Museum Talk

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Tuf-Nut pocket knife is on display at the Buffalo Island Museum in Monette.

An old Tuf-Nut pocket knife was recently donated to the museum by Tommy Swetnam. The Tuf-Nut Garment Manufacturing Company was located in Little Rock. They produced overalls, pants, and shirts for the working men all over the South. They made their garments of 100% cotton.

They started out as West-Nelson Manufacturing Company, but in 1927 the company changed and the new name of Tuf Nut Garment Manufacturing Company was given. The company finally closed in the late 1970's, although its trademark is still around. As an advertisement promotion, the company gave a free pocket knife with the purchase of their garments. These pocket knives were as popular as the overalls, pants, etc. One man recalled that you had to buy two Tuf-Nut overalls to get the free pocket knife at the store his mother shopped. It took some persuading to convince his Mom that he needed two pair of overalls that autumn.

Many of you probably remember when the stores on Buffalo Island sold the Tuf-Nut brand, and you may still have an old Tuf-Nut pocket knife in a drawer somewhere. Suda Reeves said she remembered selling the Tuf-Nut brand and giving the free knife when they had a store in Monette. Every little boy had to have a pocket knife to play mumbley-peg.

A pocket knife was very popular with the American colonists. It was an essential tool for cutting rope, eating on the go, opening a letter, making a toothpick, or just whittling on a lazy afternoon.

The pocket knife was an essential tool for the soldiers during the American Revolution. George Washington carried his pocket knife when leading his troops. The United States Navy issued pocket knives to sailors during the Civil War. It was standard issue to the American GI's in World War II.

Although men have been carrying pocket knives for centuries, they are disappearing due to increased security measurements, yet the vintage Tuf-Nut pocket knives are very collectible.

You never know what you will find at the Buffalo Island Museum. Things, as this pocket knife bring back pleasant memories. There are over a thousand items at the museum so visit often. Museum hours are: Friday and Saturday 12:30-4:00. Admission is free. You may contact us at our email: or visit our Facebook page

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