George Washington carried one, and Mark Twain wrote of a “real Barlow” in “Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn” in 1876.
A Barlow is classified as a penknife, however original penknives didn’t have folding blades, resembling a scalpel and designed to thin and point writing instruments known as quills.
Both knives were used for whittling which is an exercise in cutting small bits or pare shavings from a piece of wood. No matter what the season, Bert Price, our grandfather, not only carried a Barlow but also whittled.
When we would ask Gramps to borrow his Barlow he would fold his newspaper, spit some tobacco juice and retrieve his precious knife from his overalls, saying, “Now mind, that Barlow is sharp and cuts two inches ahead of its shadow.”