Imagine having a vast collection of Camillus Kabar knives but not knowing how to find out their manufacturing era. If you are one of them, then this is the right spot for you.
In this blog post, I’m going to answer one of the burning questions, how to date a Camillus Kabar knife?
To make the job easier for you, I’ll explain a method of dating Camillus Kabar knives. That is stamp analysis.
Along with that, to identify when the knife was made, you might need to check out the catalogs. And the best method is to talk to the dealers and sellers who deal with these knives on a regular basis.
So, without any further ado, let’s get straight into this topic right away!
How To Date A Camillus Kabar Knife?
A Camillus Kabar Knife can be dated by the Camillus tang stamps from 1902 to 2007. But, there is nothing to get stressed about. I will be explaining the tang stamps of each era.
So, match the description of the stamps with your Camillus right away.
1902-1915: The First Few Years
In 1902, the word “Camillus” was carved in an arched way on the top of the tang stamps. Below that there is a dash-dotted line with a single dot between two dash lines like the one you see in the picture below.
After that dash-dotted line, you have the inscription “CUTLERY Co NEW-YORK”. The “NEW-YORK” inscription goes below the “CUTLERY Co” inscription.
1916 – 1929: The New Era
However, the era of new stamps began in 1916. It was a transition with black letters with the same text, but there are some minor changes in the text.
For example, the letters “A &S” from CAMILLUS, “R” from CUTLERY, and “O” from the COMPANY are black. You might have noticed that in the previous text, the alphabet “O” was in lower case. And in the 1916 stamp text, it is in uppercase.
Here, you’ll notice a 3-line straight stamp “CAMILLUS CUTLERY CO NEW-YORK” as shown in the picture below. The inscription “CUTLERY CO” is placed over “NEW-YORK” and “CAMILLUS” is over “CUTLERY CO”.
Plus, like the previous tang text, it has also a hyphen between the word “NEW-YORK”.
1930 – 1945: A New 4-line Stamp
Some knives have a 4-line tang stamp like “CAMILLUS CUTLERY CO. CAMILLUS. N.Y. U.S.A.”
The text “CAMILLUS. N.Y.” is carved over the “U.S.A.” text and “CUTLERY CO” goes over “CAMILLUS. N.Y.”. And, the word “CAMILLUS” is on top of the tang stamp like the one you see in the picture below.
Therefore, if your Camillus knives have these characteristics in their stamp text, they were most probably manufactured between the early 1930’s tomid 1940’s.
1946-1955: Another 3-Line Straight Stamp
Again, a new 3-line stamp was introduced in 1946, and it continued until the mid-1950s. If you see that the text “NEW YORK” is carved over the “U S A” text and “CAMILLUS” is over “NEW YORK”, it’s probably been made somewhere between 1946 and 1955.
Additionally, here’s an underline below the word “CAMILLUS”, but the underline doesn’t reach the full length of the letters of the word “CAMILLUS”. Plus, you won’t notice any punctuation marks except space in this stamp text, unlike the previous one.
1960 – 1976: A New Stamp For The Space Age
Another new stamp was used from 1960 to 1976. Here, you’ll also notice a 3-line straight tang stamp, and the text “NEW YORK” is placed over “U S A” and “CAMILLUS” is over “NEW YORK”.
At first sight, the previous one and this one might seem just the same to you. But, there’s a little difference. For example, the previous one has an underline below the word “CAMILLUS”, but the underline doesn’t go below the full length of the letters of the word “CAMILLUS”.
Whereas, here the underline below the word “CAMILLUS” goes below all the letters of the word “CAMILLUS”.
Like the previous stamp text, here you’ll also notice the absence of any kind of punctuation mark except space.
1976 – 1989: New Stamp With Italic Font
From 1976 to 1989, the word “CAMILLUS” in the 3-line stamp text was carved in italic font. In addition to that, in the word “CAMILLUS”, both the “l” and “U” and ”S” are joined together.
And, there is also an underline below the word “Camillus”. Unlike the previous one, there are periods between the letters of the word “U.S.A”.
1989 – 2007: The Last Few Years
Finally, the last stamp appeared in 1989 and continued until bankruptcy in 2007. Here, you’ll have a line in both the upper and lower portion of the word “CAMILLUS”
But, the upper line doesn’t reach the full length of the letters of the word “CAMILLUS”. There’s no line over the letters “C” and “S”. You’ll also notice periods between the letters of the word “U.S.A”
The stamp text was “CAMILLUS New York U.S.A.” (“New York” over “U.S.A.” and “CAMILLUS” over “New York”) just as you see below.
So, with the help of these stamps, you can easily date a Camillus Kabar knife.
Camillus Kabar Knife Identification (3 Simple Ways)
You can identify the Camillus Kabar knife in three ways, such as:
- Stamp Analysis: It’s already been explained in the upper section. So, let’s head on to the next one.
- Checking The Knife Catalogs: If you can manage the catalogs of a Camillus Kabar knife, then you can easily identify it. The top companies feature their knives in catalogs. And with the help of these catalogs, you can easily find out the era of that particular knife.
- Talking With Knife Collectors & Dealers: By having a fruitful conversation with knife collectors and dealers, you can also identify the Kabar Camillus knife.
Camillus Kabar Knife History
Adolph Kastor, the founder of the Camillus cutlery company, came to the U.S.A at the age of 14. The turning point of his life was when he created a new path for himself when his uncle’s factory was not going well.
However, he began both exporting and selling German knives to his U.S.A customers. The amazing fact is that he started making and selling knives door to door to keep his business running.
Gradually, he founded the Camillus knife company, and the knives from this company were used in WW1 & WW2. A proud moment for him, right?
But, to our dismay, because of poor management and tough competition from overseas companies, the factory was shut down in 2007.
Keep in mind that these knives are still known for their antiquity all over the world.
When Did Camillus Knives Go Out Of Business?
The Camillus Cutlery company made knives for years, but the condition of this company began to collapse around 2005.
It was facing financial problems, and for 6 months the workers went on strike. Eventually, this particular company closed on February 28, 2007, and they went out of business because of the lack of proper management.
In this subsection, let’s get to know some related questions that people often ask on internet forums.
Should We Collect Camillus Knives?
Yes, we should collect them, and if they were customized for the Army or Navy then it is definitely worth collecting. As they are historical items, they will help our new generation to understand and value history and also inspire them to create something like this.
Which Steel Is Used To Make Camillus Knives?
Carbonitride TitaniumTM, which is cutlery grade steel, is used to make Camillus knives. These blades are so strong that they will continue serving you for an extended period of time. Remember, Camillus is one of the oldest knife manufacturers that has survived the test of time.
Well, there you have it, people. Now that you’ve got a clear understanding of how to date a Camillus Kabar knife as well as much more unknown information regarding this topic. So, if you’ve gone through this article carefully, I hope you won’t have any trouble identifying any Kabar Camillus knife.
Finally, I would like to inform you that these Camillus knives are very historical, and in ancient times, people were very fond of them. So, if you have any Camillus knives in your collection, keep them safe and preserved.
Thank you so much for dropping in today, you guys are the bee’s knees!