Vacations & Outdoor Knives

The year is 1926. Summer time is fast approaching and the local area merchant is getting ready for increasing knife sales and profits. 

Well it takes two to tango, so who do you think were the likely buyers back then and which patterns did they want?

When we think of knife sales, we usually think of it from our perspective- that of a buyer, yet, as summer rolled around back 80 years ago, merchants clearly saw several knife patterns as the most important for increasing sales. 

The merchants and manufacturers targeted a very definable group of buyers: boy scouts, autoists, hunters and campers. Plus they knew the patterns that would appeal to these buyers and have the highest demand- and would sale the quickest.

The common denominator in all of this was- Vacations. In the summer months folks got out and about. They went camping. They took road trips. Young boys went to summer camps. All this outdoor activity directly resulted in more knives being sold.

But, the regular line of jack knives and heavy service knives weren’t the answer. Instead, knives were produced to especially satisfy these buyers demands- the outdoor knives: (click to enlarge)

July 1926 Popular Summer Patterns

July 1926 Popular Summer Patterns


Don’t think the numbers weren’t huge either. In Getting Ready for the Vacationist published in the July edition of Paines’ Cutlery Journal, merchants were encouraged to “Visualize an army of nearly 700,000 boy scouts ready to join their summer camps- all eager to carry with them the latest style of pocket knife… Think of the hundreds of thousands not enlisted in the scouts who are also ready to get out in the country. Pocket knives of the outdoor design are decidedly one of the dealer’s best bets to increase profits at this season of the year.”

And buy they did, and thankfully so. Outdoor and Scout knives are widely collected today because manufacturers back then continued to create and satisfy the demand of the time.

Published in: on October 7, 2008 at 6:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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