There is a general rule in folding knife design that the blade must be one inch shorter than the handle to fit in the frame when closed. Really efficient designs may beat this rule by a few fractions of an inch, but that ratio still makes a good rule of thumb for most knives. Back in the 19th century a few European designers tried to beat the system by making folding knives with blades longer than the handles. The end result was a knife that could be used both folded as a short utility tool and unfolded as a weapon for finishing off game “old world style.” Because the sharp edge of the blade was always exposed, these knives required a sheath much like any other fixed blade.

benchmade2.jpgMarble’s Safety Hunting Knife
Around 1902 Marble’s Knives started marketing their “Safety Hunting Knife,” an improved version of the older long blade/short handle folder concept. On the Marble’s, a metal edge-guard extended beyond the handle to protect the user from the blade when the knife was folded. When the blade was opened, the guard was manually folded into the handle to form the blade lock. All of Safety Hunters also had a double hand-guard that swung into place as the knife was opened. The Safety Hunting Knife ended up being a fairly complicated folder, slow to open, expensive to make, and relatively fragile. Like many of the company’s more exotic models, it was dropped from the line around WW II.

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