Hibbard Spencer knife and fork set

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JASinIL2006

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Recently, my parents gave me a knife and fork set that has been in our family for a long time. The knife has lettering on it that says "Hibbard Spencer" and undneath that inscription it reads "Our Very Best". The set appears to be very old and seems to have some kind of antler or bone handles. A cursory Internet search shows a Hibbard Spencer company out of Chicago that dates back to the 1800s, became Hibbard Spencer and Bartlett, and eventually seems to have been bought by the True Value company.

I'm interested in seeing if there is some way to find out more about this set and its origins. Anyone have any knowledge of this company or someplace I could look to learn more?

Thanks!

knife set 2.jpeg
knife set 1.jpeg
 
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Those are stag horn handles late 1800's or very early 1900's. The fork has a large crack not uncommon in these over 100 year old knives.

It can be repaired stabilized with epoxy resin.
The geometry of the blade looks pretty good. These are thin carbon carving knives they take a sharp edge and cut well. You must oil them when not in use or they will rust. Hand Wash with hot soapy water & dry completely after use.

Used to restore carving sets in good condition.
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JASinIL2006

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Thanks for the information! I’m not sure what I want to do with them, but I’ll probably hang on to them.

Mine seem to be much less ornate than those in your pictures; those are quite cool!
 

Ericfg

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Nice set! Ebay listings show some good quality US made hand steel.

Keith, how do you care for horn handles like these? Can you sand them like wood? What sort of preservative can you put on them (like oil &/or wax on wood)?

I have one, but I generally stay away from them as they make me uneasy for some reason.
 
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Nothing it's getting harder to find nice sets I really would cherry pick best could find.

Some antler handles split over time don't exactly know why. Repaired one small crack with epoxy resin. Only clean stag handles, found amor all wipes work you can get into the crevices of the horn. Never sand that would ruin stag horn. I have never coated either just natural horn.
 

Desert Rat

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Recently, my parents gave me a knife and fork set that has been in our family for a long time. The knife has lettering on it that says "Hibbard Spencer" and undneath that inscription it reads "Our Very Best". The set appears to be very old and seems to have some kind of antler or bone handles. A cursory Internet search shows a Hibbard Spencer company out of Chicago that dates back to the 1800s, became Hibbard Spencer and Bartlett, and eventually seems to have been bought by the True Value company.

I'm interested in seeing if there is some way to find out more about this set and its origins. Anyone have any knowledge of this company or someplace I could look to learn more?

Thanks!

View attachment 170956 View attachment 170957
I'm thinking those could be fairly old with out "Bartlett" being mentioned.

 
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Late 1800's early 1900's his set. Ones I've restored in that period of Art Nouveau natural flowing forms in nature in premium sets seen in sterling silver work. His set has premium metal work in carbon fork & blade.

That site you posted is old quality hand tools carpentry, wonderful planes of all types. Hammers, saws, hatches, axes, picks.

Many of those old tools superior to what is sold in big box stores. Carpentry now most power tools much faster time is money.
 
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Wearing a glove you can hand sand the fork & knife. Looks to be in pretty good shape perhaps minimal pitting. Like to sand sometimes as low as 80 grit to get to bare metal. That way you can see condition of the
carbon blade well over 100 years old. Most of sanding done with 80 & 100 grit. Take out scratches with progressive finer grits.

Handle use epoxy resin two part. Small amount at first into the crack. Mix another small amount build it up. Try not to get resin outside the crack that's why don't mix a big batch that gets sticky all at once. If you get it on handle wipe it off before it sets.

I've seen cracked handles on ebay almost all in front area. I think comes from when mounted horn on the tang started the crack.

Sharpening the blade is last step after everything else.
 
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Go for it, can tell that set is worth saving. Like said before that's a very cool fork.

Once you get a sharp edge on carbon steel you can use it. Cutting meats it will take a nice patina. Just gently wash with dish soap & warm water. Dry completely. If storing it for a while oil both to keep from rusting. Patina also helps protect the steel.
 
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I'm thinking those could be fairly old with out "Bartlett" being mentioned.

Have quite a few old tools my favorite hand pick
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Found this & other picks under the house when moved in. Heads were loose handles still good. I epoxy the head. They just don't make hand tools this nice anymore.
 
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