BOOK REVIEW Reviewed by Knife World staff
Over the last several years, the knife world has been blessed with an increasing number of books on specialty cutlery – Official Scout Knives, the M3 trench knife, and so on. The latest to join this trend is a beautiful – and important – book on advertising cutlery by frequent Knife World contributor Richard White.
Advertising Cutlery begins with a nice introduction suitable for knife collectors and neophytes alike. Among the topics covered by White are available sources on the topic, recent trends, the factors that affect the value of an advertising knife, and future trends.
The heart of the book consists of 13 different chapters, each dealing with an advertising subjects: Agricultural Feeds, Seed & Services; Food & Beverages; Shoes, Clothing & Textiles; Consumer Products; Business & Industry; Petroleum Related Products; Fraternal Organizations; Whiskey & Tobacco; Commemorative & Anniversaries; World’s Fairs & Souvenirs; Cutlery Products; Hunting and Fishing, and Miscellaneous. These 13 areas pretty well cover the advertising field in its entirety, and readers will be surprised at the wide variety of firms and productsthat the author has turned up on the handles of an advertising knife. Worked into the chapters are several short articles of interest, inluding Purina’s Checkerboard Design, Melon Testers, The “World’s Tallest Building” knife, Fraternal Organizations, Knives of Adolphus Busch, and “Zane Grey” Endorsed Ka-Bars. Astute readers will recognize some of these as adaptations of Richard’s past Knife World articles.
The book’s single strongest feature are the many quality photographs printed in glorious color – a feast for the eyes. Not only that, each photograph is accompanied by an extensive caption detailing the history behind the knife, and concluding with an estimated value for each. The publisher claims over 400 color photographs in this book – and if you consider 400 photos + 400 brief histories + 400 knife prices – well, that’s a heck of a lot of information for the collector.
Advertising Cutlery will prove invaluable for anyone with the slightest interest in advertising knives, and truly, for anyone with an interest in 20th century American, English, and German pocketknives, which comprise the greatest majority of the book.
All of the beautiful pictures and interesting histories may well convert both knife collectors and antique advertising collectors to this fast growing area. If you are one of those who has turned up your nose at advertising knives for years, don’t be surprised if Richard’s book opens your eyes. It might even make a convert out of you.
by Richard D. White
Softcover, 176 pp.