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Looking Sharp: Political Knives Stand the Test of Time

hoover curtis knifePolitical campaign items come in many sizes, shapes and types.

While a lot of them such as buttons, pamphlets and posters are used for a short time, and in many cases discarded, some items are meant to keep.

I remember about 20 years ago finding a pocket knife supporting Theodore Roosevelt for president in 1904. It got me thinking about these more permanent type of political items, and the knives in particular.

This celluloid-handle knife show the three assassinated presidents as of 1901 -- Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley.

This celluloid-handle knife show the three assassinated presidents as of 1901 — Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley.

It’s amazing when you start checking the auctions, sales lists and websites just how many different political knives have been made through the years. They’re not cheap for a campaign or group to have made, but they do stand the test of time and get the candidate’s message out there. You can find knives back to the 1800s.

Theodore Roosevelt is featured on this 1904 campaign knife.

Theodore Roosevelt is featured on this 1904 campaign knife.

There are political knives of all metal, with designs, slogans and even photos etched into the cases. Others have photos and wording underneath celluloid handles. In more recent years, plastic-handled pocket knives have been made for campaigns, or simply as mementoes of presidents. Some of the early ones are simply sepia-toned, while others, especially those more recent, have elaborate colors.

Next time you’re at an antique show or shop, take a closer look at that case of smalls. There just might be a political knife or two in it.

 


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