Join Date: Mar 2005
1. Which of these two photos did that navaja you saw resemble? The uppermost one with the etched & painted blade is a native Spanish navaja with a secure ratchet lock and the lower one, with the broad blade, a French import, without a full lock.
2. Most navajas were very slow to open and close and were rather poor weapons. They are certainly not comparable to modern tactical folders in this regard.
This was the only reason why they were half tolerated by the authorities. I say "half tolerated" because after the early eighteenth century all effective weapons were banned in Spain. This included navajas that could be locked into the open position and thus used violently.
In time and in some jurisdictions, lockable navajas were turned a blind eye but every now and then there were crackdowns and the law was enforced - This is the reason why the Spanish cutlery industry was decimated by 1850.
Most navajas in the nineteenth century were of French origins and did not have a lock, only a very strong spine-spring - Needless to say they made for poor weapons and because of this the authorities more or less accepted them. Only the locally made navajas tended to have secure locks, but by the 1850s these were very much in the minority and largely outlawed.
Have a great Easter