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Author Topic: Knives of Nebraska  (Read 4072 times)
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Ed Fowler
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« on: April 20, 2007, 03:24:46 PM »

I just got back from spending a few days with Harlan Suedmeier who took over the remaining inventory and documentation of Little Giant power hammers. We are very fortunate to have his knowledge and dedication supporting the longivity of Little Giant and those of us who use them.

He showed us part of his collection of Richtig and Nichols knives. Two great knife makers who had the courage, desire and developed the ability to make their own knives. Richtig may have been the first to use the cast aluminium handle and developed a very superior heat treat for his steel. Bob Nichols made some of the most fascinating handles ever made. Both were artists and leave us with some fine tributes to their devotioin to lady knife.



Above is a photo of the advertising board that Frank Richtig made for displaying the knives he had to offer. This traveled with him to county fairs where he demonstrated the quality of his knives and sold them.

Somehow I never put the two together as knife makers of Nebraska.
As we drove the interstate I was suprised to see a sign directing visitors to the Robert Henri museum. It turns out that he was also from Nebraska. Three great men of history, two knife makers and one artist and teacher of art who demonstrated and encouraged honest individual creativity.

Looking at their knives I see honesty and have the feeling that they promoted an ethnic or regional flavor complimenting the community in which they lived.

Can artists today reflect their community?

I believe so- consider the state itself, hard working farm country where a man's ability to adopt to his environment and work together with his neighbors to contribute to the benefit if the whole.

I call it freedom, freedom to contribute to the whole as well as be oneself in harmony.

Talking to Harlan, he never talked about profit, his goal was service, he has promoted longivity for the power hammers that serve many of us. While there he was called to the phone many times, he enjoyed each call, providing information about hammers, how to fix various problems, and providing parts that we would not have available to us without his devotion to friends he has yet to meet. His daughter Keri has taken an interest in the business and she has become very knowledgable about the attributes of Little Giant Power hammers.

Is this a regional trait? I don't know, but I do know it is alive and well in Nebraska and hope that you know it where you live.

     

« Last Edit: April 20, 2007, 05:24:49 PM by Ed Fowler » Logged

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Harold Locke
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2007, 10:02:06 AM »

How come photos are being deleted and removed? I have noticed this happening in the last week.


Ed,

I think in the more urbanized areas of America that the flash bang and fad have taken over and communities have lost a lot of the identity they had 20 or 30 years ago. My town Vista is one of them. Now we are copying other towns to have cultural center for perfoming arts and hot rod shows. Those are good things but we are no longer and agricultural community.

Except for the nursury busisness' one of which I work for. I had a great 16 hour day driving all over S. California in the rain soaking wet. I didn't get my rain suit on before the down pour. I drive to a customers location and unload the product by piece onto pallets or carts and merchandize it in the open areas of the garden department of stores.

Enough rambling from me. Now that Ed has presented the question I am sure it is another idea that will creep in and out of our thoughts as we progress in our lives.

Harold
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radicat
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2007, 03:15:54 PM »

     Harold, I don't know what photos are missing. I'll see if I can find at least where they should be. I noticed  awhile back, some photos of knives were blank boxes with a symbol and thought maybe my system was at fault. I've seen the same thing on ebay after a period of time. Some really old ebay stuff remains, but others don't. Also, the person that posts them can go back in for some reason to remove them. That is more likely if someone makes a derogatory comment about the photo. I hope that is not happening.
    Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention.    Clay
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Larrin
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2007, 03:39:31 PM »

When you use photo hosting sites, sometimes they are deleted after they have been on for a very long time, or sometimes they get deleted for unknown reasons a short time after they are uploaded. It's either a problem with the hosting site (in this case picturetrail.com), or the code for the picture is bad, and it's just a generic error image from picturetrail.com
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2007, 03:59:09 PM »

     Thanks Larrin, I believe you're right on this. Maybe there is a way to capture these images in another file before posting, so they will stick. If we can locate the member and private message them about their photos that are missing, we can learn more.
     Phil and pff know about these things. I hope anyone that knows of missing photos will message me, so I can investigate to the best of my ability. If someone goes to the trouble to share something with us, they need to know it will not be lost.              Thanks,    Clay
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Harold Locke
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2007, 07:59:23 PM »

Clay and Larrin,

The picture that made me comment is the one above. It's there now very interesting display of knives. I noticed in several places but the one that sticks out in my mind is the profile of Ed's new large fighter design. A buddy was over here and I was telling him how great it was going to look and signed on to show him. What my browser showed then and this morning for the above picture was a placeholder that advised me that the photos were removed or deleted to somefotosite.com. Don't remember the exact name though. But just now I signed on the photo is there.

