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Vintage J.B.F. Cutlery

Vintage J.B.F. Cutlery

Very few cutlery items marked J.B.F. Champlin have survived, here are a few examples that we are aware of.

Don’t be shy if you have something in your collection that we should include here!

 

 

 

 

February 2016

Mike recently found a pearl whittler marked “WILLIAM DARTT LIMITED” that is the spitting image of a pearl Champlin knife marked “GALVANIC 1882”!

We have often debated on where JBF had these old Galvanic pocket knives made. I have always suspected that they were German made, but had little proof. Check out these photos and how similar the knives are. The Dartt knife has brass liners, while the Galvanic has nickle silver liners. That seems to be the only difference.

Goins lists very little information about William Dart Limited, it simply says “c 1898”. Another Dartt whittler is known to be marked “Wm Dartt Ltd, Flora Works Solingen”.

I suspect that George W. Korn ordered the Galvanic knives for JBF Champlin while abroad in Germany. It is known that Korn did the overseas purchasing for Cattaraugus Cutlery. It is also known that JBF purchased some knives in the US, but we don’t know which patterns.

 

Matching whittlers, GALVANIC 1882 at top and WILLIAM DART LIMITED at bottom.

Matching whittlers, GALVANIC 1882 at top and
WILLIAM DART LIMITED
at bottom.

Matching whittlers, GALVANIC 1882 at top and WILLIAM DART LIMITED at bottom.

Matching whittlers, GALVANIC 1882 at top and
WILLIAM DART LIMITED
at bottom.

Matching whittlers, GALVANIC 1882 at top and WILLIAM DART LIMITED at bottom.

Matching whittlers, GALVANIC 1882 at top and
WILLIAM DART LIMITED
at bottom.

 

This first Hawkbill knife is stamped “J.B.F. CHAMPLIN” in a straight line over “WARRANTED”.  It was found many years ago in an antique store in Western New York by one of Tint Champlin’s grand daughters.

 

J.B.F. Champlin Hawkbill

J.B.F. Champlin Hawkbill

 

 

Tang stamp read JBF Champlin over Warranted.

Tang stamp reads: JBF Champlin over Warranted.

 

Here is another Hawkbill, but this one is marked J.B.F. Champlin & Son.  This knife is from Michael Losicco’s collection.

J.B.F Champlin & Son Hawkbill

J.B.F Champlin & Son
Hawkbill

 

J.B.F. Champlin & Son tang stamp

J.B.F. Champlin & Son tang stamp

J.B.F. Champlin & Son tang stamp

J.B.F. Champlin & Son tang stamp

 

 

 

These two knives are part of the collection at The American Museum of Cutlery in Cattaraugus, NY.  The photos are courtesy of Curator Patrick Cullen.  The Hawkbill is marked JBF CHAMPLIN in a straight line over WARRANTED, just like the first knife above.  The coke bottle is marked J.B.F CHAMPLIN in an arch over WARRANTED.

Two JBF pocket knives

Two JBF pocket knives

 

Champlin Hawbill

Champlin Hawbill

 

Champlin Coke Bottle

Champlin Coke Bottle

 

This last knife was recently discovered on ebay.  It has the same frame and tang stamps as the knife above.  J.B.F. CHAMPLIN in an arch over WARRANTED. Did you notice that both knives have broken secondary blades?

jbfcoke_2

 

This very rare single blade Champlin folder with ebony scales is a whopping 5 1/4 inches long and is marked “J.B.F. CHAMPLIN” in an arch over “LITTLE” over “VALLEY” over “N.Y.”.

5 1/4 Inch Single Blade

5 1/4 Inch Single Blade

 

 

We go from large to small with this dainty ivory handled, glove hook.  The tang stamp is tiny and hard to read, but it looks to be the same as the knife above, “J.B.F. CHAMPLIN” in an arch over “LITTLE” over “VALLEY”.  This gem is only 2 3/8 inches long when closed.

Lady's Glove Hook

Lady’s Glove Hook

 

Here’s a very similar knife to the one above.  This knife is marked “CC KNIFE CO” in an arch over “PHOENIX” over “NY” (Central City). This knife recently sold online.
Since JBF was a Jobber in his early days and Central City had a manufacturing plant, it’s possible that JBF had his Glove Hook knife manufactured at Central City. These knives certainly look similar enough to have come off of the same line. Make sure to compare the nail nicks and the lettering on the tang stamps.  This is speculation of course.

