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American Knife Patterns

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:45 pm
by RevolverGuy
I'm interested in learning which traditional patterns (slipjoints) were started in the USA. I know certain ones like the Barlow have a huge following here but the pattern was created in England, so I'm looking at just American patterns.

From my searching I believe these were. Feel free to add to the list. Let's start the discussion.

Re: American Knife Patterns

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:55 pm
by LongBlade
Interesting question and thread.... There are no doubt differences in patterns and origin but I always thought the congress and gunstock were British patterns brought over here - many of the congress patterns used here in the 1800s came from Sheffield and they were stamped in many cases Tobacco knife for the American market - that is not to say that American companies didn't start to make them (in fact many early cutleries employed British emigrants from Sheffield who brought over patterns and styles)... I have seen early gunstock patterns from Sheffield as early as 1816 as illustrated in Smiths Key... just off the top of my head I think certain patterns differed - for example British made quill knives were very fancy whereas American made quill knives were rather plain.. without a doubt certain companies here made original American patterns but never thought about which ones are clearly American and not made elsewhere... ::hmm:: ...

Re: American Knife Patterns

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:58 pm
by edge213
Interested to see how this thread goes.
I would like to know what patterns are original to the U.S.

Re: American Knife Patterns

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:10 pm
by RevolverGuy
Thanks Longblade for bringing that up. I believe you may be right about the gunstock pattern but am not sure. I always thought the congress was an American pattern. Showing up in the late 19th century the origin is debated but I have heard two stories. One was that it could be that because the four knives coming together, they congregate. The other explanation I have heard was that in the early days members of Congress were given whittling blocks to pass time in between sessions so that they would not carve the chairs and railings.

The copperhead was derived from the jack knife pattern, and the name comes from the copperhead snake native to the south eastern USA.

I am wondering about the canoe pattern as well which also originated from the jack. Maybe someone knows more about that one.

Re: American Knife Patterns

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:37 pm
by Mumbleypeg
Levine’s Guide says the “sunfish” pattern “seems to be a mid to late 19th century American pattern”. Says despite their being sometimes called an “old English rope knife”, “I have seen no evidence that the sunfish is either English or a rope knife”.

Levine’s also says electrician’s knives having a combination of spear master blade with a locking screwdriver are based on the U.S. military specification Tl-29 introduced around 1917.

He also says of the Congress pattern “Not only is the Congress a purely American pattern, for most of its history it was a purely southern pattern.........English firms and the big northeastern cutlery manufacturers such as Remington and New York Knife Company made Congress patterns in large numbers but they mainly distributed them through wholesalers in the southeast.”

I believe the scout/utility pattern would possibly qualify as being of American origin. Again referencing Levine’s, it says this pattern “seems to have been a cross between the American equal-end cattle knife and German and Swiss multi-bladed hunter’s and soldier’s inexpensive home-grown substitute for the costly horseman’s and sportsman’s knives long imported from Europe.”

We know from more recent times Case has introduced new patterns like the SlimLock and Russlock.

All of these are variations on old patterns like the “jack” knife so I supposed it’s a matter of semantics as to whether you consider them as being “new”. ::shrug::


Re: American Knife Patterns

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:03 pm
by Colonel26
Wasn’t the stockman an American pattern?

Re: American Knife Patterns

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:31 pm
I always wondered where the 2 blade folding hunter originated. That and the stockman are among my favorites.