Kettering Cooperative Clothing Society

The company's fire brigade.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Kettering Cooperative Clothing Society' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Kettering Cooperative Clothing Society' page
This page was added by Chris Leuchars on 01/04/2008.
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Webmaster: The photo refered to below can be seen at:

If you wish retain or use this photo please let me know when you have downloaded it because I can not let it remain on the server in definitely; or send me an email address where I can send it directly to you. Thanks. Ron

To whom it may concern:

Attached is a picture of a pocket knife I acquired recently. It is curious in two respects: first, the method of opening the blades, and second, the mystery of why a knife especially marked for an organization in England would have been made by a U.S. manufacturer.

The knife is 81mm long when the blades are closed. The handle is formed from a single piece of sheet metal bent into a "U" shaped channel. On one side it is stamped "Kettering Clothing Society Ltd." Notice that the blades do not have the small grooves, called "nail nicks", customarily used to pull open a pocket knife's blades. Rather, there are two checkered 9mm brass discs at each end, one on either side. These discs are fixed to square pins which pass through square holes in the blades' tangs. To open a blade one holds the knife in one hand and grips the discs at one end firmly with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand. Rotating the discs causes the blade to open. This device was marketed to those who wore gloves and to ladies who might be concerned about breaking a fingernail when opening a blade using a nail nick. Knives with this mechanism are rare. Unfortunately, I have not been successful finding the patent (if any) for this particular blade-assist mechanism.

The trade mark, stamped on the larger blade, consists of two crowns over the name "Velox" (Latin for swift or rapid). Velox and Sphinx were trade names used by the firm (Gustav) Neumeyer & (A. J.) Dimond of New York City, ca. 1905. They made many types of cutlery including folding knives and razors. (1) A decade later the same Neumeyer & Dimond Company is recorded as being the American distributor for Deutsche Mashchinenfabrik A. G., Germany, makers of heavy industrial equipment such as mining machinery, cranes, and structural steel. (2) This information confuses more than it clarifies. How did a manufacturer of cutlery come to be a distributor for heavy industrial machinery? And why would an English co-operative society buy knives from a U.S. manufacturer when any Sheffield maker could have provided them?

The knife is not marked "England", as would have been required by the U. S. Tariff Act of 1890, if it was to have been exported to the U.S . Did Neumeyer and Dimond have a manufactory in England? Was the name Velox was used there by an entirely different company? As I said, it is curious.

(1) Goins' Encyclopedia of Cutlery Markings, Horizon Printing, USA, John E. Goins, 1998, pg. 194.
(2) Deutsche Mashchinenfabrik A. G, Demag LTD, Germany, A. Duisburger, ca1900

By Ron Bucher
On 05/03/2009

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MLA Department for Education and Skills DCMS Learn with museums Kettering Borough Council