Central City Phoenix, N.Y.

Central City
Phoenix, N.Y.

 

 

To compliment the glove hook photos, we have an interesting ad for a “Lady’s Combination Knife” with ivory handles that was clipped out of “The Cottage Hearth Magazine” from Boston, Mass. in 1882.  (This is not a Champlin knife).

1882 magazine ad for a Lady's knife with glove hook

1882 magazine ad for a Lady’s knife with glove hook

 

 

Here is a JBF Champlin carving set complete with fork and steel.  Photos courtesy of Michael Losicco.

JBF carving set

JBF carving set

 

JBF Champlin, Little Valley etch

JBF Champlin, Little Valley etch

I have bumped the contrast and sharpened the detail on this photo of the etch so it’s easier to see.

 

Here is an interesting pair of Button Hole scissors.   They have JBF’s mark on the front and Korn’s US Patent number on the back. These scissors could easily indicate that Champlin & George W. Korn were doing business together before JBF added the “& Son” designation to his company’s name.

Korn button hole scissors with JBF Champlin mark.

Korn button hole scissors with JBF Champlin mark.

 

 

Here are 3 very rare Champlin knives marked Galvanic 1882 from Michael Losicco’s collection.

3 Pearl Galvanic Knives

3 Pearl Galvanic Knives

 

 

5 inch JBF folder.

5 inch JBF folder.

We are very pleased to post this historic, 5 inch JBF Champlin folding jack.

This knife was originally purchased when it was new by Huber Hill who lived his entire life in Washington County, Pennsylvania where he owned a small farm. He was also a brick layer and a carpenter. Huber left this knife to his son Roy Hill, who in turn left it to his son Ron Hill. Ron was kind enough to part with this heirloom that has been in his family for 3 generations. Many thanks to Ron and his family!  Photo courtesy of Michael Losicco.

 

Here is a wonderful carving knife and fork with fancy ferrules marked “J.B.F CHAMPLIN” over “LITTLE VALLEY”.  I’m not sure what kind of early plastic the handles are made of.

JBF Champlin Carving knife and fork.

JBF Champlin Carving knife and fork.

 

JBF Champlin Carving knife and fork.

JBF Champlin Carving knife and fork.

 

JBF Champlin Carving knife and fork with fancy ferrules.

JBF Champlin Carving knife and fork with fancy ferrules.

 

 

Here are some very RARE pieces that Losicco recently picked up from a Bruce Volyes auction.

These over sized knives were made by Beaver Falls for the 1876 Centennial Expo in Philadelphia. These knives were acquired by JBF Champlin when he purchased the manufacturing equipment from the defunct Beaver Falls Cutlery.  Some of these exhibition knives have matching forks. These knives were on display at the Cattaraugus booth at the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. Well Done Michael!!!!!

Beaver Falls Exhibition Knives.

Beaver Falls Exhibition Knives.

 

 

Wow! Here is an amazing find that turned up at a gun show!!!   This Hawkbill pruning jack is marked “JBF CHAMPLIN” over “WARRANTED”. It would most likely have been made between 1880 and 1882.

Even though the butt cap is missing, the blade is in wonderful condition, as are the wood scales. Congratulations Bret and Kathy!!! Thanks for sharing these scans!

J.B.F. Champlin Hawkbill

J.B.F. Champlin Hawkbill

 

J.B.F. Champlin Hawbill

J.B.F. Champlin Hawbill

 

 

Tang Stamp J.B.F. CHAMPLIN over WARRANTED

Tang Stamp
J.B.F. CHAMPLIN over
WARRANTED

 

 

J.B.F. Champlin Hawkbill

J.B.F. Champlin Hawkbill

 

 

Here is another JBF CHAMPLIN over “& SON” over “WARRANTED”. This knife has some blade loss and plenty of rust, but it’s still a very solid knife with a hefty snap to it.

J.B.F. Hawkbill pruning jack

J.B.F. Hawkbill pruning jack

 

J.B.F. Hawkbill pruning jack

J.B.F. Hawkbill pruning jack

 

Tang stamp detail J.B.F. CHAMPLIN over & SON over WARRANTED

Tang stamp detail
J.B.F. CHAMPLIN over
& SON over
WARRANTED

 

Here is that same JBF Hawkbill next to a Friedmann & Lauterjung Hawkbill. When I purchased the F&L knife I was wondering if perhaps they were made in the same factory, but once I compared them side by side, I think not. Among other things, the pins are in different places.

