Every year, the finest knifemakers and manufacturers descend on Atlanta to reveal new knife models, talk shop, and receive awards at the Blade Show.
I’ve already delved deep into the past and laid out the “Overall Knife of the Year” winners since Blade Show first started in 1982.
In advance of the latest Blade Show, I thought I’d take a look back at a different category: the Most Innovative American-Made Design of the Year. This category (and its counterpart Most Innovative Imported Design of the Year) didn’t start until 1990, so that’s where we’ll pick up.
It gives a good insight into the thinking of the judges who pick the knives and whether any of these stood to the test of time (hint: many did!).
1990: Becker Knife & Tool Tactul II
We’re starting with the very first entry in 1990: the Becker Knife & Tool Tactul II. These earlier knives are hard to nail down because they have evolved or gone the way of the dodo. You might not be familiar with the Tactul II, but you might know the modern day version better known as the KA-BAR Becker Tac Tool.
Before teaming up with KA-BAR, Ethan Becker had his own company who put out knives made by other manufacturers. The original description from Blade Magazine on the win says the knife is a “heavy duty diving/utility knife that is a saw, hammer/nail puller, screwdriver, chisel, pry bar and knife all in one.”
1991: Gerber Gator Serrated
The Gerber Gator feels like old news now but it was once one of the most innovative when first released. The overall design with the gator-like textured handle was superb. In fact, this — like the Tac Tool — remains a very good knife that’s still around.
1992: Equip USA El Diente
I wasn’t able to find any information about the Equip USA El Diente, so I reached out to Blade Magazine (which sponsors the Blade Show) to find out more.