The charm of folding knives

We often purchase British antique small folding knives.
Of course, there are also large antique knives, but there are legal restrictions on importing knives with a blade length of 15 cm or longer, so we mainly handle small ones.

You may not have much of an image of knives in England today, but the industrial revolution that began in the 18th century saw the development of the knives industry centering on the city of Sheffield, producing excellent knives.
After World War I, the best British cutlers immigrated to the United States, and the British cutlery industry declined.

Even in Japan, folding knives called Higonokami have been around for a long time, and even today, small folding knives such as Victorinox are popular among outdoor enthusiasts.
I think that many men, in particular, are attracted to such small knives.
It seems that the old British gentlemen also kept such folding knives in their waistcoat pockets as a necessity, and there are still many folding knives left.

pen knife

pen knifepen knife

A "pen knife" is a small knife for sharpening the tip of a pen, a type of dip pen made from bird feathers called a "quill pen."
Quill pens were the primary writing instrument until the mid-19th century.

Since the feathers of birds are simply carved and shaped, the blades do not need to be very hard or sharp, and many are made of sterling silver.
Many of the knives have handles made of mother-of-pearl, and there are also beautifully decorated white-lipped oyster handles and sterling silver blades, making these knives look very beautiful.

Few people today use a quill pen, and its small size and soft sterling silver blade limit its use as a knife.
If you have a large one, you can use it as a fruit knife, which will be explained later, or as a letter opener for opening sealed letters.

fruit knife

fruit knifefruit knife

It is a knife that is slightly larger than a pen knife and was used for peeling the skin of fruits.
Many of the blades here are also made of pure silver, and pure silver was used because carbon steel blades are easily rusted by the acid of fruits.
Since stainless steel became popular, some blades are made of stainless steel.

Fruits themselves were precious and expensive in those days, so it was the wealthy who had such knives.
Many of the white pearl oysters and sterling silver handles are elaborately decorated.

Multi-tool, cigar knife

multi toolcigar cutter

A multi-tool is a folding knife with multiple tools such as a pen, file, and corkscrew in addition to the knife.
Even today, there are multi-tools such as Victorinox, but such things also exist in antiques and have a surprisingly long history.

A cigar knife is a small knife used to cut the tip of a cigar when smoking.
Many of them are small enough to be an Albert chain fob so that they are easy to carry around.

Compared to the pen knives and fruit knives mentioned above, multi-tools and cigar knives tend to have simpler designs because they emphasize practicality.
Many blades are made of carbon steel, so many of them have deteriorated due to rust, and there are not many of them left.


Antique folding knives are small, take up little space, and are often beautifully decorated.
There are relatively many pen knives left, so some of them can be obtained cheaply as antiques, so it is recommended as an entrance to antiques that you will pick up first.
There is also a charm that can actually be used in daily life as a letter opener.

Click here for our Antique Folding Knife