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The U.S. M1918 Mk. I Trench Knife Thread.

Article about: Greetings all, This will be a closed thread to act as a quick reference guide to originals. If you are looking at getting into collecting these and wish to compare a possible reproduction wi

  1. #1

    Default The U.S. M1918 Mk. I Trench Knife Thread.

    Greetings all,

    This will be a closed thread to act as a quick reference guide to originals. If you are looking at getting into collecting these and wish to compare a possible reproduction with originals please see this thread for that M1918 Mk. I Trench Knife comparing originals to your “suspect” knife thread - EDGED WEAPONS REFERENCE - U.S. Militaria Forum There’s no need to PM me to ask what any competent person can view for themselves, so please do not do so. Wanna know what those “weird looking” variants shown in the picture below are? Then go here L. F. & C. M1918 Mk. I Types/Variants as seen in H. M. Cole’s book IV, well… except for one:-( - EDGED WEAPONS REFERENCE - U.S. Militaria Forum These are by far my favorite style/type of trench knives to collect, I do hope you all enjoy them as much as I do. The period USMC photo is dated 1919, vicinity of the Coblenz Bridgehead Occupation. It is believed by most collectors, that if any of these knives actually saw service during WWI, it was only the Au Lion French made variants that would have.

    Regards,

    Lance

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  2. #2

    Default The Au Lion type (a Lion in repose stamped on the ricasso).

    The Au Lion type (a Lion in repose stamped on the ricasso).

    First up is the French manufactured Au Lion “The Lion” type. There are two variants of this version. There’s the kind with the two grooves on the back-strap of the brass (the French made ones are brass, the U.S. made ones are bronze) handle and the kind without the grooves (left & right respectively see photo below). There are slight size differences with the “U.S. 1918” fonts’ sizes too. There are a wide range of finishes found on these knives' handles. They range from rough to smooth casted/finished and everything in between. The blade’s Au Lion trademark is stamped on the ricasso. The Au Lion logos’ run the gamut of deeply stamped to lightly stamped. The most common seem to be the lighter stamped ones. This variant is the only one with a manufacturer's marked blade.

    Regards,

    Lance

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  3. #3

    Default AU Lion "Grooved" variants continued

    Four "Grooved" variants first, the last one being the open "9" variant. No significance in that open "9" variant just one to watch out for. Notice these Grooved variants have very rough finishes on the handles and poor "U.S. 1918" markings.

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  4. #4

    Default Au Lion "UN-Grooved" Variants continued.

    Three UN-Grooved variants, notice the slightly smoother finishes on the handles.

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  5. #5

    Default Au Lion Scabbard

    Here are front and back views of the standard Au Lion Scabbard. This finishes the Au Lion French made variants, next we will look at the L.F. & C. variant.

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  6. #6

    Default The L.F. & C. type (Landers Frary & Clark) New Britain, Connecticut: 1865-1965.

    The L.F. & C. type (Landers Frary & Clark) New Britain, Connecticut: 1865-1965.

    These are the most common U.S. made variants to be found. They were originally finished by a chemical process which left the blades and bronze handles blackened. With typical handling the finish tends to wear off and you will usually encounter them without much of their original blackened finish present. Original blades are completely unmarked. In some cases you will find these with the handles intentionally polished bright or even gold plated. It is also very typical that when you do encounter one of these with its original L.F. & C. made scabbard, that one or both of the mounting prongs are broken or missing. The second L.F. & C. is shown for comparison only to show the typical WWII modification (cut down cross-guard). Sometimes these modified knives are encountered with only one side “shaved” down. I have also included a picture showing how these knives were originally intended to be mounted to the M-1910 cartridge belt (Picture’s credit to Gary Cunningham). And a WWII period shot of a modified hilt M1918 Mk.I being worn by a member of the 82nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2D Armored Division.

    Regards,

    Lance

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  7. #7

    Default L.F. & C. Scabbard

    Here is the standard issue L.F. & C. Scabbard. This completes the L.F. & C. variant, next up is the H.D. & S. variant.

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  8. #8

    Default The H.D. & S. type (Henry Disston & Sons) Philadephia, Pennsylvania: 1865-1955.

    The H.D. & S. type (Henry Disston & Sons) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 1865-1955.

    This company had tooled up for production, but their contract was canceled by the War Department as WWI ended. No firm idea how many were made, but none were ever accepted by the US Government for issue. This canceled contract aspect makes this one of the harder variants to obtain. Unfortunately, reproductions abound. They usually are detectable by the poor replication of the fonts’ spacing’s. Here’s another example to use to compare too AMEWM 23 This completes the H.D & S. variant, next we will see the rarest M1918 Mk.I trench knife variant, the O.C.L.

    Regards,

    Lance

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  9. #9

    Default The O.C.L. type (Oneida Communities Limited) Oneida, New York: 1880-1935.

    The O.C.L. type (Oneida Communities Limited) Oneida, New York: 1880-1935.

    Much like H.D. &S., Oneida’s government contract was canceled at the end of WWI. The few, (again exact number unknown) that were made were rumored to have gone home in workers’ lunch pails or were presented as gifts to various company executives and long term/favored customers. These variants are the absolute hardest, rarest, and the “ultimate catch” for any collector of unmodified M1918 Mk.Is. These too are faked, but not as often as the other variants. The key with these is the really poor casting quality and rounder edges actually make them more difficult to “fake” or reproduce. Some examples have nice crisp handle's markings, some like mine do not (for instance, notice how you cannot see the "L." in O.C.L.). There are other subtle manufacturing differences as well, I will not speak of them as there's no need to assist those who wish to fake this variant. Most reproductions start life off as an Au Lion or L.F. & C variant and converting them to an O.C.L. variant is quite a stretch. As an aside, here’s an article about the Oneida Community, a cult by any other name is still… a cult. The Oneida Community: Free Love and Women in Trousers Before Woodstock - Yahoo Voices - voices.yahoo.com

    Regards,

    Lance

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  10. #10

    Default MAJ. McNary’s British & French Patents.

    Greetings all,

    Thought I’d add scans of each of the British & French patents that MAJ. James E. McNary (this knife’s designer) applied for and received. He did not apply for an American Patent. Scans courtesy of Frank Trzaska’s website here Patent Page 9

    Regards,

    Lance

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