View Full Version : Harrison Bros & Howson knife?


Josh Blount
09-05-2004, 06:37 PM
Hey guys,

I've been a lurker on this forum for a while now and have a question I thought y'all might be able to help with. One of the pastors at my church has a knife that was given to him, and he asked me if I could find anything out about the history of it. Its about 10" long overall, has a stag handle with a copper or brass ferrule and buttcap. The blade is an integral forged from about 1/2" stock and has a very straight belly for the length of the blade. A lightly ground false edge extends from the point about 2/3's of the way back to the handle. The stamp says 'Harrison Bros & Howson' below an emblem that looks like a crown set between a V and R. Farther forward on the blade its marked 'Spanish Blade'. A quick internet search seemed to indicate that the Harrison bros worked in Sheffield in the latter part of the 1800's, but I couldn't find anything else. Anybody know anything about the makers of this knife or any other info? I may be able to get a picture next time I see the owner. Thanks for any help you can offer.

Josh

Chuck Burrows
09-17-2004, 04:34 PM
Howdy Josh -
Missed this post. I'd check over on www.britishblades.com - seems to me I remember seeing some info on Sheffield makers and if not I know there are some of the guys over there that have studied the makers. The V crown R mark stands for Victoria Regina aka Queen Victoria

http://www.sipler-sterling.com/EnglishSilver.html - has pictures of a STAG HORN THREE PIECE CARVING SET made by your maker. Harrison Bros & Howson - Cutlers to Her Majesty

"Harrison Bros. & Howson, Sheffield 1860"

Do Google search for "Harrison Bros. & Howson" using the quotation marks - I found theme listed on lots of auction sites with dates from 1860 to at least 1937. They made helmets for WWII according to this site http://www.xs4all.nl/~gastein/ukca_development.htm

http://www.p4a.com/itemsummary/79152.htm - this link has a double edged dirk by them - dates say 1853-1919.
http://www.p4a.com/item_images/medium/07/91/52-01.jpg

Roger Gregory
09-17-2004, 04:56 PM
Hi Josh. Instead of answering over at British Blades I'll do it here :)

Richard Washer's book, "The Sheffield Bowie & Pocket-knife Makers 1825-1925" records:

Harrison Bros. & Howson
45 Norfolk Street, Sheffield
Circa 1853-1919

Washer recorded all the markings he was able to find. One of them is very clearly:

V (crown) R
HARRISON BROS & HOWSON
CUTLERS TO HER MAJESTY

That looks like the one you are describing. What I can't tell from this book is when that mark was in use. Chuck is of course correct that VR stands for Victoria Regina .... see this link for a Victoria Regina (http://www.imagesoflincolnshire.co.uk/NLI_24.htm) postbox in Lincolnshire :)

Any chance of a picture of the knife sometime?

One of Bernard Levine's books would be very helpful at this point. I must buy one!

Roger

Josh Blount
09-17-2004, 05:13 PM
Chuck and Roger,
Thanks for the help! I'd done a google search but I missed some of the sites Chuck posted, and I hadn't been able to find the Victoria Regina information, so that's a good start. I'd like to get some pictures, and I may be able to either this weekend or next - I'll post 'em if I do. Thanks again,

Josh

Chuck Burrows
09-17-2004, 05:18 PM
Howdy Roger - With all due respect to Mr. Washer the company was still in business as of at least 1937
Production of new helmets
June 1937: It became apparent that existing stocks were limited and that there were no dies to produce new helmet shells. Three firms were contracted to start the production of new helmet shells. Harrison Bros. & Howson (Sheffield),
http://www.xs4all.nl/~gastein/ukca_development.htm

A carving set with a 1929 date
http://www.bonhams.com/cgi-bin/wspd_cgi.sh/pubweb/publicSite.r?screen=NewNFlotdetailsNH&iSaleItemNo=1542640&iSaleNo=11304&sPath=
A cased silver mounted ivorine handled five piece carving set,
by Harrison Bros. & Howson, Sheffield 1929, with plain tapering silver capped handles and silver ferrules, steel blades

1931 date - http://www.abaassociates.com.au/catalogue/0309/CatPages/Page01.htm
A GEORGE V SILVER RECTANGULAR CARD TRAY, raised on four bun feet, Harrison Bros & Howson, Sheffield 1931. 157 x 88 mm.

A second Maker's Mark as makers to the late King George VI - his reign was 1936-39 and who died in 1952 - intimating that they were still in business after that date
http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=11660&item=6112777027&rd=1
YOU ARE BIDDING FOR AN ORIGINAL BOXED NEVER USED IVORINE HANDLED STEAK KNIVES X 6 MADE BY HARRISON BROS & HOWSON CUTLERS TO HIS LATE MAJESTY KING GEPRGE VI

Roger Gregory
09-17-2004, 07:31 PM
Josh, you are welcome ... if we can see the knife we can all see what there is to add.

Chuck, I am sure you are right, the company was no doubt still trading. There is something odd about a lot of the dates in Washer's book. They might relate to particular trademarks, unfortunately there isn't any commentary, just a list of names and addresses and copies of marks....

Roger

Roger Gregory
09-17-2004, 07:45 PM
Interesing ... more information comes to light!

I was searching American auction sites and "borrowed" this text:

"Harrison Brothers are also known as Harrison Bros. and Howson. The company were based at Norfolk Street in Sheffield and are known to have been in business from 1853 to the 1920's, although it is very possible that their dates extend beyond this period. They had an office in San Francisco to take advantage of the gold rush and were patronized by the Queen."

And on www.antiquesilverspoons.co.uk

"Harrison Brothers & Howson
Marks used:- HH, HB&H
Trademark:- a five point crown
Originally known as Harrison Brothers (from 1849) this Sheffield manufacturer took on Howson as a partner in 1862. The majority of flatware produced by them was EPNS, however some silver items can be found. They also produced good quality cased sets of carvers, fruit eaters and fish eater/server sets. They still trade today."

There is more out there :)

Roger

windryder
09-24-2004, 01:13 AM
Along this same line...........I've recently purchased a set of Harrison Bros and Howson Carving knives/forks and find that they are quite valuable. I'm looking at a folding knife, but have found no information about them ever producing this. ??? Anyone have any ideas? Thanks.

mirdreams
03-29-2005, 01:42 PM
But there's a folding knife by Harrison Bros & Howson for sale on ebay right now.