A Few Rare Schatt & Morgan Boxes, Titusville, PA, 1900-1929
Ashley and Joe Mick, and Dan Lago, 8 -18 -2020.
Please see Acknowledgements to David Clark and Charles Dawson, p. 18.
Relatively little is known about how Schatt & Morgan marketed their knives and no documentation from the company has survived. But, it is very clear that some of their high-end “gentlemans” knives merited special care in selling. (The Schatt & Morgan #2 Catalog, about 1907, pp 101- 117, illustrates 81 different pearl-handled folding knives (see David Clarks 2010 reproduction catalogs in references). The company also sold “dollar knives” (less expensive working knives), so we are left with a difficult challenge of deciding on a firm historical record for the use of these boxes. In this first study of the boxes they used for their knives, we very tentatively place these boxes in a rough timeline based solely on the condition of boxes and slight changes in wording. All these boxes date from 1900 till about 1929 based on the Gowanda, NY, and Titusville, Pennsylvania location of the company – that is, from 120 years old to only 91 years). We hope this first effort will inspire a greater emphasis on collectors with other early material to contribute to future editions of this report.
Figure 1. A yellow knife box from “New York” (Gowanda, NY factory, 1900, based on an invoice attached to this box). The Oldest box we have found, BUT showing all the detailed description (“American Pocket knives”, the Schatt & Morgan trademark, “file and Wire tested”, ” warranted Unconditionally ” seen on most newer samples of boxes.
Figure 2. Invoice accompanying the knife box in Figure 1 – showing date and company location.
So while this is definitely the oldest box in our set, the Gowanda box does not include the phrase “All our blades are forged and tempered by natural gas.” In fact, the opportunity to move into a larger manufacturing facility that offered the capability to use natural gas in knife production was one of the main inducements for the company to relocate to Titusville, PA.
The company catalog of 1903, the first one from Titusville, immediately shows that ability with two comments located on every third page throughout the volume, along with the “bowtie” Schatt & Morgan trademark. The 1903 catalogs thus repeated the phrases shown earlier on the 1900 box in Figure 1.
Figure 3. Two Footnotes at the bottom of every third page in the 1903 Schatt & Morgan Catalog (reproduction by David Clark, 2010). From their beginning in Titusville, these claims were a routine part of the Schatt & Morgan marketing messages.
Figure 4. This two-piece box shows a bit more “patriotic ” label, with an American Eagle very prominent sitting on a U.S.A themed shield makes us suspect this box may be closer to World War 1. “Fully Warranted” shows a different level of warranty compared to the earlier “Unconditionally” in the yellow and brown boxes (see figures both above and below). We speculate because of the slightly weaker level of promised warrantee, this might be a later box, or a hint at a lower level of warranty in a less expensive line of knives, or as economic fortunes of the company declined. We cannot date these boxes at this time.
Figure 5. This box is approximately 8″ x 10″ and only about 1″ deep. It might have held some sort of set or advertising material or catalog for a distributor. This item was found in the attic of the Titusville factory after 2012 – to our knowledge never distributed. It too uses “fully warranteed” and claims just “Good pocket knives,” making it seem a bit different than the yellow or brown boxes and catalog material – again like Figure 4, not possible to date tightly in our opinion.
Figure 6, 7, & 8, show the bottom of a two-piece box with identification of the knife on a label on the top. The model number shown in pencil (#4189), is not found in the Schatt & Morgan listing of pattern numbers based on both the 1903 and 1907 catalogs– but is in the range of barehead sleeveboard or barehead teardrop knives (see Queen CutleryGuide.com Schatt & Morgan Pattern numbers in references). It is impossible to say what the other pencil marks on the label mean.
Figure 6. Label on top of a two-piece early Schatt & Morgan display box.
Figure 7. Interior of the Box shown in Figure 1. The enameled “knife- holder” claims “Warranted unconditionally” and is very rare. The inner box with original green felt or mohair fits inside the yellow interior box. Case Cutlery also once used a very similar display box.
Figure 8. Side view of the screw post “Knife holder” keeping knives securely in the display box.
We do not estimate a date or timeline for this box, compared to others in this article, other than to say it was probably for a “Gentleman’s knife” (or two). A “top dresser drawer holder” for someone who truly liked his knives, in our opinion.
Figure 9. Another set of boxes from a different collection, with similar characteristics, but showing some variability in sizes. Notice on the left box that the basic color is almost black, not medium brown or yellow. The “easy-open” cut-out on the side of two of the boxes can be seen if enlarged.
Figure 10. This box is quite small, about 1″ by 3.5,” and uses no space for advertising. With a rich, textured purple surface and gold lettering, this also seems to be a box to go with a Gentleman’s knife, Again, we cannot speculate about when this kind of a box was used by Schatt & Morgan.
Figure 11. Two Schatt & Morgan boxes. The top box in light blue also appears to use the “Fully warranted” phrase and is has a pre-printed top that does not show the usual Schatt & Morgan trademark with “File and Wire Tested”. The bottom box seems a smaller, faded version of the more famous brown box, in poorer condition, covered in figures 16 and 17 (below).
Figure 12. A Yellow “Pocket Knife” box showing the typical marketing of Schatt & Morgan, “American”, “S X M mark”, “File and Wire Tested,” “Warranted Unconditionally,” and “Natural gas used exclusively for forging and tempering.” Perhaps this yellow color might have been more heavily used in the early days in Titusville, mimicking the Gowanda box in Figure 1. (Note the knives and shields shown in the image are part of a modern collection display and not dated with the older box.)
Figure 13. A second Schatt & Morgan yellow box in somewhat better condition with the same label and marketing content, but showing Titusville, PA.
Figure 14, A third Schatt & Morgan yellow box, showing poor condition, but confirming that this was more than likely a common box for this company. These figures show clearly that Schatt and Morgan used “wrapped boxes,” indicative of a higher quality knife.
Figure 15. An end view of the box in Figure 11, showing space for marking the model number. We do not see any model for this box or on the other three yellow boxes.
Figure 16, A dark brown Schatt & Morgan knife box showing all the same marketing and description as the three yellow boxes above.
Figure 17, A second dark brown (almost black) box showing very good condition and again, consistent labeling among the six boxes (figures 1, 9-15) displayed in this article. This box looks to be a prototype for all the Schatt and Morgan reproductions after 1991, including the exact same label and approximate color of the box. These two dark brown boxes show much better condition that the three yellow boxes and might be “newer,” (that is only 90 rather than 120 years) compared to the yellow boxes.
As this is a first edition on this topic, we would appreciate any additional information you have about Schatt & Morgan boxes and similar display or marketing material. We will use your contribution to improve a second edition. Thank you.
Acknowledgements: We gratefully acknowledge the images shared of Schatt and Morgan boxes by Charles Dawson, Administrator of the private Facebook site Queen City and Schatt & Morgan knives”, used in figures 10, 14, 16, and 17. David Clark contributed the boxes shown in Figures 1, 2, and 9, and posted the boxes in Figure 11, on the above site in April 28, 2018, and we thank him for offering those images and comments to collectors.
Clark, David (2010). Reproduction of Schatt & Morgan 1903 and 1907 Catalogs. (1903, 52 pp, 1907, 128 pp). Published by Lois and Clark Publications, 349 Windsor Dr., Marietta GA 30064. Available from: http://www.knifeworld.com/schatt-morgan-catalogs1.html
Clark, David (2010). Schatt & Morgan Pattern Numbers (Excel file, see: