The Ultimate Guide to Old Timer Knives

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For many, the mere mention of Old Timer knives elicits positive feelings of warm summer evenings wandering through the woods or whittling small trinkets on the back porch. Even after 55 years, Old Timer knives remain popular, whether it's because the name itself means so much to so many people or the knives still carry a lure in their appearance and construction (probably a bit of both).

Despite the enduring legacy of a brand commonly associated with quality and dependability, Old Timer has been on a long, winding road with many obstacles along the way.

In this article, we'll talk about the storied history of Old Timers, give you a quick breakdown of some of the most important Old Timers ever made, and offer up a comparison chart.

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First Timer

The History of Old Timers

Even though the Old Timer brand wasn't created until 1958, its roots date back to 1904 when George Schrade formed the Schrade Cutlery Company in Walden. Schrade found great success with his knives, but the company was eventually sold in 1946 to become part of the Imperial Knife Associated Companies group. The old Schrade company was renamed Schrade-Walden Cutlery Co, Inc.

That group (which would later become the more familiar Imperial Schrade Corp) had already consisted of two established knife companies: Ulster Knife Company and Imperial Knife Company.

A Murky Origin Story

old timer logo

We're skipping over a ton of Schrade history, but since this article focuses on Old Timers, we're jumping directly to 1958. The true origin of the Old Timer is unclear with stories and snippets on how the brand came about coming from many sources, including some that are reliable and some that aren't.

One of the stories reported in the Old Timer Almanac says that Uncle Henry Baer, president of the Schrade Cutlery Corp, or his brother Albert Baer, chairman at the Imperial Knife Associated Companies, desired a good old-fashioned knife and the name Old Timer was a natural fit for a new line of knives that harkened back to the days of old.

old timer catalog entry
A scan of a KA-BAR catalog from 1934 showing the Old Timer.

Another similar story is found in the paperwork that accompanied a 25th anniversary model of the 34OT. This one says the following: 'We decided to offer a knife like Grand-dad had, so the name ‘Old Timer' was developed. We reached back into the files to find a pattern with the greatest utility. One that was comfortable to hold and that would be practical for whittling and carving, and husky enough to stand the rough treatment by the home handyman.'

That story is probably some parts reality and some parts legend, but Schrade was not the first to use the name Old Timer on a knife. Impressive sleuthing by a Schrade collector and confirmation from an employee indicate that KA-BAR sold a trapper knife bearing the Old Timer name as early as the mid-1930s.

This was likely just a coincidence, but either way, Schrade-Walden took the Old Timer name and made it their own.

When Old Timers were New

The Old Timer line as we know it today was first produced by Schrade-Walden in 1959 with the 2OT, a Barlow knife with the name Old Timer stamped on the button bolster. Then, in 1960, the 8OT was added to the line.

original old timer 2OT

The original Old Timer 2OT as seen in a post on BladeForums

Although we commonly associate the line with Schrade, Old Timers were also put out by another arm of the Imperial Schrade Corp: the Ulster Knife Company. In late 1960, the Ulster 58OT was produced, and the Ulster 50OT was made available in 1961.

Here's a great excerpt from a thorough Old Timer article by Larry Vickery that lays out some of the earliest models, including those from Ulster.

In 1962 Schrade added the 108OT and ULSTER added both the 10OT and the 12OT. Both the 50OT and 12OT were only available for 1 or 2 years. The next change to the Old Timers line was in 1964 with the addition of the Schrade 15OT and 34OT. No other Ulster OT's were added, except for the special 114OT in 1968.Larry Vickery

For whatever reason, by the end of the decade, Schrade decided to close down the Ulster line to focus solely on the Schrade-Walden name, which allowed the Old Timer knife to be forever connected with Schrade.

Fun fact: According to some investigating by Dennis Ellingsen, who wrote an article in the Oregon Knife Club newsletter, an advertising program conducted by a tobacco company let customers collect coupons from inside tobacco cans to redeem one of three new Ulster Old Timer Knives. The dates for these Ulster knives vary, but the 50OT and 58OT Ulster Old Timer were made as early as 1961. You can still find some of these old knives and tins on eBay.

