Stiletto Switchblade (Italy)


Code:  EU21

A contemporary recreation of the classic Italian stiletto switchblade.  This knife is fully automatic.  One touch of the button and the blade swings open and locks faster than your eye can follow.  A gravity-based safety switch prevents the knife from opening when it is upside down (e.g., when it is in your pocket). The hilt is faux ivory but very attractive. The decorative cross guard, typical for this type, contains the release mechanism that unlocks the blade for folding.  The 4 inch steel bayonet-style blade is strong and extremely sharp.  The word “Milano” is stamped into the blade. Overall length is 9 inches.  The knife is made with solid materials and workmanship.

The earliest automatic knives date to the mid-18th century and most examples are English or French.  This style of automatic knife has its origins in Italy, possibly the northeastern town of Maniago, with the first blades produced in the early 1900’s. The knives were intended to meet the demand for a folding knife that could be opened with one hand or by people who otherwise had trouble opening traditional folding knives. The knives became well known after GI’s brought them back from Italy following WWII.  Production soared in 1946 when an import-export company called LATAMA in the US collaborated with Italian master knife maker Patrizio Pasquale to design what has become the iconic “switchblade”.  In Britain, the equivalent term is “flick knife”.

The design of the blade does not lend itself to the typical functions demanded of a pocketknife.  Other than intimidation, the switchblade is really only good for one thing:  the thrust attack.  As a result of popularization of the knife in Hollywood gangster films of the 1950’s and alarming sensational articles in popular magazines, the switchblade acquired a reputation as a “hood’s knife”.  In 1958, the import of switchblades from Italy was banned and in those years many US States banned the carry and/or possession of the knife.  Knife laws have been frequently revised and amended as designs have changed.  Luckily my state permits owning this knife.