Hugo Koller(?)

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JulesVane
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Hugo Koller(?)

Post by JulesVane »

Hi all. I realize we don't talk much about German production here. But, I've recently got bit by a German bug and acquired a few. This is my first 4-"blade/tool" German leverlock. I can't seem to find much on Hugo Koller. 1861-mid/late 1980's(?). Then, acquired by PUMA(?). I'm assuming this knife was one of the very last/most recent productions. 98% of the tang stamps I see have Hugo Koller in a semi-circle bend over an eagle over Solingen or Germany. Interestingly, the SD tang stamp database only lists the stamp that appears on this knife and not the one I see mostly with the eagle in center. I see they were involved with men's razors and war daggers, even pocket knives. But, I can't find much on the leverlocks. If and when PUMA acquired the Hugo Koller company, did they continue to use the stamp or change it to PUMA? Thanks!

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Was fortunate enough to add a 2nd Hugo Koller. Not quite as nice as the 1st, but I like it too. 10cm, single blade. Black bone, clip point. Thought it belonged in this thread. Added 02/06/21

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Last edited by JulesVane on Sun Feb 07, 2021 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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"By accepting you as you are, I do not necessarily abandon all hope of your improving"- My Wife (1963-Present)
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texans123
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by texans123 »

Great looking knife, love it!
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JulesVane
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by JulesVane »

texans123 wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 7:47 pm Great looking knife, love it!
Thank you! The additional tools on it certainly give it a hefty feel as one would expect. Searching Hugo Koller has not been the easiest task. I've seen a famous painting of a Dr. Hugo Koller from Austria more times than I can count! lol
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"By accepting you as you are, I do not necessarily abandon all hope of your improving"- My Wife (1963-Present)
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natcherly
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by natcherly »

Great looking knife.

Maybe modeling was his day job?
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whippersnapper
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by whippersnapper »

It's a darn good one. That much I do know.
Quaero
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by Quaero »

Jim's mention of "Hugo Koller" marked knives in the Bonsa thread brought me to this thread via a search. JulesVane, that's a great multi-blade lever model and beyond that seldom seen name, German-made multi-blade lever models are pretty uncommon as compared to single-blade variations. Aside from Hubertus, it's hard to find a nice older camper model like the "Hugo Koller" shown. If you don't already have it, you (and everyone else) should pick up a copy of the book "German Knife and Sword Makers" by J. Anthony Cater. A revised edition came out a few years back and it is a fantastic resource for information on German-made knives. That book does state that Puma (Lauterjung & Sohn) bought out Hugo Koller shortly after WWII, which was then bought out by the Hindrichs family in 1991 (who also took over the Puma company at the same time).

Puma offered leverlock Switchblades models from the 1950s through the early 1970s (and apparently for a short time in the early 2000s). It would seem that Puma continued to offer leverlock models with the "Hugo Koller" name as well as those with a "Puma" marking from the 1950s through 1970s. Except for "Boker" and "Hubertus" you don't see many German leverlock models with a blade etch. Enclosed is a "Hugo Koller" with a neat blade etch.
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Chris51P
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by Chris51P »

Very nice knife Chris. And the stag scales look to have aged nicely. And Quaero your knife with the jigged scales is a looker. Both knives are excellent catches.
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jim d,
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by jim d, »

Chris - I don't know how I missed your thread :oops: I can't add to what Neal said about your multi-blade model except to say congratulations from me on a stunning find.

Neal - that sure looks like a pristine example of a highly desirable model - thanks for sharing.

Jim
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Bill DeShivs
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by Bill DeShivs »

I don't believe Koller made their own automatics.
If you compare these two pictured knives with Bonsas, I'm sure you will see a lot of similarities in construction.
I have also seen Kollers that were obviously made by Anton Wingen.
And, if Puma bought Koller, and Koller made autos, why are the Puma autos made by different manufacturers?
I believe it was the standard European cottage-industry deal of everyone offering the same goods-just marked with their own company name.
BTW- both knives pictured are extremely nice examples!
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Quaero
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by Quaero »

While it is certainly true that some cutlery companies (Germany and throughout the world) produced knives on contract for other companies, there is no reason to disbelieve that Hugo Koller made their own leverlock switchblade models. Hugo Koller was not some insignificant company as they manufactured hardware, pocket knives, razors, and scissors. Puma would certainly not have acquired Koller if they didn't bring something to the table. Why would Puma offer switchblades that were made by different companies? For the same reason that Case did. It was a financial decision to manufacture some of their own models, and contract some out to others.

