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Pamela Muir




Location: Arlington, VA
Joined: 23 Sep 2004
Reading list: 34 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 282

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jan, 2007 7:09 am    Post subject: Push Daggers         Reply with quote

I’ve searched on myArmoury without much luck for something called a “push dagger.” I found these images in a book I bought yesterday, 100 Legendary Knives by Gérard Pacella. It was only $7 and has some beautiful pictures. Unfortunately, the text reads like a sales catalog and so I have my doubts about some of the information. I came across these knives in a section called “Knives of the Wild West”. According to the text, these are called push daggers and originated in San Francisco. The description says
Quote:
”Discreet, and easily accessible, this push dagger had a short, jointed double-edged blade with a T-shaped handle providing good grip...Metal sheath with belt clip for rapid unsheathing...”

Anyway, there is no indication of exactly when, what time frame, these two examples came from or whether or not they are modern reproductions or museum pieces, etc. I would love to know more about these so I’m turning to you. Anyone have more information? Is “push dagger” the correct term? Did they really originate in San Francisco as a method of defense for professional gamblers? (That just doesn’t sound right to me, but it would be very cool if true.)

Thank you in advance!



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Pamela Muir

Founder/Lead Instructor
Academy of Chivalric Martial Arts


"I need a hero. I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night. He's gotta be strong, And he's gotta be fast, And he's gotta be fresh from the fight." ~Steinman/Pitchford
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Terry Crain




Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 224

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jan, 2007 7:32 am    Post subject: Push Daggers         Reply with quote

Hi Pamela,

I don't know about the San Fran origin story, but I the pictures you have posted are definately samples of what are I've always commonly known as push daggers. That being said, I would say that through the ages and in various cultures differant forms of push daggers probably existed. For example, the Indian Katar is a form of push dagger (origninally attributed as a Hindu weapon I seem to recall, but over time seems to have spread generically in popularity throughout India) often with an armour piercing thicked point. They have been around for centuries. I own one from the late 18th early 19th C. with the thickened point.

Sorry can't post a picture, but they are easy to find.

I suspect that, like many variations on weapons forms, you will find examples from diverse cultures and time-frames. Maybe the San Fran story relates to a period of renewed popularity of the modern form of these knives.

Cheers,

Terry

Terry Crain
A/K/A
Donal Grant

Honor, not Honors!
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Reading list: 256 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 782

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jan, 2007 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Pamela,
This doesn't have a lot of information regarding the push dagger, but there is a simple line drawing of one in The Diagram Group's Weapons: An International Encyclopedia from 5000BC to 2000 AD. The drawing looks like a simplified version of what you showed. Here's the caption:
Quote:

Push dagger from the USA. A type that had a short vogue in the mid-19th century. Clearly related to the katar in priciple, the blade protruded between the fingers when gripped.

I know this wasn't much, but I hope it helped!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Pamela Muir




Location: Arlington, VA
Joined: 23 Sep 2004
Reading list: 34 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 282

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jan, 2007 6:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Terry and Richard, Thank you both for your help. I've been doing a little web surfing trying to find more info and there does seem to be some support that this was a typical San Francisco gambler's method of defense. Cool

This is what I found for the first image below:
Quote:
Alaskan Walrus Ivory Handle Push Dagger,
manufactured by Will & Finck,
San Francisco,
circa 1863-1880, 6¾in.


The second image came from: http://www.apacheria.com/edged.htm
It's description:
Quote:
EW187-MICHAEL PRICE PUSH DAGGERThis is a push dagger from the great San Francisco knife maker Michael Price. It is 8-3/4 inches long with an ebony handle. It is in very good condition with a tiny bit of pitting on the tip which can barely be seen. The scabbard has iron mounts which are nickel plated as is the knife. The leather is in good flexible shape and is hand sewn down the back. The handle shows a lot of gentle wear to one side and the plate is worn off the bolster of the knife just below the grip. The Michael Price San Francisco mark is off center like all I have seen from this maker,. It is a good strong strike and looks just right. This knive has a very unusual form. I have seen others from other makers but this is not the typical more simple form. The handle turns a little which I have not tried to fix.


