Here is a great story on the life of Hoyt H Buck the maker of the famous Buck Knives. This is a true tribute to the American ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that seems to be forgotten.
Way back in 1899, when Hoyt H Buck was a very young and yet experienced blacksmith’s apprentice, he started the journey of his life, and in time, gained the most experience that would eventually lead to success as one of the most famous brands in the manufacturing of knives in America. It would also be a little while before the military shortage would become the cause for a commercial endeavor.
Quickly becoming an adult at the tender age of 10, he was also full of wisdom and great insight. And so at age 13, in 1902, he began to use the “hardened edge” technique that the Buck name became so famous for. He would often wonder and consider how to better improve the repair of farm equipment. Because of his careful thoughtfulness, he created a brilliant technique that proved a great success in the future of tool creation. Even though he developed an first-class technique for heat treating metal, it would be another 40 years before this was eventually realized.
In 1907 Hoyt Buck left Leavenworth Kansas and moved to Tacoma Washington. While there he pursued other jobs and found work as an insurance salesman, a streetcar conductor, and as a boat mate on Puget Sound. It was on one of those weekend day trips while working on the sound that Hoyt met his future wife Daisy Louise. eldest and also would later become the first child to be employed in the family business and make the second generation’s Buck 110 Hunter Knife.
Al who was as much adventurous as his father, and very challenging and so had a longing to join the United States Navy. He did so, at the tender age of 16 after convincing his mother to fib about his age on the paperwork. This was in 1927, and in 1931, on ending his four-year tour of duty, he decided to leave the military for good but then quickly realized that it was a major mistake. In order to survive the Great Depression, he decided to join the Coast Guard. He was dispatched to New York, and while there and serving aboard a cutter and like his father before, he also met his future wife. Upon getting married, he and Ida Jane were then transferred to San Diego. They both loved it there and decided to stay.
In 1935 Al returned to civilian life and decided to run a small laundry business inside his garage. In 1937 he got a job in a meatpacking plant and worked steadily until he severed his left hand, while cleaning a meat grinder. Al Buck had a lot of Faith but the doctors were very doubtful, however his hand quickly got better and in six weeks he returned to work as a night watchman, and within six months he returned to his regular duties.
Shortly after World War 2 began, in 1941, Al Buck, began driving a bus for the city of San Diego. It was this job that he reluctantly left after his father requested his help in manufacturing the knives. His home address, 1272 Morena Boulevard, now became his business address.
In 1945 Hoyt Buck moved to San Diego where Al was already living, and even though 40 years had already gone, he decided to make Buck Knives again. The U.S. government was requesting donations of personal fixed blade knives for use in the military, and he decided to make knives because he didn’t have any of his own to donate.
So now for the very first time the famous Buck 110 was now being manufactured commercially. The knives proved to be so popular that after WWII terminated there was a monumental waiting list of war veterans all eager to own their own Buck Knife.
h/t: hiker rage
Photo Credit: The Marmot