Most likely have never heard the phrase, “Gum Fuddy.” Those familiar with vintage pocket knives, however, recognize this nickname given to some special Case knives made during a pivotal time in American history. Now W.R. Case & Sons has brought back these old favorites back with a “Rough Black” family of knives.
The new Rough Black family consists of eight patterns, each fitted with specially jigged handles, Tru-Sharp™ surgical steel blades, nickel silver bolsters and a Case oval shield. They include: Trapper (6254 SS), #18222 Medium Stockman (6318 SS), #18223 Small Texas Toothpick (610096 SS), #18224 RussLock® (61953L SS), #18225 Peanut (6220 SS), #18226 Canoe (62131 SS), #18227 Humpback Stockman (63046 SS) and #18228 Slimline Trapper (61048 SS).
The story behind Case’s Rough Black pocket knives begins in the 1940’s with the advent of World War II, when many raw materials used to produce consumer goods were diverted to support the war effort. Materials traditionally used to make pocket knife handles were no exception. A race to market knives with new, never-before-seen materials ensued between competing knife manufacturers.
In that search, Case product developers came upon a hard black synthetic material which demonstrated high durability, strength and overall appeal. A special jigging pattern was applied to the material surface to create the unique “Rough Black” knife handle slabs. The knives that resulted became known as “Gum Fuddy” knives at Case, a nickname quickly adopted by the consumer market as sales of Rough Black knives grew.
Case phased out production of “Gum Fuddy” knives after the war, as traditional handle materials made their way back to market. The knives have since become highly sought after collection pieces.