A penknife is a small pocket knife. Named in some countries as penknife (without the final S), this instrument was originally used to cut the pens that were used at the time of to write.

Folding knife

Today a penknife is called a little knife folding, although the first penknives could lack this particularity. When the device is opened, the sash is locked and can be used without moving or shifting.

Folding penknife

Today we associate the penknife with a folding instrument

Today’s penknives, which are pocket knives, are often used for different issues. In general, it is an element available in many homes and that some people always carry with them thanks to its utility.

It is important to mention that there are knives with several blades and even some that incorporate other utensils, such as pair of scissors, punches, pliers, pins or can opener. This reinforces its status as a multifunctional product.

Applications and precautions

With a penknife it is possible to cut paper, cardboard, threads, ropes or fabrics, to name a few possibilities. They can also be used as a corkscrew or bottle opener.

One cannot fail to mention that a penknife, like the rest of the knives or knives, is a White weapon. Thanks to its point and sharp edges, it can be used to puncture and cut, which can cause injury and even death. Therefore, to avoid accidents, penknives should be used with caution.

The carrying of a penknife, in any case, is usually not punishable by law, although if a criminal appeals to him in his criminal action, he may receive a sentence aggravated.

History up to the seventeenth century

As mentioned above, the penknife did not start out having the same utility that we give it today, and neither did the shape. It is important to note that it was not only used to cut bird feathers and then use them as writing instruments, but also served to slightly wear down the paper or parchment (two of the most common media) on which it was written to make changes or corrections in the texts.

Throughout the 1600s, blades began to be manufactured with these two specialties in particular, the name of the second being “scraper”, since it was used to to scrape the surface with the intention of removing the ink. With respect to the other task, the one that gave it its name in the first place, a sheet was used with a curvature more pronounced and a much smaller thickness, two very important aspects to facilitate the cutting of the feathers.

With regard to the handle, which is now also the structure in which the blades are “hidden” once they are folded, it was originally manufactured in the shape of a cylinder. Later on, the penknives appeared whose handles had several flat faces and a steel tip located at the opposite end of the blade, which had the utility of improve groove cutting.

Utility knife

It fulfills many functions but takes up little space

Advances since the 18th century

One of the most prominent changes that the 18th century brought was the creation of the mechanical penknife, thanks to which increased the precision when cutting the tip and making the groove. Two types were manufactured: the guillotine or lever type and the “nail clipper” type.

We reached the 19th century, when the penknife had several blades, with four being the maximum number. Each of these was included to fulfill a well-defined objective: to eliminate pimples; nib; cut the tip; cut the groove. Leaves they can be fixed or foldable; in the first case, it is necessary to exchange them. The material of the handles can be ivory, silver or precious wood.