Tuesday, July 23

The Venerable Barlow

The Barlow

  Jumping off the school bus and then accelerating toward my front door, I slowed down long enough to open the front door and dump my books in a heap. Before a beat up copy of Fundamental Geometry hit the floor, I was already bounding up the steps two at a time and heading for my room.
  I was late. Some of my private school pals were already out of school and down in The Woods. I needed to make sure I was not missing today’s symposium: M-80’s, Waterproof or Not? With no sonic reverberations bouncing off the two story colonial style houses that lined this tree lined street, I knew I had not missed the demonstration portion. Stopping at my desk and opening the drawer, I smiled as the light reflected off its nickel bolster. It was in the same place I left it every day and it went into the back pocket of my cords. The Venerable Barlow fell into its place naturally.
  With a solid tear drop shaped handle, generally made of bone, and a clip blade, these workhorses from Sheffield came to our shores, but did not carry with them the disdain for other products of the Colonial overlords. Beloved by generations of adventuresome American adolescents, it may not have kept a good edge, but was beefy enough to whittle a toothpick from a log.

  The status of the Barlow as the knife du jour for American boys and girls was elevated when Mark Twain wrote of a “sure-enough Barlow” in the 1876 novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. His use of “sure-enough”, or authentic, relates to its popularity among the youth of the time and the counterfeiting of established goods.

  A traditional folk song extols the plain virtue of this affordable blade.

I been livin' here all my life, All I got is a Barlow Knife;

Buck horn handle and a barlow blade,

Best dang knife that ever was made.

  It was the original EDC knife before Every Day Carry became the “tacti-cool” term. And Yes, they are waterproof.


Main Line Sportsman said...


Eastern Shore Outdoors said...

Thanks for the note. The Barlow is hard to keep out of service, as they hold up well.