Electric knife

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An electric carving knife

An electric knife or electric carving knife is an electrical kitchen device used for slicing foods. An electric knife requires less physical effort than an ordinary knife and produces neater slices. The device consists of two serrated blades that are clipped together. When the appliance is switched on, the blades continuously move lengthways to provide the sawing action. In the UK, electric knives were popular in the 1970s and not as popular in today's kitchens.


The invention of the electric knife is usually attributed to Jerome L. Murray,[1][2] But there are other claimants such as Clem E. Kosterman who filed a patent in 1939.[3][4]

Other uses[edit]

They are also sometimes used for other purposes, including sculpting polyurethane foam rubber,[5][6] cutting wood, cutting metal, and other solid or semi-solid substances and materials. Electric knives can be corded or cordless.

Cultural references[edit]

  • In the 1981 horror film Possession, the character of Anna cuts her neck with an electric knife.
  • In the 1986 horror film Maximum Overdrive, an electric knife turns itself on and cuts waitress Wanda June and the victim tried to get a hammer to destroy it and it's not working.
  • In the third-season Simpsons episode "Dog of Death", Homer attempts to use one of the knives to carve a Thanksgiving turkey at the table, sending pieces of it flying at other family members.
  • In Stephen King's 1987 novel Misery, Annie Wilkes slices off Paul Sheldons thumb with an electric knife, after Paul complains about a missing letter on a typewriter [7].

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Agis Salpukas, "Jerome Murray, 85, a Many-Faceted Inventor", obituary, New York Times, 11 February 1998.
  2. ^ Carl W. Hall, A Biographical Dictionary, p.158, Purdue University Press, 2007 ISBN 1557534594.
  3. ^ "With the inventors", Popular Science Monthly, volume 36, no.2, p.22, March 1940 ISSN 0161-7370
  4. ^ C. E. Kosterman, "Power operated knife", US patent 2180244, 14 November 1939.
  5. ^ Tip No. 080 A Method for Cutting Open Cell Polyurethane Foams NASA Materials Engineering Branch
  6. ^ Sylvia Moss. Costumes and Chemistry: A Comprehensive Guide to Materials and Applications, Quite Specific Media Group Ltd, 2001. ISBN 0-89676-214-9 p317
  7. ^ Misery (novel)