I have a fascination with Steel, particularly sharp steel. I think this is because I am a fan of Fantasy. Things like Conan, The Grey Mouser, Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, to name a few.
I remember a scene from the movie Conan the Barbarian, (yes the movie based upon the book by Robert Jordan, not the Master Robert E Howard but the soundtrack is excellent and it is the one worth watching). Conan is taken prisoner by Thulsa Doom and brought before his captor. They meet for the first time. Conan accuses Thulsa of killing his family and people. Thulsa (played by the great James Earl Jones, voice of Vader) says:
That was in my younger days, when I chased the secret of steel, but what is steel compared to the hand that wields it?
Steel. Metal of beauty, and metal of history.
My father had a crossed pair scimitars hanging on the wall when I growing up. They used fascinate me, so much so that one Halloween when I was in elementary school I convinced my mom to make an Arab style costume so I could take one to school.
I started a knife and sword collection when I hit my age of majority. I looked for things that had historical importance. even if it was only a copy. I had a copy Roman Dagger, a pugio, a broad bladed vicious stabbing weapon. Three Japanese swords, one of forged steel. A straight blade in the Katana style that looked more like stick than a sword when it was sheathed (the pride of my collection, it was a real beauty). I had a sword stick that was confiscated when I had it shipped to Australia, given to me by a friend.
I also had a silver plated flame knife in the fantasy style.
One of my favourites was a sword cane that I had. It wasn't of good qulaity, but I did carry it one Halloween, as part of a costume. It should be at my brother's house. I didn't pack it because that one I knew wouldn't get by customs.
I had started thinking about actually buying genuine antiques, like a WW1 German officer's blade, or something from even earlier.
I know swords in particular were designed, like pistols, to do one thing, kill people.
But it's the history of weapons over their function that fascinates me. The Roman reliance on infantry, spears and swords. The Crusades, where western blades encountered legendary Damascus Steel. The fall of steel armour at the beginning of the renaissance, and with it the big blades like broadswords, claymores and others because guns made armour obsolete. The appearance of finer blades, foils and rapiers became common, but this period also saw the rise of knives, particularly, in the 18th century bayonets.
But the truth is, I don't like going in the bush without a good knife. It is a camping essential, and it should be worn, visibly when out like that, not concealed. I consider it essential for fishing, hunting, and fire starting, as well as eating and cooking.
To paraphrase Homer Simpson: Knives, is there nothing they can't do?