Item:
ONSV24KHE018

Original U.S. WWII Rare Ernest “Mooney” Warther Fighting Knife With Correct Sheath - Dated 1945 - Excellent Condition

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This Warther Fighting Knife is in excellent condition, perhaps have never been used, and is a remarkable piece of weaponry. It adheres to the traditional Warther knife design with a full-length tang dagger blade that measures 7 7/8 inches and an overall length of 12 1/8 inches. The knife is ergonomically designed to fit the hand perfectly, providing unparalleled balance and control. The rear of the scabbard’s brass belt loop is stamped in three lines:

ERNEST WARTHER
DOVER-O U.S.A.
1945

The blade of the knife has retained its original polish, with only a few scattered areas of very minor surface oxidation and discoloration due to age. These imperfections are primarily present around the ricasso and guard area. Additionally, there is some oxidation along the tang between the scales, and some minor discoloration on the aluminum fittings. The scabbard is in equally excellent condition with almost all of the front paint still intact and the rear still showing the hand-applied jeweled pattern. All markings on the belt loop, are clearly and crisply stamped.

This is a truly remarkable Warther Fighting Knife, that is both scarce and in excellent condition. Such knives are not readily available in the market, making this an exceptional addition to any World War II fighting knife collection. We highly recommend this piece to serious collectors!

Dimensions:
Blade length: 8 1/8”
Overall length: 12 5/8”
Crossguard: 4”
Scabbard length: 8 1/2"

The Story Behind The Knife
Ernest "Mooney" Warther was born on October 30, 1885, in Dover, Ohio. His parents were Swiss immigrants who moved to the United States in 1881. Unfortunately, his father passed away when Mooney was only three years old, leaving the family struggling to make ends meet. As a child, Mooney had to work hard to support his family, tending to their cow and working for neighbors to earn some money.

At the age of five, Mooney found a pocketknife and started carving while watching over the cows. This passion for carving stayed with him throughout his life and he became known as the "world's master carver". As a teenager, he worked at the American Sheet and Tin Plate Mill in Dover to earn more money for his family. He also began experimenting with making knives since he was unhappy with the commercially available ones that didn't meet his needs for carving.

In 1902, at the age of 17, Mooney presented his mother with a kitchen knife he made, which marked the start of a family cutlery business that is still operating today, now in its fourth generation.

Mooney became famous in the early 1910s for his carving skills. He was able to create functional pliers from a single piece of wood using only 10 cuts. In 1913, he took his skills to another level by using a large block of walnut to create 511 sets of interlocking functional pliers, which took him 64 hours and over 31,000 cuts. The most amazing part was that when the pliers were folded, the Plier Tree returned to its original block of wood shape! His work was displayed at the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair, where he impressed Robert Ripley of Ripley's Believe It or Not! fame. President Warren G. Harding was impressed by his carving, so he asked Mooney to carve "A History of Trains," which he was particularly interested in. Mooney's carvings were so detailed and complicated that the trains were fully functional, with moving wheels and pistons! Henry Ford was so impressed with his work that he offered Mooney $75,000 for several of his carvings and even offered him $5,000 a year (which was a lot at the time) to come and carve full-time at the new Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. Mooney declined and instead opened his own small museum in Dover in 1936 to display his carvings. The museum has expanded over the years and remains a popular Ohio tourist attraction today.

Ernest Mooney was a skilled knife-maker who left his job at a steel mill in 1923 to focus on his passion for knife-making and intricate carving. He made high-quality kitchen knives and spent a lot of time perfecting his craft to make blades that were strong, durable and razor-sharp.

During World War II, Mooney made heavy-duty fighting knives for American servicemen. His most popular design was a 12-inch dagger with a double-edged blade, aluminum bolsters and an ebony handle. He stamped the name and service number of the man who he made the knife for onto the handle. The knives were contained in futuristic metal scabbards that were pinned together with brass pins and featured leather or fiber spacers to separate the front and rear sections. The scabbards had a heavy-duty brass belt loop on the rear, were marked to show they were the work of Ernest Warther of Dover, OH, and were painted with an olive drab paint with speckles of gold color.

After the war, Mooney returned to traditional knife-making and carving. His sons joined the business, which allowed him to spend more time on his hobby. In 1963, Mooney and his sons expanded his museum substantially, and visitors can still see his carving museum today. Unfortunately, Mooney had a stroke in 1971 that ended his carving career, and he passed away on June 6, 1973.

Today, Ernest Mooney is remembered for his exquisite fighting knives and his contribution to the World War II war effort. However, this was only a small part of his story and life.

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