Eighteenth Century folding knife by Scott Summerville
In November of 1766, the English firm of Robert Cary & Company issued an invoice for miscellaneous goods to an up-and-coming Virginia planter who was largely tethered to the mother country for the manufactured goods necessary on his plantation. For various items including silk, nails, buttons, and cheese, George Washington was billed the respectable sum of £161. Included in the shipment was one item clearly intended for a gentleman of standing: 1 fine pocket knife, “London made”, for the price of ten shillings and sixpence.
Attendees of this year’s CLF fundraising auction will have the opportunity to own a fine folding knife, fit for a gentleman of any century, by noted bladesmith Scott Summerville. An accomplished knife maker who crafts a wide variety of cutlery, Summerville specializes in the precise art of colonial era folders. The artist maintains a collection of original 18th century originals, and, as he explains, uses them as study aids in replicating knives “that look like a brand-new knife did 200 or so years ago.”
Summerville’s offering in this year’s auction is based on an original knife in the collections of Colonial Williamsburg which he was able to photograph and measure a few years ago. The artist chose 1095 steel for this fine gentleman’s knife, and the blade is entirely hand-filed. The piece is fitted with bone scales, which were left untreated, Summerville explains, “to allow the bone to develop a natural patina.”
Summerville is an experienced artist with more than two decades of experience crafting knives. “I find the CLA humbling and inspiring,” he says. “The amount of talent that is always on display at the Lexington show completely awes me. And I am grateful for the opportunity it gives me and other artists to showcase our talents and help to encourage and preserve arts that might otherwise be lost.”
For more information on the work of Scott Summerville, contact the artist directly at: email@example.com
(More photos may be available when CLF’s auction page is done.)
Larry Pletcher, editor