Dwight David ('Ike') Eisenhower is one of my personal heroes. An outstanding soldier, statesman and outdoorsman, and a rabid golfer and football and baseball fan. His story is classic American. A kid from a lower middle class family, through talent, hard work and just a bit of luck earns a slot at West Point and is launched on a career that takes him to the pinnacle of military success and ultimately the White House where he becomes one of the most successful and beloved presidents ever to serve. Then, like George Washington, he wanted only to return to his farm to tend his cattle and get in the occasional round of golf. And a few hands of poker. And maybe some fly fishing and pheasant hunting.
Ike was a guy's guy.
|Eisenhower's official White House portrait|
Sometime in the early 1950s Ike picked up a pocket knife from a dealer in Texas. It was a Case Pattern 63 double ended pen knife. Apparently Ike fell in love with the knife and ended up giving examples away as rewards and mementos. He even had the blades engraved with his initials and date for special events like Presidential Dinners. I won't dive too deeply into the relationship between Eisenhower and this knife since the knife author Gary Moore covered the topic in a great little article he wrote for Knife World Magazine in 2006 titled 'Ike's Knives'. Follow the link and have a read. It's a great story!
A week ago I was visiting my favorite knife store and I spied this little beauty.
|Case Pattern 6263 'Eisenhower'|
I'm not sure how much I like the lime green handle scales, but the history of the knife and Eisenhower's engraved signature on the blade meant it had to come home with me.
Apparently this pattern is very popular with Case collectors. Case produces it in a number of styles, varying the handle materials and releasing them with and without the engraved signature. Seems collectors can't get enough of 'em, and Case makes small variations from year-to-year to keep the addiction going.
Historical connection aside, this is just a great little knife and makes a great gentleman's pocket knife. It is small and carries easily and inconspicuously in the trouser pocket and the rounded bolsters means it won't wear through the pocket. The main blade is just long enough to be useful - cutting string, pulling staples, slicing an apple, carving up a steak (one of Eisenhower's favorite activities) or whittling on a pencil end. Just a great little knife. No wonder Ike loved 'em.
So that's it. I like Ike and his favorite knife!