The Golden Age of Old Timers

As you might expect, Old Timers became increasingly popular with each year and were considered a prime example of quality and craftsmanship in a knife. At a time when stainless steels were becoming all the rage, Old Timers featured high carbon steels that would hold an edge and sharpen easily.

old timer 858 stockman
An original Schrade 858 Stockman

Schrade continued introducing new models into the Old Timer line, and the knives were always made to meet the high standards laid out by the company. (Schrade even released a Bill of Rights on what makes a great Schrade knife that included notes on the finish and craftsmanship.) The handles were consistently made of durable materials like Delrin and Staglon and featured liners made from solid brass.

The good times persisted for Old Timer through the next few decades and the brand became firmly established as a go-to for superior knives that were the true definition of gentleman's folders or as their slogan went: 'Knives Like Grandad's.'

Then, in July of 2004, on the 100th year anniversary of manufacturing knives like Old Timer, Schrade Cutlery Company closed the doors to its factories and ceased production. During the months leading up to the closure, a mad rush to buy up the last original knives took place because people were unsure of the fate of Schrade and its brands. Many thought the Schrade brands would be lost forever.

The Revival of Old Timers

Old Timer 104OT Minuteman
Taylor Brands Old Timer 104OT Minuteman

Not long after the doors were closed, Taylor Brands LLC quickly picked up the brand name to breath new life into the Schrade, Old Timer, Uncle Henry, and Imperial brands. Taylor Brands was already a licensed manufacturer of Smith & Wesson knives, so it was clear these knives were in good hands.

By purchasing the company's trademarks, Taylor Brands is able to make and sell pocket knives that bear the old familiar Old Timer logo. Part of the revitalization process includes using the original designs and patterns to manufacture new models. Taylor Brands even uses some of the traditional packaging to maintain the feel of the originals.

One of the biggest changes to the Old Timer line is that the knives are now made in China, but that keeps the prices on the knives reasonable and modern advances in manufacturing mean the quality is nearly identical to the originals.

Five Important Old Timers You Should Know

Every Old Timer model released over the decades has held a special place in many people's hearts, but a few models truly stand out in the pantheon of the brand. While the original versions of these classic knives are no longer made, new versions are still available. Note: The pictures you see will be the new models.

Old Timer Senior Folding Pocket Knife 8OT

old timer 8OT senior knife

Earlier in the article, we mentioned that the Old Timer 8OT Senior Folding Pocket Knife was the second Old Timer model ever created by Schrade. It's a testament to the design that the Old Timer Senior remains in production to this day and is one of our best-selling knives here at Knife Depot.

This 3-bladed folder is as classic of a knife as you can get. It features a clip, spey and sheepsfoot blade. This newer version, which is widely appreciated as a faithful replica of the knife your forebears carried, has the iconic nickel silver bolsters, brass pins, and 'Old Timer' lettering.

Old Timer 152OT Sharpfinger

old timer 152OT sharpfinger knife

Even though Old Timers are commonly associated with folders, the Old Timer 152OT Sharpfinger Fixed Blade is one of the most popular patterns around. First introduced in 1974, the Sharpfinger had the longest lasting impact of nearly all the fixed blades.

The Sharpfinger has a recognizable and pronounced curve that was distinctive from other utility knives offered at the time. A 3.3-inch blade is also smaller than some of the other hunting knives out there, but this compact design helped boost the Sharpfinger's popularity. When large hunting knives began to fall out of favor, many people opted for the smaller 152OT.

The Sharpfinger became popular enough that it's seen a number of variants with different handles, and its impact was felt around the knife world so much that Sharpfinger basically became a generic term for a small skinning knife with an upswept blade. An excellent article by a collector of Old Timers gives a thorough history of the knife if you're interested in learning more about this model.

Old Timer 34OT Middleman

old timer 34OT middleman knife

Introduced in 1964, the Old Timer Middleman is a smaller version of the Senior, so it's not necessarily breaking new ground. However, the Middleman is one of the most popular patterns Old Timer ever put out. Despite being introduced in 1964, the 34OT was only given the name Middleman in 1971 because the size falls right between the Senior and Junior.

As a stockman, the Middleman is a great EDC and the 3.3-inch handle length makes it easy to slip into your pocket. The Middleman is one of the longest continuously produced Old Timers and was unsurprisingly kept alive by Taylor Brands.

Old Timer 15OT Deerslayer

old timer 15OT deerslayer knife

Along with the Middleman, the Old Timer Deerslayer was also introduced in 1964 and remains one of Old Timer's largest hunting knives. The Deerslayer has a hefty 5.6-inch blade and a sizeable choil that acts as a finger guard. With a slightly upswept tip on the full-tang blade, the Deerslayer has been a favorite for many hunters.

