Original U.S. WWI Modified Model 1918 Mark I Trench Knife by L.F. & C. in M6 Leather Scabbard dated 1943

Item Description

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 3/4" in overall length, with a 6 3/4" 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 was converted from a "knuckle knife" to a "fighting knife," and stored in a WWII Issue M6 leather scabbard. The knuckle guard has been completely removed, and the cross guard minimized, to be more like the WWII Issue knives.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:

U. S. 1918

L. F & C - 1918

The steel dagger blade still is in great shape, though the shape was slightly modified to fit the scabbard, removing a bit of the "shoulders" of the blade. The finish is excellent, though it is most likely arsenal re-blued. The handle, heavily modified, has a lovely brass patina. There is no play in the grip/blade connection, and the skull-crusher end bolt is still present.

The original WWII-Dated M6 scabbard is in good condition, though it definitely has seen much use. The scabbard was usually issued with the M3 fighting knife, the predecessor to the M4 and related bayonets. The leather is a bit delicate, but all rivets and components are intact. The scabbard is faintly marked on the front, below the throat:

U. S. M6

Overall this is a great example of the very popular and collectible World War I era US trench knife, modified for use during WWII. The knife and scabbard are 100% complete and original, and would make a fantastic addition to any military edged weapons collection. "Field Personalized" knives such as these are always an interesting item.

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