20. The Shell Knife Patent

Patent #2,310,648 was applied for on Nov. 25th 1942 and the patent was approved on February 9th 1943.

Colonial called this patent a Knife Handle Patent.

The resulting knife became known as a shell knife. A shell knife was made by completing the inside of the knife first and adding the handle as one of the last steps in the process. The inside was called the skeleton. It was the frame of the knife, fully assembled with blades and springs and it just needed a handle attached to be finished. The handle had little tabs on it and it could be attached very quickly by just sticking the handle on and bending the tabs down.

There were many benefits to this way of making knives.

Selling knife skeletons to other company’s who would make their own handles and sell the completed knives. There was a huge jewelry industry in Providence, Rhode Island and was a big part of the reason so many knife company’s were in Rhode Island. Selling knife skeletons or very basic completed knives to jewelers so they could fancy them up with jewels or engraving and re sell them. A pocket watch with a nice knife at the end of the watch chain was a very popular thing at the time.
It also really sped things up at the Colonial Knife factory. Not only could they make knives so much faster than ever before but they could make the skeletons and many different kinds of handles ahead of time and store them until an order was received. Then it was a very quick process to assemble whichever style of knife and handles the customer ordered.

I believe this patent and later the new bolster patent were pivotal in Colonial becoming one of the largest manufactures of pocket knives in the USA.

Colonial knives dont have the best of reputations among some the knife world. Especially the shell knives. It seems to be a love them or hate them kind of thing. Honestly the handles do have a tendency to come loose and rattle around on some models. The shells with one tab on each end seems to be worse than the ones with tabs in the middle under the handles in my experience. So there are people who wont have anything to do with them and then there are the people like me who love them because they are such a neat reminder of the way things used to be. These knives take many of us back to our childhoods.

I also would like to point out that these shell knives were a cheaper model of knife. Colonial also made Ranger, Anvil and Old Cutler which were a much higher class of knife if thats what you wanted to pay for.

Back then cheap import knives were not around and Colonial provided a much wanted low priced knife. Colonial sold so many of these shell knives that Camillus brought out a lower priced line of knives just to compete with Colonial. At the time the average Camillus knife sold for $4. Colonials shell knives were $1. So Camillus found a way to lower costs by using the same high quality blades and springs they normally used but cheaper, more basic handle materiels and cutting out some stuff like shields and bails. Camillus called that line Camco and it sold for $1 just like the Colonial.

So clearly the main reason Colonial came up with this invention was for easier, faster knife manufacturing. They also claimed that the cover would be more securely held in place providing a more rigid handle that would not only be more durable in use but would have a more attractive appearance. Now that I dont agree with

Here is how Antonio Paolantonio explained his invention.
“In the use of pocket knives it has been known to provide a cover for the handle part of the knife by wrapping a piece of thin, flexible material such as Celluloid about the shell which is attached to the frame plate and securing this flexible material by tucking the edges beneath the shell plate and binding the edges in position upon assembly of the shell. In many instances such as due to different climatic conditions, the cover would slide or raise at its end, and difficulty was experienced in holding the cover in this form in place.

One of the objects of this invention is to provide a cover which will be more securely held in place and one which does not rely upon a gripping relation between the shell and the frame for holding the cover in position.

Another object of this invention is to provide an arrangement for securing a cover to the shell prior to the assembly of the shell on the knife frame.

Another object of the invention is to provide a knife handle of more attractive appearance and more rigid and durable in use.

With these and other objects in view, the invention consists of certain novel features of construction, as will be more fully described and particularly pointed out in the appended claims.”
Below is the actual patent information.
KNIFE Filed Nov. 25, 1942 INVENTOR – ATTORNEYS Patented Feb. Q, 1943 KNIFE Antonio Paclantonio, Providence, R. 1., assignor to Colonial Knife of Rhode Island Company, Inc., a corporation Application November 23, 1942, Serial No. 466,574 6 Claims. (Cl. 30-164) This invention relates to a knife, more particularly the handle of a pocket knife.

In the use of pocket knives it has been known to provide a cover for the handle part of the knife by wrapping a piece of thin, flexible material such as Celluloid about the shell which is attached to the frame plate and securing this flexible material by tucking the edges beneath the shell plate and binding the edges in position upon assembly of the shell. In many instances such as due to different climatic conditions, the cover would slide or raise at its end, and difliculty was experienced in holding the cover in this form in place.

One of the objects of this invention is to provide a cover which will be more securely held in place and one which does not rely upon a gripping relation between the shell and the frame for holding the cover in position.

Another object of this invention is to provide an arrangement for securing a cover to the shell prior to the assembly of the shell on the knife frame.

Another object of the invention is to provide a knife handle of more attractive appearance and more rigid and durable in use.

