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Spyderco - In Memory of Jess Horn

Spyderco - In Memory of Jess Horn

It was with great sadness that Spyderco learned of the passing of custom knifemaking pioneer Jess Horn on February 14, 2016. Jesse Leon Horn, Jr. began making knives in the early 1970’s in a chainsaw-repair shop in Redding, California. Although he began the craft as a hobby, he ultimately became a full-time maker and was admired and respected for his exquisitely crafted custom folding knives.

In addition to being a pioneer in the custom knifemaking world, Horn also had a profound influence on one of Spyderco’s founders, Sal Glesser. In the early 1970’s Glesser was also living in Redding, California and working as a cabinetmaker. One day, one of Glesser’s friends who knew of Sal’s lifelong fascination with knives suggested they go visit a man in Redding who was making collector’s quality folding knives by hand. That man was Jess Horn.

Glesser visited Horn’s shop and had the pleasure of handling two of Horn’s handcrafted gentlemen’s folders. At that time, Sal already had years of experience in close-tolerance manufacturing in the aerospace industry, but he was absolutely stunned by the meticulous precision of Horn’s work. He was also impressed with the prices Horn was able to charge for his knives and was convinced that there was a viable market for distinctive, high-quality folding knives. When Sal ultimately left Redding in 1976, his parting words to his friends were that he was “going to be a knifemaker.”

Sal was not only true to those words, but he also never forgot the impact that Horn and his craftsmanship had in shaping his destiny. When Spyderco pioneered the concept of collaborating with custom knifemakers on factory-made designs, Horn was high on Sal’s list of designers. Horn ultimately collaborated with Spyderco on three models, all of which sought to faithfully translate Horn’s meticulous craftsmanship into production folding knives.

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Jess Horn’s legacy is much more than a lifetime of finely crafted handmade knives. It also includes planting the seed that inspired Sal and the Glesser family to make Spyderco what it is today. We offer our deepest sympathies to the Horn family on Jess’ passing, and our deepest gratitude for life-changing inspiration he provided.

Spyderco, Inc.
820 Spyderco Way
Golden, CO
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