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Old 13th October 2016, 07:53 PM   #1
MaharlikaTimawa
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Default Origin of the Balisong?

The oldest knife I know which looks like a balisong is dated from the end of the 18th century (179?). It's called "Pied Du Roy". I found it in a Cutlery Museum in France.
There's a photo there :
http://www.balisong.net/en/history.htm


What I know is that martial arts weapons were banned in the Philippines when they were under Spanish Rule. About 103 years ago, when the Filipino people were "liberated" from the Spanish by the American people, the ban on martial arts weapons was droped. At about that time, a man from France helped the people in the Batangas area to start up a knife making industry.

Most of people think that the balisong comes from the Philippines. That's true that the name "balisong" and the fashion came from here. But the idea of the knife, the concept of separating the handle in 2 mobile parts... some people think it comes from Europe (the Spanish would have brought it to the Philippines Islands).

Still not sure if the Balisong is a European innovation or that the Balisong was independently made by Filipinos and the whole design in Europe is possible a coincidence.

Last edited by Robert : 14th October 2016 at 12:56 AM. Reason: Off topic comment.
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Old 22nd October 2016, 03:47 PM   #2
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Default Spanish Fan

Hi All,

If you look at a typical Spanish fan and then replace the fan with a knife blade, you will see that the balisong and the fan are very similar mechanically. A trip to southern Spain many years ago revealed this to me as I watched Spanish women flipping their fans open and closed with a flick of the wrist in a motion that was very similar to the one used to open and close a balisong. The Spanish were in the Philippines for a long time. Perhaps that was the origin.

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Old 22nd October 2016, 05:52 PM   #3
Battara
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I go more with Maharlika's argument. I came to the same conclusion years ago when I bumped into the knife of origin coming from Chicago back in the 1920s.
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Old 23rd October 2016, 02:38 AM   #4
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BRINGING UP FANS IS INTERESTING, THE MOVEMENT IS SIMILAR AND THERE HAVE BEEN WAR FANS SOME WITH SHARP BLADES IN CHINA AND JAPAN AND PERHAPS OTHER COUNTRIES FOR A VERY LONG TIME.
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Old 25th October 2016, 02:31 AM   #5
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Default Possible Japanese or Chinese Fans

Vandoo,

I am aware of the Japanese and Chinese war fans but I've never seen one close up to examine the mechanism. If the war fan mechanism is the same as on the balisong, a Chinese origin may be credible. That may depend on when the balisong first appeared in the Philippines and when Philippine natives would have likely last seen a war fan. The further apart those two dates are, the less likely is a Chinese origin unless you want to postulate that the knife itself was actually invented by the Chinese. Fascinating discussion.

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Old 25th October 2016, 08:13 PM   #6
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However the US and Balisong mechanisms are virtually identical.
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Old 25th October 2016, 09:38 PM   #7
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MANY FANS HAVE A HANDLE AND A PERMANENTLY OPEN BLADE. MOST FANS THAT FOLD UP ONLY OPEN 90 DEGREES OR HALF WAY. SOME FANS HAVE LONGER SIDES AND OPEN COMPLETELY AND THE SIDES BECOME THE HANDLE LIKE THE BUTTERFLY KNIVES. WHICH CAME FIRST PROBABLY THE FAN AND THAT GAVE SOMEONE THE IDEA FOR THE KNIFE. I HAVE SEEN JAPANESE DAGGERS DISGUISED AS FANS BUT THEY WERE THE USUAL KNIFE AND SCABBARD FORM. THE KNIFE THAT STARTED THE POST MAY HAVE BEEN PURPOSELY DISGUISED AS A RULER.
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Old 26th October 2016, 01:09 AM   #8
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Default Just a Few More Notes

As a woodworker, I should have looked more closely at the pied du roy because I would have seen that the hinge is exactly the same as the main hinge on US and English box (or boxwood) folding rulers. A quick online search reveals that this type of ruler has been popular in the US and England since the early 1800s at least. The knife blade in the pied du roy example may have been attached for use as a handy scribe.
So, if I understand what has been said so far, we have three choices.
1) The balisong was developed in the Philippines independent of any outside influence. Note that the prior existence of similar blades outside of the Philippines doesn't preclude the possibility of parallel evolution.
2) The balisong was developed in the Philippines as a result of Filipino exposure to mechanically similar items such as a fan or a box rule.
3) The balisong began to be made in the Philippines after Filipino exposure to a balisong style knife that that had been made outside of the Philippines.

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