A detailed look at Gerber knives from the company's origins up to their purchase by Fiskars in 1986.
Reviewed by Knife World Staff
Phil Rodenberg is a longtime collector of the products of Oregon’s Gerber Legendary Blades. Knife World readers may well remember his article, “The Golden Age of Gerber” which appeared in our August 1999 edition. The “golden age” he refers to spans the period from the company’s beginnings in 1939 up to the sale of Gerber to Fiskars of Finland in 1986, an era that many Gerber collectors focus on and the subject of this book.
The book is divided into five main chapters, plus a Foreword, an Introduction, Adknowledgements and an End Note as well as two short histories of the Gerber company written by members of the Gerber family. The chapters cover:
• Kitchen and Carving Knives: including all of the familiar knives and sets, plus known marking, material and design variations.
• Fixed Blade Hunting Knives: from the first A&F hunters through all of the pre-1986 outdoor knives including fillet knives, trout and bird knives, etc.
• Folding Knives – U.S. Made: including the Folding Hunter, the Magnum, the FS-I and FS-II, the Paul knife, the LST and others.
• Folding Knives – Imported: such as the Silver Knights (Silver Eagles), the Escorts, and the Ebony Folding Hunters.
• Some Unusual and Rare Gerber Knives: which includes the “Cotton” Gordon Safari Set, the 1974 H.S. Presentation Hunter, and the highly unusual Moose Hook.
Included along the way are designs by Bob Loveless, Blackie Collins and Al Mar, and there is also a little information on related makers like Dave Murphy and Benchmark. Coverage of the Gerber line through 1986 is quite extensive, though not 100% complete. The most obvious omissions are the Gerber Mark I and Mark II models, which draw much interest from military collectors. Rodenberg reasons that he couldn’t add anything to what has already been published by Mike Silvey (Knives of the U.S. Military in Vietnam, on the Mark II but now out of print) and Bernard Levine (Levine’s Guide to Knives and Their Values, all Gerber fixed and folding in the 4th edition – currently published as Blade’s Guide but now only covering Gerber folders). I would also add the Hughes, Jenkins and Buerlein book Knives of War, which includes a few excellent pages on the Mark II.
The photographs are B&W, and adequate. The almost-$35 price tag may seem expensive, but it’s a result of the small quantity published – currently early in the second printing of 100.
Altogether, A Chronology of Gerber Legendary Blades is a very useful book for anyone who wants to know more about the products of this interesting and very collectible company.
A Chronology of Gerber Legendary Blades 1939-1986
by Phil Rodenberg
Softcover, 75 pp.