Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Box Cutters

I find myself collecting box openers of all things.  Many collectors will, at some distant time, liquidate their collection and reap great profits.  I don’t suspect I’ll be one of them.

It’s hard to understand what draws me to box openers.  It wasn’t the stock boy job I had in high school.  It wasn’t so great that I want to remember the daily grind.  There were a few things that stayed with me. Like the time a can of White Rain hair spray went off in the cardboard incinerator or the stack of pickle jars that got away from me.  What a mess that was!  Pickles and broken glass everywhere!

I suspect it is the variations of a basic tool that I enjoy.  You could simply grab the sealed flaps of a box and rip it open.  I don’t know how many times you could do that in a day while stocking shelves before you wore yourself out, so cutting was the way to go.  Besides, many stores want to cut the packing box so to make a shallow tray so hard-to-stack cans could be layered on the shelf.  

safety guard on Ry-Krisp box cutter
The front of the box cutter.  Note how the guard covers the single edge razor blade.

Then there’s the graphics on the side of the box cutter.  Some are rather nice and some remind us of products we knew as a child but never survived the great product wars to grow into adulthood with us.

I picked up a nice Ry-Krisp box cutter made by Bailey Beschta out of California the other day.  All I could find about the Bailey Beschta company was they were incorporated in California on Feb 7 1955.  Ralston Ry-Krisp just recently went out of business, but there’s an internet buzz that a group of investors may try to pump a little life back into the crackers.

back of cutter note Ralston Cereals
Slightly roached back.  Ry-krisp were made by the Ralston Cereal company.

One side of the box cutter looks a little roached (that term from American Pickers is creeping into my vocabulary!), but it is the aluminum blade guard that caught my attention.
The cutter uses a single edge safety razor that is not retractable.  Instead a spring loaded guard protects the blade’s edge.  Pressure against the box would swing the guard out of the way and expose the working edge.  The cutter is set up with a hold so you could suspend the box cutter from your wrist, freeing you to pick up product and place it on the shelf.

The open knife shows the strong utility blade
If it was black and assisted opening, it would be TACTICAL and you could charge more for it.

I also purchased a Sheffield utility/box cutter.  It’s the older style, non-spring assisted opener.  It locks open with a spine lock and is missing the stud to thumb it open, but it does sport a pocket clip.  The clip is not reversible and holds the knife tip down in your pocket.  This knife uses a utility blade instead of a single edge razor blade.  It’s significantly heavier than the Ry-Krisp cutter, so it’s up to heavier usage.

I bought this chiefly to round out my collection with an example of current box opening technology. 

The clip is set up for tip down carry.  I', sure it could be drilled and tapped to reverse the clip of either side.  Note:  Fingers are original equipment.

Both were a little dirty when I got them.  A wipe down with a little warm water followed by a good spray with WD-40 and another wipe down cleaned them up quite nicely. 

If you know anything about the Bailey Beschta Company, I’d be happy to add your comments.