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Old January 23, 2015, 08:59 PM   #1
hso
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Most influential knives of the past 50 years

What are the most influential knives of the past 50 years?

First, lets set some rules. Legitimate candidates would be knives that changed knife design philosophy or knife culture (changing knives after their introduction) or knives that have been the most emulated (this would have to include the many unauthorized copies, knock-offs and counterfeits).

Remember that they have to be knives introduced in the last 50 years (1965) so that puts many influential knives introduced earlier out of the running.
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Last edited by hso; January 24, 2015 at 08:54 AM.
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Old January 23, 2015, 09:16 PM   #2
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In 1966 I bought a Gerber MK1 at main base PX. I gave it away to career NCO around 1983. He tried to return it around 2004. Told him to pass it on to a needful person. It currently rides in the original sheath strapped to the leg of a female Rotary Flight Warrant (dust off). It was my best friend for years and has seen at least 14 deployments. 3 names engraved into blade, I pray she never needs it.

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Old January 23, 2015, 09:18 PM   #3
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My personal favorite would spyderco and the thumb hole opener
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Old January 23, 2015, 09:50 PM   #4
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Al Mar Knives: Their marketing and premium branding was very influential in the US market.

Spyderco: popularized pocket clip, serrations, ergonomics, thumb hole.

Buck 110: just over 50 years old, the quintessential heavy duty folder.
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Old January 23, 2015, 09:53 PM   #5
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Bob Loveless
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Old January 23, 2015, 10:06 PM   #6
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Cold Steel's Tanto.

Gerber's daggers/boot knives: Mark I, Mark II, Guardian

Bob Loveless's drop point hunters

Buck's 110

Spyderco

Liner Locks

High end tacticals, exemplified by Chris Reeve's Sebenza.
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Old January 23, 2015, 10:11 PM   #7
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The Buck 110 has to be the top, but that was 1963.
So two years to soon to meet the cut-off.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

The top Has to be Spyderco Worker in 1981, with the Delica & Endura following.

The first with:
One hand opening & closing.
Pocket clip.
Lightweight polymer construction.
Serrated blades.

The only other major innovation I can think of is the Emerson chisel-ground Tanto blade.
Everybody copies that now!


Honorable mention to the Benchmade Axis-Lock, even though it has not been widely copied due to patents & copyrights still held.

Others:
Emerson Wave.
Carson Flipper.
Onion Speed-safe.

IMO: There has really been no game-changing fixed blade innovations in the last 50 years.
Other then molded plastic sheaths and indestructible handle scale materials.

PS: Liner locks were in use 200 or more years ago.
And Bob Loveless was well established & folks were copying his designs and construction methods by the 1960's when I started doing it too!


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Last edited by rcmodel; January 23, 2015 at 10:31 PM.
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Old January 24, 2015, 03:08 AM   #8
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I'll have to vote for the Buck 110 as well even though it is a bit older than the criteria. I have seen and owned many versions by both good, Puma and Schrade and bad, Pakichinacrapistandia, over the years.
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Old January 24, 2015, 03:24 AM   #9
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I was also going to mention the Axis lock system by Benchmade. I have a Barrage on my hip right now, and it's hands down my favorite knife.

Next week when my CRKT Folts minimalist tanto arrives, I may also have to give the nod to neck knives in general. This will be my first.
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Old January 24, 2015, 04:43 AM   #10
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I'm not very old so I don't have alot of insight, but as a young buck, my vote would be the KABAR.

It is so copied and iconic. It's been used for decades, and is still one of the better designs out there for the money, especially with the 1095 CroVan steel.
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Old January 24, 2015, 04:52 AM   #11
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Not a lot of new innovations to my knowledge... but here's something that comes to mind. A heavy duty chopping and digging knife. This one is by Becker and has been copied a few times.

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Old January 24, 2015, 08:58 AM   #12
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Some of what has been proposed were introduced before 1965 so knives like the USN MkII "KaBar" are obviously waaayyyyyy before and some like the liner lock aren't commonly known to have been predated by knives in common use in the 1940's. Some like the Buck 110 just missed the date, but warrants an honorable mention for coming so close. Bob Loveless' drop point predated '65 as well. Some like the Axis lock don't meet the test because they defend their patent so strongly there's no copy and there were other similar designs before the Axis only a few of you know about.

