A pocketknife is a knife with one or more blades that fold into the handle. They are also known as jackknives (jack-knife), folding knives, or may be referred to as a penknife, though a penknife may also be a specific kind of pocketknife. A typical blade length is 5 to 15 centimetres (2 to 6 in) – folding knife with horse
Pocketknives are versatile tools, and may be used for anything from whittling and woodcarving, to butchering small game, gutting and filleting small fish, aiding in the preparation of tinder and kindling for fires, boring holes in soft material, to opening an envelope, cutting twine, slicing a piece of fruit or as a means of self-defense.
Specialised designs are also used for mushroom hunting and gardening. Pocketknives designed for gardening include pruning knives, which are folding knives with long curved blades used for pruning, trimming cuttings, taking buds and preparing material for grafting.
The peasant knife, farmer knife, or penny knife is the original and most basic design of a folding pocketknife, using a simple pivoted blade that folds in and out of the handle freely, without a backspring, slipjoint, or blade locking mechanism. The first peasant knives date to the pre-Roman era, but were not widely distributed nor affordable by most people until the advent of limited production of such knives in cutlery centers such as Sheffield, England commencing around 1650, with large-scale production starting around the year 1700 with models such as Fuller’s Penny Knife and the Wharncliffe Knife. Some peasant knives used a bolster or tensioning screw at the blade to apply friction to the blade tang in order to keep the blade in the open position. The smallest (Nos. 2–5) Opinel knives are an example of the peasant knife. The knife’s low cost made it a favorite of small farmers, herdsmen, and gardeners in Europe and the Americas during the late 19th and early 20th century.