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The Invention of the Knife and Safety Tools of Today

Dec 23, 2007
Of all the tools in our society, only the wheel and the lever can compete with the common household knife for the title of All-Time Most Useful. As essential in the kitchen as it is on the battlefield, and necessary in a wide variety of trades and crafts, the knife is one of the building blocks of civilization.

Knife History

Not only is it useful, but the knife is possibly the oldest human tool. Rudimentary knives have been discovered among what anthropologists call the Oldowan tools - the oldest stone tool assemblage in history, used between 2.5 and 1.5 million years ago by various hominids ranging from Australopithecus to Homo habilis. These earliest knives were basically well-sharpened rocks used to butcher dead animals. Homo habilis was, according to current scientific consensus, the species that made the imaginative leap of fashioning similar sharp points from pieces of wood and bone.

Later, during the Paleolithic Era (a time period which overlaps with the later Oldowon tools) these wood and bone knives gave way in their turn to knives made from flint, a special form of the mineral quartz, then copper (introduced ca. 8000 BCE), bronze (ca. 3300 BCE), iron (1500 BCE), and (later still) steel (ca. 1400 BCE), as the craft of metallurgy emerged. The bronze and iron knives, while they lacked the extreme sharpness of flint knives, offered greater durability.

Technological advances have continued to yield new options for knifemakers; today knives made of carbon fiber, titanium, ceramics and other materials are common. But archaeologists, knife collectors and enthusiasts, and organizations such as the American Bladesmith Society, continue to uphold the craft of old-fashioned metal knifemaking.

The centrality of knives to civilized decorum in the Western world (they are one of the three utensils used with any meal), their presence in many myths, legends and ceremonies all over the world, and their appeal to antiquarians and military historians ensure that knives remain a meaningful, not just practical, part of human culture. From surgery to electron microscopy, from diving to diamond-cutting, knives are everywhere, and they occupy prominent places in some of world culture's greatest stories - the sacrifice of Isaac, or the obsidian knife of Titlacahuan, Quetzalcoatl's brother, in Toltec mythology.

Knife Safety

Of course, knives are, if improperly handled, as dangerous as they are necessary. But with a little common sense, and knowledge of knife safety procedures, that danger can be minimized.

- Always cut away from your body when using a knife.
- Don't try to grab a dropped knife in midair. Let it fall, then pick it up by the handle.
- Never run with a knife, and don't carry a knife while being propelled in open air.
- If lending your knife to someone else, hand it over to them handle first.
- Knives aren't toys. Don't point them. Keep them carefully sheathed or folded when you aren't using them.
- Don't use a knife as a lever. In other words, don't use a knife to pry open a door, which can cause the tip to break off and potentially injure someone.
- Keep your knife sharpened.
- If you or someone else is cut, call 911. If the wound is manageable, apply pressure to the area near the wound while elevating it (if possible) above the level of the heart.

Along with advances in knife technology come advances in knife safety. Safecutters represents the most recent evolution in knife safety. Knives come in all shapes and sizes, and no home or office is complete without a well-made utility knife or safety knife.

Safecutters offers a practical and safe line of package openers and safety knives, perfect for employees working in shipping and receiving and in mail rooms, for professional and amateur movers or anyone who works with moving boxes, anyone who sells moving supplies or shipping supplies, and - lastly - anyone who receives packages in the mail.
About the Author
SafeCutters distributes the Klever Kutter and Klever Koncept, two of the safest utility knives available. Klever Kutter virtually eliminates the risk of workplace injuries, while the permanently shielded blade protects packaged products. It has been approved by the Department of Homeland Security for safe air transport.
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