The single blade sheepfoot folder in its role as a seafaring working knife has an interesting place in history that will appeal to traditional pocket knife enthusiasts, collectors, and history buffs alike. To hold in your hands a descendant of maritime utility with a proven historical record is to have tangible contact with a sailor's EDC from generations past; carried without thought of it being anything other than an item as essential as a pocket whetstone, marlin spike, or any other shipboard item. Long before the development of anything as trite as acronyms to describe ordinary everyday objects.
The old navy rope knives were noted for their sturdy reliability, often called into service along with a wooden mallet, to quickly "cut ties" with a comparatively thick line. The rounded end of the sheepfoot blade made a sensible choice for a folding pocket knife suitable for use on rough seas. An accidental fall onto a pointed fixed blade or even a Sheffield made Barlow of the era, with its usual 5" or so closed length and comparatively long spear point blade, could easily have meant a tragic fatality. The blunt end of a sheepfoot blade tended to minimise injury. The same could be said of port activities when shore leave, combined with opportunities to enjoy brief freedom from shipboard rigours, consumption of local beverages, and boisterous enjoyment of available entertainment could easily escalate beyond friendly rivalry.
The pattern has endured for many decades after. The robust British Army pocket knife in its varied forms has carried forward the sensible sheepfoot blade, and other countries likewise saw the practical wisdom of this classic design. For example, many standard issue maritime pocket knives of the early 1900's will usually have a sheepfoot blade, with or without a smaller pen blade, marlin spike, and shackle.
The point? This is a well-proven design that still has its place. Having long been an admiring user of Sheffield steel in its many patterns for pocket knives, it seemed only fitting to evaluate the pocket cutlery from a European locality with a renowned steel-producing legacy in terms of quality and performance, Solingen.
So, the cute little Otter. This pocket knife really grows on you. If you like the usual lamb foot style, this one will at once win your approval. The quality is truly excellent. All grinds are beautifully done, the wooden scales are most tactile and invitingly smooth, and the fit and finish is first rate, very well crafted. No filler here! The backspring is appropriately stout and the edge is probably one of the nicest, out of the box, of any of its type that I have ever seen.
As a working pocket knife this will not let you down.
I agree with the other remarks; the brass anchor at first seems a bit bright and out of place for a daily user. But, yes, it will develop a fetching patina, and soon your Otter will look as at home in your gardening glove or your workshop as it will in your pocket. History and everyday practically. Superb.
This is really well made. Built to last for decades to come, and not at all afraid of honest hard work and everyday use. Within its class this is an absolute standout. Cheers to Heinnie's for making the Otter Anker-Messer available. Highly recommended!