View Full Version : damascus in pre 1800 north america?

11-30-2003, 11:32 PM
i have been challenged to find any documentation of damascus or pattern welded knives,that were either made or imported to the american colonies prior to 1800.i have spent several hours going in circles on the internet.if anyone has a starting point or reference material,it would be apprieciated.

Mike Hull
12-01-2003, 10:43 AM
You might have problems finding info on that. Most blacksmiths could make pattern welded steel, and did, right through WWII, when good barstock was in short supply.
The problem comes from the fact that they didn't advertise it as "damascus" steel, or "pattern" welded. It was just something they did when good steel was not available in the quantity they needed.
There was no blade etching/acid dipping. The blades were finished as bright as possible, like any other steel.

A friends father(a Blacksmith), over the hill from me, in Prescott, made knives for servicemen during WWII. He had to make them from pattern welded steel, as regular steel was strictly rationed.

I asked him(the son) at a knife show how he brought the pattern out, he laughed pretty hard about that. He said they did everything they could to cover the pattern up.
It apparently was not considered top notch steel. He then went on to say that the "secret" of pattern welded steel was never lost. It's just part of the training every true blacksmith goes through, then, and now. No big deal to them. :eek:

Chuck Burrows
12-01-2003, 11:46 AM
I'm in agreement with Mike - pretty sure it was used at least in part especially since pattern welded was frequently used for barrels on the "best" quality guns from England and France so the process was not lost for sure. Now on barrels the pattern was etched, but I think knives were a whole nother kettle of fish and "bright" steel was the sign of quality?

12-02-2003, 05:50 PM
Contact the folks at the living history center at Williamsburg. The blacksmith shop and the gunsmith's shop are pretty active all year. They should be able to turn you on to any revolutionary war era research.