What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.
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Evil D
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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby Evil D » Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:37 am

I think the pocket clip was inevitable but the thumb hole maybe not. The thumb stud was pretty much the standard and still is for some companies.

I would probably be carrying Kershaw's.
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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby wrdwrght » Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:39 am

Mine would look like some sort of SAK. That’s what my first Spydie (a now-gifted Tenacious) displaced, and others have since resisted for primary carry.

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby Doeswhateveraspidercan » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:45 pm

It is truly impossible to tell, so many others after Spyderco took direct influence from Spyderco. If I would hazard a guess I would say they would look like Buck Folders still do since the 1970's, Swiss Army Knives, and Case. In fact I do not think the industry would be where it is today with out Sal's many contributions not even close forget about many of the steels we all know and love ever being in knives. Their also would not be as many companies.

About the only one I can think of that I do not think was influenced overly much by Spyderco is Chris Reeve that old Codger is one independent son of a gun.

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby Frozenspyder » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:59 pm

I think we'd be missing out on a lot more than just the features that Sal first incorporated into knife designs. Spyderco knives have popularized other features that weren't necessarily Sal's inventions. We'd probably see a lot fewer Boye dents, for example.

Most importantly, a lot of pocket knives would be incredibly dull because we wouldn't have the Sharpmaker. Sure, there's other ways to sharpen a knife, but the Sharpmaker brought an affordable, user friendly, high performance sharpening system to the masses.

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby knivesandbooks » Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:49 pm

JuPaul wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:20 am
Out of curiosity, when did flipper tabs become a thing? Does anyone know who first debuted them?
It is my understanding that the first production knives to have a flipper were actually the Kit Carson designed M16's made by CRKT. Now, who invented the flipper? Who knows. But I am almost 100% positive that that one was the first production flipper design.
I own an assisted knife and am embarrassed to admit I enjoy it.

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby JuPaul » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:29 am

knivesandbooks wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:49 pm
JuPaul wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:20 am
Out of curiosity, when did flipper tabs become a thing? Does anyone know who first debuted them?
It is my understanding that the first production knives to have a flipper were actually the Kit Carson designed M16's made by CRKT. Now, who invented the flipper? Who knows. But I am almost 100% positive that that one was the first production flipper design.
Interesting. I would've guessed Kershaw...
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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby Cambertree » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:28 am

Interesting thoughts everyone.

I think as well as all the technical aspects people have mentioned, like ZrowsN1s said, Spyderco have had a very strong influence on fostering and developing a positive and thriving 'knife culture'. Sal and Spyderco have supported many new makers, and forums across the world, as well as diverse aspects of blade culture, like MBC, cutting competitions, first responder tools etc, and they have been at the forefront of educating and elevating the end line users as well.

All industries have their shysters and hype, but to me Spyderco are the epitome of integrity and honesty in the knife world. They have enriched the modern knife scene in so many intangible ways that it would be difficult to imagine what it would be like without them.

I have actually seen an old traditional slipjoint knife with a pocket clip before, but it was such an obscure example, that I'm sure it wasn't known to Sal and Gail when they started Spyderco. I think it was intended to help the knife sit upright in a shirt breast pocket.

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby sok » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:56 pm

A Blur.

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby NWPilgrim » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:39 pm

I don't remember thumbstuds coming along until AFTER Spyderco popularized one hand opening. After many decades of pocket knives without them, I’m pretty sure Spyderco was the first to introduce one hand opening for widely available brand of knives along with the pocket clip. And then they got into the multitude of steels.

My knives would be same SAK Camper and Buck 110.

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby Cambertree » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:19 am

Early 20th century examples of one hand opener thumbstuds and a pocket clip on slipjoint knives:

Image

Image

(Not my photos, they’re by Bladeforums member Supratentorial, of the Multi-tool Museum.)

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby Ankerson » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:57 am

Well, one never really knows.

Before Spyderco started people were already looking at things to make them one hand opening so that would have happened anyway.

Not sure about the pocket clips though, I suppose someone would have developed them eventually.

