From hunting wooly mammoths with flint blades to cutting through impossible packaging with your favorite EDC, humanity has relied on sharp and stabby implements throughout the ages for essential everyday tasks. Check out our short list of essential pocket knife history factoids:

  • 1.4 million years ago: Using flint, hominids in present-day Spain make the first knife ever—to-date, this is the oldest knife in existence
  • 13,500 BC Pre-Clovis people use chert blades in present-day Texas
  • 5000 BC Ancient peoples in Turkey use obsidian for knives
  • 2100 BC Pre-Columbian Americans use metals for art and tools
  • 2000 BC The Stone Age ends and the Bronze Age begins
  • 1800 BC Steel used in ancient Turkey
  • 1323 BC King Tut buried with a gold knife (EDC goals amirite)
  • 1200 BC The Bronze age collapses and the Iron Age begins
  • 300 AD Romans design and use first folding knife
  • 700 AD Japanese Samurai carry kwaiken knives
  • 1000 AD Puuko knives come into vogue in Finland
  • 1100 AD European crusades encounter Damascus steel in Turkey
  • 1300s Sword makers set up shop in Seki City, Japan
  • 1374 Solingen chartered as a town in Germany
  • 1400s Artisans begin making knives in Maniago, Italy
  • 1500s Iron knives arrive in America with settlers
  • 1700s Boker begins making knives
  • 1860s Troops use slip joints for utility knives in American Civil War
  • 1880s Stamped parts enter manufacturing world
  • 1889 W.R. Case begins making knives in New York
  • 1890 Opinel begins making knives in Savoie, France
  • 1891 Victorinox releases original Swiss army knife in Ibach
  • 1897 Tidioute Cutlery begins a knife-making era in Pennsylvania
  • 1897 Sears and Roebuck mail knives across America
  • 1904 Schrade Cutlery Company opens its doors in New York
  • 1905 Balisongs invented in Batangas, Philippines
  • 1906 The first liner lock patent issued
  • 1907 Heroult makes first electric furnace for steel production
  • 1910 Bill Scagel makes his first fixed blade knife
  • 1913 Stainless steel invented in England
  • 1916 Brothers Michael and Felix Mirando start Imperial Knife Co.
  • 1917 Knuckle knives see combat in the trenches of the Great War
  • 1937 Bo Randall makes his first knife after seeing a Scagel blade
  • 1939 Gerber begins making fixed blades in Portland, OR
  • 1940 Imperial Knife company produces millions of knives yearly
  • 1942 Ka-Bar releases the USMC Fighting knife for use in WWII
  • 1946 First Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine developed
  • 1947 Hoyt and Al Buck start mass producing Buck knives
  • 1950 Women's magazine prints anti-knife piece read by millions
  • 1956 Paul Bos begins heat treating
  • 1957 West Side Story debuts on Broadway
  • 1958 US Switchblade Act passes to stop Broadway's thug life
  • 1960s Bob Loveless perfects the drop point hunter
  • 1960s Plastic becomes popular in consumer goods
  • 1964 Buck releases the Model 110 Folding Hunter
  • 1964 A.G. Russell mail-order catalog starts
  • 1964 Imacasa begins making machetes in Santa Ana, El Salvador
  • 1966 Buster Warenski learns knifemaking from Gil Hibben
  • 1967 The first commercial wire EDM machine released in USSR
  • 1968 Gil Hibben designs Browning's first knife line
  • 1969 Al Mar leaves Gerber to start his own company
  • 1970 A.G. Russell creates the Knifemaker's Guild
  • 1970 The first official counterfeit knives enter the market
  • 1971 A.G. Russell recruits Bob Dozier to save Morseth Knife Co.
  • 1972 Ron Lake pioneers gentleman’s knives
  • 1973 Bill Moran pattern welds a knife to revive Damascus steel
  • 1973 Blade Magazine releases first issue as "American Blade"
  • 1974 Pete Kershaw leaves Gerber to start his own company
  • 1975 Tony Bose makes his first folding knife
  • 1976 Bill Moran starts the American Bladesmith's Society (ABS)
  • 1977 Japanese-owned KAI purchases Kershaw
  • 1978 NASA buys Swiss Army knives for Space Shuttle missions
  • 1979 Bali-song Inc established in California
  • 1980 Spyderco releases the first knife with thumb hole opener
  • 1980 Cold Steel popularizes the tanto blade amid a shower of meat
  • 1980 Sports Illustrated publishes article on Bob Loveless
  • 1980s Bob Terzuola coins the term "tactical knife"
  • 1981 Spyderco releases the first knife with a pocket clip
  • 1982 Conan the Barbarian and Lucas Burnley enter the world
  • 1982 Jimmy Lile designs Rambo's knife in First Blood.
