In 19th-century France, figural pocket knives with handles carved from bone or elephant ivory were very popular. It was a time when functional objects were required to have decorative value as well. But, of course, those meticulously made knives were not affordable for the average consumer.
In 1902, Léon Coursolle came up with the idea of figural brass handle scales that could be manufactured in mass production. He bought a cutlery workshop and teamed up with a skilled medalist who designed the molds. The brass handle scales were decorated with motifs of rural life, hunting, sports, and maritime scenes. The model Venus even featured a depiction of a beautiful nude. The knives became known as Coursolle knives or sujet knives.
Many of the original motifs are still used. And, just as in the old days, the blades are made of carbon steel, which needs proper maintenance to prevent rust. The Coursolle knives are slipjoints, which means there is no locking mechanism. They are low-tech tools in a high-tech world.
The two piece knife presented here is equipped with a spearpoint-shaped 80 millimeter blade and a corkscrew with five coils. The stamped wrench on the blade, “clef de molette” in French, indicates the authenticity of the knife. The characteristic brass handle scales show two different hunting scenes.