Camillus , A. Kastor & Bros. knives
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I'm like anyone else. I have my reason for collecting a particular brand. And, it makes sense to me or at least justifys it. I find the Camillus/Kastor company to have an interesting and long history. The many brand names associated with the firm are intertwined in the history of cutlery and is very much a part of American history. Kastor was mostly an import company and later became both an importer and knife manufacturer. They had dozens of brand names under trademark and many patents to their credit. Both Kastor and Camillus names appeared on U S. made and import knives. They made knives under hundreds of brand names for hardware stores, wholesalers, jobbers, distributors, organizations, department stores, other cutlery manufacturers, and more. There are even reports of them having knives made to their specs for them.
During WW1 and WW2 they made millions of knives for the U.S. military and our allies. Those knives turn up all over the world in collections. They are cherished as much by collectors in other countries as their foreign knives are cherished by us.
No one could ever collect an example of every knife they made. It is a challenge to find all of just one of their more common brands. The variety is mind-boggling.
Another reason the brand is popular is that the values range from dirt cheap to incredibly expensive. There is a specific collection possibility for anyone. You can collect knives that were sold by the firm in your area, a particular pattern, a certain handle material, or any of dozens of collection types.
You can't just buy a book that tells you all there is to know about this firm. There is much yet to be discovered. And, I enjoy the challenge. I hope others will join me in this quest to unravel the mysteries yet known. If you are looking for a great hobby, or you are already a knife collector needing a challenge that is affordable, fun, and full of variety, consider collecting Camillus and Kastor knives while sharing the experience with others of similar interests.
On Oct. 1, 1876 A. Kastor & Co. was formed by Adolph Kastor.
In 1885 Germania Cutlery Works was opened in Solingen, Germany by Nathan Kastor.
In 1888 A. Kastor & Bros. was formed by four brothers adopting the "Clover Brand".
They imported the English brands- EBRO, XLNT, Rivington, and others. They imported the German brands- Koester's, Germania Cutlery Works,Imperial Razor (Cutwell), Morley, Wadsworth, Duane, Parker, Majestic, Argyle, Corliss, and others. "Cutwell" was the very first Kastor brand name. The first of many.
In 1902 Kastor, purchased a small cutlery manufacturing firm in Camillus , N.Y. from Charles Sherwood. That was the beginning of Camillus Cutlery Company. Imported and U.S. made knives were under both Kastor and Camillus names.
In 1906 Camillus introduced the "Crossed Swords" brand trademark
During 1914-1918, leading up to and during WWI, Camillus and Kastor provided military knives for the U.S., Canada, Red Cross, and the Dutch.
In 1923 Camillus began providing knives to the Sears Roebuck company under the brands- Sta-Sharp, Dunlap, and Kwik-Kut.
In 1924 Camillus began "Stainless Cutlery Company" brand using stainless steel blades.
In 1934 Camillus began the "Kent" trademark on knives for F. W. Woolsworth.
By 1938 Camillus was using the brands-Streamline, Camco, Syracuse Knife Co., Mumbly Peg, High Carbon Steel, U.S.A., and others.
During the 1930's Camillus made hunting knives that evolved into their military knives during WWII.
During WWII Camillus was a major supplier of military knives for the U.S. and our allies.
At the end of the war the Kastor name was dropped.
In 1963 Camillus fell under the ownership of the daughters of Albert M. Baer, who had been associated with Camillus since 1922, Ulster since 1942, and Imperial since 1947.
1968-1984 Camillus make contract knives for Buck Knives.
Through the years, Camillus has made bicentennial, commemorative, and presentation knives for many occasions, enjoying the respect of the cutlery industry.
These are just the highlights of the history of a company that has served its country well.
Collecting Camillus and Kastor knives can seem confusing and frusrating at times with the many name brands that they used. It is often diffucult to know if a brand name is one of their trademarked brands or if it is one that was agreed upon under contract with a retailer, wholesaler, or even a company using knives as an advertising tool. Some knives believed to be Camillus/Kastor had no markings to indicate it. Both Camillus and Kastor imported from England, Germany, and even Poland. Most imports were by Kastor however. The Kastor family had their own factory in Germany and it provided many of the early knives, while they were making knives in Camillus, NY to fill the many contracts of various kinds.
You don't want to add a knife to your collection and then later find out that it is not what the person you got it from thought it was. Nor do you want to mislead anyone else. That takes some of the fun out of the hobby.
