In 1936, Bo Randall decided to make a knife. Today, his company makes more than 8,000 knives each year, and there is a six-year waiting list for new customers. Next to the factory where all Randall knives are handmade sits a new museum in the family’s renovated home, filled to the hilt with one of the largest collections of knives in the world.
The rich history and prestige of Randall are belied by the simple sign on Orange Blossom Trail quietly announcing the manufacturer, and visitors will need to be sharp to spot it. Once on the compound, friendly staff will reveal a slice of life unlike any other. Floor-to-ceiling cases are filled with pocket knives, military knives, axes, swords, machetes, and so on. The vast collection of over 7,000 items includes many specialty knives, such as a famous Randall “Astro” knife carried by astronaut Gordon Cooper when he orbited the earth in 1963, making it the first knife to go to space.
A central lobby area is outfitted much like an exclusive hunting lodge with sumptuous leather couches pared with uniquely pointed displays, all under the watchful gaze of animals with skin in the knife-making game. The walls are lined with newspaper and magazine articles dating back many decades, chronicling the achievements of the company, and one unassuming exhibit sits to the side proclaiming to hold the world’s largest switchblade.
Although Randall passed away in 1989, his sons and grandsons continue the tradition of handcrafting blades according to a 17-step process that takes many hours to complete. The result is a product that has been carried by presidents, generals, hunters, and herpetologists alike. With such acclaim, Randall has carved out a well-deserved place in history.
Know Before You Go
Open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is part of the Randall Knives factory and shop in Orlando; keep an eye out for the small sign along South Orange Blossom Trail.