What is "Vorpal?"

 
      Let me preface this by saying: if you own or have seen a knife made by me prior to January, 2009 it will be marked "Vorpal."  This was the tradename I used for several years, until recently discovering that another knife maker has been using "Vorpal Knives" as a trade name for a line of tactical fixed blades of his own design.  Since this gentleman has considerable precedence with the name, (20 years!) I have chosen to simply mark my knives "Promethean" from now on.  For those of you curious about the word "Vorpal," what it means in a knife, and why I used it for as long as I did, please read the following.  For thoughts about and explanations of the trademark "Promethean" please refer to the navigation bar.
 
 
    The word "Vorpal" comes from a famous poem called "Jabberwocky" by the author of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carrol.  It uses many nonsensical words that were made up on the spot by the author to tell a story of the slaying of a monster by a young boy armed with a "Vorpal Sword." This is how it goes, and this is the illustration by John Tenniel that accompanies it in the book:
 

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves, 
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

 "Beware the Jabberwock, my son! 
  The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
  The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
  Long time the manxome foe he sought -
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
  And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
  The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
  And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
  The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
  He went galumphing back.

"And, hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
  Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
  He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

 

    To me, the word "Vorpal" means very sharp, but posessing an indefinable quality that makes it unique.  In the poem it seems as if in bringing the vorpal sword to do battle with the Jabberwock, the boy has brought the weapon that is ordained specifically for the task.  To me, it seems to signify that if one carries a vorpal blade, one carries the right blade for the task that needs to be accomplished. 

    Many cultures around the world have thought that a "spirit" of sorts can reside in a well forged tool or weapon, sort of the soul of the blade.  I like to think that a "Vorpal" spirit imbues my works. After all, what is a "soul" but an indefinable quality that makes an individual unique?

    But feel free to define the word and the blades for yourself, as that is the final beauty of the concept.

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