The American West is still a frontier in a lot of ways. Even though the west is now mostly modernized, the country still has a fascination with the men and women who lived on the frontier and with some who still practice those ways today. The knife became so popular and had such a reputation for quality that the phrase “Done up to Green River” referred to excellence and also meant to drive or stab a knife into a person all the way to the hilt; covering the factory stamp.
The rugged nature of the Green River knife is what led to its popularity. The knife was American made featured an 8-inch blade and sturdy wooden handle. Russell and his workers designed the knife to take on any situation that might arise along the frontier, from tending camp, making kindling, and skinning that night’s supper to self-defense.
The knife was popular with buffalo hunters, mountain men, cowboys, farmers and American Indians. 60,000 were shipped to the west between 1840 and 1860. The National Museum of American History has one of the knives on display in its collection, made somewhere between 1855-1860.
The utility and quality of the knife helped it take its place in history. That combination still results in a great knife even today.
Photo: Green River Knife