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03 Russell Barlow As a kid, my favorite uncle was my Uncle Bob. I would often spend the summers with him and my Aunt Connie. Uncle Bob knew everything (to my mind, anyway) and showed me all sorts of cool things. He would take me places and teach me valuable lessons (although I didn’t know it at the time). Above all, Uncle Bob carried a large folding knife in his pocket wherever we went. He always said, “You just never know when you will need a knife.” I was grown and had a family of my own when my Uncle Bob died. My Aunt Connie asked me to come up to the house in Maine and help clean out some of his things. He was a survivalist at heart (or perhaps just a pack rat) and never threw anything out ... “just in case.”

78 KNIVES ILLUSTRATED • MAY/JUNE 2019

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Russell Barlow folding knife. This is the knife carried by my Uncle Bob. It was given to me when he passed away.

Notice the “R” with the arrow. The handle is bone, although it has darkened with age and use.

When I arrived, my aunt pulled me aside, handed me something and said, “Your Uncle Bob wanted you to have this.” In a box was an old Russell Barlow Straight Line bone-handled folding knife. This was the very same knife he always carried. While the bone handle had darkened with age and use, the single blade still came out the same as on the day it was made, and it keeps an edge like no other knife I own. There was one stipulation that came with the knife: “Your Uncle Bob wanted you to use the knife, not just put it on a shelf,” my aunt told me. In honor of his request, I do occasionally take the knife out with me, and it has been used to clean a trout or two. Every time I use it, my Uncle Bob is

there with me, giving me instructions, as he always did.

Russell Barlow My Russell Barlow knife was made by the Russell Harrington Cutlery Company (Massachusetts) sometime in the late 1800s. These knives were designed to be both tough and affordable. They came as both singleand double-blade models. Mine has a single blade. The blades were made from highcarbon steel and the handles of unpolished bone. Folded, the knife measures 5 inches, with an overall length of 9 inches. The handle is teardrop shaped and has a large, thick bolster. The maker’s mark is an uppercase “R” with an arrow through it.

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