A lexicon of knife terminiology

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A lexicon of knife terminology: Section I
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Imitation. (IM)  An imitation of the original, This normally refers to handle or scale material. Imitation usually means made of plastic, celluloid or some type of manmade material.  Almost any handle material can be imitated. Compare to genuine, reconstituted, and synthetic.

Imitation Ivory: Older imitation ivory is most likely celluloid material dyed to like Ivory. Today various plastics are also used to duplicate ivory.  Today many manufacturers use bone as a ivory substitute. This is more correctly called white smooth bone and is not imitation ivory. If bone or other materials is passed off as genuine ivory it should be considered counterfeit and not imitation.

Imperial:  A tang mark of the Imperial Knife Company.  Imperial was first established in Providence Rhode Island in 1916 by Felix and Michael Mirando.  Imperial went through several mergers before finally merging with and forming Imperial Schrade.  It closed in 2004.  You will find pre 2004 Imperial knives tang stamped either Prov R.I. or Ireland as Schrade also made Imperial knives in Ireland.  Currently Imperial Knives are marketed by Schrade and are made in China.  The Imperial /Schrade brand is currently owned by Taylor Brands.

Import/Export: In general terms import/export refers to any product made in one country that is shipped to another country for sell or consumption.  The term can be misleading.  For clarity sake, if the place of manufacture is important it should be specified (Swiss Made, German Made, made in El Salvador, etc) See also:  Global Production, Off-shoring, and Out-source.

Improved Muskrat:  Also called the Hawbaker or Hawbaker Special -- the Improved Muskrat was designed and patented by Stanley Hawbaker. While today, it is most often associated with a Muskrat style knife with a long clip and sheepfoot style blades this was not always the case. The Improved Muskrat originally referred to a muskrat knife that had two separate back springs, one for each blade with a spacer between the springs. This allowed for a more secure blade support. Early muskrats had the two blades operating on one back spring. The twin back spring muskrats were first marketed by Schrade and were marked Improved Muskrat. These Improved Muskrats still featured two California clip blades. As other companies began to offer muskrats with twin back springs, the name for Improved Muskrat and Hawbaker Special became more associated with Muskrats featuring a wharncliffe or sheepfoot blades as a second blade to the long clip main blade. Today, most muskrats feature two back springs, however the use of center spacer will differ from company to company.

India Stag: Antler material from the Kashmir stag (Cervus elaphus hanglu), also called hangul, is a subspecies of Red Deer native to northern Pakistan and India. India stag is some of the most plentifully available antler material available. That, of course does not mean it is inexpensive

Inox: The French term for Stainless Steel and as such a common term for stainless steel in many European countries where French is spoken. As the term Inox was was adopted by the Victoria Knife Company (now Victorinox) for its stainless steel blades, many consider it to mean a certain type of stainless steel. This really is not the case. In fact the term is just as generic as Rostfrei and Surgical Steel. (See also Rostfrei and Surgical Steel)

Ivory:  A handle material that has several restrictions on its use. Ivory from certain endangered species is illegal. Older collector’s knives with ivory handles are legal. Despite the fact that ivory can be legally bought and sold many dealers shy away from it simply because ivory poaching persists and it is difficult to determine what was legally obtained. 

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