What is the Best Pocket Knife of All Time?

How to Find The Best Pocket Knife of All Time
How to Find The Best Pocket Knife of All Time

How do you choose the best pocket knife? Some of the new tactical knives have really cool designs. But, since they don’t have a history of popularity, they can’t be considered in this contest. They may be popular now, but that might be short-lived.

The winner must have a history of popularity for many years. How about 1964? If a knife style was invented in that year, like the Buck 110 Folding Hunter, would that be a long enough history? What about the 1600’s? That time frame would certainly be a long enough history. That’s 400 years, or 4 centuries. If a pocket knife style is still as popular now, as it was 400 years ago, that would make it the winner. So that’s how I came up with the winning knife. If you don’t agree, please post your comments here.

I believe the Best Pocket Knife of All Time is the Barlow Knife. Once used by George Washington, and Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.

SCH278CP Schrade Jackmaster Barlow

Barlow Knives Company Gets Sold For the Third Time

65010 Small Rosewood Pocketknife-Gold
65010  Barlow Small Rosewood Pocketknife-Gold

Quick History of the Barlow Knife Co.

The famous Barlow Knives are well-known by people who appreciate a well-made, quality business gift. They were originally made in the USA by Barlow, a company that was based in Los Angeles CA from 1930 to 2005. Barlow made pocket knives, key chains, and money clips and imprinted the customer’s logo on them. This was very popular for businesses to promote themselves to their customers. Barlow products had a lifetime Warranty. If the if the items broke, or failed, the end user could just mail it to Barlow for a repacement. The shipping both ways was paid for by the end user. After 12 years, we still get inquiries about this warranty, which is no longer available.

Barlow Consort Knife
Barlow Consort Knife
  1. In 2005 the promotional product industry giant, Norwood bought them. Production was kept in China, where Barlow transferred it in 2003, just 2 years before the sale.
  2. Then in June 2009, the Great Recession forced Norwood Promotional Products Holdings, Inc. to declare bankruptcy. So the Barlow Knives brand was once again sold. This time, BIC Graphic North America, another giant, bought Norwood at auction for $162.5 Million. BIC kept the Norwood brand and the little Barlow brand.
  3. Probably the inability to make enough profit forced BIC to sell in June 2017. HIG Capital bought BIC Graphic North America and its Asian sourcing Division for a mere $80 Million. The sales at the time were over $300 Million, according to Bizjournals.com. So this is the third time that the Barlow brand was sold. HIG Capital of Miami FL is a huge company with $21 Billion in equity capital under management. Promotional products are not new to them. They bought Halo, a promotional product distributor, in 2003, and sold it in 2007. The selling price was $62.5 Million. So the $80 Million price it paid for BIC was a real bargain.

It is expected that HIG will continue the same service and products, and do well in this market. Hopefully, the Barlow brand will continue.

The 3 Best USA-Made Barlow Knives

Use Your Barlow Every Day
Use Your Barlow Every Day

When people ask me about the barlow knives, I ask them to let me know which “barlow” they want to know about. The word barlow has 2 meanings. The first meaning is the name of an American company that used to make pocket knives, tape measures, and key chains. They were all high quality, and made in  America. USA-made items were very popular, and still are. The Barlow company was sold to another company in 2007 approximately. Then that company was sold to a third company shortly after.

The second meaning of “barlow” is a style of pocket knife that dates back to the 1600’s in England. This is the knife that George Washington used. It still gets a ton of Google searches today.

It is these barlow knives that I am showing you today. These have 2 stainless steel blades, a slightly teardrop-shaped handle, and a large metal bolster.

 

Green Barlow custom knives Kutmaster Green Barlow Knife 15-24779gbe

A Barlow knife as a gift to your employees for appreciation of their service Kutmaster Barlow Knife 15-24789WL

BC5281 BLANK ONLY-Bear & Son Barlow Stag Bone BC5281

 

9 Barlow Knives That You Didn’t Know Existed

When you hear the words “barlow knives”,

Schrade Jackmaster Barlow

most people think about the old fashioned knives that were invented in England in 1670. More of their background is shown here on “History of Barlow Knives“. These knives were built rugged, with an over-sized brass bolster, so the blade was firmly secured in its cradle. They were, and still are, 3 3/8” long closed. Their familiar slight tear-drop shaped makes it comfortable in the palm of your hand when using it. They come in all prices, and are made by many knife manufacturers around the world.

