How to Date A Kinfolks Knife to A Specific Era

Of all the knives that I have ever tried to date, the Kinfolks remain one of the most beautiful. Just look at it and you would see the same thing.

However, that beauty does come with some challenges in telling the exact era that the knife is from. If you have a Kinfolks knife of your own to date, you probably know that already too.

Today, you and I are going to go through a journey that should, hopefully, help us estimate the founding date of your Kinfolks knife – or what era it came from at the least.

History of the Kinfolks Knife

There is no definitive history of the Kinfolks knife around, but the little we know of them is as interesting.

If you have already guessed from the name, this company was founded by entrepreneurs who were related to one another. One thing you might not have guessed is that two of the founding members – J. Russell Case and Dean Case – also found the Case Knife company.

The consensus is that the Kinfolks knife company was established around 1924 from when they made these really fine knives till the 1950s. The company closed shop in the 1950s and they have since been resurrected in other capacities.

During the time which they made knives, the company created a long line of hunting and fishing knives.

It is believed that some of these tactical knives made it to WWII but there is no concrete proof of that anywhere. Even if there is no evidence on that, it doesn’t drive down the value of these well-made, vintage knives.

One of the most interesting things about this company is that they were founded in Little Valley, New York. This American heritage contributes to the high-value craftsmanship and quality control that ships with these knives.

Today, they have become a favorite of collectors, so much that we are interested in dating them to know whether we have the real deal or a fake.

Challenges with Dating the Kinfolks Knife

One of the biggest challenges with dating any kind of knife at all is the change of ownership that might have occurred along the line.

Fortunately, we don’t have that with Kinfolks, but there is a unique issue. The originals stopped being made such a long time ago that the catalogs and materials to identify them might have all gotten lost, or might be unreliable.

Add that to some shady collectors taking advantage of this fact to fabricate the fakes of these knives, and we have another challenge on our hands.

Likewise, everyone simply assumes that these knives only come from between the 1920s – 1930s era, which is not the case. Others give only a very vague date when the original Kinfolks company was making its knives and nothing more. All that can contribute to making it harder to know when these knives came from.

However, that should not deter you from knowing when your knife was probably made.

Dating A Kinfolks Knife Effectively

Dating A Kinfolks Knife Effectively

Try these methods to determine whether your Kinfolks knife is an original, or to know when it was made:

#1 Read through a dating guide

One of the most comprehensive dating instructions for Kinfolks knives has been put together by Dean Elliot Case. The book does not just contain biographies of the companies’ founders but also comes with up to four catalogs to aid your dating.

If you are vastly interested in the story of how three cousins came together to found a knife company that we still know today, check the book out on Amazon today.

You could simply want to know if several Kinfolks knives in your possession are originals before you list them for sale too. In that case, this book is also a good investment.

However, if you got the knife from an older person (your father, grandfather, uncle, etc), you might not need the book. Unless you are fascinated by these things, as am I.

#2 Check markings on the knife blade

Kinfolks used to mark their knife blades, and those markings helped tell what era the knives came from. They also sometimes referred to the blade or overall knife material which is equally helpful in narrowing down the years.

One of the most common models today has the “568 TC USA” marking on its blade.

This refers to the Flame Edge Super Hunter model which was made in the USA. The ‘TC’ marking shows that the blade was made of Tungsten Carbide, a material that Kinfolks started using in 1957.

Kinfolks were granted the patent to use tungsten carbide on their knives in 1955, and the knives went into production afterward.

It is not known when these knives went out of production, but they made it as far as 1993.

#3 Take it to the forums

I wish I could help more but this is as far as my limited knowledge can take me. I’d rather give up now than give you a piece of misleading information anyway.

Check out local knife forums where you have experienced knife collectors, enthusiasts, and users too. You can also check much larger forums such as BladeForums, AllAboutPocketKnives, or such other relevant picks.

Alternately, you can look for Facebook groups or other social media gatherings where you can find such knife experts. Be prepared to take clear pictures of the knife, but never send the knife to anyone to have it dated for you.

If you do, that might be the last time you see that fine blade.

Got Other Knives You Want to Date?

Besides Kinfolks knives, there are a series of other well-made knives that you may have and want to date. I have covered some of them here for you:

Those guides expose you to some insider tips and strategies to get the exact date of these knives, narrow down their era or simply confirm if you have the original thing.

Final Thoughts

Although a part of the Case knives family, Kinfolks knives didn’t have a long run in the market. For the time that they spent here, though, they came up with some pretty great knives that collectors are after today.

If you have one of such knives, follow the guide above to narrow down the date or era as much as you can.

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