The original folding fruit knife was made of silver and mother-of-pearl in the late
1700’s in England. Why those materials? Silver is relatively soft, but it is resistant to the citric acid that would eat away at steel. Also, silver has anti-microbial qualities, which would tend to keep the knife free from harmful growths of bacteria. Mother-of-pearl is also impervious to citric acid, and it adds to the beauty of the knife. The less expensive fruit knives had celluloid handles, which would also be resistant to the acid content of fruits.
Today, most fruit knives are made of stainless steel. Sometimes plastic handles are used, to make the knife handle last longer.
In America, the fruit knife became popular in the 1930’s. Many companies would have their logo imprinted on the plastic handles in their corporate colors. They would give these as advertising products to their customers. Many are found in the possession of knife collectors today.
These specialty knives are made with very long skinny spear blades. Some blades are serrated. They are used by fruit and meat inspectors to get a sample from deep inside the product. The inspectors can then examine the smell, texture, and color of the product.
This is a pocket knife that encases a piece of history. But why is it worth over $600?
These Engraved Pocket Knives are made from recycled steel from the barrel of the German battle tank Leopard I. So, the material is in short supply.
They have historic value, and are cherished by collectors.
The Damascus blade is made by a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. That design is not laser engraved. It actually shows the layers that were made by forging, folding, forging, and folding again, many times.
This knife comes with a certificate of authenticity.
The aluminum handle is hardcoated 6061-T6 and has Ziracote wood insets.
This knife makes a unique retirement gift for a seasoned employee.
Carving with a fruit knife has become an art. It may have started in Thailand. If you have been on a cruise ship, you surely have seen some buffets decorated with carved fruit. It is time consuming, and requires great skill and patience. Here are some fine examples of the handiwork of the best fruit and vegetable carvers…..
Case Knives, now owned by Zippo, has an interesting knife museum in Bradford
Pennsylvania. The museum has samples of the early knives and the stories behind them. My nephew, Tim Pike accompanied me since he has been a knife fan for years. His grandfather, Thomas Pike, used to have Fort Tuscarora on Route 172 in Lisbon Ohio. History, guns, and knives runs in the family.
My quest for the best pocket knife was easy at the Zippo/Case Museum, because of the abundance of knives there. This place is open to the public, and I highly recommend it to knife collectors. These pictures were taken in 2006, so things might have changed since then. According to their website, the place is open 7 days a week, and boasts of 100,000 visitors per year, from all over the world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…..
We went on our yearly tour of the Leatherman plant in Portland Oregon this year. It’s amazing how fast this company is growing. They had to increase the production area. To do this, they had to move the shipping department to another building 3 miles away. That new location is rented, and it houses the warehouse of the tools, the shipping area, customer service, and the custom laser engraving area.
Back to the main building, the small Leatherman museum is in the front office
and open to the public. Here are a few pictures of the prototypes that Tim Leatherman made in his garage during the birth of his brilliant idea.
You know, necessity is the mother of invention. The Leatherman idea started when Tim and his wife toured Europe in the 1970’s, using a used car he bought there. It kept breaking down, and Tim would fix it himself. He really needed some pliers, but didn’t have any. It would have been nice if he had something like a Leatherman tool. Many months later, Tim perfected some prototypes
in his garage, and started a very successful company. Too bad Gerber Knives turned down his proposal to produce his tools. Too bad for Gerber, but not for Tim.
Here are 2 stories of how a Leatherman tool came to the rescue.
Your customers will love a gift of a Gerber Knife. Here are 3 ways it will “strike” them……
The famous brand of “Gerber”. This fine company has a history going way back to 1939 with a mini order of handmade knife sets that were only given as Christmas gifts. Then thousands of retail stores started selling them all over the United States. Then in just 21 years, 1960, this knife company became very trusted as a manufacturer of “collectible legends”. Today, the Gerber name is well known in the knife world, even being sold in our nation’s Walmart stores. For business gifts, engraved Gerber knives with your company logo are available on the internet.
The variety of knives and multi-tools. Gerber not only makes folding pocket knives. They make multi-tools, in the fashion of Leatherman Tools. Key chain multi-tools are the newest addition to their line, with the Gerber Shard Key Chain Tool.
The economical price of Gerber knives. Their knives are reasonably-priced, in the 20 to 30 dollar range. This is due to their global sourcing of raw materials and finished materials. Some assembly is being done in the Gerber Portland Oregon plant.
You must have a favorite pocket knife. Tell me about it. Is it one of these? See if you agree with me that these are the 5 best pocket knives in the world.
Boker Magnum King Barlow. Boker is a big name in quality knives. They design and produce them around the world, using the best stainless steel. This barlow is a lockback formulated to please the hard core barlow lovers. Its prize features are a real damascus blade and burl wood scales (handles). This knife is the crowning glory of the long history of barlow knives, which originated in the 1600’s.
When someone asks for a Buck knife, this is the one they mean, even though Buck makes a lot of styles of cutting instruments. The 110 was first made in 1964, and just celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Case Trapper Knife. Case makes all of its knives in the USA. This Natural Bone Trapper 91445 is the best selling Case knife by a long shot. Hand made, fine stainless steel, pure bone handle, and a lifetime warranty make it a winner.
Kershaw Scallion Camo Knife.
They make this one in the United States out of the best material. It is a precision piece comprised of assisted opening, closed safety lock, and of course, the popular camouflage design.
Kutmaster Compact Rescue Knife. Popular because of its stylish look, and its usefulness. Black blades command a mysterious look, along with the black handle. The tanto style blade adds to its attractiveness.