Jump to content


Marbles Gladstone knife

Started by Bob Hudson , May 04 2011 08:01 PM

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 21,567 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 May 2011 - 08:01 PM

Picked this up today: a Marbles Gladstone knife, 9.74 inches long, with a six-inch blade. I've been looking around online and haven't yet seen anything about dating these. On this forum and elsewhere there are references to the having been used by GI's in WWII.

When I first saw this in the sheath I expected to find a double-edge blade because of the symmetrical shape of the sheath:

marbles1.jpg

marbles2.jpg

marbles3.jpg

marbles4.jpg

#2 doyler

doyler
  • Members
    • Member ID: 342
  • 20,862 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 May 2011 - 08:08 PM

Believe its a pre-war hunting pattern.Not uncommon to see civilian/commercial knives in use during the war.Early in the war there were drives for collecting knives for service men.There were a shortage of issue knives and these drives were to fill the gap in the shortage.

#3 doyler

doyler
  • Members
    • Member ID: 342
  • 20,862 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 May 2011 - 08:29 PM

Bit of info on Marbles

http://home.comcast....ves/knives.html

#4 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 21,567 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 May 2011 - 09:08 PM

Bit of info on Marbles

http://home.comcast....ves/knives.html


Thanks. This does seem to be the Marbles Ideal knife, the grandpa, it turns out, of the WWII Ka Bar and other fighting knives. Early models had a stag pommel, later they had aluminum and in WWII plastic.

The symmetrical seems to show up earlier knives in the photo's I've found so far. I would assume it's purpose is to make it easily wearable on the right or left side. The snap is brass.

I got this from an estate I was appraising today for an upcoming sale: they had lots of mostly small knives, several pre-WWII.

#5 sactroop

sactroop
  • Members
    • Member ID: 17,422
  • 980 posts

Posted 04 May 2011 - 09:58 PM

Doyler is right about the knife drives in the early part of the war. Although the government did buy and distribute at least to pilots 5” versions of this pattern of knife at least until the M3 was available. Camillus, Case and Western where three makers that have been ID’ed as suppliers of these knives. Camillus called it the Army Air Corps and Navy Sheath knife, Case had their pattern 322-5 as a direct purchase by the Army Air Corps,
http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll61/sac_troop/Knives/DCP_1364.jpg

and Western’s Baby-Shark is also known to have been in the military supply chain. I’ve seen period pictures of pilots wearing 6” sheath knives during WW2 and don’t know if they where private purchase or unit purchase.

I’ve always wondered about Marbles role in WW2. They seem conspicuous by their relative absence in the reference works by the likes of Cole, Silvey, and Trzaska. I do recall that one of Frank Trzaska’s works in progress is on the subject of Marbles used during WW2.

I personally believe that the Marbles where common during the war.

#6 DSchlagan

DSchlagan

    IN MEMORIAM

  • IN MEMORIAM
    • Member ID: 21,709
  • 804 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:FAR West, of Nod

Posted 05 May 2011 - 07:11 AM

Interesting info, and very nice knives! :thumbsup:

Note how wide and deep the fullers are, on all these pictured knives.
It appears to me that they were cut with the tooling run at a right angle to the blade, instead of inline with it; which is more commonly seen.

#7 bummer

bummer
  • Members
    • Member ID: 10,219
  • 216 posts

Posted 08 May 2011 - 03:08 PM

I have a similar one except it has a 7 inch blade and overall length of 12 in, it came in a sheath marked BOYT 1943. It belonged to my father who was a member of the 17th AB

#8 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 21,567 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 May 2011 - 04:57 PM

Interesting info, and very nice knives! :thumbsup:

Note how wide and deep the fullers are, on all these pictured knives.
It appears to me that they were cut with the tooling run at a right angle to the blade, instead of inline with it; which is more commonly seen.


