THE HISTORY OF THE "UKW SURVIVOR"
Who really designed the Tom Brown Tracker?
THE BIRTH OF WHAT MAY BE
THE WORLD'S MOST RECOGNIZED AND COPIED SURVIVAL KNIFE
If you have any interest in knives at all--whether you're just a casual outdoorsman or a dedicated survivalist or bushcrafter--you can't help but recognize the distinctive shape of this knife. It has become one of the most iconic and copied knife designs since its inception nearly 40 years ago.
But who REALLY created it, and how did it become so wildly popular?
My father, Robb Russon--a career Professor and administrator at Utah State University with a Master's degree in History--was also an accomplished craftsman, having worked with wood and metal for many years as a hobbyist. He created beautiful wood carvings, built furniture and musical instruments, painted, drew, and discovered the craft of knifemaking by reading several books on the subject.
As an outdoorsman, hunting and camping with his father since his youth, then with his own family as an adult, he already loved and collected knives, and the idea of making his own was a natural fit. By reading and practicing, he taught himself the art. He gave away most of his finished work to friends and family, and found immense satisfaction in creating man's most basic tool.
Over the years, he studied the works of knifemaking greats Bo Randall, William Scagel, Bill Moran, Bob Loveless and others. My father had worked earlier in life as a designer and draftsman, and was an artisan of great precision and patience. He learned about the properties of steel, the benefits of good knife design, the balance of form and function, and the techniques of heat treatment. He never intended for it to be a commercial enterprise; he simply found satisfaction in making useful tools with his own hands.