Blackie Collins
Walter Wells Collins

DiedJuly 20, 2011(2011-07-20) (aged 71)
Occupation(s)Knifemaker, magazine editor
AwardsBlade Cutlery Hall of Fame

Walter Wells "Blackie" Collins (1939 – July 20, 2011) was an American knife maker who designed and popularized the assisted opening mechanism and various automatic knife designs within the art of knifemaking. He is cited by other knifemakers and collectors as one of the most innovative knife designers in the world[1] and was an author and the founder of what became Blade Magazine. Collins died July 20, 2011, in a motorcycle accident near North, South Carolina.[2]

Early life

Collins was born in Florence, South Carolina. He made his first knife when he was in the second grade.


Collins designed the bowie/survival knives series for Smith & Wesson in 1971 and was involved in designing their commemorative knives from 1971 to 1978. In the late 1960s-early 1970's he also made knives under the name of Blackie Sewell and had a shop in the original Underground Atlanta. In 1981, Collins' designed a knife for Gerber Legendary Blades named the LST (light, strong, tough). The LST was the first knife to feature injection molded Zytel handles and featured a total of six parts. His next design was an assisted opening knife called the Strut and Cut; the design for which came from motorcycling. The Strut and Cut's opening mechanism was based on his Ducati's single strut which enables the knife to open and close easily.[3]

Collins was a founding member, with ten other knife designers/makers, of the Knifemakers' Guild.[4] He founded the magazine known as American Blade in 1973, which he sold in 1982 and the renamed title was simply Blade. Collins was later an inductee into the Blade Magazine Hall of Fame.[5]

Collins had other innovations beyond knifemaking and was an avid motorcyclist and a member of the National Rifle Association. He designed holsters and concealment clothing for carrying firearms. Collins designed a trigger lock, called the "Cease Fire" for rifles and a shooter's screwdriver.[6]

Written works

Collins authored books on knifemaking, scrimshaw, knife throwing, and personal defense.


  1. ^ Latham, Sid (1973). "Craftsman's Cutlery". Field & Stream. 78 (3): 51, 141.
  2. ^ "Well-known knifemaker dies in motorcycle crash". The Times and Democrat. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  3. ^ Shackleford, Steve (2010). Blade's Guide to Knives & Their Values (7 ed.). Krause Publications. p. 232. ISBN 978-1-4402-0387-9.
  4. ^ Lewis, Jack; Roger Combs (1992). Gun Digest Book of Knives. Iola, WI: DBI Books. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-87349-129-7.
  5. ^ "Mr. SpeedSafe Joins the Club". Blade Magazine. 2008-07-22. Archived from the original on 2008-08-13. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
  6. ^ Ayoob, Massad (2008). The Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry. Gun Digest Books. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-89689-611-6.