Michael W. Silvey: Knifemaker and Writer
By Jim Sornberger
Like many of us who grew up in the 1940s and ‘50s, Mike Silvey appreciated and made some knives as a kid, even making some out of scrap metal. This of course led to more and more time devoted to a knife fixation, as it has to so many of us throughout our lives. Mike fit this category easily – buying, selling, and trading knives, researching and writing about them, and eventually making knives.
First came collecting. Mike’s inital foray into collecting was based on a piggy bank budget, and cheap and plentiful pocket knives were bought and traded for. In the beginning it was easy to find many knives available for a few cents up to a dollar. These were the years that “Army Navy Stores” were very popular, selling military surplus including folders and fixed blades, bayonets, swords and utility tools. I can only guess the number of military collectors these stores developed. We all spent time and money in these stores, often with our WWII veteran fathers or other veterans. My father and uncle both liked guns – my father mostly military, and my uncle had a gun shop in Northern California shortly after the war – so a lot of time was spent dealing with the military surplus shops. There were many military knives and guns available going back to the Civil War era in these stores, prior to the 1968 Gun Control Act banning mail order sales of rifles and shotguns and prohibiting most felons, drug users and the mentally incompetent from buying guns. Knives, swords and more were readily available to feed the knife collector’s addiction.
This article appears in the September 2022 issue of Knife Magazine. Premium Online Members can click the blue button below to read the whole thing.