Knutsen’s “Lost Years”

I was going through my vast “To Do” folders (Knutsen sub-section), and was reminded of this entry that’s actually been up on the site for awhile now.  It continues to be a “hidden clue” – and now that I’ve got a larger audience reading this blog than just the small and geeky Knutsen contingent, I thought I should ask again for help from any handwriting experts out there.

As discussed in the entry on this Knutsen teardrop, this provenance may be a “smoking gun” that could help solve the riddle of where exactly Knutsen was for the 2 years after he left Seattle (when any record of his address disappears).  The Knutsen book authors thought Los Angeles (most likely), while I still think it might have been closer to San Francisco during the Pan Pacific Expo.  Or was Knutsen transient – setting up camp (a bed and a workbench) anywhere he was able between Southern Cal and the Bay area during this time as he capitalized on the Hawaiian music frenzy taking place at the Expo?

The letter found in the instrument’s case tells part of the story.  The label must surely tell the rest.  Someone (Knutsen, I still believe) reached through the soundhole and scratched out his last location and scribbled in a new one.

I have shown the label “as is” and the lettering highly contrasted.  Can anyone possible guess what these letters and numbers might mean?!

  1. Brad Hoyt Says:

    Let see..:

    (?)ates no (3 or 9) 000 D (D or 2?)
    Could the first word be Jates? Pates?

    I think I got it! The first word is a short hand for Patent. This would make sense since he has a number after it.

    How about this: Patent no. 9000 D2 ?
    Possible patent numbers would be: 9000 D2, 3000 D2, 9000 DD, 3000 DD

    Another possible is that the first word is the name of the street and the number is the number of the house or apartment.
    Regardless, no city or state information is written. The question is – what’s more likely – a patent number or a street address with no city or state?

  2. Darrell Says:

    I also thought it may have been a phone number (you know, the old phone numbers started with words) but I think there are too many numbers and I can’t make out the first word. Perhaps someone who knows more about old phone number prefixes (esp. in the PNW) could help?

    OTOH I like the idea of “Patent No.”!

  3. Gregg Says:

    Interesting – 2 votes for “Patent no.” – the “no” of which does look pretty accurate. The main problem is that you both know well that his patent expired in early 1912, and there was no other – ever. Only the Patent Applied For labels (or handwritten “Patent Aplod”) which only appeared on convertible instruments. Ergo, whatever the numbers/symbols are, they aren’t patent numbers…

  4. Brad Hoyt Says:

    It’s only not a patent number if you assume Knutsen was a saint. It’s possible that he just wrote an expired or bogus patent # on there to satisfy a customer. Alas, I’ll slightly rephrase the question that wasn’t addressed: What’s more likely – an expired patent number or a street address with no city or state? And no, I’m not buying that they’re symbols…

  5. Gregg Says:

    Tom Noe and I have pretty much documented how Chris seemed to take full advantage of patent law loopholes, but didn’t seem to outright “cheat” as you suggest. In any event, these characters bear no resemblance to his expired patent #. Also, he wouldn’t have needed to cross out his old city and state if he wanted to suggest some sort of patent info. I think that scratch-out’s part of the clue. And yes, I guess I could picture him putting in some sort of partial address, if he imagined himself in a new permanent city…
    I’m still not sure that’s what this is, though.

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