By Hasnuddin Abu Samah
on October 14, 2018
The peasant knife, farmer knife, or penny knife is the original and most basic design of a folding pocketknife, using a simple pivoted blade that folds in and out of the handle freely, without a backspring, slipjoint, or blade locking mechanism. The first peasant knives date to the pre-Roman era, but were not widely distributed nor affordable by most people until the advent of limited production of such knives in cutlery centers such as Sheffield, England commencing around 1650, with large-scale production starting around the year 1700 with models such as Fuller's Penny Knife and the Wharncliffe Knife. Some peasant knives used a bolster or tensioning screw at the blade to apply friction to the blade tang in order to keep the blade in the open position. The smallest (Nos. 2 -5) Opinel knives are an example of the peasant knife. The knife's low cost made it a favorite of small farmers, herdsmen, and gardeners in Europe and the Americas during the late 19th and early 20th century.