With these and other objects in view, the invention consists of certain novel features of construction, as will be more fully described and particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

In the accompanying drawing:

Fig. 1 is a top plan view of a jackknife in which the invention is embodied;

Fig. 2 is a, view similar to Fig. 1 but showing the frame and blade of the knife alone;

Fig. 3 is a top plan view showing the shell and its bolsters with the cover attached;

Fig. 4 is a section on line 4 l of Fig. 3;

Fig. 5 is a sectional view illustrating the frame and blades of the knife with one shell of the handle secured in position and omitting the shell of the handle on the opposite side;

Fig. 6 is a section on line 66 of Fig. 4;

Fig. 7 is a top plan view of the shell alone, omitting the cover;

Fig. 8 is a central section of Fig. 7;

Fig. 9 is a top plan view of the flexible cover;

Fig. 10 is a top plan of the binding member.

In proceeding with this invention I have used the same thin, flexible, ornamental cover material such as thin Celluloid and of a sufficient width to tuck under the shell to a sufficient extent to be secured by an independent added binding member which I have provided and which metallic binding member itself may be secured by means of prongs to the shell.

With reference to the drawing, Fig. 2 shows the frame ofthe knife, designated generally l5, with blades l6 and I! fitting between the frame plates I8 which are assembled with a spring bar in a known manner and provided with spacers l9. Notches 2B are provided at each end of the frame plate I8 for the assembly of the shell therewith.

The shell is designated generally 2| and is shown alone in Figs. 7 and 8. It is pressed from sheet stock to provide bolsters 22 at either end thereof which are equipped with tabs 23 to fold through the notches 26 and lodge in the recesses 24 in the plate I 8 (see Fig. 5). These bolsters are connected by a strip of material 25 which is concave-convex (see Fig. 6) and is provided with prongs 26 cut from the stock thereof and located in spaced relation as shown in Figs. 4 and 8. This strip 25 sets below the bolsters so as to provide shoulders 21 between this strip and the bolsters as shown in Figs. 7 and 8.

The cover, designated generally 30, consists of Celluloid or other flexible material, which is folded about the convex surface of the member 25 and by sharply folding and fixing by such folding the edges of this sheet 34, the edges are located beneath the shell. This ornamental material 38 thus covers the openings formed by cutting and bending down of the prongs 26. The flexible material is held firmly to the shell by a binding member 3| (see Fig. 10) having openings 32 through which the prongs 26 extend to be bent over the surface of the member 3| and hold it firmly against the under side of the shell to bind the edges 33 of the cover material against the under side of the shell and between the binding member 3| and the shell.

In this manner the cover may be assembled upon the shell prior to the securing of the shell to the knife frame and the cover is firmly held in position on the shell between the bolsters and cannot ride up over the bolsters by reason of the shoulders and the secured attachment of the flexible material to its reinforcing member. It is unnecessary that the tabs 23 be strong or that the shell be so strong as to act as a means for binding a cover member in place. Further the binding member may be made sufiiciently heavy to reinforce the shell and make a strong handle.

I claim:

1. In a knife having spaced plates providing the frame thereof, a shell secured to said frame, a cover over said shell with its edge portions extending over the edges of the shell and beneath the same, said cover comprising a sheet of thin, flexible material and a binding member on the under side of the shell and secured thereto.

2. In a, knife having spaced plates providing the frame thereof, a shell secured to said frame and provided with bolsters at each end, a cover over said shell between said bolsters with its edge portions extending over the edges of the shell and beneath the same, said cover comprising a sheet of thin, flexible material and a binding member on the under side of the shell and secured thereto for binding the edge portions of the cover in position.

3. In a knife having spaced plates providing the frame thereof, a shell secured to said frame, a cover over said shell with its edge portions extending over the edges of the shell and beneath the same, said cover comprising a sheet of thin, flexible material and a, binding member on the under side of the shell and prongs on said shell engaging said member for binding the edge portions of said cover in position.

4. In a, knife having spaced plates providing the frame thereof, a shell secured to said frame and provided with bolsters at each end, a cover over said shell between said bolsters with its edge portions extending over the edges of the shell and beneath the same, said cover comprising a sheet of thin, flexible material and a binding member on the under side of the shell and prongs on said shell engaging said member for binding the edge portions of said cover in posi- 5. A scale for a knife comprising a shell having the end portions thereof in the form of bolsters, a cover located between said bolsters comprising a thin, flexible material extending over the edges of the shell and beneath the same and a binding member on the under side of the shell and means to attach the member to the shell to bind the cover material in position and tabs at the end portions of said shell for attaching the same to the frame of a knife.

6. A scale for a knife comprising a shell having the end portions thereof in the form of bolsters, a cover located between said bolsters comprising a thin, flexible material extending over the edges of the shell and beneath the same and a binding member on the under side of the shell and attached thereto to bind the cover material in position.

ANTONIO PAOLANTONIO.

 

 

colonial-patent-us2310648-0

 

Below are a couple of my shell knives I removed the handles from to show the skeletons.

shell-knives-covers-off

 

The tabs that are folded over to hold the handles on can be seen in the picture below.

shell-knife-tabs

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