Thanks

Harold
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radicat
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2007, 10:10:46 PM »

     Glad to hear it Harold. Ed took care of a glitch that he discovered. Thanks again for being diligent.
That display of knives is probably worth a fortune. Richtig is the guy that went around the country doing demonstrations like cutting car axles and railroad spikes with his knives to prove how tough they were. He was one of the pioneer users of the Paragon oven. He was far ahead of his time in innovation and ability.
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2007, 11:02:16 PM »

    If anyone would like to store a copy of a photo and/or the posts associated with it, you might consider a free service at      http://furl.net/         Storing a copy of the entire thread (or of anything) is a very quick process.

« Last Edit: April 22, 2007, 12:04:15 AM by radicat » Logged
Ed Fowler
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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2007, 05:22:44 AM »

We got the photos back up on the blade geometries thread, thanks for letting us know.

I have not listened to a radio for a long time, usually sitck with Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash cd's and play the same one over and over for days. Today Tena put the radio on and I decided to force myself to listen to the news and ads. I soon noted ads for folks to work at home and earn thousands. All the emphasis was on the money to be made, not one talked about self actualization or being a service to man or community or contributing to building a better mouse trap.

Sure knifemakers have to make money, but if that is why they are making knives their product will fall short. The knife maker who makes knives because he has to, even if he never sells a knife he will continue to make them. He finds himself absolutely obcessed with lady knife and gets ideas from many realms. I remember looking at a photo of Louren Becall, her lips, the lines of her upper lip, inspired a future bowie design. The man who day dreams about knives, can't eat a meal without looking at the knife on the table. Finds restruant knives interesting, and wonders about small aspects of their design, even if there is nothing spectacular other than simplicity. This kind of motivation produces knives that inspire otheres as well as the maker, one leads to the other. The cultural influence may be his alone or come from a geographic area or history that inspired him.

I believe this is where the Richtigs, Nichols and Loveless thoughts begin. From within.

I invite all to enter this discussion, have fun with it.

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Alan
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« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2007, 03:01:19 PM »

To earn money from a knife...

I guess thats not such a bad idea,
But it does go against a little of why I took up learing to make knives.

You see, my forge sits inside my shop.
But my shop is not just a place where I "work" on things...It's also my hide-out from working on other things...
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2007, 05:26:41 PM »

  quote:    Is this a regional trait? I don't know, but I do know it is alive and well in Nebraska and hope that you know it where you live.

     When I think of the origins of invention and industrious people, I think of Pennsylvania. It is said that one third of the people of this country have family roots in that state.
     I was once a professional family history researcher. It was before computers were so available to everyone to do much of what I did in the Washington. DC area, where the major collections are held. I've done a great deal of research about the people of Pennsylvania. I once indexed a huge antique volume to provide to other researchers. That index had over 20,000 entries. Imagine doing that without a computer.
     In doing these works I came to realize that the people that settled those lands once occupied by Native Americans were the most industrious of any. By far, they were of German and Dutch descent, and are generally referred to as the "Pennsylvania Dutch".
     As I started to think about what I wanted to write here, I didn't realize what revelation would result from it, as is often the result of research. It is no accident that Frank Joseph Richtig had an inquisitive and an industrious naure. He was of Pennsylvania Dutch stock.
     It is astounding that so many of the things we take for granted in our everyday lives have their origins in the inventive minds of these people. To name a few-- potato chips, the Christmas tree, aircraft engines, industial innnovations of every type, the Conestoga wagon that helped settle the West, and on, and on.
     Thomas Alva Edison is among the many notable inventors of this German/Dutch stock. The  Almish, known for their many inventions to improve the lives of common people are much respected.
     As families grew and the old homesteads were outgrown, the second and third generations of the Pennsylvania settlers moved west into states such as Nebraska, carrying with them the traditions that were essentially in their blood from many generations before them.
     They are known for finding ways to conquer adverse situations. A good example is that when Richtig (which means accurate) found it difficult to obtain quality steel to make his knives and tools during WWII (which spanned most of his knifemaking career), he made many of his knives, including some that went to war, out of files. So, if you are admiring one of his knives, you may be looking at an old file. He would not put out anything that was not of the highest quality available at the time and therefore when I hear someone knocking the idea of using a file to make a knife, I take it with a grain of salt. If it was good enough for Frank Joseph Richtig, it is good enough for me.
     The traditions are alive, thanks to the men and women that settled in Pennsylvania and helped to populate most of our hemisphere.                    Clay Strong
     
« Last Edit: April 22, 2007, 06:29:34 PM by radicat » Logged
Larrin
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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2007, 07:29:20 PM »

I've never understood those ads for getting rich quickly. People are sure that there is some way to make lots of money and not have to do anything to earn it.
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