Have to remember Cold Steel started just 2 years after Spyderco and locks were/are Cold Steels thing.

As far as the opening hole, I won't even guess on that one.

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby JonLeBlanc » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:12 am

Cambertree wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:19 am
Early 20th century examples of one hand opener thumbstuds and a pocket clip on slipjoint knives:

Image

Image

(Not my photos, they’re by Bladeforums member Supratentorial, of the Multi-tool Museum.)
That's pretty cool! The brass is nice too, although I reckon it might tarnish kinda readily
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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby NWPilgrim » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:45 pm

That brass knife is quite s find. Looks like it was setup to reside in a shirt pocket next to a pen. Way ahead if it’s time in concept but it’s small size probably limited its popularity.

All I remember from the 80s was after Spyderco came out with a hugely successful line of knives most other manufacturers scrambled to find ways to retrofit some models or intrusive new ones with those features. None of which were as elegant in my opinion.

These features may have eventually become popular as an integrated design, but Spyderco likely accelerated it that move by 10-20 years. Some knife makers were very reluctant to incorporate them.

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby Cambertree » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:32 pm

JonLeBlanc wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:12 am
That's pretty cool! The brass is nice too, although I reckon it might tarnish kinda readily
Yeah Jon, they're a cool testament to human inventiveness. Those brass scales can patina up pretty nice. I generally prefer steel liners and pins on traditional knives, as I don't like that ugly green verdigris which can develop in some conditions over time.
NWPilgrim wrote: That brass knife is quite s find. Looks like it was setup to reside in a shirt pocket next to a pen. Way ahead if it’s time in concept but it’s small size probably limited its popularity.

All I remember from the 80s was after Spyderco came out with a hugely successful line of knives most other manufacturers scrambled to find ways to retrofit some models or intrusive new ones with those features. None of which were as elegant in my opinion.

These features may have eventually become popular as an integrated design, but Spyderco likely accelerated it that move by 10-20 years. Some knife makers were very reluctant to incorporate them.
Yes, the Sheffield knifemakers had a particular term for those one hand opening studs, which escapes me at the moment. I'll edit it in if I can find the reference again.

Those slim two bladed penknives (without the thumbstuds) were actually a very popular design in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most white collar type workers, or 'gentlemen' would have carried something similar. Remember, these were the days when a man, and most women would no more have gone out without their pocketknife, than they would have gone out in public without their clothes.

Working folk would mostly have carried jackknives of stouter construction.

Dating traditional slipjoints accurately can be difficult for a number of reasons, but if I had to make an educated guess, I would think the brass knife may possibly have been a model made just after World War 1. There were a number of knife and tool designs made for people who had lost their hand or an arm, just as there were after the US Civil War. (There was a kind of spork with a sharpened cutting edge on one side, made for one armed men to eat with, after the Civil War.)

As to why the design didn't become more popular at the time, my guess is that the thumbstuds interfered with some kinds of cutting operations, and perhaps hindered sharpening along the full length of the blade, like some thumbstuds on designs today.

I've only ever seen that one example of a pocket clip, pre Spyderco, and as stated above, it's such a rare example, that I'm sure Sal wasn't aware of it when he invented the Spyderco type of clip.

Just goes to show how adaptive and inventive humans are.

I completely agree with your take on the way Spyderco have sped up the evolution of knife design and materials used.

The knife buying market can be very traditional and conservative - just look at how long it took for stainless steel knives to be accepted. Stainless steels were invented around 1912, but well into the '50s and '60s manufacturers were still favouring carbon steels, because that's what the market demanded.

A lot of the inventiveness in knife design derived from the custom makers. Spyderco helped to bring many new features from those craftsmen into the mainstream, as well as incorporating a strong spirit of CQI into their own basic design approach.

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby Brotherscinc0 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:55 pm

As much as I love spyderco, and I consider sal and Eric as prophets, I’m sure we would have similar innovations come along eventually.

