“There never was a good knife made of bad steel” – Benjamin Franklin
Tracing their ancestry back to 4000 years ago, it was during the Bronze Age that man first hammered, formed and shaped tools that today are recognised as single-edged knives.
From crude, yet functional tools, today one can bear witness to an amazing evolution. In design, as well as the gargantuan leaps made in usage of materials, the craft today has been elevated to an art form.
Materials, run the full gamut; with exotic woods being used in harmony with such timeless classics as Damascus steel, offering “ye olde world” charm. Modern synthetics are amalgamated to titanium, with such models being highly coveted by collectors world-wide. Internationally there is no more famous knife than the “Swiss Army Knife”. They are instantly identified by their red handles. Made by Victorinox, and, until 2005 by Wenger S.A, they are offered in dozens of models; from single-blade to multi-bladed models capable of tasks just short of major surgery.
The French Alps are home to yet another timeless classic of the cutlery world. Founded over 125 years ago, Opinel is famous for their simple yet brilliant design. South Africans, known for their almost messianic devotion to biltong, have a knife specifically made for the task. Joseph Rodgers, hailing from the home of English cutlery, Sheffield produced their famous Biltong Knife.
In closing I wish to share with you a superstition concerning the gifting of a knife. When you give a knife as a present, the recipient should give you back a coin. This is done so that the friendship is not severed.