I can say with certainty that Bonsa did not make either of the two Koller knives shown. And I would doubt that Wingen made any leverlock models for Koller. The Wingen leverlock models that I have are similar, but not exact matches to the Koller posted. If you would post pictures of the Koller knives that you had mentioned, I would be happy to go through my various Anton Wingen Jr. factory catalogs to compare those examples.

While Italy was certainly a small cottage cutlery industry, Germany was not. Germany had a vast complex and industrialized system by the mid 1800s which quickly overpowered the cutlery operations of all others around the world, including the once great companies of Sheffield, England. To say that a few German cottage cutlery companies produced the majority of knives (specifically switchblades in this case) is simply untrue. The vast majority of the better known German cutlery companies all produced their own switchblade knives, which is why we see so many different and unique variations.

Thanks for the nice comments towards the knives posted.
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Bill DeShivs
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by Bill DeShivs »

Quaero-
I'll take your word that Bonsa didn't make your knives.
Here is a picture of a knife marked Koller and one marked "Cleveland Cutlery Co." and it also has a "Genuine Fred MacOverland, Solingen , Germany" rest etched on the blade. Sorry for my bad photography, but you can see the construction is exactly the same. Both have forged steel bolsters, which is generally a Wingen attribute. I don't have one of the Wingens here to compare.
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Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
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Factory authorized repairs for:
Latama, Mauro Mario, LePre, Colonial, Kabar, Flylock, Schrade Cut Co., Presto, Press Button, Hubertus, Grafrath, Kuno Ritter knives.
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JulesVane
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by JulesVane »

Quaero...Thank you for bringing this thread back to life, and to you, Jim, Chris and Bill for all chiming in and kind words on it's resurrection. I very recently find myself getting into German leverlocks and all the discussion here is great learning! I was starting to think that Bonsa was the "Mauro Mario of Germany", and after learning that so many Italian stamps lead back to Mauro Mario, I really started doubting wanting to get into that with German leverlocks all leading back to Bonsa (which, I'm sure, so many stamps do). Again, to everyone, thanks so much for being part of this thread. Lots to learn!
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Quaero
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by Quaero »

Bill, while those two models are certainly similar, they are also quite different. Starting with the rear bolster, both the shape and threading are different. The handle pin placement is different. The front bolsters have different shapes and threading. The levers are different, and the blade pin connecting to the lever is a different shape. The grind of the blade at the tang is also different. So basically, you could not swap over most of the parts from one knife to another without some modification.
Could these two knives have come from the same cutlery company? Possibly, but all of the tooling would have had to been changed to do so. Cutlery companies did change models over time and tooling was also certainly changed to accommodate that. But there were still a great number of different cutlery companies which produced their own lever models, and often times just copied each other.
An interesting example compares two lever models from two different companies from across the globe which look surprisingly similar. Some people believe that Henckels made the single blade lever models for Case, which do look a lot alike. But we both know that they are two entirely different models with unchangeable parts. In this particular instance, Case blatantly copied the Henckels model which was first produced more than twenty years earlier.
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Bill DeShivs
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by Bill DeShivs »

Quaero,

Perhaps it's my bad photography, but the pins are all in exactly the same position. The bolster threading looks different because of individual hafting techniques, as does the sear pin. I can assure you that all the parts are basically the same and only the finishing is different. Blade tangs are almost exactly the same. I wouldn't have posted this if it were not so.
You have to remember that these knives were finished individually by various cutlers. Remember- I see these knives from a different mechanical view as most collectors.

I agree on the Case/Henckels knives.
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
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Factory authorized repairs for:
Latama, Mauro Mario, LePre, Colonial, Kabar, Flylock, Schrade Cut Co., Presto, Press Button, Hubertus, Grafrath, Kuno Ritter knives.
Quaero
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Re: Hugo Koller(?)

Post by Quaero »

Yes, repair men may see it differently than most collectors as you say, but researchers might just dig a little deeper.
At least we agree on the Case/Henckels scenario... :)
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