Lincoln’s Pocket Knife

President Abraham Lincoln‘s pockets were inventoried when he was assassinated. One of the items he carried was a pocket knife.

After contacting the Library of Congress I found the following information on Lincoln’s Pocket Knife:

The knife is 9 cm. long (or 19 cm. when fully opened) and 1.1 wide.  It has six blades, one major (3 x 1 cm.)  on each side occupying the center position, flanked by two smaller blades (ranging between 4 and 4.2 cm. long and .5 and .5 cm. wide).  The base of each blade carries the legend: “William Gilchrist’s / Celebrated / Razor Steel” on one side and the initials “W.G.” on the opposite.  (The next faces the same direction on each of the three blades at each end, but this is in the opposite direction in respect to the ends themselves.)  There are no other identifying initials or symbols to be found on the knife.

Eric Frazier
Reference Librarian
Rare Books and Special Collections Division
Library of Congress

 

Ironically, this his style of knife is called a Congress. The scales of the knife are Ivory. William Gilchrist was an American importer who had the knives made for him in Europe.

Image

“Old Abe” knew how to use his knife. too. For example, when Christopher Spencer demonstrated his “horizontal shot tower” to him Lincoln whittled a front sight for the rifle that he thought might work better. – John Schedel

Advertisements