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  #1  
Old 10-31-2013, 10:15 PM
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Dating old Randall blades by blade stamp

The following is a thesis. However, I've become confident enough that I find myself using the information ... so ... I thought I would share for discussion.

I?ve been looking at the stamps on the blades of old Randall knives, pre 1973. I think I?ve noticed something that will help date knives that were blade-forged before about 1966-68, and those forged after that date. This "forge-date" does not indicate when the blades were finished into knives, sheathed and sold, only when they were hot stamped with the Randall Made, Orlando, FLA trademark.

Please examine these three groups of pictures of blade stamps. I?ve chosen knives that were pretty definitely dated by certain characteristics and discussions.





In this last picture is one anomaly. It is a stamp on a blade that is earlier than the date of the sheath and other knife characteristics. this illustrates how this information could be both interesting and useful



Summary: From earliest, the Randall stamp on the blade remained seemingly unchanged. The ?O? in Orlando began about a half space indented from ?R? of Randall. The comma between ORLANDO and FLA was about half a letter high and no space separated it from ?FLA.?.

About mid-late ?60s, the stamp was apparently changed slightly. The comma between Orlando and FLA was reduced in height, a small space was introduced between the comma and FLA, and because of that, the ?O? of "Orlando" was moved more directly under the ?R? of "Randall", indented only about 1/8 letter or so.

Here is a summary picture of stamps that overlap the apparent change.


Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 01:51 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-01-2013, 04:25 PM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Good eye, Jack! You're a breath of fresh air for Randall collectors. I checked my stamps against your transition period and they align with your thesis. Note that I have an eighties 7-5 with the small stamp and the "O" in Orlando is indented below the "R" in Randall just like the pre-66-68 regular stamp.

Best,

Ron
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  #3  
Old 11-01-2013, 06:39 PM
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Hey Ron... just something I've been looking at off and on. But I've decided that it has enough truth to at least start a conversation.

Thing is, I see no evidence that once the new blade stamp was introduced the other continued to be used. This means that there is a definite, absolute date down to specific day that marks when this new stamp began to be used. We just do not know when that was... deduction says sometimes in mid-late '60s.

Interestingly, there are a number of knives that have the later stamp in earlier sheaths... some are quite well thought of and have been presented for review several times. I've used this stamp change when evaluating old brown-button era Viet knives.

Thanks for the kind words, Jack
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:39 PM
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Jack...for what it's worth, I have followed all the great work you did on the Sullivan,Johnson and Heiser sheath's...and now the excellent work on the
blade stamps...and it all fit's together...I would hope that all RMK collector's
would read your finding's and keep an open mind..and re-consider what they have been told these many years. Great work...and thanks.


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  #5  
Old 11-04-2013, 09:52 AM
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Going through many of the books that have extensive published pictures of dated knives, I think I can sharpen the date the stamp change occurred. It now appears that use of the new stamp began in early 1966.

The only kicker? ... many of the pictures in books that positively date a knife/sheath do not footnote how the date was determined. As a result, I usally look for documented knives, few though they may be.

Thanks for the kind words. Despite the voluminous postings, my contributions represent relatively modest amount of focused research, mostly simple compiling and description, which is basic to any system. I've been a little surprised to find how little of this had been done in the world of Randall collecting... and there is a LOT more that can be done.

Some of the stuff about sheaths just evolved as a result of conversation, especially with Ron who is actually the god-father of the brown button solution. The stamp issue here grew out of comments and posts about the flood of fake Randalls.

Collectors of anything tend to be a conservative group, with high regard for ... their own expertise. Taking on a long-held belief requires patience.. but usually truth wins out.

In the world of oriental rug collecting, the intellectual battles over the use of camel wool in persian rugs was pretty epic. A huge number of important collectors, authors, commentators including camel-wool industry personnel, absolutely believed it was common, and many collector-quality rugs were sold with that description. Bunk! It all was circular scholorship ... and mostly a myth, throughout history! That fact has become pretty much accepted and you now see the description "camel ground" instead of "camel wool", "ground" being shorthand for color.

But I had more credibility and time in that field than this one.

Regards.

Last edited by Jacknola; 11-04-2013 at 10:00 AM.
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  #6  
Old 11-04-2013, 10:41 AM
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Hi Jack!

Once again you have out done yourself with your fine research and keen analytic skills, this time with regard to the blade stamps.

As a collector of the Modern era of RMK, I am in no position to add anything but encouragement to your efforts to further clarify the difficult process of attempting to date the earlier Randalls.

