Tennesseean C. Gray Taylor has for many years been regarded as one of the world’s finest makers of high end art knives. A look at the photos accompanying this article should explain why; his work is exquisite, often taking its inspiration from masterpieces in old-time multibladed pen knives and resulting in gentlemans knives of the sort dreams are made of.
Like a lot of us who have been enchanted with knives for a while, Gray Taylor grew up in the 1940s. He was born and raised in Virginia coal mining country through the WWII era into the ‘60s. At this time our nation was still slowly coming out of the Great Depression of the ‘30s and subsequently the burden of World War II. The country as a whole and most families were poor and worried about the future. Gray didn’t have to explain how it was, as my late wife’s family worked the coal mines of West Virginia and it wasn’t a lot different from my life in Northern California in the ‘40s and early ‘50s.
As the war ended, Americas greatest generation warriors came home to build a better life for all, to raise children, to work for or build businesses to employ others. Few had money in those postwar years, but this great generation stayed busy and made enough to take care of their families and on occasion a little extra, providing for family activities like picnics, skating and even the occasional movie.
This article appears in the March 2022 issue of KNIFE Magazine. Premium Online Members can read the whole thing by clicking the blue button below.