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Item:
ONSV24KHE109

Original U.S. WWII Unissued V-44 No.18 Pilot Survival Fighting Knife Machete by Kinfolks with Leather Scabbard - Excellent Condition

Item Description

Original Items: Only one available. This is an excellent unissued example of a Knifolks No. 18 survival machete.

The very first US Army Air Corps survival knife was adopted in 1934 for use in the “bail out” kit of flyers stationed in tropical climates like Hawaii, Panama and the Pacific Islands. The original knife was the No 18 Machete, which was manufactured by Collins & Company. The original variant had an overall length of around 14 ¼”, with a clip point Bowie style blade that varied between about 9 ¼” to 9 ½” in length. The Collins made variant was initially produced with horn grip scales that were secured by brass rivets and had a brass crossguard with lobe shaped finials at the end that almost resembled a barbell. During the production run of the Collins V-44, four variations were produced. The first two used the horn grip scales, initially secure by brass rivets as noted and the only difference between them was the type of blade stamping identifying the knife and the maker. The third and fourth versions replaced the horn grip with Bakelite, initially secured with brass rivets and with the final variant secured with steel rivets.

Technically V-44 is not right for the nomenclature for this knife, even though it is ver similar in appearance to a V44 knife. These are the Collins #18 machete original patterned by Collins and copied by other manufacturers such as Kinfolk, Case and Western and by some Australian manufacturers. The NO. 18 machete dates to 1926. The Army Air Corp first used the NO.18 in a jungle seat kit in 1934 for pilots later changed to a back pad kit in 1938. It wasn't until WWII that other manufacturers started making their own versions of the NO.18 to help fill AAC orders.

The 10" folding machete replaced the NO.18 machete with he adoption of the B-2 jungle back pad kit in 1942 which was standardized in January though the NO.18 was still being produced as contracts were already made and being filled.

The real V-44 was a fixed machete developed for the USN for the M-592 back pad kit. The M-592 kit has the only listed application of the V-44 machete. V-44 is simply the Case official pattern number. The first picture is the jungle back pad kit from 1938 and the second picture is the M-592 with V-44 machete.

The NO.18's were popular because they look great on your belt. A common complaint from overseas is that the people issued these kits were taking out the machete, it was recommended that the kits be sealed but never happened. The explanation for the Australian copies is simply that these early style jungle kits were being sent overseas empty, left to the local command to fill kit which prompted the Aussies to make a machete to sell openly and for AAC orders.

This particular "V-44 Survival Knife" is one of the rare knives produced by Kinfolks. The Kinfolks company was an outgrowth of the success of the W.R. Case & Sons and Cattaraugus cutlery companies. Case family cousins Dean and Russ Case, along with Tint Champlin started the company in 1925, in Little Valley New York to help provide production support and fixed blade knives to the other two companies. During the Second World War, Kinfolks produced a variety of edged weapons for the US government, including knives and bayonets. In the post-war period Kinfolks returned to their pre-war production of utility, household and hunting knives, but by 1957 were unable to remain in business due to labor disputes. The Kinfolks brand was acquired by Robeson Cutlery of Perry, NY, where knives with the Kinfolks name were produced under the direction of another Case cousin, Emmerson Case. In 1965, Robeson ended production of Kinfolks knives.

The “V-44” offered here is in very good condition. The knife is 14 ½” in overall length, with a 9 ½” clip point Bowie blade. The blade has a 4 ½” false edge, and a pair of very narrow, 3 5/8” long fullers, near the spine on each side of the blade. The reverse ricasso is marked Kinfolks / INC. near the spine, with a sweeping forward leg of the “K” underscoring the word in an arc. The blade is in good condition and is mostly smooth with staining covering the blade. The blade shows a moderate amount of freckled surface oxidation. The metal shows some light toning and scattered areas of age discoloration as well, but it is completely free of any real pitting.

The bulky Bakelite grip scales are black and have a mostly smooth texture. The knife has the cast brass “barbell” shaped crossguard typical of most V-44 knives, with the exception of the Western produced knives. It measures 4 ½” in length. The grips are retained by three ¼” aluminum rivets that show some minor oxidation and discoloration. The grips are in FINE condition and are free of any breaks, cracks or repairs. They show only some light handling bumps, dings and surface scratches. The grip, guard and blade are all tightly secured to each other and there is absolutely no movement or wobble in any of the components.

The scabbard is correct and the one manufactured for this variant.

This would be a great addition to any advanced collection of US military knives, and you will certainly be very proud to display this fine example of a very rare WWII era knife.

Dimensions:
Blade length: 9 1/2”
Blade style: Clip-point "Bowie" knife
Overall length: 14 1/2”
Crossguard: 4 1/4”

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