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Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures 8255

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Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« on: September 23, 2011, 06:30:18 PM »
These Century brand knives were made in the late eighties and nineties by Schrade and were constructed in Germany and finished (assembled) in the US.
Their history is quite sketchy, to me at least.
They were quite similar (ok, identical in some cases) to Swiss Army knives.
Their prices at the time seem? more expensive than the equivalent genuine Swiss Army knives, so maybe there was not much of a market for them.
They came out in several models (Google brings out a list of them as well as some history information) but were stopped in the late nineties.

They are still available to buy and their price, boxed, is now cheaper, for me, than the equivalent Swiss Army Knife so I decided to give them a try.
I got a blue Century Gemini ( = Victorinox camper) and a Century Discovery (= Victorinox secretary or pocket pal).
Surprisingly, they both came with no branding on the scales, only ISC (Imperial Schrade Corp) Stainless Germany on the main blade.

Quality seems good, the alignment between the liners and the springs is not as good as in the Swiss Army knives, but it is still very good. Good snap too, but more base sounding. I assume the steel should be decent (German)

Visually the distinguishing features (of the Gemini mainly) are the lack of branding, very slightly less pointy blades, reversed and different toothpick and tweezers, slightly different can opener, deeper wire stripper notch and a thinner corkscrew. The size of the Gemini looks identical to the standard Victorinox knives.

For the comparison pictures I used an early Victorinox Climber, a Huntsman a Wenger Watchmaker and a Wenger patriot. (I think)

how they came





Comparisons (the Gemini is the Blue one)









Markings






slight difference here

and

also (the climber has a grooved corkscrew)


And the Discovery with the Wengers



I think these could make a good alternative to the Original Swiss Army knives, at the right price.

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Ambidangerous Mistress of Mod Admin Team Zombie Apprentice Posts: 15,038 I'm not all bad, I'm just drawn that way.
Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2011, 07:06:40 PM »
They really are very simiar. How's the steel?

I think your grooved corkscrew is just due to it's age... pre '91 or something, I'm not sure :)

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Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,635 Bored

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Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2011, 08:01:36 PM »
They really are very simiar. How's the steel?

I think your grooved corkscrew is just due to it's age... pre '91 or something, I'm not sure :)
The steel looks similar to the Swiss Army ones, shiny, sharp enough (grinds a bit less perfect). I assume since they were made in Germany they should be better than the steel used in the Swiss Army knives.  ???
Cuts paper well... I really do not know Nuphoria, I use my knives to cut knife stuff so most steels work for me, and the tools feel solid, but in the Internet there are not any bad things about the steel.  ???

I have had that knife (Climber)for a looong time and hardly used it, definitely before  the nineties. It has the old quality stamp on the blade (looks like an umbrella) and no hook.  :D

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No Life Club Posts: 3,516 Benner fan club #003
Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2011, 07:49:26 AM »
I believe these ISC knives may have been produced by Adler. You can see some examples here - LINK
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Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2011, 09:34:19 AM »
I believe these ISC knives may have been produced by Adler. You can see some examples here - LINK

They do look similar to those Czech? knives.
As far as I have read the Schrade ones were produced in Germany though. Is Adler a German company?

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No Life Club Posts: 3,516 Benner fan club #003
Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2011, 06:49:41 PM »
Yes Adler is German....or was. Their web site not longer seems to be working so I linked the Czech site.
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,635 Bored

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Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2011, 07:12:25 PM »
 :cheers:
I do not know why the ones I got have no branding on the scales.. maybe they were end of line products
I still do not know why the Swiss makers did not complain about these Schrade knives (maybe they did?)
Maybe that is why they stopped making them.. Conspiracy theory  :D
Mind you, RR makes a knife like the Victorinoc classic and they are not bothered.


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No Life Club Posts: 1,225
Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2011, 04:17:12 AM »
(Image removed from quote.)

The saw grind looks a bit different as well. Is the saw blade the same thickness as Vic's?
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,635 Bored

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Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2011, 08:45:09 AM »
The size is about the same.
The picture is not the best.
There are two rows of teeth, like the Victorinox, which is not very clear on the Schrade.
There is a small difference, which is visible, on where the teeth start (interlock)

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Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2011, 08:59:43 AM »
The size is about the same.
The picture is not the best.
There are two rows of teeth, like the Victorinox, which is not very clear on the Schrade.
There is a small difference, which is visible, on where the teeth start (interlock)

Got it. So the tooth on the opposite side starts flush with the bottom between the teeth on the Schrade. Would love to know how that effects performance of the saw. I can well imagine that it clogs less easily, performs better than the Vic :think:
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Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures NEW knives
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2011, 03:00:57 PM »
I just received two more of these, new again
These are unusual in that they do not have tweezers or toothpicks, though according to the pictures and information I found at the Schrade collectors site, http://www.collectors-of-schrades-r.us/CENTURY/index.htm they should have had them.
Also, the CN31 Steward model came with a Combo tool, instead of a cap lifter-screwdriver tool.

Unlike my other two these had the Century "Badge" on their scales.

The CN41 Pulsar (=Victorinox Spartan without the Reamer) is at the top and the CN31 Steward (=Victorinox Waiter) at the bottom




Size wise they are the same as the standard 91mm Swiss Army Victorinox, e.g. a Spartan.


Based on the variations I have found (Badges, toothpicks, tweezers, combo tools) between the actual advertised models and the ones I got I would assume that a lot of these were made to order, may have gone through changes during their production timeline or were made using whatever parts were available at the time.

