J. Bruce Voyles’ Edgewise: Initialed Makers

Edgwise: Initialed Makers
by J. Bruce Voyles

When we think of top names in the world of knives, Loveless and Randall top the list. There is one important thing these two great names have in common. Both have their name, and the location of where the knives were made clearly visible on the knife itself. This column began with the focus toward the dollars and cents side of knife collecting.

While history does little to substantiate that collectibles are tried and true avenues to investment growth, we as collectors tend to ignore the risk, and concentrate more on the joy of ownership, the delight in discovering a desired find, and the good feeling we get when we lay our knife collection out for enjoyment. But someday down the road, on that day we choose to not think about, there is a time that these knives we love and enjoy will go through the transfer of ownership, often handled by someone who knows little about them and certainly cares less than we do for our carefully hoarded pieces of cutlery artistry.

As a responsible knife owner, what do we do to make that transfer easier for our heirs, or for anyone down the line who may own a knife after us? The knives we choose to own can make this difficult or easy.

The first question an auctioneer or knife dealer asks when contacted by an heir on the disposal of Daddy’s knife collection is, “What kind of knives do you have?” Depending upon the maker, and how he marks his knives, that question is easily answered. If the knife was made by R.W. Loveless, right there on the knife will be his name. And also, underneath, will be where he was living when he made it, often Lawndale or Riverside, California.

It becomes more difficult when the uninitiated executor says, “Well it has some kind of star on it, and this has nothing but a train, and this one isn’t marked, no wait, there is some marking down inside it, someone’s initials.”

This Edgewise column appeared in the November 2021 issue of KNIFE Magazine.

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Edgewise: Initialed