Vintage Horse Head Puukko Knife with Ornate Leather and Brass Sheath made by Iisakki Järvenpää Oy of Kauhava, Finland
Here on offer is an excellent example of a vintage horse head Puukko knife made by the famous Iisakki Järvenpää Incorporated Company of Kauhava, Finland.
This is a decorative version of the traditional Finnish Puukko general-purpose belt knife.
The Puukko is a Finnish knife and the name lends itself to the Finnish word “puukotta,” which means “to stab/knife.” The prefix, “puu” means “wood” in Finnish. The design of the Puukko is attributed to the indigenous Sami people, who created several knives to use for day to day tasks; the Puukko was the smaller option, used to skin fish or animals. Although historical records vary, the Puukko dates back about 1000 years. Both men and women carried (and carry) Puukkos, although the sizes change depending on the person, as the Puukko handle is meant to fit the hand size of the user.
This early vintage example is a decorative version and has a gilt brass horse head pommel.
The grip is made from multiple ring sections of birch bark that have been sanded smooth and finished in a clear lacquer.
The large ferrule is also made from gilt brass and all the gilt fittings show some loss of gilt to the finish.
The polished steel blade has a single curved cutting edge, a fuller on both surfaces, a solid hidden tang and a flat spine. It shows some signs of sharpening and greying to the finish on the blade that would probably polish up bright.
On the front of the blade you can still just make out the etched makers’ name, which reads as:
Iisakki Järvenpää Oy
Made in Finland
The ornate brown leather sheath shows some beautiful tooled work to the front of the leather. The decorative upper and lower metal fitting are made from gilt brass which shows signs of loss to the gilt.
The reverse of the upper fitting also has a swivel loop fitted where a chain and belt hook would have been fitted to allow it to be worn.
Iisakki Järvenpää (Isaac Riverhead in English) is known as one of the worlds most famous knife makers.
He began his career at Kauhava Puukkotehdas in 1899. (Puukkotehdas translated means knife factory).
The factory was founded in 1898 and made knives until 1939.
He was employed as a production manager and worked at the factory up until 1904.
Iisakki was born in Kauhava parish in 1859 and by the age of 20 had begun knife making. From the beginning, he used bark on the handle and after a few years 1881, he began to make his own blades. A year after that he and several others began to etch the blades with manufacturer’s name and place of manufacture, Kauhava, Finland.
Iisakki Järvenpää Oy was purchased in June 2013 by three South Ostrobothnian entrepreneurs, Pekka Pollari, Jarkko Haukkala and Hannu Pennala.
The aim was to develop and maintain Finnish knife manufacturing and crafts.
The knife is an excellent example of an early vinatge horse head knife and would make a great addition to any vintage knife collection.
The knife itself measures 7.75” (19.7cm) long and has a 3.9” (9.8cm) blade.
It weighs 80g.
Please see my pictures for the details of the condition, which complement this description.
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Thanks for taking the time to look.