Again their quality is good, with only slightly less polished and less flush backs of the liners compared to the Victorinox.

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No Life Club Posts: 4,534
Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2011, 06:15:23 PM »
Thanks for the very nice overview of these models. 

I think I have one somewhere, but I can't really remember.  Don't really understand way such a company would try to copy the SAKs though, they had their own knives, and good companies don't do such things.  I guess that is why they eventually failed, and their name was picked up on the auction block.
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,635 Bored

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Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2011, 06:44:11 PM »
Don't really understand way such a company would try to copy the SAKs though, they had their own knives, and good companies don't do such things.  I guess that is why they eventually failed, and their name was picked up on the auction block.

With the amount of complaining you see nowadays when a company makes knives that look similar to other companies knives (e.g. the SRM 710 Vs Sebenza threads everywhere) I, too, wonder how they pulled this through, making practically identical knives for several years, in Germany (and selling them for similar prices).
Maybe before the internet became widespread nobody was bothered that much, or could not make too much of a deal.  ???

There seem to be quite a few, new, Century knives still around and assuming the quality is similar to Victorinox, they make nice and sometimes significantly cheaper alternatives to Victorinox.
Of course if you give them to someone they will think you are a cheapskate ;) . Make sure you show them the “Germany” on the blade.  :D

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,826
Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2011, 08:00:38 PM »
My understanding is they were made by an East German company, and the communists never had many problems with stealing designs from the capitalists such as Switzerland. Also read once that they are such close copies of Victorinox that the scale will interchange (haven't tried it myself so can't swear to it).

Karl
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,635 Bored

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Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2011, 08:59:03 PM »
My understanding is they were made by an East German company, and the communists never had many problems with stealing designs from the capitalists such as Switzerland. Also read once that they are such close copies of Victorinox that the scale will interchange (haven't tried it myself so can't swear to it).

Karl

Germany was unified in 1990. These were being made from 1987 to 1999, and most of the models were started in 1993, according to what I found, thus Capitalism was more involved in this than Communism. The blades say Germany, whereas pre-unification they would have specified which part of Germany they were from.
http://www.collectors-of-schrades-r.us/corners/michael/Schrade%20Century%20Series%20Research.pdf

As for being similar, they are pretty close size wise and  only have some cosmetic differences, so they should accomodate each others parts.

Kelly: "Daddy, what makes men cheat on women?
Al : "Women!"

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,826
Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2011, 02:29:51 AM »
 duder
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Re: 108mm GAK versions
« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2011, 10:07:05 am »
Today I received some infos about the old GAK from Victorinox:

The old GAK originated from an already existing Victorinox knife model (probably the 108mm Solo, but that`s just a guess from my side). The woodsaw with canopener and screwdriver was new developed in cooperation with the german army.
The old GAK (0.8770.04) was made by Victorinox from 1976 to 1986. In 1985 the file was added to the woodsaw.

But the most interesting part is: From 1986 to 1997 Victorinox delivered parts for the knife to the Adler Messer GmbH.
I don`t know what parts (all ?), but that explains why the scales are identical and the quality of the Adler knives is so high.

I always suspected something like this...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's an earlier post by duder that may explain some things. Didn't realize Victorinox was working with Adler. The problem with that is I thought Adler was East German.  Apparently getting companies or something confused. Steven Dick in his "The Working Folding Knife" says the Schrades were made by a former East German company, but doesn't name the company.

Karl
 
« Last Edit: November 03, 2011, 02:38:45 AM by ColoSwiss »
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,635 Bored

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Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2011, 09:10:55 AM »
There is the chance that they were made by a company that was in what used to be Eastern Germany.
Even now if you go to Germany you know when you go into the old Eastern part, by the look of the buildings, so it could be possible to refer to factories there as being in the Eastern part.

Though the (strong) possibility of Adler producing them has been mentioned previously by Spork the actual finished parts (blades, can openers….) are similar in size and look but not identical to the Victorinox ones (see my pictures in the posts above).

This could be explained if Victorinox, either produced different looking parts for these knives, or delivered unfinished parts that were ground and finished by Adler.

Kelly: "Daddy, what makes men cheat on women?
Al : "Women!"

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Full Member Posts: 110
Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2011, 09:34:48 PM »
As a company with many international affiliates Imperial Schrade made many different types of knives. As a matter of fact I can't think of a style of knife they didn't try for at least a year or so. Sometimes this was on their own, sometimes at the request of a large retailer or even another manufacturer. They have made knives for Becker, Case, Camillus, Western, etc. etc. I can't prove it but it is not impossible that they had an agreement with Vic, Wenger, or both. According to former employees at the main Schrade plant in Ellenville, the Century knives were manufactured in Germany and assembled and packaged here in the US.

During that time frame ISC was beginning to experience a downturn in profitability. One approach was to broaden their product lines trying to bring in new customers. I believe the main reason the Century line was not competitive was pricing. A comparable Vic had a lower price.

P.S. Years prior to the Century line, Schrade produced an earlier model known as the 906 Officer's Knife.

T
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Re: Swiss Army knives and Schrade Century pictures
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2011, 03:14:23 PM »
Schrade Century CN22, same as the Victorinox Classic SD.



Comparinon picture


and the insides. Note the indentation in the middel (it is on both sides, possibly beacuse it was taken from a generic model, or to save weight. Also the liners are not as big as in the Victorinox; the edges have none, whereas in the Victorinox they go all the way to the ends).

Kelly: "Daddy, what makes men cheat on women?
Al : "Women!"

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