The earliest known pocket knives were found at Hallstatt and dated back to 600 BC made with a bone handle and crude yet simple folding blade design. 1st Century Romans are credited with creating the first folding pocket knife. They made for easy carrying for soldiers and other explorers on their journeys and conquests. They were easy to carry light weight and easy to conceal however, as the use of sheathed knives became more popular, the use of pocket knives fell somewhat into disfavor. The large fixed sheathed blade made for a more powerful punch then its tiny predecessor the pocket knife. Many opted for this larger weapon as there weapon of choice.
By the late 16th Century, pocket knives began to regain popularity. They were especially popular in the American colonies farmers, lawyers, and men from all walks of life started to carry them. The ultimate portable tool, the pocket knife was a useful aid in various tasks, including eating on the go. Pocket knives were also an essential tool for soldiers throughout American history. New York and New Hampshire required their militias to carry pocket knives during the American Revolution. Even George Washington carried a pocket knife. The U.S. Navy began issuing pocket knives to sailors during the Civil War and during WWII, the pocket knife was standard issue for American GIs. Useful for so many things this pocket knife was no longer just a fixed blade they had now added so many useful tools into this compact design. Most GI's knives had a can opener, awl, bottle opener, screw driver and of course a knife blade. The pocket knife was now becoming an essential tool and not just knife.
There are many types of pocket knives out there today but the most famous of these is perhaps the Swiss Army knife. This multipurpose knife is a brand of pocket knife or multi tool created in Switzerland in 1891 but was originally called the Swiss Officers Knife and only became known as the Swiss Army Knife after American soldiers during WWII were unable to pronounce the German name. These knives can contain anything and everything you can imagine all affixed inside a handle with a pivoting mechanism. Most standard knives contain the main blade, a smaller blade, a screw driver, can opener, bottle opener, tweezers, and tooth pick. The more advanced blades can carry up to 26 items and can even include a USB flash drive, LED light, and digital clock.
Although these pocket knives or multi-tools are readily available many men still opt to carry a simple version like the jack knife which has a simple hinged blade and nothing more or a pen knife. The pen knife was originally designed to cut or sharpen pen quills for writing. The pen knife is good if you want more than one type of blade.
Men have been carrying pocket knives for centuries, but with increased security at the airport and other buildings, knives have been disappearing from men's pockets. Yet these minor obstacles are not sufficient reason to give up carrying a knife completely. The carrying of a pocket knife is a useful tradition that should be continued as long as you follow the proper laws.