I have been gathering information on these brands from whatever source that I can. Sometimes I may only have a note that I made when I came across a bit of information. I will not claim that my information is all correct or that any part of it can't be challenged. I haven't been privvy to the kind of records that a good researcher would call proof. I can only hope that the person that passed this information on had some reason to believe it to be accurate.
You may have been doing the same. I will begin to offer my information here as fast as I can and to add any new information that I collect in the future. I encourage anyone that has additional material to also share it with others. If my data is questionable, please reply to this topic to give whatever comment you'd like. I want to be as accurate as possible, with your help.
If I have real doubt about any information because I have already seen conflicts, I may hold off posting it until I can learn more, rather than carelessly throw it out there. In any case I hope this is helpful to you all.
When I can get to it, I will provide a list of some of my sources to help others with their research. Again, I welcome any contribution you can make, whether it's to provide tips or tell me I'm wrong.
If you would prefer, you can send me a message here on Knife Talk rather than post a reply. So, bear with me, this will be a work in progress for some time.
This is a cross-reference type listing. To make it easier to find something it may be listed alphabetically in more than one place, but I will refer to the other listing when there is more information there. This is necessary because of the variety of marks that a given brand may have used. If I give a stamping, brand name, or company name first, I will provide the associated information nearby. Keep in mind that when a firm sold a brand name not made by them, that brand name may appear on knives made by several different cutlery manufacturers. Large hardware distributors and cutlery suppliers are good examples of this practice.
Alfred Williams see Williams, Alfred
America's Best Moore Handley Hdw. Co.,Birmingham, AL
US- Camillus ?-1962
Anheuser Busch, St. Louis, MO
German import- Kastor 1880-1914
US- Camillus 1932-1948
"Adolphus Busch" Nathan Kastor, Germania Cutlery Works ?-1932
Argyle Cutlery Co.
German import- Kastor c1910
Belknap Hdw. Co.,Louisville, KY
"John Primble" Camillus, Boker, Utica, Schrade
"John Primble" India Steel Works" Sheffield/Wolstenholm import Kastor?
"John Primble" (with star) Camillus ?-1965
"John Primble East India Steel Works
"J. Primble Belknap Germany" old stamp
"Primble" old stamp
"John Primble Belknap Hdwe. & Mfg. Co."
"John Primble Belknap Inc. Schrade
"John Primble India Steel Works Prussia"
"JOHN, PRIMBLE, I.S.W." c1913 per Belknap catalog
Buck San Diego/El Cajon, CA
contract- Camillus 1968-1984
Model 301 - premium stockman
Model 303 Cadet - junior stockman
Model 305 Lancer - premium pen
Model 315 Yachtsman- rigger's knife
Model 321 Bird Knife
Buster Brown Shoe Co. St. Louis, MO
Camco Camillus brand 1930's-?
"Camco, Mumbly Peg"
"Camillus (underlined), New York, USA" recent
"Camillus Cutlery Company, Camillus, NY, USA" 1902-1945
"Camillus, New York, NY" 1902-?
"Camillus, NewYork, USA" c1945
'Camillus Sword Brand, NY, USA"
Catskill Knife Co., NY Camillus brand 1930's
Clover Brand, Clover Germany import brand- Kastor and Camillus 1888-1941
US- Camillus, Syracuse,NY 1941-1942
"Clover Brand" registered 1906
Coast Cutlery Co. 1935-1942
Coca Cola Bottling Co. Germany import- Kastor 1920's-1940's
US- Camillus 1930's-1940's
"Coca Cola Bottling Co."
"Drink Coca Cola In Bottles"
"Have A Coke"
"Tome Coca Cola Helada"
"Drink Coca Cola Ice Cold"
"The Coca Cola Bottling Co."
Collins Bros. (Walter & Michael) Atlanta, GA Limited edition by Camillus 1970-1973
became Bowen Knife Co. 1973
Corliss Cutlery Germany import- Kastor
"Corliss Cut. Ger."
Corning Knife Co. Camillus brand 1930's
Cornwall Knife Co. Camillus brand 1930's
"Cornwall Knife Co., New York, NY"
Craftsman Sears Roebuck Camillus retail brand 1926-?
Crosman Blades a division of Coleman Co. Camillus wholesale brand
Crossed Sword, Sword Camillus brand 1902-?
