[SOLVED] Seeking age of the knife and drill bit found at War of 1812 soldiers home
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Thread: Seeking age of the knife and drill bit found at War of 1812 soldiers home

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  1. #1
    Every artifact has a story, if we're willing to listen

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    Seeking age of the knife and drill bit found at War of 1812 soldier's home

    All, I’ve been detecting the former home site of an officer who served during the War of 1812. When he wasn’t serving in the military or as a civic leader, he worked as a blacksmith. He built the home in the early 1800s and lived there until his death in 1850. The home has been occupied on and off up until the 2000s.

    Seeking age of the knife and drill bit shown. The knife is made from 1 piece of thin (0.07” thick) iron/steel. There are 2 rivets and 1 screw/nut that would have held the handles on.
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  2. #2
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    Interesting finds, looks like you've got a ton of potential on this site!

    The main challenge is, you have over 200 years of 'occupation trash' to dig through.

    I'm not a knife expert by any means, but your knife, based on the shape of the blade, looks to be German and I'm thinking dates to the mid-19thc.
    I have a feeling the wood bit is slightly older, possibly early-19thc.

    Hopefully you'll find some silver coins or early LC's before you get tired of digging modern trash.

    Dave
    invent4hir likes this.
    “I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”
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  3. #3

    Oct 2012
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    Seeking age of the knife and drill bit found at War of 1812 soldier's home

    Your knife appears to be the remains of a well used butcher knife. It’s hard to date those, but they can be from the mid 1800’s (and earlier) up to the 20th century. You can determine if it is a butcher knife by seeing how thin the blade is and if it flexes. A butcher knife has a thin flexible blade where a side knife would be thicker and not flex.
    Last edited by Fullstock; Jul 27, 2020 at 07:54 AM.

  4. #4
    Every artifact has a story, if we're willing to listen

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    Quote Originally Posted by ANTIQUARIAN View Post
    Interesting finds, looks like you've got a ton of potential on this site!

    The main challenge is, you have over 200 years of 'occupation trash' to dig through.

    I'm not a knife expert by any means, but your knife, based on the shape of the blade, looks to be German and I'm thinking dates to the mid-19thc.
    I have a feeling the wood bit is slightly older, possibly early-19thc.

    Hopefully you'll find some silver coins or early LC's before you get tired of digging modern trash.

    Dave
    Dave, good to hear from you and your thoughts on the knife and bit Yes the site has "tons" of potential and trash. I've made 5 visits there so far and could probably go back the rest of the season. Based on what I am finding (mostly iron artifacts) and am not finding (silver coins & LCs), it has been detected before. Plus at one point when the home was vacant and frequented by people partying - which accounts for some of the trash. Will keep going at it...
    Last edited by invent4hir; Jul 27, 2020 at 08:59 AM.
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  5. #5
    Every artifact has a story, if we're willing to listen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fullstock View Post
    Your knife appears to be the remains of a well used butcher knife. It’s hard to date those, but they can be from the mid 1800’s (and earlier) up to the 20th century. You can determine if it is a butcher knife by seeing how thin the blade is and if it flexes. A butcher knife has a thin flexible blade where a side knife would be thicker and not flex.
    Fullstock, great insight. The blade flexes - in fact it is slightly bent - so sounds like a butcher knife. I agree about determining the age - and I probably wouldn't have asked except for the significance of the property.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fullstock View Post
    Your knife appears to be the remains of a well used butcher knife. It’s hard to date those, but they can be from the mid 1800’s (and earlier) up to the 20th century. You can determine if it is a butcher knife by seeing how thin the blade is and if it flexes. A butcher knife has a thin flexible blade where a side knife would be thicker and not flex.
    Not entirely true. Butchers used a lot of very thick inflexible blades too, there are many butcher jobs that require them. I think OP knife is a kitchen carving knife which could also be used by butchers but since found at a homesite I would say kitchen use in the household. I also think 20th century with the three big rivets, most of the earlier ones had four or more small pins. There were definitely four or more small pins used through the 20th century also, but the large pins usually not found before 1900 and usually newer.
    Ya won't find nuthin' if ya don't hunt

