The History of Pocketknives: Traditional to modern

Historic necessity

There was a point in time when the majority of men carried pocketknives. Well regarded for its ability to handle many tasks with ease, it was quite normal to keep such a valuable tool at hand.

Small custom knives (if not pockets) can be traced back to the early Iron Age. These would have included bone handles and knives may have been between two to six inches long. Custom pocketknives are very versatile and can be used for almost any purpose including opening cans, letters, the cutting of apples and of course, self-defense. Applications are practically unlimited.

Changing attitudes

Unfortunately, with knife crime as it is today, precautions and restrictions have been put into place to reduce potential incidents. With the advanced conveniences of modern living, knife perceptions today are much more associated with danger due to violent uses. When these useful tools were more necessary day-to-day, carrying a pocketknife was no more unusual than carrying a mobile phone is today. Yet times have changed.

What makes a knife a pocketknife is very simple; they are designed following the principle of a sliding joint. This means that the blade is not caught, but is simply held in place by a spring-loaded system that allows the blade to be closed with sufficient force. The knife mechanism and handle are long enough to fit comfortably into the handle but can slide shut safely making it ideal for carrying in your pocket.


If you are looking for a pocketknife or wish to start a knife collection, make sure you well research and are aware of the laws in your country. There are several legal restrictions on buying any kind of knife, both in the shop and online. More and more laws are now being introduced to protect the average citizen, and although it is possible to buy a pocketknife as a tool, it can be deemed illegal to carry in public since it could be used as a weapon. In most countries it is not illegal to have a pocketknife, but in the UK it is illegal to carry it on the street. It is often up to the law enforcement authorities and courts to decide whether the user had a “good” reason to wear a pocketknife.

Quality is very important when choosing a pocketknife, although there are many different types of knives available on the market, from cheap to very expensive. A pocketknife of high quality, which costs more, may be a better investment on average over several years when maintained with due care. Thus, in the long run, it will save money, where buying a cheap pocketknife may break and require replacement more frequently. The blades of the knives should be made of stainless steel to facilitate easier cleaning and sharpening. If buying new or used, always check the spring mechanism and the joints to make sure they are in good condition and not worn.

Unlimited variation

There are many collections of pocketknives available due to the widespread appreciation of style and attractiveness. Often admired are those that have a nostalgic and timeless style. A good collection of different types of knives might consist of very old traditional and commemorative knives, through to new high tech modern designs. Custom Cutlers offer custom knives for your collection. Although it’s not cheap, they produce some amazing work, which is an art of its own. Whether you buy a pocketknife to use or for display, a custom knife is assured to be different and personal to you.