Continuously produced for 34 years, the knife is once again in production thanks to Taylor Brands. Like many of the other popular Old Timers, the Deerslayer was honored with limited editions, private issues, and even a variation put out by the Uncle Henry brand.

If you don't have this knife in your collection, it's definitely worth picking up.

Old Timer 108OT Junior Folding Pocket Knife

old timer 108OT junior knife

Finally we have the Old Timer Junior. It seems crazy to put three stockmans on a list of important Old Timers, but the Junior was yet another knife that helped propel the brand into popularity. It was first produced in 1963 and went until Schrade closed its doors in 2004. A newer version of the knife is still being made today.

Evidence of the 108OT's importance to Old Timer is illustrated by the fact that it was included in the 55th anniversary set (along with the Senior and the 12OT Pal). The Junior, with its smaller size, remains a popular knife for people wanting a versatile knife to carry around for everyday tasks.

Old Timer Comparison Chart

With more than 85 Old Timer knives available, it can be hard to determine which one is best for you. To make things easier, we made a sortable Old Timer comparison chart that takes all the currently available knives from the brand and gives you important information, such as the name, model number, type of knife, number of blades, length of blade, and more.

This chart solely focuses on knives, so you won't find the two very popular Old Timer products that aren't knives: the Wire Saw SAWOT and the Hone Steel HS1.

Here's the Old Timer Comparison Chart.

