the Lucie Bowie, Campbell Bowie and the one I have were all made at the same time and none of the three were marked English and Hubers. Being forge blades it is not unusual to have lengths vary, thus mine came out to be 9 3/4" long.

Mine is marked:
H. HUBER
? Steel
PHILLAD

The first two lines were made with one stamp. The ? is because there may have been another letter (maybe a C for cast steel) the did not fully imprint the blade. The man who stamped it did not have the stamp exactly level with the blade.

I believe like you that this was probably the model of knife the Bowie Brothers wanted. I also believe that this style became the one for general distribution in their catalogs.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 03:41:02 PM by Ed Fowler » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2013, 07:21:06 AM »

That link you provided that PhilL put together is the best photo I have ever seen of the knife. I cannot recall where PhilL found the photo. Maybe he will join in - hint, hint.

Ed, you sent me the black & white photos (or scans) of the Huber.
I just cleaned them up a bit, increased the contrast and put them into a montage, so you could see the whole story of the knife in one picture.
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2013, 08:45:31 AM »

My memory must be slipping. That montage is of the Lucy - Dr Stapleton Huber.

She is now owned by Mark Zaleski editor of Knife World.

Very nice job PhilL.
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