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The Kauhava Horse Head Knife
All the birch bark handled, varnished knives are called Kauhava knives. Horse-headed knife has a cast brass horse head shaped pommel, hence the name.
All the birch bark handled, varnished knives are called Kauhava knives. Horse-headed knife has a cast brass horse head shaped pommel, hence the name. These kinds of horse head knives have been around since the beginning of the 1880’s, made under two names: Iisakki Järvenpää, and his cousin, Juho Kustaa Lammi. They were the ones behind the “puukko” concept: they invented, tested, and crafted them in the beginning of their careers. Where did the idea to place a horse head on a knife come from? There are many stories. The most credible of them explains that J. K. Lammi—while serving in the military in the dragoon regiment of Vaasa, Finland—saw a riding whip that had a cast horse head on its pommel, and had the idea to apply the same figure on the pommel of a knife. He then refined the idea together with Iisakki Järvenpää. They made knives, including the horse-headed ones, for their clients, both together and by themselves. According to local history, some bigger deliveries might have contained similar knives under the names of the two different knife-makers. The Iisakki Järvenpää Company has always had the Horse Head Knife in large scale production, and, in the course of time, its handle has been made of various materials including birch bark, birch wood, galalith, ebonite, and bone. Today the shape of the horse head is still the same and it’s made of varnished birch bark. There are two sizes of Horse Head Knife: a traditional model with 10 cm long polished blade made of carbon steel, and a smaller Ladies Knife. These two combined make up a Double Sheath Horse Head Knife, which is in production as well. The Horse Head knife sheaths are made of light-coloured leather with a traditional stampings and a decorative brass fitting at the tip. The sheath is similar to the one on the Kauhava Ball Pommel Knife (Kauhavan Nuppipää). Total size 25cm, knife 21cm, blade 10cm.
The villagers and boys were amazed and in awe when a huge oddity rolled down the road in September, 1922. Alfred Kosola’s horses had to tax their strength when drawing a sleigh with an indenting hammer of 5.000 kilograms, along the snowless road to the Järvenpää’s factory. The cubs’ imagination really took over, when they began to hear a constant pounding from the factory. It was like an iron giant’s sledgehammer banging.