However, I wish those who do collect the older knives would offer their opinions and knowledge to the discussion. Unlike Ron, it appears that these folks are unwilling to share their expertise on this forum.

I hope that folks would put whatever petty quarrels, old grudges and misconceptions they may have, and would cease to be intimidated from participating here .

I can only repeat that this forum remains a place where everyone is welcome to participate.

Cheers!

David


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Old 11-04-2013, 01:25 PM
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Moose, there probably isn't that much to discuss, other than date of the stamp change. The change in stamp is pretty un-refutable.

Found pic model 1 with last varient of brown macarta, late '65-early '66 with "newer" stamp. Start of '66 is as good a date as any for change.. and it is apparently an absolute change.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:13 PM
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The beautiful package above was the catalyst for publishing the use of the stamp change to identify age. The combination above has a pre-1963 brown button sheath with a knife that is post ?66 from the blade stamp. This is an example of the value of recognizing the date of the stamp change for those collectors who are most interested in the Vietnam era.

As far as the date of the stamp change, I think we can get to a pretty precise date even without knife documentation. But there are some caveats, the most important being the reliability of conventional dating techniques. Thanks to Rod, we can be sure that all the "low S" stainless knives had the ?old? stamp. The change to the ?new? stamp occurred during in the the ?separate S? period for stainless knives, which is commonly thought to have lasted from about 1965 to 1969 or so.

But of course that period spanned several years. We can do better. Below are three pictures scanned from Sheldon?s book, of knives he identifies with pretty precise dates of manufacture. The first is a model 17 Astro that he says is closely dated to late 1965. It has the ?old? stamp.



The next two knives have the ?new? stamp. The first is a model 5 with what he identifies as the last phase of brown Micarta that he attributes to first half of 1966. The second knife is a 7-spacer model 19 that he identifies as having a blade grind unique to late 1966.





If the dating in Sheldon's book is correct, then early ?66 is a good date for the stamp change. What is remarkable is how the "new" stamp was used seemingly across the board. All models, even bowies exhibited the font geometry change about this time.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 01:56 PM.
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  #9  
Old 12-18-2013, 06:43 PM
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Here is an update on blade stamps used to help date Viet era knives. It is a continuation of previous posts.

Concerning the the start of stamping continuing through the Vietnam era, it has already been noted that in about 1966 the font geometry of the blade stamp changed. I?ve now found that from about late '50s-early 60s to late '64-early '65 or so, there were actually two stamps with different font geometries being used apparently simultaneously. So if one is looking at a knife from the Vietnam era (say... 1961-1973), it is important be aware that three different blade stamp geometries exist*. I?ll call these ?type 1, type 2, and type 3? just for shorthand.

Type 1 has been described in detail previously as the stamp font used from the start of the Randall stamping until 1966. Type 2 was used apparently concurrently with Type 1 from about 1960, or even possibly as early as 1957, or so (time has not been fully defined) to about late 1964. Most SS marked blades have this type stamp, but not all. Type 3 has already been noted as the stamp geometry adopted post early 1966.

The type 2 and type 3 stamps have some similarities and it is important to be able to recognize the difference between the two ... or else some significant errors in date estimation can be made.

Type 1, used prior to 1966 has been previously discussed. Here are three group pictures, one sub picture has red lines noting the significant alignments: The vertical line of the ?F? in Fla. is aligned with the right leg of the ?M? in ?Made.? The ?O? of Orlando is offset under the ?R? for Randall as previously discussed, and the comma is tall and is below and inside the legs of the "M" with little space between it and the "F".



Note the type 1 stamp is pictured on an SS knife, low S knife and a separate S knife. For what it is worth, almost every low S knife I?ve looked at has this type of stamp. So far, about 20 percent of the separate S knives have this geometry.



Dated knfe 1960, type 1 stamp



Type 3: The differences between the pre-1966 type 1 and the post-1966 type 3 stamp have been previously discussed. For reference, here are some pictures of type 3 stamps including one with red marks showing the key elements of the geometry. Note the leg of the ?F? is beneath the middle of the ?M?, the ?O? is almost directly beneath the ?R?, and the last ?O? of Orlando is more aligned beneath the word ?RANDALL" and the comma is smaller with a notable space between it and the "F."



Type 2: At first glance it looks somewhat like a Type 3 stamp because the leg of the "F" is beneath the middle of the "M". But that is pretty much the only point in common. The first ?O? in Orlando is indented further than that in the type 3 stamp , very similar to the type 1, and the last "O" extends well beyond the last "L" of RANDALL, again like the type 1 stamp. The comma is smaller than in the type 1 and located just inside the first leg of the "M" and there is not very much of a space between it and the "F".

