Knife Person of the Century?

Oct 3, 1998
In a hundred years of enormous technological development in any field you care to mention, we have seen a lot of evolution and revolution in our species' oldest tool.

Whom would you name as the knife person of the century?

A few thoughts

Bo Randall, for his roll in the early days of high-end knives?

Sal Glesser, for one-hand folders?

A.G. Russell for encouraging and introducing to the public a lot of new makers?

Or . . . . . . . .

Lets see
Scagel for his designs.
Moran and Bagwell for bringing Damascus back into the 20th century.
Warenski for the art objects he has created from man's oldest tool.
The list goes on. It would be pretty hard to narrow the competition down to one person in the cutlery field.But I will wager that this will be one hell of a thread.
Man, where do you even start? I'm going to have to think about this for a few days.
Here are some off the top of my head possibles:

William Wales Scagel, because without Scagel, Bo Randall wouldn't have had his inspiration.

Al Buck for inventing the large lockback in 1962.

Alfred and Adolph Kastor (past Camillus heads) for having the good sense to realize the value of stainless steel for knife blades as early as the 1920's.

How about whomever first realized the value of aluminum oxide as an abrasive? Or maybe whomever first improved on natural abrasives by making them in ovens.
(Let's face it, folks, without high quality belted abrasives we could forget ever grinding wonder steels.)

Or how about those unsung, unknown beaucrats who allowed various technologies developed for NASA to find their way into the public market place? Or maybe the folks that invented various ceramics, G10, Micarta and dendritcs in the first place?

I'm gonna really have to think about this one. Perhaps we should do this Academy Award Style with different categories:

Most valuable contribution to knives, 1900-2000

Most valuable technological improvement 1900-2000

Overall Achievement Award 1900-2000

Most responsible for enhancing public knowledge of knives and cutlery 1900-2000

more later,
I think we also need to thank that anonymous person who first designed the linerlock for an electricians knife. It may not be perfect, but it has changed the world of folding knives.
ps and a special award for Cutco

Why did you stab that girl?
You won't believe this, but I had too much coffee!
-Edmond by David Mamet
A century brings too many names to one's mind.
We should narrow it down a bit (perhaps pre-war and post-war, last 25 years, and so on)

For the last quarter of the century, my vote goes to Sal Glesser.
How about O.J. Simpson ?

Did it and got away with it.
Tough call.
I can't narrow it down any more than this.
Sykes and Fairbairn
Col. Rex Applegate
Bob Loveless
Bo Randall
A.G. Russel
Les De'asis
Sal Glesser
Lynn Thompson
Bill Moran

This isn't in any particular order, but ALL of these men were instrumental in the development of the high quality custom and productions knives that we take for granted today.
They are also responsible for promoting the knives and the (Hate to say this) Knife culture to the general public, who before the 80s didn't know that there was anything other than Buck and Case knives!
I know I left out lots of other important figures, but you gotta stop somewhere.

I cut it, and I cut it, and it's STILL too short!

How about Bob Loveless a pioneer in the early custom movement.

"Every Dog Has His Day"

Some good people on the above lists. They certainly influenced me. I would have to add;

Old man Schrade - very large number of inventions including the auto.

Al Mar - raised the quality level of folders. Promoting the "Sharing of Knowledge".

Blackie Collins - For much innovation.

A few more...have to think about this.
I would have to put Scagel up for nomination and right after that Bo Randall, then Bill Moran and Bob Loveless.....these four men laid the foundation for what has happened in the last half of the 20th century.. and even though many have followed....without the lead of these....we would not have all the innovation and various great designs we have today....
Blackie Collins also started the Blade Magazine. ("American Blade" back then).

Louis Graves for the beginning of the
"V" sharpeners and ceramic abrasives.


According to the rules set by the originator of this thread (James), "There can be only one". As much as I would like to vote for Sal or Les, I am going to have to vote for Al Buck.

I just thought of a good idea. Maybe Spark could turn this into a poll, just for fun. As for me, I would have to say... Bob Terzuola.

Sure, everyone put in your nominations and in a week or so we'll turn it into a poll. Sound good?


Kevin Jon Schlossberg
SysOp and Administrator for

Insert witty quip here
Bill Moran for introducing the market to pattern-welded Damascus.

The late Bob Engnath (a.k.a. "the grinder god") is in a category by himself. He had little influence on and little interest in the factory knife market, but he probably got more people started in making hand-made knives than anybody else. A great teacher, and a virtuoso on the Burr-King grinder. Very few finished knives with his name on them, but almost 100,000 of his custom ground blades in fixed blade knives with other people's names on them, including mine.

Maybe we should have a special award for James Dean and Leonard Bernstein and all, for spreading the image of the switchblade knife as the weapon of choice of juvenile delinquents, thus leading to all the one-hand folder innovations of the last few decades.

All the above are fine nominations, but I'd like to add Ken Warner. He has been producing his Knives annuals for a long time now and I'll bet more than a few of us discovered the handmade knife world through his publications.
Now for strange political theory:

I'd propose Lenin...Without him there would be no communist USSR, without that no Mao Tsu-Tung, without him no Taiwan...And although mostly low quality(CRKT excepted) Taiwanese knives are still probably the top sellers in the USA.

Why did you stab that girl?
You won't believe this, but I had too much coffee!
-Edmond by David Mamet
I can't even start on who is the overall Knife Guy of the Century. However, it's easier to guess at who has been Joe's Knife Guy of the Century -- the guy whose contributions most affect my knife carry today.

Since I carry almost strictly folders, it's not any of the big-name fixed-blade guys. For me, Sal Glesser may have had the most impact. Not just in innovations like the hole or clip, but the "putting it all together" category, too. That first Spyderco standard I bought was a revelation of sorts. The only guys who may have had more impact are the ones who led up to Sal ... for example, maybe the guys at Buck who came out with the 110 and exploded the market for well-made tough pocketknives.

Lynn Thompson...Cold Steel knives were the first to expose me to the "Higher-end" of knives....and for proving the Megafolder Concept....

Al Buck....Everyone started with a Buck....that has to mean something..

Phil Gibbs.....He helped bring Camillus into the mainstream and HE IS MAKING A MEGAFOLDER!!!!

Spark, is there a way for us to add nominees to the list if they are not listed?