Image Name Model # Type # of Blades Blade Length (inches) Handle Length (inches) Overall Length (inches) Weight (ounces) Sheath
Old Timer 1OT
Old Timer Small Lockback 1OT Folding 1 1.6 2.2 3.8 0.06 Shackle
Old Timer 3OT
Old Timer Bearhead Lockback 3OT Folding 1 2.2 3 5.1 0.12 none
Old Timer 4OT
Old Timer Big Man 4OT Folding 4 2.3 3.5 5.8 0.19 none
Old Timer 5OT
Old Timer Bruin Lockback 5OT Folding 1 2.8 3.7 6.5 0.12 Brown Leather
Old Timer 6OT
Old Timer Golden Bear Lockback 6OT Folding 1 3.9 4.9 8.7 0.37 Black Nylon
Old Timer 6OTW
Old Timer Golden Bear Lockback, Desert Iron Wood Handle 6OTW Folding 1 3.9 4.9 8.7 0.37 Brown Leather
Old Timer 7OT
Old Timer Cave Bear Lockback 7OT Folding 1 3.9 4.9 8.7 0.44 Brown Leather
Old Timer 8OT
Old Timer Senior 8OT Folding 3 3 3.9 6.9 0.19 none
Old Timer 8OTW
Old Timer Senior, Desert Iron Wood Handle 8OTW Folding 3 3 3.9 6.9 0.19 none
Old Timer 8OTY
Old Timer Senior, Yellow 8OTY Folding 3 3 3.9 6.9 0.19 none
Old Timer 9OT
Old Timer Cigar Whittler 9OT Folding 3 3 3.9 6.9 0.12 none
Old Timer 11OT
Old Timer Large Canoe 11OT Folding 2 2.5 3.6 6.1 0.19 none
Old Timer 12OT
Old Timer Pal 12OT Folding 1 2.2 3 5.1 0.06 none
Old Timer 14OT
Old Timer Hunter Full Tang 14OT Fixed 1 3.7 4.7 8.4 0.5 Brown Leather
Old Timer 15OT
Old Timer Deerslayer Full Tang 15OT Fixed 1 5.6 4.7 10.5 0.5 Brown Leather
Old Timer 16OT
Old Timer Hawkbill Pruner 16OT Folding 1 3 4 7 0.19 none
Old Timer 18OT
Old Timer Mighty Mite Lockblade 18OT Folding 1 2 2.8 4.7 0.06 none
Old Timer 19OT
Old Timer Landshark 19OT Folding 1 2.6 3.7 6.3 0.19 none
Old Timer 25OT
Old Timer Folding Hunter 25OT Folding 2 4 5.3 9.3 0.44 Brown Leather
Old Timer 28OT
Old Timer Mountain Beaver Jr. Small Lockback 28OT Folding 1 2.5 3.6 6.1 0.19 Leather
Old Timer 29OT
Old Timer Mountain Beaver Sr. 29OT Folding 1 3.2 4.5 7.7 0.31 Leather
Old Timer 33OT
Old Timer Middleman Jack 33OT Folding 2 2.4 3.3 5.7 0.12 none
Old Timer 33OTW
Old Timer Middleman Jack, Desert Iron Wood Handle 33OTW Folding 2 2.4 3.3 5.7 0.12 none
Old Timer 33OTY
Old Timer Middleman Jack, Yellow Handle 33OTY Folding 2 2.4 3.3 5.7 0.12 none
Old Timer 34OT
Old Timer Middleman 34OT Folding 3 2.4 3.3 5.7 0.12 none
Old Timer 34OTW
Old Timer Middleman, Desert Iron Wood Handle 34OTW Folding 3 2.4 3.3 5.7 0.12 none
Old Timer 34OTY
Old Timer Middleman, Yellow Handle 34OTY Folding 3 2.4 3.3 5.7 0.12 none
Old Timer 36OT
Old Timer Saddleman 36OT Folding 3 2.4 3.3 5.7 0.12 none
Old Timer 44OT
Old Timer Workmate 44OT Folding 4 2.2 3.2 5.4 0.12 none
Old Timer 44OTY
Old Timer Workmate, Yellow Handle 44OTY Folding 4 2.2 3.2 5.4 0.12 none
Old Timer 51OT
Old Timer Big Timer 51OT Folding 1 3.4 4.8 8.2 0.44 Brown Leather
Old Timer 61OT
Old Timer Slim Premium Stock 61OT Folding 3 3 4 7 0.19 none
Old Timer 69OT
Old Timer Premium Trapper 69OT Folding 3 3.3 4.1 7.4 0.31 none
Old Timer 72OT
Old Timer Dog Leg Jack 72OT Folding 2 2.3 2.9 5.2 0.06 none
Old Timer 77OT
Old Timer Muskrat 77OT Folding 2 3 3.9 6.9 0.19 none
Old Timer 77OTY
Old Timer Muskrat, Yellow Handle 77OTY Folding 2 3 3.9 6.9 0.19 none
Old Timer 77OTW
Old Timer Muskrat, Desert Iron Wood Handle 77OTW Folding 2 3 3.9 6.9 0.19 none
Old Timer 89OT
Old Timer Blazer 89OT Folding 3 3 4 7 0.19 none
Old Timer 93OT
Old Timer Wrangler 93OT Folding 2 2.7 3.6 6.3 0.12 none
Old Timer 94OTW
Old Timer Gunstock Trapper, Desert Iron Wood Handle 94OTW Folding 2 3 3.9 6.9 0.19 none
Old Timer 94OT
Old Timer Gunstock Trapper 94OT Folding 2 3 3.9 6.9 0.19 none
Old Timer 94OTY
Old Timer Gunstock Trapper, Yellow Handle 94OTY Folding 2 3 3.9 6.9 0.19 none
Old Timer 95OT
Old Timer Large Gunstock Trapper 95OT Folding 2 3.3 4.1 7.4 0.25 none
Old Timer 96OT
