A History of Damascus

A History of Damascus

Posted by American Edge on Aug 18th 2020

Damascus steel is sought after for many reasons. Its history is intriguing, and its looks are majestic. Damascus steel isn’t just beautiful though- it can be high performance as well. Knives that feature Damascus blades are never the same. Each knife is a one-of-a-kind work of art! Typically, a Damascus blade owner or collector would be intrigued by the uniqueness or artistic factors of the knives. These knives are special and have been used in many scenarios over their history. From military, to chefs’ knives, to art knives, Damascus knives are sure to please a multitude of collectors.

Damascus steel is named after the capital of Syria- Damascus. It is unknown whether it refers to the swords made there, or if it refers to the pattern known as Damask that is used in fabric. The steel was originally forged from ingots of wootz to create distinctive patterns such as ladders or teardrops. Damascus steel blades held a high reputation for their toughness, shatter-resistance, and the capability of holding a sharp edge. Production of these beautiful and strong blades began during the 3rd century and declined around 1750. The technique was also used by some gunsmiths during the 18th and 19th centuries, but eventually subsided in the the 1900s due to a lack of metals or possibly, the loss of knowledge of the forging process used.

Since the 1900’s, Damascus steel has made a comeback! In 1973, Bladesmith, William F. Moran, presented his version of Damascus knives at the Knifemaker’s Guild Show. Moran welded several types of steel and iron together to form a billet. The billet was then drawn out and folded into the amount of layers that he wanted. Although the term “Damascus” referring to modern-day Damascus steel is technically incorrect, it is widely used to describe patterned welded steel blades amongst the knife community. Damascus is made in endless patterns by many companies and individuals around the world with big names such as Damasteel, Chad Nichols, Vegas Forge, Rob Thomas, Devin Thomas, Doug Ponzio, Mike Norris, Alabama Damascus, Bertie Rietveld, Robert Eggerling, Joel Davis, Daryl Meier, and many many more!

You can find our selection of Damascus knives here:

American Edge Selection of Damascus Knives