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Disassembled, blade partly retracted
A box cutter knife (often called a utility knife) is a common tool used in grocery stores and other places. Hook knives are sometimes also called box cutters.
Such a knife generally consists of a simple and cheap holder, typically flat, approximately one inch (25 mm) wide and three to four inches (75 to 100 mm) long, and typically made of either metal or plastic. Some use standard razor blades, others specialised double ended blades as in the illustration. The user can manually adjust how far the blade extends from the handle, so that the knife can be used to cut the tape sealing a package without damaging the contents of the package. When the blade becomes dull, it can be quickly reversed or switched for a new one. Spare blades are often stored in the knife handle.
This type of tool is known in British English as a Stanley knife, after one of the first manufacturers to create this kind of implement. The genuine Stanley knife has a cast metal body, and comes both in retractable versions and in fixed blade versions which allow no depth adjustment. Fixed blade versions are widely used for handcrafts. The blades for a Stanley knife come in both double and single ended versions, and are interchangeable with many but not all of the later copies. Specialised blades also exist for cutting string, linoleum and other purposes. Spare or used blades may be stored in the handle.
Another style is one in which a handle, usually of plastic, contains a long, segmented blade which slides out from it. As the endmost edge becomes dull, it can be snapped off from the rest of the blade, exposing the next section which is sharp and ready for use. When all the individual segments are used, it is thrown away or a replacement blade is inserted. This kind often comes in bright colors like orange, blue and yellow.
Though such knives are not usually considered weapons, they were apparently used in the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States. See Airport security repercussions due to the September 11, 2001 attacks for further discussion. They have also been used by minor criminals in muggings, and some schools ban their possession on school grounds.
Ironically a campaign against the sale of box cutter knives to young people was instigated in New York by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the 1990s.
- Product catalog http://www.olfa.com/products.asp?C=2 showing lots of pictures of Olfa segmented blade cutters
- History of the Stanley Works http://www.stanleyworks.com/a_history.asp
- Another history of the Stanley Works http://stanleytools.com/default.asp?TYPE=STATICLEFT&PAGE=history.htm&LEFT=left_h
Last updated: 02-02-2005 10:59:35
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55