Old Timer Bearhead Trapper 96OT Folding 2 3.3 4.1 7.4 0.25 none
Old Timer 97OT
Old Timer Buzzsaw Trapper Lockblade 97OT Folding 2 3.7 4.1 7.8 0.25 Brown Leather
Old Timer 98OT
Old Timer Ramrod 98OT Folding 3 2.7 3.6 6.3 0.12 none
Old Timer 104OT
Old Timer Minuteman 104OT Folding 2 2 2.8 4.7 0.06 none
Old Timer 106OT
Old Timer Grandad's Folding Pocket Knife 106OT Folding 2 2 2.8 4.8 0.06 none
Old Timer 108OTW
Old Timer Junior, Desert Iron Wood Handle 108OTW Folding 3 2 2.8 4.7 0.06 none
Old Timer 108OT
Old Timer Junior 108OT Folding 3 2 2.8 4.7 0.06 none
Old Timer 123OT
Old Timer Pioneer 123OT Folding 1 3.1 4 7.1 0.19 none
Old Timer 125OT
Old Timer Mustang 125OT Folding 1 4 5.3 9.3 0.31 Brown Leather
Old Timer 152OTBC
Old Timer Sharpfinger, Black Camo Handle 152OTBC Fixed 1 3.3 3.7 7.1 0.19 Black Leather
Old Timer 152OT
Old Timer Sharpfinger 152OT Fixed 1 3.3 3.7 7.1 0.19 Brown Leather
Old Timer 156OT
Old Timer Lil' Finger Full Tang 156OT Fixed 1 2.5 4.1 6.6 0.25 Brown Leather
Old Timer 157OT
Old Timer Golden Claw, Guthook 157OT Folding 1 3.5 5 8.5 0.37 Black Nylon
Old Timer 158OT
Old Timer Guthook Skinner 158OT Fixed 1 3.5 3.7 7.3 0.19 Brown Leather
Old Timer 160OT
Old Timer Mountain Lion Full Tang 160OT Fixed 1 5 4.3 9.3 0.44 Brown Leather
Old Timer 162OT
Old Timer Boot Knife Full Tang 162OT Fixed 1 3.8 4 7.8 0.25 Brown Leather
Old Timer 165OT
Old Timer Woodsman Full Tang 165OT Fixed 1 5 4.3 9.3 0.5 Brown Leather
Old Timer 194OT
Old Timer Gunstock Trapper Lockblade 194OT Folding 1 3.1 3.8 7 0.12 none
Old Timer 220OT
Old Timer Folding Hunter 220OT Folding 3 4 5.2 9.2 0.56 Black Nylon
Old Timer 223OT
Old Timer Lockblade Pioneer Clip Folder 223OT Folding 1 3.1 4.1 7.2 0.19 Pocket Clip
Old Timer 225OT
Old Timer Sun of a Gun 225OT Folding 2 4 5.2 9.2 0.37 Brown Leather
Old Timer 280OT
Old Timer Barlow 280OT Folding 2 2.3 3.4 5.7 0.19 none
Old Timer 294OT
Old Timer Liner Lockblade Clip Folder 294OT Folding 1 3.1 4.1 7.2 0.19 Pocket Clip
Old Timer 296OT
Old Timer Trapper 296OT Folding 2 3.2 4.1 7.3 0.25 none
Old Timer 735OT
Old Timer Marine Lever Lock 735OT Folding 1 2.8 4.1 6.9 0.25 none
Old Timer 858OT
Old Timer Lumberjack 858OT Folding 3 2.8 4.6 7.4 0.31 none
Old Timer 1011OT
Old Timer Small Canoe 1011OT Folding 2 2.2 3 5.2 0.12 none
Old Timer 1140OT
Old Timer Trail Boss Full Tang 1140OT Fixed 1 5.6 4.8 10.4 0.37 Black Leather
Old Timer 1141OTO
Old Timer Outfitter, Orange Handle 1141OTO Fixed 1 4.4 4.8 9.2 0.31 Black Leather
Old Timer 1141OT
Old Timer Outfitter 1141OT Fixed 1 4.4 4.8 9.2 0.31 Black Leather
Old Timer 1142OT
Old Timer Guide-Master 1142OT Fixed 1 4 4.8 8.8 0.31 Black Leather
Old Timer 1143OT
Old Timer Blade Runner 1143OT Fixed 1 4.2 4.8 9 0.31 Black Leather
Old Timer 1143OTO
Old Timer Blade Runner, Orange Handle 1143OTO Fixed 1 4.2 4.8 9 0.31 Black Leather
Old Timer MA1
Old Timer Lockback MA1 Folding 1 3.6 4.9 8.5 0.19 Black Nylon
Old Timer MA1S
Old Timer Lockback Serrated MA1S Folding 1 3.6 4.9 8.5 0.19 Black Nylon
Old Timer MA2
Old Timer Small Lockback MA2 Folding 1 3.1 4.1 7.2 0.12 Black Nylon
Old Timer MA2S
Old Timer Small Lockback Serrated MA2S Folding 1 3.1 4.1 7.2 0.12 Black Nylon
Old Timer MA3
Old Timer Small Lockback MA3 Folding 1 2.3 3.1 5.4 0.06 Black Nylon
Old Timer MA3S
Old Timer Small Lockback Serrated MA3S Folding 1 2.3 3.1 5.4 0.06 Black Nylon
Old Timer MA4S
Old Timer Lockback Folding Knife MA4S Folding 1 3.4 4.5 7.8 0.19 none
Old Timer PH2W
Old Timer Mini Pro Hunter Full Tang PH2W Fixed 1 2.8 4.1 6.9 0.25 Brown Leather
Old Timer PHW
Old Timer Pro Hunter Full Tang PHW Fixed 1 3.6 4.4 8 0.37 Brown Leather
Old Timer SCAMP5
Old Timer Switch It Lockback Interchangeable SCAMP5 Fixed 4 4 4.7 8.7 0.5 Black Leather