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Old 26th March 2005, 05:51 AM   #11
Chris Evans
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 565
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Hi Frank,

Yes, that's a French navaja. Contrary to common perceptions, by the middle of the nineteenth century, they made up the vast majority of navajas in Spain and the Spanish ratcheting `Santolios' and `Sevillanas' were very much in the minority. Between 1850 and 1870 over twenty million such folders were imported into Spain, a staggering number if we consider the then adult male population being only around 4 million!

What I find even more interesting is that whilst they were large and looked fearsome, in truth they made for rather poor weapons, because they lacked a proper blade lock, relying on mere spring pressure fixation and were very slow to open. The absence of a secure lock is what made these knives acceptable to the authorities and the significance of this fact cannot be overstated.

The absence of a lock made thrusting a rather risky, though not impossible, proposition and when used in fights, they must have relied more on the sweeping cut.

I just cannot help feeling that folklore aside, the Spaniards of old were not quite as ready to fight to the death as they are nowadays made out to be.

Cheers
Chris
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