Old Stuff I Own

BrainRants has recently published a couple of posts about strange old stuff he owns, with the accent on strange. The first was about a truly bizarre little plastic/rubber Gollywog, whose childhood acquisition and continuing possession may help explain his current mental state.

I don’t own any strange things, although with me, that’s hard to prove. I do still have chunks of glacier in my freezer, from the last ice age, so I thought I might write about a couple of long-owned/old items that the Historical Museum hasn’t got their hands on yet.

SDC10528No surprise, I’m starting with a knife. This was the second knife I ever bought, just before I turned 16, late in the summer of 1960. I had possessed several knives before this one, but they had been gifts or found items. The first knife I bought was exactly the same size and shape as this one, except that it had rough faux-bone handles.

While the “hold” was better, I preferred the sleek white faux-seashell look of this one, and lost/sold/broke the first one. Back then folding pocket knives didn’t lock in the open position, and care had to be taken when using them, lest they close on an unwary finger.

I carried this one till well after I got married. We moved into a geared-to-income housing compound. Built by the lowest bidder, there was a round electrical box on the ceiling of the basement laundry area, but no light fixture. I didn’t want to wait for an overburdened maintenance dept. and, being a Handy-Dandy DIY guy, (Yuk, Yuk) I decided to install one myself.

Since there was no light to turn on and off, I traced the electrical cable back to the breaker box, and then the black power line down to its breaker, which I turned off, for safety. I climbed back up on a wooden chair, and pulled down the power line to cut the insulation off, so that I could connect the fixture.

Suddenly, there was a ZAP, and a photo flash went off right beside my eyes. When I could see again, I looked at the wire and my knife. There are two power lines inside each cable. I had turned off the power to the black one – and cut into the still-live red one.


The more sharp-eyed among you may already have noticed what this close-up shows. I had bridged from the live wire to the edge of the box, and burned a notch right out of the center of the blade. I wasn’t shocked, except by the damage to my pretty little knife, which has gone into semi-retirement in the utility room, cutting off shrink-wrap and into cardboard food boxes.


Soon after, in the fall of 1970, I found this replacement knife at K-Mart, that defender of the American Way. Manufactured when Pakistan thought that it could produce steel, and I only cared about a pointy tip and a beveled edge, I bought this little Sabre knife, making it about as old as Rants.SDC10529

With wooden scales and a thicker body, this one is a bit easier to hold and use. It also has a back-lock at the rear of the handle, making it a bit safer to use. It has outlasted 6 or 7 belt pouches, going into retirement in an indestructible nylon sheath which only needed its Velcro closer replaced.

This was largely a “work” knife, cutting strapping, plastic and vinyl sheet and cardboard cartons. It has cut at least two co-workers out of shoes whose laces just would just not untie. It has quartered and cored countless apples and pears, and started tough banana peels. It has opened several cans of pop (soda) whose tabs broke off. It has also acted as a can opener to several tins of beans, soup and pasta, for friends who mistakenly thought the lunch room had a working can opener.

I’m a lot more careful about the tips and edges of my carry knife these days. After almost 45 years of tough usage, this little $5.99 “piece of crap” doesn’t owe me a thing. More old stuff, including jokes, later.



17 thoughts on “Old Stuff I Own

  1. When I was quite young, I clapped onto a Case Barlow style single blade. I still have it. 4.5 inch blade, good steel. Excellent for whittling on just about anything 😉


  2. BrainRants says:

    Neat knives! I own a small pocketknife my father and grandfather carried, and I have a wood/brass as well as plastic handle version of the venerable Buck knife. All kept ready for surgery…


    • Archon's Den says:

      The Buck is a good knife. I don’t have the time, patience or ability to achieve a scalpel edge, but my current Gerber is far sharper than either of these two.
      Even at 2/3 my age, you have older stuff than I do, because my Father had no sense of history. He had a Canadian Armed Forces version of the WWII G.I. knife – a big sheepsfoot blade, and the can-puncturing spike. I should have stolen it from his storage shed. Getting ready to drive to visit him one weekend, he phoned to say he had put himself into the rest home, and had sold the house as-is, including all contents. 😯


  3. Jim Wheeler says:

    I have had the habit of carrying a pocket knife for as long as I can remember. Currently, it is the little Swss Army version: one blade, Phillips screw driver/bottle opener, slot screw driver/file, and scissors. Also in the case, tweezers and plastic toothpick. It is amazing how indispensable it is, all in a folded package only 2 ¼” long.

    I used to have its full-size version which I carried for some years in my car’s glove compartment, but I seldom used that one and it was stolen when I was parked outside a restaurant some 10 years ago. That was my old work car, a 1993 Honda Del Sol which has a removable hard top. It was summer, top off, and I was too lazy to put it back on. Doesn’t it give you a funny feeling to be touched by criminality? I liked that knife just because of the beauty of its design. I wonder if the miscreant uses it, or simply admires it as I did?


    • Archon's Den says:

      The son still carries your larger knife’s relative. I can see why the engineering of it would fascinate you.
      The personal touch of criminality does indeed create a strange, immediate feeling. One man at the shop walked across the street to start his truck. He left it running but locked the doors and kept the opener fob, came back to officially punch out. A FedEx truck parked, blocking his view. When it pulled away, his truck was missing. The assumption was that someone had managed to squeeze through the tiny rear sliding window.
      Another woman found that someone had slit the canvas top on her little Mazda-ute. $2000 to repair the top, and the only thing missing was a $2 digital watch. 😕


  4. I still carry in my purse a pocket knife my father gave me in my early teens. The only time it has left my purse is when I have taken a plane, then it is stored safely in the house until I return. There pretty much isn’t anything this little pocket knife has seen.


    • Archon's Den says:

      Women and knives in the same sentence usually also include the word kitchen. Very few carry even a little utility knife, but there are obviously some exceptions. Angelina Jolie apparently has quite a collection, though I can’t seem to get any information on it. 😦


  5. whiteladyinthehood says:

    Interesting tales about your knives. Did you get into trouble for cutting the power lines in the electrical box? (I can’t believe the electricity burnt a hole in the blade!!! Wow)
    When I was a teenager, I would snatch a knife from my mom’s kitchen and carry it around with me at night. (Don’t worry, I never had to stick anybody)


    • Archon's Den says:

      It wasn’t necessary to actually cut the wire, just remove a short section of plastic insulation so that I could attach the fixture and get power. Since I shorted out the circuit, it was easy to identify the tripped breaker and leave it off till I was done.
      I’ve never stuck or sliced anyone either, although I did defensively threaten the retarded kid, three years older than me, when his keepers let him run loose and he was going to attack me for being in “his neighborhood.” 👿


    • Archon's Den says:

      I see WordPress has retreaded the emoticons again. The one at the end of my first reply was “evil.” It was a cute little yellow. Now It’s a more menacing red. This is what “twisted” looks like now. 😈


  6. 1jaded1 says:

    I sleep with one under my pillow. I’m glad you were ok with the zap incident.


    • Archon's Den says:

      I’d sooner mess with a gal with a gun, than one with a knife. Care to describe or identify your boudoir companion?
      I wasn’t OK before the zap incident. Definitely none too wide awake. 😯


  7. […] The problem then was, all work had to be done during the day, or the room would be dark. That problem was quickly solved by the development of the above little gadget.  You could screw the bulb back in to see what you were doing, and insert the socket on the other side of the Y.  I used one of them for a while, until I managed to install a light fixture over my basement workbench. […]


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