1) A case in which to keep or display knives.
In the early history of the cutlery trade knives were personal possessions carried in a sheath but when the use of forks became popular there was a move towards the production of household cutlery. In 1595, James Rawson wrote that 'he had sent two cases of knives' to London. ‘Case knives’ began to feature in cutlers’ inventories from the 1690s and when George Bullas died in 1692 his possessions included ground case blades … and more case blades unground. Previously it had been the policy of the Cutlers’ Company to influence people with whom they were in negotiation by making them gifts of knives in cases: 1625 To John Rawson for a Case of Knives and Tenn fine single knives
1683 For a case of knives and a knife and fork to present Mr Trewman, Hearth Collector … for his civilities to the towne.