A pocket knife can be many things. The sheer variety of blade shapes and availability of materials mean that the possibilities for knife designs are endless — in just the last year we’ve seen the release of miniature cleavers and coin-shaped folders. Finding the perfect knife for one’s needs has never been easier, but the potential for a blade to become iconic has shrunk in response. Some designs, like those of W.R. Case & Sons, have earned everlasting distinction.
Case has been making pocket knives since 1889 and in the time since its patterns have contributed to the collective archetypal image of what a pocket knife is: a small steel blade that folds into its handle. It’s impossible to identify just one of Case’s folders as the epitome of the American jackknife because there are so many: the Trapper with its side-by-side clip- and spey-point blades; the Texas Toothpick with its curved handle and long and narrow blade; the three-blade Stockman. All have earned their distinction as practical and pocketable, which is what, above all else, a pocket knife should be.
That doesn’t mean a knife shouldn’t also be handsome though. Case accomplishes this through its polished steel blades and accents and by choosing premium handle materials that can include various hardwoods as well as bone, buffalo horn, stag antler, mother-of-pearl and mammoth ivory. These and a production stamp that identifies the year in which each knife was made have helped make Case blades highly collectible.
Right now, Massdrop is running a sale on Case pocket knives with jigged whiskey bone handles. Four different versions are available, including the iconic Trapper as well as the newer Mini Trapper, Medium Stockman and Muskrat. Customarily priced around $70, these pocket knives are now available for roughly $40, which is a great deal for collectors as well as those in need of a handy everyday sidekick.