The marriage of beauty and utility is something we’re always going on about at Oliver Brown. Far be it from us to explain what a pocketknife is or why it’s so useful – no doubt we’ve all been nipping our fingers on Swiss Army knives since we first tried to poke a hole in a conker – but whether you’re addressing a freshly picked apple one August afternoon, raging at a tangled leader whilst waist-deep in the Tweed, or simply trying to open some infernal box from Amazon, there’s no doubting the satisfaction of reaching into one’s pocket and retrieving the slim heft of a well-honed blade. So long as the blade is 3 inches long or less and doesn’t lock into position, folding pocketknives are perfectly legal (but do check the law for yourself), so we thought we’d bring together three of our favourites. If England were a pocketknife, it would be a lambsfoot pocketknife. The one pictured above is typical of its kind; an elegant combination of warm brass and glowing rosewood with a rugged, dependable blade from Sheffield. This particular one has a 3.5” blade, but A Wright & Son make smaller ones, too. As one might expect, the Japanese make pocketknives that are every bit as good as their more famous swords and kitchen knives. The Higonokami is a simple fisherman’s knife with (traditionally) a brass scale and a protruding flipper that, when deployed, makes the blade difficult to close accidentally. The same manufacturers that have been hand-forging them for over a hundred years are beginning to explore a few different materials, however, simply for the sake of variety. We like what we see. The French are also masters or the art, specifically when it comes to the equally traditional Laguiole. It can be difficult to find one with a blade under 3”, however, so for our final favourite we head to the Netherlands. It’s hard to see how a small, everyday object could get any simpler, more useful or more elegant than this brass friction folder from Cryptic Knives.