The Ulster Knife Co.

Ulster Knife Works

Ulster Knife Works

Ulster Knife Company, founded in the 1870’s in Ellenville, NY. From the 1870’s through about 1940, produced very high quality pocketknives, similar to Schrade during the Schrade Cut Co era. For knives of that period, I would rate the Ulster brand as actually being more collectible than Schrade because the brand is completely gone.

Ulster was bought out by Albert Baer in 1904. They retooled and produced a much more “mass market” type pocket knife, similar to Camillus and Kutmaster. When Ulster then was absorbed into Imperial Schrade, they of course ceased to be a separate company but the name was a “brand”. Similar to Ford/Mercury or GM/Chevy/Buick etc.

From post WWII through the mid 1970’s, Imperial, Ulster, and Schrade knives were made by one company, Imperial Schrade. Imperial was the “low end” line, Ulster was the “mid-grade” line, and Schrade was the “high end” line.

The Ulsters were a step down in quality from Schrade, thinner blade stock, thinner bolsters (but still solid nickel silver), and a less broad range of patterns made. In my 1963 catalog of Schrade and Ulster, the Ulsters were about half the price of Schrades for equivalent patterns.

The funny part of this is that all these knives were made on the same machines. They also were all part of a company owned by the same person. Is it any wonder that you run across the same or similar numbers and styles. In fact that is kind of what makes these knives fun. It is nice to think that everything is regimented and in a nice order but the fact is you can find combinations no one ever knew existed. There has never really been a good codification and listing of Schrade knives and any records are usually post WW II prior to that you have there catalog which only shows the regular styles and models. Which is far from inclusive of everything they made some styles were produced in such small quantity’s that they never made the catalog, prototypes, saleman’s samples, overruns incorporating what ever was left from the last run, mistakes, just to name a few examples.

The company factory was shut down in 2004 and the Schrade brand name was bought up by Taylor Brands of Tenn.

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Published in: on June 14, 2015 at 4:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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