What Will Buck Knives Be Like in 100 Years?

110b.jpg Buck Folding Hunter Lockback Knife 110

Funny you should ask. How can you predict the future of anything? Here are some basic techniques that knife predictors might use:

  1. To see what a knife will look like in 100 years from now, lets see what it looked like 100 years AGO.
  2. Then look at the changes that were made, and when they were made. Did most of the changes occur in the last 10 years? If so, then you could expect more changes to come at a faster rate. If changes occurred every 10 years for the last 100 years, then you could expect the same steady rate of change in the next 100 trips around the sun.
  3. See the health of the knife company, and how well they respond to the needs of its customers.

What will Buck Knives be like in 2116? To try and answer that, let’s follow the 3 steps shown above…

  1. I can’t find a picture of the original Buck knife, made in 1902 by Hoyt Buck, the founder. If you can, please post it here.
  2. Buck Knives have changed gradually over the last 100 years. At the halfway mark, the son of Hoyt, Al Buck, incorporated “Buck Knives“.  In 1963-1964, Al designed and started to manufacture the famous 110 Buck Folding Hunter knife. At 4 7/8” closed, this knife has been the flagship of all pocket knives. It made the name “buck knife” a household name. When someone would say that name, they would mean a good pocket knife.  Al’s son Chuck and his wife, Lori worked at the plant, too, since 1978. Then in 1999 CJ took over the company. His father, Chuck died in 2015. So CJ is the great grandson of the originator, Hoyt Buck.

    301.jpg Buck USA Stockman Knife 301

    You can say that the next hundred years may continue to show a steady development of methods, design, and products to keep Buck knives the major US pocket knife company.

    722gray.jpg Buck® Spitfire 722

  3. How does this knife company respond to the needs of its customers? Starting with the founder, Hoyt Buck, he was looking for a way to temper steel. A better steel would be able to receive and hold a sharper edge. He had the American people in mind. Chuck responded to the customers in 1963 when they wanted a hunting knife that would fold. Not only fold, but lock in the open position, so you wouldn’t hurt yourself. This 110 Buck Folding Hunter knife was the best thing since sliced bread. So point 3 gets a passing grade for Buck. Most Buck knives are USA made.

    buck nobleman knife Buck Nobleman Linerlock Knife 327

    But in response to the economic cries of its customers, Buck does import some fine pocket knives. Camo (camouflage) has become very popular, so Buck responded with a few camo handles and even orange camo handles. Tactical knives are now taking center stage in the pocket knife collectors. Buck has designed some great example of that.

    284CM.jpg Buck® Nano Bantam Camo 284cmo

    Buck® Folding Orange Camo Omni Hunter 395CM9 Buck® Folding Orange Camo Omni Hunter 395CM9

What Will Buck Knives Be Like in 100 Years? My best guess would be more of the tactical style, and survival style of knives. However, for those who reminisce, Buck will always produce the 110 Buck Folding Hunter knife that has survived over 50 years. It is the flagship of all pocket knives.

870-S Buck® Silver “Bones” Pocket Knife 870-S

870-TS Buck® “Bones” – Tiger Stripe 870-TS


The History of Buck Knives

110 Buck Folding Hunter Lockback
110 Buck Folding Hunter Lockback

Buck Knives go way back to 1902. The inventor, Hoyt Buck, from Kansas, started out as an apprentice blacksmith. He got obsessed with finding a way to temper steel so that it could be made into a better knife blade. A blade that would hold a sharp edge longer than previous blades. He started making custom Buck knives in 1902 out of old file blades. In 1945 he and his wife moved to San Diego. There, his son Al Buck started a partnership with him to produce Buck knives. The company was called H. H. Buck and Son.  After Hoyt died, Al  decided to incorporate, and started Buck Knives, Inc. in 1961. The most famous offspring of this important knife company was made in 1964–the Buck Folding Hunter model 110. We celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014. This wood handled lockback knife is the pocket knife that is synonymous with the Buck company. If someone says Buck Knife, this is the knife they are referring to. It is often imitated by other knife companies.

Today, in 2016, the 3rd and 4th generation of the Buck family are involved in the successful business. CJ Buck is the president and CEO today (and since 1999), and is the grandson of Al Buck. He took over in 1999 from his dad, Chuck Buck, who later died in 2015.

The secret to the sharpness of a Buck knife lies in the heat treating process that Paul Bos developed in 1956. It is a process of heating then freezing, then re-heating of the steel. Paul retired in 2010 from Buck, but the process is still used. Bos received the Blade Magazine Industry Achievement Award in 2007 for his involvement in heat treating technology.

Hoyt Buck about 1948.
Hoyt Buck about 1948.