The third knife is from http://www.garyhendershott.com/bowieknives.html
It's description:
Quote:

02 - HMC_296 - Mississippi River Ivory Push Dagger - ca. 1850- this was discovered in a Riverboat Gambling collection- it has a magnificent Ivory handle with silver rivets or studs thru out the double edge steel blade has a diamond design on it's ricasso. It's the finest and most visually attractive gambler's dagger we've seen, ex: Montague Collection.


And the last one is from Hanwei!
Quote:
PAUL CHEN 2095 GAMBLER PUSH DAGGER

The San Francisco-style “Gambler” push dagger is a step back in time to the days of riverboats and stagecoaches, when gentlemen of the table considered this a vital tool of the trade. Recreated by Hanwei, the “Gambler” features a walnut grip, 2 ¾” 440C blade and a polished steel sheath with a spring-clip mounting attachment. A nylon sheath liner provides secure retention for handle-down carry. A protective padded storage pouch is provided.



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Pamela Muir

Founder/Lead Instructor
Academy of Chivalric Martial Arts


"I need a hero. I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night. He's gotta be strong, And he's gotta be fast, And he's gotta be fresh from the fight." ~Steinman/Pitchford
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Pamela Muir




Location: Arlington, VA
Joined: 23 Sep 2004
Reading list: 34 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 282

PostPosted: Sun 22 Mar, 2009 7:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I saw this piece yesterday at the Baltimore Antique Arms show. My favorite part, though it's really hard to tell from my photo, is the gold playing cards on the reverse side of the handle.

I've done a tad more research on these pieces, and apparently they were popular with riverboat gamblers as well.



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Gold playing cards on the reverse of the handle.

Pamela Muir

Founder/Lead Instructor
Academy of Chivalric Martial Arts


"I need a hero. I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night. He's gotta be strong, And he's gotta be fast, And he's gotta be fresh from the fight." ~Steinman/Pitchford
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Murk Lyndon




Location: CHICHAGO
Joined: 08 Apr 2013

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon 08 Apr, 2013 6:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Push Daggers         Reply with quote

Pamela Muir wrote:
I’ve searched on myArmoury without much luck for something called a “push dagger.” I found these images in a book I bought yesterday, 100 Legendary Knives by Gérard Pacella. It was only $7 and has some beautiful pictures. Unfortunately, the text reads like a sales catalog and so I have my doubts about some of the information. I came across these knives in a section called “Knives of the Wild West”. According to the text, these are called push daggers and originated in San Francisco. The description says
Quote:
”Discreet, and easily accessible, this push dagger had a short, jointed double-edged blade with a T-shaped handle providing good grip...Metal sheath with belt clip for rapid unsheathing...”

Anyway, there is no indication of exactly when, what time frame, these two examples came from or whether or not they are modern reproductions or museum pieces, etc. I would love to know more about these so I’m turning to you. Anyone have more information? Is “push dagger” the correct term? Did they really originate in San Francisco as a method of defense for professional gamblers? (That just doesn’t sound right to me, but it would be very cool if true.)

Thank you in advance!


Your really interested with that kind of knives.. Yes! that's a push knives. im not familiar with that dagger but i seen a lot of of that kind of stock...

The weapon of the advocate is the sword of the soldier, not the lock pick of the assassin.
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Tod Glenn




Location: Helena MT
Joined: 05 Sep 2008
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 55

PostPosted: Mon 08 Apr, 2013 6:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's certainly a lot of references to this knife originating in the San Francisco are in the mid 19th century, most accounts being apocryphal. But there certainly are a large number of example that date from the gold rush times and found in California. The knife style seemed to had disappeared from makers catalogues by the early 20th century until revived by Lynn Thomson's Cold Steel as one of their earlier knives AFAIK CS is still the only major commercial knife maker that offers a push dagger. In many jurisdictions it is classified as a stiletto or dagger and it is hard to argue that the push dagger is useful as a utility knife. It is really a dedicated fighting weapon, although there are skinning knives that are inspired by the push dagger.

The main advantages of the push dagger are its concealability, the ease of drawing and the difficulty of disarming one using a push dagger. Rather than demanding any specialized knife techniques, it is a more lethal adjunct to the punch. The ability to deliver a powerful thrust makes it an effective close in weapon.
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