The type 2 stamp was apparently used for a majority of the SS stamped blades that I've seen, but also for a few other blades and appears on some knives documented to as early as about possibly late 1950s, but certainly by 1960-61 But just not very many compared to the type 1. For some reason, this stamp seems to have disappeared completely shortly after the advent of the ?low S? blades.





Last, the inevitable anomaly. Note that most SS blades have a type 2 stamp, most low S blades have a type 1 stamp. And the change from exclusively Type 1 to type 3 stamp occurred early in the separate S period. So? how does one explain this knife?



This anomaly shows the value of knowing these stamps. The knife is a low S knife made post 1966. How can we tell? It has both the low S and a type 3 stamp? which shouldn?t have been forged given the already completed transition to "separate S."

The explanation is probably that in 1966-67 or so, the blade was forged and then stamped with the RANDALL MADE stamp while cherry red. The knife-maker then picked up the ?S? stamp and instead of stamping it next to the RANDALL MADE stamp, reflexively stamped it in the old low ?S? position. Perhaps he accidentally put the RANDALL MADE stamp too close to the hilt location, and with minimum space to stamp the "separate S" he just defaulted to the low S position. But, sometimes I wonder if he chuckled while thinking.. ?this will REALLY throw them off 50 years from now.

As a summary, here are the "Cliffs notes" which directly compare the three types of stamps.



* Actually there were four blade stamps during Vietnam era, if we count the "integral S" stamp adopted late '60s. But that stamp is not part of this discussion.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 01:58 PM.
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  #10  
Old 11-15-2015, 12:53 AM
Andy_ita Andy_ita is offline
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Hello guys
Greetings from italy
I need a little help.
Anyone could tell me the date of this blade stamp?




http://imageshack.com/a/img905/7352/wVfLTY.png
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  #11  
Old 11-16-2015, 11:14 AM
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This is apparently an etched logo, not a stamped one. So there is not a defined way of using the logo to identify age (as yet). Etching is done after the blade has been annealed instead of using a stamp when the blade is still red hot.

You can usually identify an etched blade by the "Os" in "Orlando." The etched "Os" are round whereas the stamped "Os" are oval. There are other characteristics as well.

As I wrote, there has not been a study comparing etched logos. I had intended to do one after the discovery of the differences in stamps, but I have not followed through. Why? At first glance I could not see an obvious difference between etched logos throughout the 1960s which is the period I am most interested in. And only a percentage of Randall blades had an etched logo.

Of course all the Solingen blade Randalls were etched as were other individual knives in other models .... especially when a stamp was mis-applied. Also, all the names and shop-personalized information was etched. So perhaps it could be worth following up, looking at fonts, etc. A study comparing etched logos from the 50s, 60s, 70s might develop something useful for age determination, or perhaps not.

Truth is, I do not understand the basic process and steps involved etching a blade and have not found a pictorial that explains it. Some time ago I saved about 50 close up logo pictures of etched blades to form a data base for a study. Perhaps sometime in the future. Right now I'm not very motivated to further provide research for this hobby.

Last edited by Jacknola; 11-16-2015 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:29 PM
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Hello Jack.
I wanted to contribute what might be the first 2 blade stamps Bo had.

We know he ordered his first stamp in 1939, then ordered another in Aug 1943.

Here is what I feel is the 1st stamp that Bo had. Picture of Ron Mathews pre WW2 knife





The following is the stamp on my WW2 Hunter





Definitely different stamps, the left scimitar on my knife, the top of it is square to the R in RANDALL.
The earlier stamp on Ron's knife that top edge is higher and angled to the R.

So I believe that Ron's knife exhibits the first stamp as his knife is earlier, and mine the 2nd one, that the shop got in late 43.

Another illustration using Jacks pics from an earlier post in this thread, which I believe is the 2nd stamp ordered in 1943 like mine illustrated above, still a type 1 but 2nd generation.


Compare the 2 stamps below. Compare the scimitars on both sides to the nearest letter. Definitely differences on both sides. Bottom photo is Ron's early stamp.





Regards, Samg

Last edited by samg; 02-01-2016 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 07-28-2017, 02:01 PM
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This line has been restored, rescued from being held hostage by photobucket.

Since this was first published, the dating of the three stamps has been satisfactorily proved by thousands of examples. Here are three new pictures that will assist identifying the type of stamp at a glance.








Oh... I hate photobucket management.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 07-28-2017, 05:52 PM
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Thanks again, Jack!

Is this you?



Cheers

David


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