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunsil View Post
    Not entirely true. Butchers used a lot of very thick inflexible blades too, there are many butcher jobs that require them. I think OP knife is a kitchen carving knife which could also be used by butchers but since found at a homesite I would say kitchen use in the household. I also think 20th century with the three big rivets, most of the earlier ones had four or more small pins. There were definitely four or more small pins used through the 20th century also, but the large pins usually not found before 1900 and usually newer.
    A well worn carver.
    Could have been used for multiple tasks, but it's obvious where sharpening wore it.
    Not uncommon wear ,but an example of where they tended to erode the most.
    A butcher with a wider tip would still resemble a butcher.
    A knife could have been modified of course, but a butcher allows flipping large cuts like steaks , and tracks better through thick cuts. For the sake of even steaks ect.

    A boning knife is often flexible in it's spine for chasing around bone.
    Can one knife do it all? It has to if you only have one.
    Common cutlery found it's way outside the home often enough.
    A knife was a valuable tool . Make do with what's on hand till you can do better.
    A stout blade was better when selecting one from a home to head out with.
    ANTIQUARIAN, invent4hir and gunsil like this.

  8. #8
    Every artifact has a story, if we're willing to listen

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunsil View Post
    Not entirely true. Butchers used a lot of very thick inflexible blades too, there are many butcher jobs that require them. I think OP knife is a kitchen carving knife which could also be used by butchers but since found at a homesite I would say kitchen use in the household. I also think 20th century with the three big rivets, most of the earlier ones had four or more small pins. There were definitely four or more small pins used through the 20th century also, but the large pins usually not found before 1900 and usually newer.
    gunsil, thanks for helping zero in on the ID and date!
    ANTIQUARIAN and gunsil like this.

  9. #9
    Every artifact has a story, if we're willing to listen

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    Quote Originally Posted by releventchair View Post
    A well worn carver.
    Could have been used for multiple tasks, but it's obvious where sharpening wore it.
    Not uncommon wear ,but an example of where they tended to erode the most.
    A butcher with a wider tip would still resemble a butcher.
    A knife could have been modified of course, but a butcher allows flipping large cuts like steaks , and tracks better through thick cuts. For the sake of even steaks ect.

    A boning knife is often flexible in it's spine for chasing around bone.
    Can one knife do it all? It has to if you only have one.
    Common cutlery found it's way outside the home often enough.
    A knife was a valuable tool . Make do with what's on hand till you can do better.
    A stout blade was better when selecting one from a home to head out with.
    releventchair, you provide a lot of points to consider - and your thoughts on the pins is something I hadn't considered. Thanks to you and everyone who took a "stab" at this. Your time is most appreciated.
    gunsil and ANTIQUARIAN like this.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by invent4hir View Post
    Dave, good to hear from you and your thoughts on the knife and bit Yes the site has "tons" of potential and trash. I've made 5 visits there so far and could probably go back the rest of the season. Based on what I am finding (mostly iron artifacts) and am not finding (silver coins & LCs), it has been detected before. Plus at one point when the home was vacant and frequented by people partying - which accounts for some of the trash. Will keep going at it...
    You've probably already thought of this, but have you done a Google Earth overview of the site?

    I'm detecting a site now that had at least three structures on it over the past 170+ years. The first house dated from around 1850 and burnt around 1900. The second house dated to around 1910 - 20 and was built about 100' from where the first one was located. There was also a barn and a silo on the site, these were bulldozed in the 1960s, so the site has a huge spread of iron on it mixed with older and more modern relics. I've had success detecting the periphery of sites that had heavy traffic or more trash on them then I was willing to dig through.

    Best of luck to you Sir,
    Dave
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    invent4hir likes this.
    “I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”
    “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
    “Life's hard. It's even harder when you're stupid.”
    ― John Wayne

 

 

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