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Knowledge Base:  
Switchblade Knives through History
Last Updated: 07/10/2008
I know this technically isn't a review of a knife, but I thought it would be interesting to write a quick history of switchblades.

There are two main types of switchblades.  They both spring out when a button is depressed or a lever is pulled or pushed.  The two types of switchblades are out the front and side open.  The out the front switchblade (or OTF) has a blade shoot right out of the top, or front, of the knife when it is activated.  The side open is more like a traditional folder or spring assisted blade but when activated the blade swings out to full open.  Both types of switchblades typically lock in place after activation.  To resheath the blade in the body of the knife the button or lever is typically re pulled or re pushed and the blade goes back into the knife body.  Automatic knives are different than assisted opening knifes.  An assisted opening knife works when the operator opens the blade about 25% to 35% of the way.  After this, a half moon shaped spring (sometimes referred to as a torsion bar) to help the operator open the knife the rest of the way.  Assisted-openers are legal in most locations.  Check out the list at the end of this article for a state by state list of laws concerning auto knives.  The list doesn't refer directly to assisted-openers but generally the same law determines the use, ownership, and carry rules for both types of knives.
 
It seems that the history of the switchblade starts around the early 1700's, although no one is quite sure when they really began appearing.  There are a few museum examples from the early 1700's that seem to be mostly from England or France.  By the late 1700's there were several companies producing automatic knives. Most of the examples are combination pistol and spring assisted dirks (long slender daggers).  The oldest known American made production style automatic knife was the Korn Patent knife.  It had a rocking bolster release.  By the late 1800's there were many different types of automatic knives being produced.  It seems that the advent of mass advertising helped grow the business.
 
The stiletto became popular after many soldiers returned from the Italian theater of war during WWII.  This was the first real instance of a novelty knife.  Before this time, nearly all of the automatic knives being produced were utilitarian in nature. 
 
Most of the laws concerning automatic knives came into effect in the late 1950's.  It seems that a number of movies depicted gangs and individual derelicts carrying switchblade knives.  This grew into reality.  The kids in real gangs saw the movies and then began to carry automatic knives.  After a while, our good friends the politicians stepped in and used this "scary" situation to their benefit.  They stumped around town and state using the "many" dangers of automatic knives to get elected into office.  How classic.  Our politicians use a relatively harmless item and blow it way out of proportion in an effort to get into office and gain power.  Here is the real problem.  A switchblade, automatic, spring assisted, fixed blade, or folder can all be dangerous if used by stupid or bad people.  But so can a baseball bat, a stick, a brick, and a gun.  Knives can be dangerous.  If you choose to carry one, which I do, you should understand how it works and what can and can't be done with it.  You should also know basic knife safety.
 
Automatic knives, sometimes referred to as auto's, or auto knives, are great knives.  They make it so that you can open the knife with one hand, they reduce the danger of opening a knife by keeping your hands away from the blade as you are opening it--by the way, this is actually one of the most dangerous moments of knife use.  Many injuries result from people opening their knives and not doing it well.  Auto knives also are fun to have.  Enjoy them safely.
 
 
This is a list of all states in the United States and the link to the laws which dictate the legality of carrying a switchblade.  Interesting stuff--I got this list directly from Wikipedia and am grateful to them for it.
 
