|Born||Walter Wells Collins
Florence, South Carolina, USA
|Died||July 20, 2011
North, South Carolina
|Occupation||Knifemaker, magazine editor|
|Spouse(s)||Jane Valentine Collins|
|Awards||Blade Cutlery Hall of Fame|
Walter Wells Collins (1939 – July 20, 2011) or Blackie Collins 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 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.
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 and Wesson in 1971 and was involved in designing their commemorative knives from 1971-1978. In 1981, Collins' designed a knife for Gerber Legendary Blades named the L.S.T. (Light, Strong, Tough). The LST was the first knife to feature injection molded Zytel handles and featured a total of 6 parts. His next design was an assisted opening knife called the Strut and Cut; the design for which came from motorcycling. The Strut’N'Cut's opening mechanism was based on his Ducati’s single strut which enables the knife to open and close with ease.
Collins was a founding member, with ten other knife designers/makers, of the Knifemakers' Guild. 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.
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 a "Cease Fire" for rifles and a shooter’s screwdriver.
- Collins, Blackie (1975). How knives are made (The Encyclopedia of American knives). Custom Knifemakers' Supply.
- Collins, Blackie; Felix Mirando (1976). The Pocketknife Manual - Building, Repairing and Refinishing Pocketknives. Knife World Publications.
- Collins, Blackie; McLoughlin, Chris (1977). Personal Defense. Knife World Publications.
- Collins, Blackie (1978). Knife Throwing: Sport Survival Defense. Knife World Publications.
- Collins, Blackie; Michael Collins (1978). How to Scrimshaw and Carve Ivory. Knife World Publications.
- Latham, Sid (1973). "Craftsman's Cutlery". Field & Stream 78 (3): 51, 141.
- "Well-known knifemaker dies in motorcycle crash". The Times and Democrat. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 09 August 2011.
- Shackleford, Steve (2010). Blade's Guide to Knives & Their Values (7 ed.). Krause Publications. p. 232. ISBN 978-1-4402-0387-9.
- Lewis, Jack; Roger Combs (1992). Gun Digest Book of Knives. Iola, WI: DBI Books. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-87349-129-7.
- "Mr. SpeedSafe Joins the Club". Blade Magazine. 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- Ayoob, Massad (2008). The Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry. Gun Digest Books. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-89689-611-6.