A utility knife is a knife used for general or utility purposes. The utility knife was originally a fixed blade knife with a cutting edge suitable for general work such as cutting hides and cordage, scraping hides, butchering animals, cleaning fish, and other tasks. Today, the term 'utility knife' also includes small folding or retractable-blade knives suited for use in the modern workplace or in the construction industry. The fixed-blade utility knife was developed some 500,000 years ago, when humans began to make knives made of stone. These knives were general-purpose tools, designed for cutting and shaping wooden implements, scraping hides, preparing food, and for other utilitarian purposes. By the 19th century the fixed-blade utility knife had evolved into a steel-bladed outdoors field knife capable of butchering game, cutting wood, and preparing campfires and meals.
Contributions by Dellant, Three-quarter-ten, and Cat10001b.