The Sebenza was introduced in '91 and has had a huge impact (btw, Chris doesn't consider it a "tactical").

Spyderco introduced thumb holes, clips, serrations on folders.

Kit Carson's Flipper is seen everywhere these days.

Ken Onion's Speed Safe and the other similar mechanisms are great.

The Gerber MkI is a good example.

Bob Lum's "American Tanto" (which Cold Steel copied).

What else?
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Last edited by hso; January 24, 2015 at 09:13 AM.
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Old January 24, 2015, 09:01 AM   #13
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Don't have any suggestions.... but Blindhari gets an "attaboy" from this corner.
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Old January 24, 2015, 09:32 AM   #14
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The Leatherman Tool

The Gerber Paul
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Old January 24, 2015, 12:00 PM   #15
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I think the Axis lock does pass the test. It can't legally be copied, but it undoubtedly lead to the development Spyderco's Ball Bearing / Caged Ball Bearing lock, SOG's Arc Lock, and probably at least another I'm forgetting.

All of the Benchmade and Spyderco designer collaborations in the early '90s laid the groundwork and we now see every major knife manufacturer it.

CRKT for opening the Taiwanese manufactured knife market to US consumers.
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Old January 24, 2015, 12:05 PM   #16
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What about ceramic blades?

On a personal note I'm go back and forth between the Kershaw flipper knives and Benchmade axis lockers as my favorites. I have some of both, but at the moment a Benchmade is in the pocket.
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Old January 24, 2015, 12:32 PM   #17
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The first Spyderco, I think, was likely the most influential knife of the last 50 years because it brought one hand opening and the pocket clip to the masses.

I could have just quoted rc's post #7.
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Old January 24, 2015, 01:22 PM   #18
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I'd have to put in a word for Bob Dozier. He started in the 1960s IIRC. His simple, utilitarian style puts a first quality custom knife out there at a price almost anyone can afford by saving a few $$$ along the way.



IMG from http://www.agrussell.com/dozier-stra...p/DKhhhPESBRH/
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Old January 24, 2015, 05:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fuller View Post
I'd have to put in a word for Bob Dozier. He started in the 1960s IIRC. His simple, utilitarian style puts a first quality custom knife out there at a price almost anyone can afford by saving a few $$$ along the way.



IMG from http://www.agrussell.com/dozier-stra...p/DKhhhPESBRH/
I had one of those for a while. I don't think you can legitimately call them custom knives. If Bob Doxier's hand ever touched them it was just for an inspection as they were being packed up to send to AG. I'm 99% sure they are shopmade knives: even the AG Russell catalog describes (or used to) them as "hand ground on grinders designed and made by Bob Dozier" as opposed to "hand ground by Bob Dozier himself".

I don't deny his influence as a designer, and I'm not knocking him. He uses a different mark to distinguish between the two 'brands'. It's not like the knives that came out of the Loveless shop the last few years where if you didn't do the research you didn't know that he had other guys making the knives for him.
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Old January 25, 2015, 04:01 PM   #20
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Gerber Mk.I

Gerber Mk.II

Benchmade Model 556 Mini-Griptilian
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Old January 25, 2015, 06:21 PM   #21
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Mad Dog knives by Kevin Mcclung : because of his ergonomic and rivet less laid up glass handle on a semi full tang. His plain but flat ground rugged designs of basically 01 steel differerentially hardened then industrial hard chromed which gets around the O1 rust problem . His perfect grind lines and neat designs of double edged knives.

If they weren't influential then it would not have so many forgeries and the current lot of clones from China being hawked.
I am looking beyond the makers personality or business practices.


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Old January 25, 2015, 06:28 PM   #22
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And of course Bo Randle; he brought custom knives to the forefront with his work since WW2 for those in the know which after Vietnam became popular culture, my only one left a Smithsonian Bowie:
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Old January 25, 2015, 09:14 PM   #23
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Some good picks on Leatherman.

Sorry, but Randalls predate 1964/65.
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Old January 25, 2015, 10:07 PM   #24
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True Randall predates 50 years but really got custom knives moving in the general public in the 60 and 70s.
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Old January 25, 2015, 10:20 PM   #25
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The Gerber MK1 & its copys.ColdSteel, Spyderco, CRKT . I think towards tanto points &serrated blades was significant.
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