"Sword" 1906-1942 registered 1906
"Sword Brand" 1942-?
Cutwell Kastor import brand 1880's-1890's
made by Imperial Razor, Germany
Kastor's first brand name
Diamond Edge Shapleigh Hdw. Co. Camillus wholesale brand c1940-1960
"D. E. (in diamond) Shapleigh Hdw. Co. St. Louis MO."
"Norvell-Shapleigh Hdw. Co. St. Louis MO"
Duane Cutlery Co. Germany import- Kastor c1910
Dunlap Sears Roebuck Camillus retail brand c1923-1930's
EBRO Alfred Williams-maker Sheffield, England import- Kastor 1900-1946
Enderes, Original tool manufacturer US- Camillus 1926-?
Fiarmount Cutlery Co., NY Camillus brand 1930's
Farrugut Cutlery Co., NY Camillus brand 1920's
Forged, USA Sears Roebuck Camillus retail brand 1930's
Germania Cutlery Works, Ger. Solingen-Ohligs, Germany manufacturer 1885-c1938
owned by Kastor, operated by Nathan Kastor
Hibbard, Spencer, Bartletts, & Co., Chicago, IL 1855-1960
became True Value Hdw. Co.
known brands by New York Knife, Ulster, Utica, & Camillus
O.V.B. (Our Very Best) Camillus
Hib Spe Bar
High Carbon Steel, USA Sears Roebuck Camillus retail brand 1930's
Holub Operations, Sycamore, IL electrical supply Camillus 1970's
Imperial Razor Germany import-Kastor 1880's-1890's
"Imperial Razor (with a star)"
"Cutwell" first Kastor brand
John Primble see Belknap Hdw. Co.
Kastor, A, & Bros.
Keen Kutter E. C. Simmons Hdw. Co. c1902-1923 Camillus
Shapleigh Hdw. Co. 1940-1960 Camillus
Kent, N.Y.C. F. W. Woolworth Camillus retail brand 1931-1955
Koester, J. (Jacob), & Sons Germany importer
"Koester's" part of Kastor
Kwik-Kut Sears Roebuck& Co. Camillus retail brand c1939
'"Kwik-Kut, USA" 1921-26
Majestic Cutlery Co. Germany import- Kastor c1910
Marshal Wells Hdw. Co., Duluth, MN 1888-1963
"M. W. H. Co."
Moore Handley Hdw. Co., Birmingham, AL 1883-1962
America's Best Camillus
other mfrs. were New York Knife, Boker, Schrade
Morley, W. H., & Sons Austria/Germany import- Kastor c1913-1927
Mumbly Peg, USA Camillus brand 1937-?
note-Winchester had a Mumbly Peg 1920-1929
Primble, John see Belknap Hdw. Co.
Robeson Cutlery Co. contract- Camillus
"Robeson, Germany" ??
Rivington Works, Sheffield, England see Alfred Williams
SWCC- see Simonds (Simmons) Worden White Co., Dayton, OH
Sabre, USA Camillus
"Sabre (in script) USA" on reverse "SABRE MONARCH" c1960
Sears Roebuck & Co., Chicago, IL retail brands Camillus
Sears, Henry, & Co. 1865-1878
Sears, Henry, & Son 1865 1878-1959
Sears Roebuck & Co. Chicago, Naponoch Knife Co., N.Y. c1900-1902
Sears Roebuck & Co. on tang 1886-1902
T.T.C. Tip Top ?, Camillus ?
Sevin pesticide co. advertisement Camillus
Shapleigh, A. F., Hdw. Co., St. Loius, MO
Simonds Mfg. Co. (Simons Saw Co.)
Simonds (Simmons) Worden White Co., Dayton, OH
Stainless Cutlery Co., NYC
Syracuse Knife Co., NY
Thompsom Center Arms, Rochester, NH
Van Camp Hardware & Iron Co., Indianapolis, IN
Wadsworth, A. W., & Sons
You are putting in some real work putting this informatin together. I congradulate your dedication. It takes a lot of time to build knowledge, at least now there is a record where others can find it.
Thanks Ed, I enjoy it. I'm in the process of moving my shop, so my knifemaking is in limbo for a while. This will fill in the gaps and quell the nervous twitches. I'd sure like to see the knives in your collection that have inspired you through the years. Like the Ruana. Take care.
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