  • 1982 National Knife Museum opens doors in Chattanooga, TN
  • 1983 Tim Leatherman makes his first multi-tool
  • 1983 Blade Magazine creates the Cutlery Hall of Fame
  • 1985 Steve Shackleford joins Blade magazine
  • 1985 Rick Hinderer builds his first knife
  • 1986 SOG releases a Vietnam-era styled fixed blade
  • 1987 Buster Warenski makes reproduction of King Tut's burial dagger
  • 1987 First Chris Reeve Knives Sebenza made
  • 1988 Pacific Cutlery goes bankrupt and re-emerges as Benchmade
  • 1988 Finland-based Fiskars purchases Gerber
  • 1989 Anso and Voxnaes become dynamic Danish designer duo
  • 1990 Spyderco Delica and Endura knives are released
  • 1990 Michael Walker perfects the Linerlock mechanism
  • 1991 Bear and Son Cutlery launches in Jacksonville, AL
  • 1994 Two Kershaw employees leave to start CRKT
  • 1994 Microtech begins making knives in Florida
  • 1995 Online retailers begin selling knives
  • 1995 Blackie Collins invents the spring-assisted folding knife
  • 1996 Ken Onion and Kershaw release Speed Safe assist
  • 1997 American Knife and Tool Institute started
  • 1997 ESEE combines training with survival knives
  • 1998 Ernie Emerson patents the wave opening mechanism
  • 1998 Protech begins making Cali legal autos
  • 1998 CRKT releases Kit Carson's M16 model with a flipper
  • 1998 McHenry and Williams patent new locking mechanism
  • 1998 Benchmade releases McHenry and Williams' new “Axis Lock”
  • 1998 Blade Forums created
  • 1998 TOPS begins manufacturing survival knives
  • 1999 1/3 of U.S. households have the Internet
  • 1999 Microtech releases the Ultratech OTF
  • 2000 Warren Osborne designs Benchmade 940
  • 2000 Benchmade releases the 42-- a titanium handle balisong
  • 2000 Reality survival shows like Man vs. Wild. hit primetime
  • 2001 War on Terror begins in Afghanistan
  • 2002 Bill Harsey + CRK’S Yarborough knife given to Green Berets
  • 2002 Crucible Industries and Chris Reeve develop S30V steel
  • 2003 Iraq war begins
  • 2004 Schrade knives closes its doors
  • 2005 YouTube invented, and 1 year later Nutnfancy starts channel
  • 2005 Victorinox buys Wenger
  • 2005 Blade Sports International sanctions cutting competitions
  • 2006 KAI starts American-made Zero Tolerance Knives
  • 2006 Great Eastern Cutlery reignites traditional knives
  • 2006 Doug Ritter founds Knife Rights to lobby sensible knife laws
  • 2007 Gerber's Bear Grylls line brings knives to the masses
  • 2007 Camillus files for bankruptcy. Its assets and brand sold.
  • 2008 Cutlerylover starts his YouTube channel
  • 2009 Crucible and Chris Reeve Knives introduce S35VN blade steel
  • 2009 U.S. Switchblade Act changed to clarify assisted knives ≠ autos
  • 2010 Instagram invented
  • 2010 Spyderco Paramilitary 2 released
  • 2010 The Father of Modern Handmade Knives, Bob Loveless, dies
  • 2011 New Hampshire repeals all the knife laws in the state
  • 2012 BRS perfects the balisong for sport flipping
  • 2012 Blade Show celebrates 30 years
  • 2012 EpicSnuggleBunny starts his YouTube channel
  • 2013 Custom makers begin commissioning mid-tech knives
  • 2014 The last issue of Tactical Knives magazine is printed
  • 2015 High-end Chinese manufacturers (WE, Reate, Kizer) launch
  • 2015 Nick Shabazz starts his YouTube channel
  • 2015 Forged in Fire TV series launches on the History Channel
  • 2015 Government campaigns in Britain push to eradicate knives
  • 2015 G+G Hawk release the Deadlock -- an OTF without blade play
  • 2017 Plaza Cutlery closes its doors
  • 2018 Queen Cutlery closes its doors
  • 2018 Guardian Tactical releases new OTF knife with smoother action
  • 2018 A.G. Russell passes away
  • 2018 Benchmade's Axis lock patent expires. Crossbar locks abound
  • 2020 Legendary knifemarkers Les de Asis and Tony Base pass away
  • 2020 Global pandemic causes uptick in online knife sales
  • 2020/21 Cold Steel and Outdoor Edge sold to corporate holding groups
  • 2021 Larrin Thomas and Crucible release Magnacut steel
  • 2022 Mel Pardue, Elijah Isham, and Jon Graham pass away