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    Username Post: Marbles knife history        (Topic#921828)
    TAL0531
    Member
    *
    04-13-12 03:27.16 - Post#2461092    







    I have recently acquired two beautiful Marbles knives. A 4 ½” Ideal with Maple Burl handle and aluminum pommel and a 10” Trailmaker with jigged bone handle and aluminum pommel. I managed to get them new in the box and they are from the Marbles Outdoors era. I know this is about near the end of Marbles’ original production. I know they are at least post 2002. They do not have “USA” marked on them at all. Does this mean they were made by Camillus or somewhere else? The packaging is misleading because it says “Made in Gladstone, MI” on the blade sleeve. I know my Marbles knives are not the best that were made but they are still very rare for their relatively young age. Does anybody else know more about Marbles knives dating and history. They were an amazing company before the knives were sold to Blue Ridge and SMKW. I am interested in anything regarding Marbles knives and I would love to hear some history from folks more knowledgeable than myself.

       Attachment



    Edited by TAL0531 on 04-13-12 03:35.05. Reason for edit: No reason given.
     
    N710
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    04-13-12 05:12.22 - Post#2461118    


        In response to TAL0531

    Your Trailmaker is a early 2002 model based on the spacer colors and design. That spacer pattern was used on the very last left over blades from 2001 before they switched blade steels (and outsourced the blade steel, and dropped many models.) Another clue to this is the single line lazer ecth of the Marbles logo, it was only used for a very short time also on the left over blades. New models in 2002 with the new blade steel were stamped not lazer etched with the single line Marbles logo. I am pretty sure the steel in your trailmaker is the 5160 they were using in the larger knifes pre 2002.

    The Marbles knives pre 2002 had the lazer etch Marbles with Gladstone,Mi USA on them.

    The new knives from 2002 on used the same spacer pattern and colors so they can not be dated. The 2002 knives went to the single line Marbles logo stamped/ not lazered. Around 2003/2004 Camillus started supplying the blades for the marbles knives in 0170-6 steel. The last several years of production they added USA back on the logo stamping.

    No one knows for sure who supplied the blade blanks for the knives before Camillus but it is rumored it was also 0170-6.

    So you Can tell a Marbles with a Camillus blade for certainty by looking for the Marbles with USA stamping.

    As to your question, the classic series of fixed blades from 2002 til Marbles went bankrupt were handled and finished in Gladstone even though the blades were outsourced.

    There were also different generations of boxes and sheath types.

    If I had to guess the date on your Ideal I would say 2005-2006. Your Ideal has the spacers pattern and colors that they used on on the knives from 2002-end of production.

    I have been collecting/studying the pre 2002 knives for over 12 years and have a large collection, all the catalogs and a database of models and pictures.

    Feel free to ask questions

    Jon

    nieljn@aol.com

    Edited by N710 on 04-13-12 05:22.18. Reason for edit: No reason given.
     
    N710
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    04-13-12 05:35.09 - Post#2461124    


        In response to N710

    Also.

    The Stewart era Marbles knives 1998-2001 had different spacer patterns for each year so the knives can be dated. And again there were a very few with the spacer pattern on your trailmaker which indicates early 2002.

    Not to confuse you more but some of the first models made in 1998 had stamped Marbles Gladstone, MI USA logos but were quickly changed to lazer etched as they had too many rejects with the stamping process.
     
    TAL0531
    Member
    *
    04-13-12 05:37.52 - Post#2461126    


        In response to N710

    Thanks! Gee, Marbles had a confusing last few years. I am curious about the models and handle materials Marbles offered in the 21 century. I remember looking at Marbles' site back in the day and seeing all those stock photos from what I took to be everything they offered. Looking at Ebay now there is so much variety. For instance, the Ideal came in leather, wood, bone, stag, aluminum/stag pommel etc. I remember writing to Marbles for a catalog request but it was already too late. I think that was in 2009 or 2010, possibly 2008?
    Do you have anything good to say about the new bought out Marbles? They seem pretty bad. I mean they are offering Trailmakers for $50 as opposed to $200. They say it's the same materials like genuine stag and genuine leather and damascus. But I really don't trust the quality.
    Tim L.
     
    MikeStewart
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    04-13-12 06:07.34 - Post#2461132    


        In response to TAL0531

    Please do not blame the current Owners for the Marbles Product line.

    The product line was ruined by the same people that owned it from 1995 until the knife division was bankrupted recently.

    The Current Owners asked if they should re-introduce a line of American made Marbles knives and they were advised by me that it was a waste of time and effort.

    I advised them to continue to sell the Chinese and Pakistan made stuff that the previous owners ruined the line with.

    I told them that it would be literally impossible to overcome the damage done by the previous owners.

    They would never recover the money that they would have needed to invest to restore the Company to it's Pre-Chinese import days.

    The Company was already totally Wrecked for knowledgeable Collectors so there was nothing to salvage.

