Robert Losson was born on
August 8th, 1946. At the age of 7 he amused himself
by playing with the secret mechanism of the metal pocketknife
that his mother carried in her purse. Later, at 12yo,
Robert received his first knife, a Boy Scout knife,
given to him by his uncle on the occasion of his first
communion. This knife was a Sabatier Jeune with a deer
antler handle. A pupil in military school, Robert passed
his free time there remaking the wooden handle of his
first Opinel's. In 1963, during his apprenticeship at
a gun factory in Chatellerault, he dreamt in front of
the shop window of a famous cutlery from the city. There
was a knife in the window with 100 blades, and a handle
made of mother of pearl. It turned on a pedestal with
glass facets, surrounded by some other popular knives.
In 1978 his interest for knives and
knife mechanisms was always present but lost from view
due to the hazards of professional life. It was during
that time that Robert received a gift, "The Book of
Knives", by Yvan de Riaz, that triggered his interest
and revived the flame of passion. In this book he discovered
custom knives, for the first time, in an iconographic
way. "This was a shock due to the general high quality
of the book and the knives that were presented. I have,
by the way, retained since that time, my curiosity for
documentation." On this occasion he dared to redesign
his first knife while squinting at Tommy Lee's boot
knife. Ten years later he would rediscover the document
and put into form his very first knife design. I did
not know at the time that I would meet the famous maker
of double-edged knives more than 12 years later (See
photos). This would happen at the show set up by the
Youth Chamber of Commerce in Thiers.
Robert perfected his English by asking
his professor to translate for him "The Annual Knives
by K. Warner", which sometimes still sits on
his bedside table. That same year Robert organized a
trip to the U. S. The framework for the sojourn was
a series of visits to knife makers along the way. I
had the pleasure of meeting Dan Denehy, the famous
co-founder of the U. S. Knife Guild and knife maker
for Gary Cooper and John Wayne (among others)!
"In this way I visited my first knife
maker's workshop where I handled an authentic prototype
by Barry Wood. Dan and I shared some coffee and
discussed points of common interest in his mobile home.
The road lead me next to the home of Frank Lampton,
a man who, with one good arm, was able to make magnificent,
fully functional knives, with a precision assembly that
left me stunned. Me, the little metal worker from Chatellrault's
factory! I also visited Gerry Jeans, a precision
metal worker who gave me some issues of Blade Magazine
which are still worth consulting today. I returned from
the U. S. with a multi-blade CASE and "The Pocket Knife
Guide". I was still at this time only a fascinated amateur
unable to afford those knives that I fancied, which
probably caused me to consider making my own.
In 1988, Robert completely questioned
his professional work. Around the same time his friend,
André Racinoux, sent to him for some advice and
commentary on HIS first hand made knife. "This gave
me a real jolt! I suddenly had the utopia that I could
be a knife maker."
On the way back from Lyon with the
firm intention of throwing himself into the profession,
Robert decided to pursue documentation that he considered
indispensable to the realization of his project. His
research brought him to the Librarie Etrangère de Toulouse
where he met Mr. F. Anglade, a well-informed knife collector.
Francis Anglade, an honorary member of the U.
S. Knife Guild, as soon as he saw Robert's knives, encouraged
him to exhibit his work at the first SICAC in Paris.
Robert participated in the show, sharing a table with
André Racinoux as invited hobbyists. Together they exhibited
their first works, straight models.
"The immersion into the world of European
and American knife makers made me realize the gap I
must cross over. The challenge was clear, no right for
In Toulouse again, it was Mrs. Hélène
Bouffil who encouraged him in his work by the regular
purchase of models from his workshop in Auvillar (Alta
Villa in Old French).
Here, in a few reference points, are the reasons why
Robert Losson makes knives. As writing for writers is
a way of communicating, so for Robert Losson, knife
making is also a way of telling a story.
Certainly the unconscious part of this adventure is
vast, but that is quite another tale!