A Look Back At BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame® History

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Buck, Cole, Williamson and Lile receive their Hall of Fame awards from James F. Parker at the BLADE Show banquet.

As these words are written, sitting members of the BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame® are making their nominations for who will be inducted into the Cutlery Hall Of Fame during BLADE Show 2019 on June 7-9 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. When you read these words those nominations will have been completed and the final balloting will be under way.

The entire process rekindles fond memories for this writer, most of which involve the Hall Of Fame ceremony itself that annually occurs during the BLADE Magazine Awards Reception the Saturday night of the BLADE Show.

Cutlery Hall of Fame
Bob Terzuola (left) presents Sal Glesser (right) with his BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® plaque during the Hall-Of-Fame ceremonies 20 years ago at the 1999 BLADE Show.

The first such ceremony that stood out for me was in 1988 when A.G. Russell and Ken Warner inducted each other—with neither knowing at the time the other would be inducted as well! When each inducted the other the expression on the new inductee’s face was priceless, and that ceremony remains like no other before or since.

Hubert Lawell’s induction in 1989 was memorable for his bringing a copy of the old and now defunct EDGES pocketknife newspaper we used to publish up on the stage, holding it high in the air, and praising it and everything it/we did as the greatest thing for the knife industry since sliced bread. Never mind that many in the audience appeared unsure of what Hubert was saying in his low Tennessee drawl, at the end of his speech he had everyone on their feet cheering—though I’m not sure all of them were cheering because of what he said so much as he was finished saying it.

The 1993 inductions of Col. Rex Applegate, B.R. Hughes and Bruce Voyles were unique. They were the only inductions ever held outside the BLADE Show venue, specifically under a big canvas tent at Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta. Bruce became the first-ever member inducted by acclimation of the membership, which was a pleasant surprise to him. Not to be outdone, upon his induction B.R. uttered perhaps the best acceptance line ever.

“I don’t know that I deserve this Hall-Of-Fame plaque,” he deadpanned, “but I’m not giving it back!”

Following it all everyone retired to a giant fireworks presentation courtesy of the park.
Spyderco CEO Sal Glesser’s induction in 1999 was particularly memorable. Not only were we able to keep Sal from knowing until the last minute that he would be inducted, but Mrs. Gail Glesser was able to keep secret from him that she would be there, too.

best knifemakers in the world
Al Buck, M.H. Cole, Bill Williamson and Jimmy Lile receive their Hall of Fame awards from James F. Parker at the BLADE Show banquet.

Gail was supposed to miss the BLADE Show entirely that year due to a scheduling conflict. However, when we told her Sal was going to be inducted, unbeknownst to him she begged off on her other engagement and arranged to arrive at the show just before the ceremony began. So not only was Sal surprised to be inducted, he was equally tickled to have his wife there to share in the honor with him.

In recent years we’ve had to forego all the cloak-and-dagger stuff involving keeping the inductions secret because we have been announcing the inductions on our website well before the show, which we will do again for this year’s inductions sometime next month. Stay tuned to blademag.com for that announcement.

Meanwhile, visit the list and mini-bios of all our illustrious Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame members. While all of their induction ceremonies are not recounted here, each was special in its own way just the same.

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