For those who aren’t familiar with the term “pen knife” it’s a British term used to describe any small folding pocket knife. The pen knife got its name because several hundred years ago people used this type of knife to cut the tips off of quills in order to turn them into pens for writing. But even though no one uses their pocket knife to fashion quills anymore (and hasn’t for the better part of a century) the name stuck.
In 1991 when hikers in the Dolomite Alps discovered the body of a prehistoric hunter emerging from a melting glacier this man, (who lived some 5,300 years ago and has since been named “Ötzi” for the area where he was discovered), was found to be carrying what any contemporary human would recognize as a pocket knife. By the 10th century pocket knives brands were being used to cut quills for writing and had taken on the name “pen knife” in Britain. By the 17th century the pocket knife was in widespread production and it was about this time that folding knives first became available. During the past century the pen knife has undergone many changes and additions. Today they run the gamut from single folding blades to “multi-tools” with scissors, nail files, reamers, corkscrews, LED tactical flashlights and more. The most famous of these multi-tools is the Swiss Army Knife.
Proper Use of a Pen Knife
The pen knife is an indispensable tool for any hunter, handyman or craftsman today. When they’re not kept locked in safe at home (for the safety of others), they provide the carrier with the ability to easily handle a variety of tasks including:
● Camping – You should never go camping without a pocket knife. Ever. The pocket knife is used by campers to trim kindling, cut meat, whittle tent stakes and even open cans in the event you A) bring canned goods with you (many people do) and B) either lose or forget your can opener. They
can also be used as a last line of defense against aggressive wildlife.
● Opening Packages – Whether you work in a warehouse or just order a lot of things online you’ll need something to make short work of all those boxes and the pen knife is the perfect tool for this job. Perfect example – you’ve just ordered a brand new remote control plane online, and it’s arrived at your door all packaged up. Grab your pen knife and it’ll make light work of that box! The pen knife is also commonly used to cut packing tape and to cut cardboard into small pieces that can be used to create an effective package for shipping.
● Fishing – If you’re a real fisherman you have a pen knife with you at all times. No buts. Fishermen use the pocket knife to cut bait, remove hooks, cut line and even to gut and scale their catch for the evening meal.
● First Aid – The pocket knife is a must have tool for first responders or rescue personnel who often need to cut bandages or create tourniquets on site. If you arrive at an accident scene and discover a victim trapped in a burning car by their safety belt the pen knife can become the difference between life and death.
● Self Defense – While a pocket knife is no substitute for a S&W 1911 it is a very decent substitute for nothing when it comes to self-defense. If, however, you ever think you may need to use it for this reason you’d be smart to seek out some professional advice on the proper way to do so – just make sure you keep your knife sharp, ready for action!
The pen knife has been serving the human race since Ötzi pursued game across the alps more than 5,300 years ago and it’s still one of the few must have pieces of kit for any tradesman or other individual who needs to be prepared for the unexpected. If however you find pocket knives too large to carry discretely, perhaps a keychain kife is the sort of thing you’re looking for.