I think the true contribution is the visual and ergonomic design of spyderco knives. They are just simply some of the most utilitarian, yet stylish knives around. I think sal realized that utility and aesthetics are linked. We “evolved” to recognize and regard objects based upon their usefulness to us. When I see a spyderco knife like my pm2, my brain lights up because it knows that I’ve casts my gaze upon a very useful object.

I think that when sal was designing the worker he must have realized it was a weird looking knife. He also probably figured that people would come to like it the more they used it.

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby 013 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:33 am

JuPaul wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:20 am
Out of curiosity, when did flipper tabs become a thing? Does anyone know who first debuted them?
Off the top of my head, if I'm not mistaken, i believe it was Blackie Collins. I remember purchasing my first flipper of his design in the late 90's. It was fiber reinforced nylon, including the blade, and it was assisted. They had a metal bladed version, but i was still a little sceptical about the design....so I went with the cheaper one to try it out.
The sword the body wounds, sharp words the mind.
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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby JuPaul » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:25 am

013 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:33 am
JuPaul wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:20 am
Out of curiosity, when did flipper tabs become a thing? Does anyone know who first debuted them?
Off the top of my head, if I'm not mistaken, i believe it was Blackie Collins. I remember purchasing my first flipper of his design in the late 90's. It was fiber reinforced nylon, including the blade, and it was assisted. They had a metal bladed version, but i was still a little sceptical about the design....so I went with the cheaper one to try it out.
An frn blade?? Woa, didn't know that even existed! Knifemaking history is so interesting...
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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby wrdwrght » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:32 am

013 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:33 am
JuPaul wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:20 am
Out of curiosity, when did flipper tabs become a thing? Does anyone know who first debuted them?
Off the top of my head, if I'm not mistaken, i believe it was Blackie Collins. I remember purchasing my first flipper of his design in the late 90's. It was fiber reinforced nylon, including the blade, and it was assisted. They had a metal bladed version, but i was still a little sceptical about the design....so I went with the cheaper one to try it out.
I’m no historian of knives but the Blackie Collins reference didn’t sound right. Check this: https://knifenews.com/how-did-the-flipp ... o-popular/

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby JuPaul » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:00 am

wrdwrght wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:32 am
013 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:33 am
JuPaul wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:20 am
Out of curiosity, when did flipper tabs become a thing? Does anyone know who first debuted them?
Off the top of my head, if I'm not mistaken, i believe it was Blackie Collins. I remember purchasing my first flipper of his design in the late 90's. It was fiber reinforced nylon, including the blade, and it was assisted. They had a metal bladed version, but i was still a little sceptical about the design....so I went with the cheaper one to try it out.
I’m no historian of knives but the Blackie Collins reference didn’t sound right. Check this: https://knifenews.com/how-did-the-flipp ... o-popular/
Thanks! Someone else mentioned CRKT earlier...appears they did have the first mass produced flipper design.
- Julia

"Be excellent to each other." - Bill S. Preston, Esq.

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Re: What would folding pocket knives look like if Sal never started Spyderco?

Postby 013 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:56 pm

JuPaul wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:00 am
wrdwrght wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:32 am
013 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:33 am
JuPaul wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:20 am
Out of curiosity, when did flipper tabs become a thing? Does anyone know who first debuted them?
Off the top of my head, if I'm not mistaken, i believe it was Blackie Collins. I remember purchasing my first flipper of his design in the late 90's. It was fiber reinforced nylon, including the blade, and it was assisted. They had a metal bladed version, but i was still a little sceptical about the design....so I went with the cheaper one to try it out.
I’m no historian of knives but the Blackie Collins reference didn’t sound right. Check this: https://knifenews.com/how-did-the-flipp ... o-popular/
Thanks! Someone else mentioned CRKT earlier...appears they did have the first mass produced flipper design.
I remember when I purchased the Blackie Collins blade, & I also remember when I purchased an CRKT M-16 flipper when they first came out. They were years apart. It was a while ago, so clearly this subject is going to require some research.
The sword the body wounds, sharp words the mind.
- Menander :spyder:


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