    The New Owners are making very good money on the Import stuff they are selling under that brand name now so in my opinion they should just keep doing that.

    I also promised that if they did want anything made in short run production and American Made that I would make it for them.

    To date I have only made a small batch of the Marbles Plus Club Knives from the 2009 orders that were paid for and the money lost in the Bankruptcy. I am making them for free because the Club Members don't deserve to be screwed out of their money. Sharpshooter is making the sheaths for free also.

    It is very hard for many of us here to see a hundred year old American Company Wrecked but I'm afraid that there is no feasible way to salvage it.
    BRKCA MIKE #01
    NJKCA #041

    "I Am America"

    Bark River Facebook Group - Join Today

    RIP Chris + 1


     
    TAL0531
    Member
    *
    04-13-12 06:30.02 - Post#2461138    


        In response to MikeStewart

    It is too bad that an old legacy like Marbles that invented the modern (modern to 1890s folk) hunting knife as we know it is faltering, but I am glad that the Marbles name continues. They do seem to be making a lot of profit. Looking on Ebay and the place is just flooded with new products. That's good to see. Obviously not now, but maybe some day the Marbles name will be redeemed. I don't really mind foreign made knives anymore. Some of mine are actually better than my American made knives.
     
    Sharpshooter
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    04-13-12 07:50.36 - Post#2461166    


        In response to N710

    • N710 Said:
    ...

    So you Can tell a Marbles with a Camillus blade for certainty by looking for the Marbles with USA stamping.

    As to your question, the classic series of fixed blades from 2002 til Marbles went bankrupt were handled and finished in Gladstone even though the blades were outsourced....



    I don't know where this information comes from, but it is categorically untrue.

    The entire knives operation moved to Tennessee long before the bankruptcy.

    Brinkley took over in 2004 and began moving it at that point.

    As far as quality goes.... 2002 is pretty much the end of the road for "historical" quality knives.

    The new knives coming in from China are a nice product for the price. Folders especially.

    Blades are 440a, the fit and finish is VERY nice and I haven't seen one yet that walk and talk as well as anything else in the ordinary slip joint market.

    The fixed blades do leave a bit to be desired for fit, finish and feel, but that's likely to improve over time.

    I would prefer that the Marble's name be handled as it is now than for it to be treated like GM did Oldsmobile.

    It's a fine old brand name that is being preserved to present itself to a new market.... better than for it to be left to die and be forgotten.


    Experience life on purpose
    BRKCA Mike89
    Sharpshooter Sheaths
    NorthStar Trading Post
    עור פועל


     
    N710
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    04-13-12 12:20.06 - Post#2461244    


        In response to Sharpshooter

    Just repeating what I had seen stated.
    If what you say is true thanks for the facts.

    My point was that the knives were still being made in the USA.

    I thought Brinkley took over in 2002?

    Edited by N710 on 04-13-12 12:23.31. Reason for edit: No reason given.
     
    Sharpshooter
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    04-14-12 01:24.44 - Post#2461365    


        In response to N710

    2002 Brinkley essentially bought in.... became Chairman and CEO, but was NOT the owner.

    The rest of the camel entered the tent in 2004.

    As for knives being build in the USA.... I'm not certain I would concur. Realize your information likely came from the same people telling the public the knives were being made with Alchemite Steel, a term someone invented as no such steel was ever heard of prior and could easily be as specious as Carbon V.

    They claimed the knives were made "here".... what does "here" mean? The original implication was "Here" in Gladstone Michigan when it was challenged "here" came to mean "here in the USA." They weren't of sufficient import at that point for anyone to challenge the veracity of that claim, but I suspect we would come to learn that "here" referred to "Here on planet Earth."

    Kudos to the new ownership for integrity... they make no bones about bringing the knives in from China. The new folders are quite nice and a terrific value for the dollar, much in keeping with Webster Marble's interest in providing good gear at an affordable price.
    Experience life on purpose
    BRKCA Mike89
    Sharpshooter Sheaths
    NorthStar Trading Post
    עור פועל


     
    Dogbreath
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    12-16-13 07:29.32 - Post#2579892    


        In response to Sharpshooter

    Sorry, but once the supply chain was established in China, no one knows what they have. The Chinese are very good at making counterfeit products. Now that they have the designs, they can make knives with the Gladstone or USA mark on them and sell them as antiques. Unless you are metallurgical engineer and have a test kit with you, you won't be able to tell what kind of blade material you have. The collector market has been diluted and values should reflect that.

    The Chinese might be making a good product for Smokey Mountain at a cheap price, but so what! Those knives are not made in Upper Peninsula - Gladstone, MI by Americans as they were at the turn of the century. I am tired of sending our dollars and jobs over seas.

    My money is going to American Manufacturers. My knife purchases will be from Bark River Knives which are designed, fabricated, and assembled by Americans! They use US made high tech steels, and sheaths made in the UP also. I dare say that these are the best money can buy.

    If everyone took this stance, we might have a better economy.

     
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