If you've spent any number of years around knives, whether it be just using one, or as an avid collector of the sharp, shiny things that grab a hold of so many, then you've probably seen a few Imperial brand knives and chances are good you even have a couple hiding out in a box somewhere.

They have filled the garage sales and flea markets for years, being sold and peddled for mere pennies at a time. These knives are, cheap. But, when was the last time you saw an American made product that actually worked sell for a reasonable price? Sure, you can bring home a Case sodbuster knife for around $20.00, but for that you could own a couple dozen Imperial knives. Of course the factory is closed now, so, anything you get is going to have a little age to it.

Super thin carbon blade, thats about standard for these knives. A thin metal like material is the handle scale and often times there is no shield. Not exactly the most beautiful of choices when buying a knife, but again, they are cheap and they work.

An Imperial knife wasn't made for a rich man, it was made for an every mad. 

So everyone, lets see your Imperial knife.

Tags: Imperial, Providence, R.I., USA

Views: 26789

Replies to This Discussion

My hobby is more the repair of old pocketknives than collecting.  I buy them up, fix them up, then put them in boxes in the basement.  An item of interest to me is dating the knives.  I've studied some brands and can give a good guess by some different logos, handle materials, blade shapes etc.  Does anybody have a history of the Imperial knife company?  I have a number of old camping-style Imperials, some stockmans and a couple fishing knives that have conventional solid handles and pins through nickel-steel bolsters.   Would be nice to date these well-built examples.

Imperial tang stamps

The early ones don't have "USA' stamped on them.

The first two years that Imperial used  the "Hammer Brand" logo on there shell handle

knives, they didn't have the "USA" stamp either (1936 & 1937). Imperial bought the "hammer Brand"

trade mark from New York Knife Co in 1936 after NYKC went bankrupt in 1931.


The most common old ones had "Providence" spelled out (1932 - 1936).

 The 1936 - 1952 knives had Providence abreviated (Prov. RI)

Early stamped knives of solid construction are of a high quality. Most had Celluloid

handles but every once in a while you will find one with bone handles.


Adding solid bolsters and scales to a shell handle is a great way to make a nice knife.

They used some of the BEST quality carbon steel that you can't hardly beat for sharpining

and holding an edge!!!



Here is a nice Imperial I recently bought. John suggests its one of the German made Imperials. Can any of you tell me any more about this well made knife? thanks.

Imperial Jack knife. 3" closed, 2-bld, nickel silver badge shield, ??? scales, tang stamped "Imperial Prov. RI.", nickel silver bolsters/brass liners/pins.

Hey, Johnny,

Have you seen my posts about the Imperial Knives. I've been collecting them for about 10 years. But, if they dont have a car key as the second blade, I don't want them. I'm trying to build a history of the company and Curtis Industries. Curtis made the key blanks to fit into the Imperial knife.



Pete, Loved your story about the Gangster. Seems I was right there with you. Thanks for sharing. Ken

I have several imperial knives love the look of the old bone ones. Will post couple pics if I can figure out how
How do you post pics

Donald Jones said:

How do you post pics
Click on the second box from the left at the top of the comment box Donald .


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