But here are 9 Barlow knives that you may not have heard of. They aren’t fashioned after the famous barlows. They used to be made by the Barlow company in Los Angeles, California until the turn of this century. Barlow was bought out by another company, which kept the trade name. This company, Norwood, was bought out by Bic Graphic about 10 years ago. These Barlow knives, some of them renamed, are sought after by people who remember the original LA company, and like their quality and economy. So here are the 9 popular Barlow knives that you may not have known existed until today…..

20207_Z.jpg Consort Knife

 

20256_Z.jpg Adventure Knife

65080_Z.jpg Small Rosewood Pocket Knife-Silver

65010_Z.jpg Small Rosewood Pocketknife-Gold

65028_Z.jpg 6-Function Pocket Knife

21044_Z.jpg Lynx Pocket Knife 21044

 

21086_Z Cushion Grip Knife 21086

21174_Z Framelock Folding Knife 21174

21050_Z Pocket Knife/Carabiner 21050

10 Quick Tips About Barlow Knives

Boker Magnum King Barlow
Boker Magnum King Barlow

This is America’s favorite knife. Every man wants a barlow.

Barlow Knives are popular and loved world-wide since the 1600’s. Since there is a shortage of information on them, let me fill you in.

  1. Barlow is a Style of pocket knife, not a company.
  2. Many companies, in the USA and around the world make the Barlow style of knife.
  3. The quality varies from knife to knife, since they are made by many different companies.
  4. There is no one guarantee on a Barlow knife, since they are made by different factories. Each manufacturer sets their own warranty policy.
  5. Barlow knives come in a wide range of prices.
  6. Barlow knives come in a variety of handle (scale) material.
  7. They have 1 or 2 blades.
  8. They  may have a lockback mechanism for safety, but most of them don’t.
  9. They all have a subtle teardrop shape, to fit in your palm comfortably.
  10. They all have a large metal bolster to add rigidity to the handle. It is usually nickel plated.
Bear & Son Barlow bc2281r
Bear & Son Barlow bc2281r

 

 

The 4 Best Pocket Knives in 2016

Pocket knives are so popular because they are collector items. Other reasons are: They are useful, portable, made of steel, helpful in self defense, a powerful tool in a small package, and made of interesting handle materials. In our opinion, the best pocket knives in 2016 are these. Our selection is based on popularity with our customers, and our own opinion on the quality put into these beautiful knives. In alphabetical order, they are:

BLANK ONLY-Boker Magnum King Barlow 01MB559DAM Boker Magnum King Barlow 01MB559DAM

The Boker Magnum King Barlow 01MB559DAM is styled after the antique barlow knives made in the 1600’s in England. This design of a subtle teardrop shape fits well into the hand. Like all barlows, it is 3 3/8″ closed, and has an over-sized bolster. The burl wood scales (handle) add much character. The pinnacle of its beauty is the genuine damascus blade. It also has a lockback mechanism. This is a safety feature not found on the original barlow knives.

110b.jpg Buck Folding Hunter Lockback Knife 110

By far, the pocket knives of all pocket knives is the Buck 110 Folding Hunter Lockback. Its size, weight, composition, extra sharp stainless steel blade, and wooden handle with stainless steel bolsters make it the king of pocket knives. When someone asks for a Buck knife, this is the one they are referring to.  USA-Made.

zippo clone Case Executive Lockback 7200

Case has been making pocket knives by hand since 1889. Located in the woods of Pennsylvania, they take pride in the hand-made tradition. The 7200 Executive Lockback is the top seller. People like it because it is the right size and shape for a man’s pocket. There are no sharp edges on the handle to cut into your pocket. The stainless steel blade comes super sharp, and it is easy to keep sharp your whole life. USA-Made.

1620-engraved-camo-scallion-smooth Kershaw “Scallion” Knife, Camo 1620

The classy Kershaw Scallion Camo 1620 knife satisfies both the camo lovers and the knife collectors. The patented Speedsafe opening mechanism makes it fun to open with one hand. No worry, there is a tip safety lock to prevent accidental opening. A removable pocket clip makes this knife a real keeper. USA-Made.