Penknives and other folding knives
Penknives and other folding knives by S.Moore Soft back, 32 pages, Illustrated B&W, 15cm x 21cm.
This book traces the history of folding knives, describing a wide variety of the types produced up to the present day.
- Folding knives in history
- Spring-back knives
- Folding fruit knives
- Into the twentieth century
- Advice for collectors
- Makers' marks on folding fruit knives
- Further reading
- Places to visit.
On the back cover:
The term 'penknife' is a misnomer for what is correctly called a pocket knife. It was originally applied to folding knives that evolved from earlier scribes' knives during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but the history of folding knives goes back two thousand years. Not until the mid seventeenth century were these useful tools fully established, with the invention of the spring-back to hold the blade open or closed. They evolved into a multiplicity of shapes and sizes, often combining as many uses as the number of blades that cutlers could mount into the handle. This book traces the history of folding knives, describing a wide variety of the types produced up to the present day.
Roman folding knives were sometimes assimilated into spoon handles, the blade lying along the handle when not in use. The spoon itself was also sometimes made to fold, so that a complete eating implement could be carried more easily.
A knife said to have been given to Nell Gwynne by Charles II is an example of the so-called 'rivetless' knives made by French cutlers in the late seventeenth century. In fact the rivets were cunningly concealed. The knife has two blades, one of steel for general purpose, the other of silver for cutting fruit - silver being resistant to fruit acids.
As Sheffield overtook London as Britain's main knife-making centre, the Sheffield Assay office was opened in 1773, and its hallmark, a crown, appears on the blades of folding knives