Theater knives have nothing to do with Shakespeare. But they do have something to do with the story of the American people. Theater refers to “Theater of War.” In 1941, when the U.S. entered WWII, we were short on everything but resolve. American Industry groaned to life. We needed everything. Ships, planes, tanks. Lucky Strikes. There was a massive shortage of knives. So civilians made them from files and swords; in urban garages and rural machine shops. Soldiers made them in the field from bayonets and aircraft parts. Thousands of them.
Today they are one of the few war-time collectibles that evince unlimited uniqueness. Bowies and daggers, skinners, and knuckle knives. Some plain, some garishly colored. We love them all.