Original U.S. WWI Model 1918 Mark I Trench Knife by L. F. & C. with 1918 dated Steel Scabbard
Original Item: Only One Available. The U.S. Model 1918 Mark I Trench Knife was the second major "Knuckle Knife" to be officially adopted and issued to the US military. It was developed for use in the horrific trench warfare that typified the stalemate on the Western Front during the latter part of World War One and saw use not only there, but during World War Two as well. The knife was manufactured in the United States by Henry Disston & Sons (H.D. & S.) as well as Landers, Frary & Clark (L.F. & C.) and Oneida Community Ltd (O.C.L.). The knives were also produced in France and are marked with the usual 1918 and US marks, as well as Au Lion on the blade. Whether this mark was a maker's mark or simply a motto is not known. The U.S. M-1918 Mark I Trench Knife is easily identifiable due to its large "brass knuckle" style guard and grip. The knives were 11 ¾" in overall length, with a 6 ¾" dagger style blade. The brass grips were marked U.S. 1918 and with the makers name or initials.
As originally issued, the knives were entirely blackened; both the blades and the brass knuckle hilts. These knives remained in use with the US military, classified as limited standard (secondary issue) through January of 1945, when the knives were officially classified as obsolete. As originally issued, the knives were carried in a blued sheet steel scabbard that was typically maker marked, and was equipped with a pair of wire tabs that were intended to engage the US pistol web belt in use at that time. Many of the knives issued during World War II ended up in substitute leather scabbards of various designs and styles, many of which were "theater made".
This example of the U.S. Model 1918 MkI Trench Knife is offered in very good condition. The knife was produced by the Landers, Frary & Clark company of New Britain, CT. L.F. & C. was established in 1865 and produced a wide variety of housewares, cutlery and event appliances. Many of their products were marketed under the trade name "Universal". The products of L.F. & C. included everything from scales, mousetraps and ice skates to electric ranges and toasters. L.F. & C. also produced the triangular blade US M-1917 Trench Knife as well. The assets of the L.F. & C. company were purchased by General Electric in 1965. This Mark I Trench Knife is clearly marked in two lines in the brass grip:
L. F & C - 1918
The brass grip and knuckle guard blackening is mostly worn away, as this example seems to have seen extensive service. There is definitely some wear on the brass from cleaning an exposure to the elements, as shown, however it has a lovely greenish patina. The steel dagger blade is missing all of the original finish, due to cleaning and use. However it is still sharp, with an intact tip, and the original machine marks can still be seen, so it does not look to have seen much sharpening.
The steel scabbard is in good condition with only some small dents, with the expected finish wear on a 100 year old scabbard. It has however lost both of the belt clips. Just about all of the blacked copper coating has worn away, leaving an oxidized steel finish. The scabbard is clearly marked on the rear, near the throat:
Overall this is a very nice example of the very popular and collectible World War I era US trench knife. The knife and scabbard are complete and original, and would make a fantastic addition to any military edged weapons collection. These brass D guard knuckle knives always make a great centerpiece to any military knife display and certainly draw attention due to their size and fierce appearance.
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