JBF and F&L Hawkbill knives

JBF and F&L Hawkbill knives

 

The Friedmann & Lauterjung knife has a brass butt plate, iron liners and nickle silver bolsters (it has also been crudely repined). The JBF knife has iron liners, butt cap and bolsters.

JBF and F&L Hawkbill knives

JBF and F&L Hawkbill knives

 

Tang stamp detail Friedmann & Laugterjung Hawkbill

Tang stamp detail
Friedmann & Lauterjung
Hawkbill

14 Comments

  1. I recently found a pair of the button hole scissors in an old tackle box. Can you give me any info on these? They are the same as the ones pictured above. Looking for date of manufacture and value. Also is there any polish or cleaner i can buy tomake them shiny snd clean? Thanks for your time….. Mark

    • Hello Mark,
      Sorry to be so long in responding, your comment was buried in the spam folder.

      The patent on those scissors was issued in 1881 and they were made for several companies. If yours say “JBF Champlin” on them, they are rare.
      Even so, they are not worth much. I see various issues of Korn button hole scissors sell on ebay for less than $15 sometimes.
      As far as cleaning, many people like a product called “Semi Chrome”.

  2. I have a straight razor “box” with JBF Champlin’s name on it with some other indisinguishable letters on it. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!!) it has a Wade & Butcher Sheffield razor in it!!

    What can you tell me about the JBF Champlin razor business – what might be the vintage of the box?
    I live in Friendship, NY not too far from Little Valley where I understand the Champlin/Cattaruagus Cutlery was located.

    Thanks

    • Hello Lyle,

      So sorry to be so long in responding. This web page gets tons of spam every week and I missed your comment due to all the
      junk I had to wade through.

      Champlin’s first razor boxes were marked “J.B.F. Champlin” and were first made around 1880. In 1882 his son joined the business and the name on the box was changed to
      “JBF Champlin & Son” That name was used for many years.

      Thanks for saying hello!

      Derek

  3. Have a small 3″ bladed (total length 5″) pair of scissors marked J. B. F. Champlin’so Galvanic. Any value or history? Not seeing many scissors in my searching. Thanks for any help/information.

    • So very sorry to be so long in responding. Your comment got buried in pages of spam comments and I didn’t see it until today.
      The scissors could have been made as early as 1880. They never sell for more than $15 to $30. If you still have them, I would like to see a photo or two.

      Thanks for writing,
      Good luck.

  4. My great uncle gave me a straight razor one side has J.B.F. Champlin & Son on the other side it has GALVANIC. Any ideal how old it could be. I could send pics.

    • Hello, it could have been made anywhere between 1882 and 1910.

      Good Luck!

  5. Afternoon,

    I ran across a Champlin straight razor and was wondering if they are considered of value. This one has a yellow handle although I do not know what the material is.
    Can you help?

    Thx in advance

    Roy Constible

    • Hello,
      Champlin razors are not uncommon. Does it say “JBF Champlin & Son”? The “& Son” means it’s newer.
      Depending on the condition, the razor is worth somewhere in the $25 to $50 range.
      If it says “made in Germany, it’s really old, about 1882.

      Good luck!

  6. I have a straight razor marked B Champlin Mfg. Co. Randolph, NY
    It may be HB Champlin as part is obscured. The blade has two small chips. It is in a black plastic case with the name Ys-By (wise buy). The razor folds into a silver engraved holder. Could the holder be sterling? How old is it.

    • Hello,
      You have a very rare razor. As you guessed it is marked “HB Champlin”, for Hugh Champlin who was JBF Champlin’s nephew.
      I have the only seen one Hugh Champlin razor before, but the handle was not metal like yours. It was most likely made by George W. Korn around
      the year 1900.

  7. I have gotten a JBF Chaplin Straight razor handed down to me. It does not have “Son’s” on it so I have figured it is from 1880-1882. What it has that I have not read about… is “Senator Warranted” is just under where it says JBF Chaplin. Any ideas on this???

    Thank you

    • Hello Jason,
      The Senator razors are not very common. They have a heavier blade and I suspect they were intended for barbers.
      I have a Champlin razor strop that is marked “Senator” as well.

      Thanks for writting!

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