When you hear the words “barlow knives”, 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…..
Logo’ed or Logo Knives are pocket knives that have your corporate logo laser engraved or screen printed, or pad printed on the blade or handle or bolster.
Personalization is a term used for putting a person’s name on each knife, so that each knife has a different name. This is great at Christmas time, when you are giving a logo knife to your employees, and you don’t want them to accidentally get switched. Having personalized knives in your shop will make sure a person can identify his very own knife in case he lays it down somewhere.
Not all knife engravers are capable of doing both of these processes. Some can do only one.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
When was the first time that someone used pocket knives to deliver an advertising message? When was the first Logo actually put on a knife, a logo not belonging to the knife’s manufacturer? What is an old advertising knife worth today? All these questions are answered in a unique book, ADVERTISING CUTLERY, by Richard D. White, c. 1999. It’s published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd, Atglen, PA.
It’s an amazing book to me, but I’m partial to company logo knives. I sell them for a living. I’m glad Mr. White decided to assemble this valuable information and present it in a fun, easy to read way. You can tell he loves knives, and has been collecting them for a long time. The book divides the collectible knives into categories:
Advertising on knives began about 100 years ago. That was long before laser engraving. According to Mr. White’s pictures (and the book is loaded with color pictures), the early logo knives were imprinted with the die-struck method. That’s when a heavy stamping machine forces the imprint from the die into the metal handle. This imprinting technique is still used today on name plates and key tags. I haven’t seen it used currently on knife handles.
Die cast was another early way to advertise on a knife handle. This provides a 3 dimentional look that is very impressive.
Then hot stamping and screen printing were used. Hot stamping uses a heated die, which pushes the color of a foil ribbon into the plastic handle of the knife. The heat makes a slight indent into the partly melted substrate. This method is still used today, but not so much on knife handles.
Screen printing is familiar to most people. That’s when the ink, or paint, is pushed through the porous areas of a screen onto the knife handle. This is still very much used today on knives.
Today we use laser engraving, machine engraving (like a jeweler’s), electro etching, screen printing, pad printing, and laser engraving followed by a color fill.
If I had a quarter for every time someone has emailed me that question, I’d be rich by now. Mr. White’s book has these guidelines for determining the answer to your question.
THE 5 FACTORS WHICH AFFECT THE OVERALL VALUE OF ANY COLLECTIBLE CUTLERY ARE:
The advertiser is also a factor. If it was a company that used to make asbestos, or any other obsolete product or service, that knife has more appeal to a collector. Barlow style knives have their own special appeal.
Do you have an old advertising knife? Tell us about it, and email a picture. I’d be happy to see it. So would everyone else. Thanks.