U.S. state laws regarding possession, concealed and non-concealed carry
State Possession Carry
Alabama Legal - State Code: Title 13A Criminal Code Legal Allowed if not concealed - State Code: Section 13A-11-50
Alaska Illegal - State Code: Article 2, Section 11.61.200 Illegal- State Code: Article 2, Section 11.61.200
Arizona Legal - State Code: Arizona Criminal Code 13-3102 Legal - State Code: 13-3102 A-1
Arkansas Legal - State Code: 5-73-121 Legal Allowed if not concealed & blade is under 3.5 inches - State Code: 5-73-121
California Legal - State Code: California Penal Code 653k Legal Allowed if blade is 2 inches or less. State Code: 653k
Colorado Illegal - State Code: Criminal Code Section 18-12-101 Illegal- State Code: Criminal Code Section 18-12-101
Connecticut Legal - State Code: Sec. 53-206'' Illegal if blade is over 1.5 inches - State Code: Sec. 53-206
Delaware Illegal - State Code: Crimes & Criminal Procedure - Chapter 11 Section 222 Illegal - State Code: Chapter 11 Section 222
Florida Legal - State Code: 790.001 Legal - State Code: 790.001
Georgia Legal - State Code: 16-11-126 Legal if carried openly - State Code: 16-11-126
Hawaii Illegal - State Code: §134-51 Illegal - State Code: §134-51
Idaho Legal - State Code: 18-3302 Legal Allowed - Illegal if intoxicated or exhibit any deadly or dangerous weapon in a rude, angry or threatening manner - State Code: 18-3302
Illinois Legal - State Code: Criminal Code 720 ILCS 5/24-1 Illegal - State Code:720 ILCS 5/24-1
Indiana Illegal - State Code: IC 35-47-5-2 Sec.2.(2) Illegal - State Code: IC 35-47-5-2 Sec.2.(2)
Iowa Legal - State Code: Crime Control and Criminal Acts - Definitions. 702.7 Legal if not concealed - State Code: 724.4
Kansas Illegal - State Code: Article 42. Crimes Against the Public Safety Weapons Control. Section 21-4201 Illegal - State Code: Section 21-4201
Kentucky Legal - State Code: 500.080 Definitions for Kentucky Penal Code Legal concealed carry allowed with "concealed deadly weapons permit" State Code: 527.020
Louisiana Illegal - State Code: Louisiana - R.S. 14:95 Illegal - State Code: Louisiana - R.S. 14:95
Maine Illegal - State Code: Maine - Chapter. 43 17-A Section 1055 Illegal - State Code: Maine - Chapter. 43 17-A Section 1055
Maryland Illegal - State Code:§ 4-105 Illegal State Code: § 4-101 (a).(5).(ii).2
Massachusetts Illegal - State Code: GENERAL LAWS PART IV. TITLE I. Chapter 269: Section 10 Illegal - State Code: GENERAL LAWS PART IV. TITLE I. Chapter 269: Section 10
Michigan Illegal - State Code: 750.226a. Illegal - State Code: 750.226a.
Minnesota Illegal, but exception made for collectors and/or possession as curios or antiques. - State Code: Section 609.66 Subdivision 1 Illegal - State Code: Section 609.66 Subdivision 1
Mississippi Legal - State Code: Crimes Section § 97-37-1 Allowed if not concealed or intoxicated - State Code: Crimes Section § 97-37-1
Missouri Illegal, but exception made for collectors and/or possession as curios or antiques. - State Code: Chapter 571, Weapons Offenses 571.020.1.(7) Illegal - State Code: Chapter 571, Weapons Offenses 571.020.1.(7)
Montana Illegal, but exception made for collectors and/or possession as curios or antiques. - State Code: 45-8-331 Illegal - State Code: 45-8-331
Nebraska Legal - State Code: Crimes and Punishments. 28-1201 Legal Allowed if not concealed - State Code: Crimes and Punishments. 28-1201
Nevada Allowed with permit - State Code: NRS 202.355 Illegal - State Code: NRS 202.355
New Hampshire Legal - Only Possession with intent to sell banned, State Code: 159:16 Illegal - State Code: 159:16 However, exceptions are under 159:17
New Jersey Illegal - State Code: Code of Criminal Justice - 2C:39-3 Illegal - State Code: Code of Criminal Justice

- 2C:39-3e]

New Mexico Illegal - State Code: Criminal Offenses - 30-1-12 Illegal - State Code: Criminal Offenses - 30-1-12
New York Illegal - State Code: Penal Law Section 265.01 Illegal - State Code: Penal Law Section 265.01
North Carolina Legal - State Code: 14-269" Legal Allowed if not concealed - State Code: 14-269"
North Dakota Legal - State Code: Criminal Code - Weapons - 62.1-04-02 Legal Allowed if not concealed - State Code: Criminal Code - Weapons - 62.1-04-02
Ohio Legal (purchases only allowed through online retailers)- State Code: § 2923.12 Legal Allowed if not concealed; concealed carry allowed with permit or license - State Code: § 2923.12
Oklahoma Legal - State Code: §21-1272. Illegal - State Code: §21-1272.
Oregon Legal - State Code: 166.240 Legal Allowed if not concealed - State Code: 166.240
Pennsylvania Illegal, but exception made for collectors and/or possession as curios. - State Code: Pa. C.S.A. 18.908 Illegal - State Code: Pa. C.S.A. 18.908
Rhode Island Legal - State Code: 11-47-42 Legal - State Code: 11-47-42
South Carolina Legal - State Code: 16-23-460 Illegal - State Code: 16-23-460
South Dakota Legal - State Code: 22-14-19 Legal - State Code: 22-14-19
Tennessee Illegal, exception made for collectors and/or possession as curios or antiques - State Code: 39-17-1302 (c) (1) Illegal - State Code: 39-17-1302
Texas Illegal, but exception made for collectors and/or possession as curios or antiques - State Code: Health, Safety & Morals - 46.02 Illegal - State Code: Health, Safety & Morals - 46.02
Utah Legal - State Code: Offenses Against Public Health and Safety - 76-10-504 Legal Allowed if not concealed; concealed carry allowed with permit or license - State Code: Offenses Against Public Health and Safety - 76-10-504
Vermont Illegal - State Code: Ch. 85 Weapons - T.13-4003 Illegal - State Code: Ch. 85 Weapons - T.13-4003
Virginia Legal(purchases only allowed through online retailers) - State Code: 18.2-308 Illegal- State Code: 18.2-308
Washington Illegal - State Code: RCW 9.41.250 Illegal - State Code: RCW 9.41.250
West Virginia Legal - State Code: §61-7-2 Legal Allowed if not concealed; concealed carry allowed with permit or license - State Code: §61-7-2
Wisconsin Illegal - State Code: 941.24 Illegal - State Code: 941.24
Wyoming Legal -State Code: Statutes 6-8-104 Legal Allowed if not concealed -State Code: Statutes 6-8-104


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