These blades are forged and Marbles pioneered the fuller in the US ( The name "blood groove" is a myth and these had nothing to do with suction during stabbing) as a way to make a lighter stronger blade. It also seems to help when sharpening. This tidbit from http://www.deltagear...ifeGlossary.htm seems to do a nice job summing it up:

Owners of the USMC 1219C2, or “k-bar”, are probably aware of the term “blood groove” and are also probably under the impression that these serve some sort of purpose. We at Delta Gear take pride in dispelling the myths often created by clever marketing teams and therefore would like to give you a little history on the USMC 1219C2, the grooves-in-question (otherwise known as “fullers”) and how the term “blood groove” came into existence.

The first 1919C2 was created in the style of a commercial hunting knife that was produced by the Union Cutlery Company. And the Union Cutlery Company took their idea from a wildly successful “Ideal” hunting knife made by the Marbles Company. The Marbles knife had fullers that were quite wide and deep and were positioned lower on the blade. This ingenious design allowed the Marbles knife to be successfully flat-sharpened (by holding the blade flat) on a flat stone while in the field.

On comparing the Marbles knife to the USMC 1919C2 (or the Union Cutlery knife for that matter), one will immediately notice that the fullers on the latter two knives are much narrower, not as deep, and placed higher on the blade than those on the Marbles knife. These differences unfortunately negate the true purpose of the design and are rendered useless in terms of sharpening advantages. While the fullers on the Marbles served a valuable purpose in the field, it was completely lost to the designers who copied it.


Now those guys didn't buy the "stronger" story about the fuller, but supposedly Webster Marble himself wrote about that being the reason for it, and the Marbles Ideal shows up in a 2008 Field and Stream article about the 20 best knives ever made:

fsmarbles2.jpg

fsmarbles.jpg

Gee, mine has the original sheath :) Mine has a brass colored snap and in looking at some others online they appeared to have a silver-colored snap so I wondered when did they stop making them with brass snaps? Well in looking closer it appears the snaps were brass coated and that wears off over the years - I can see some of the silvery metal where the brass color has worn away.

marblessnap.jpg

#9 DSchlagan

DSchlagan

    IN MEMORIAM

  • IN MEMORIAM
    • Member ID: 21,709
  • 804 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:FAR West, of Nod

Posted 08 May 2011 - 07:12 PM

Very interesting info, FS.

I've never heard that explanation, before, in regard to the (properly placed) fuller facilitating field sharpening.
Saving precious wartime steel, weight reduction, yes... But the "giving the blood a place to squirt out" or relieving "suction" are definite misconceptions. That sharpening concept does seem to fall in line with the blade geometry of the Marbles knives.

As you describe them as forged, that makes more sense than stock removal to make that fuller. It does appear that they may have had some kind of tooling to 'clean-up' that area, as there would be a noticeable slag remnant present, otherwise.

Thanks,
Don.

#10 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 21,567 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 May 2011 - 07:46 PM

As you describe them as forged, that makes more sense than stock removal to make that fuller. It does appear that they may have had some kind of tooling to 'clean-up' that area, as there would be a noticeable slag remnant present, otherwise.

Thanks,
Don.


I read that the clean up work was only as good as the skill of the person doing it.

#11 DSchlagan

DSchlagan

    IN MEMORIAM

  • IN MEMORIAM
    • Member ID: 21,709
  • 804 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:FAR West, of Nod

Posted 08 May 2011 - 08:25 PM

I read that the clean up work was only as good as the skill of the person doing it.

I would believe that 100%.

#12 tsellati

tsellati
  • Members
    • Member ID: 5,225
  • 1,953 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:upstate NY

Posted 08 May 2011 - 11:07 PM

I have a similar one except it has a 7 inch blade and overall length of 12 in, it came in a sheath marked BOYT 1943. It belonged to my father who was a member of the 17th AB


Wow, that sounds like an interesting knife. Would love to see pictures if you have some to share.

Tim

#13 bummer

bummer
  • Members
    • Member ID: 10,219
  • 216 posts

Posted 10 May 2011 - 01:42 PM

Wow, that sounds like an interesting knife. Would love to see pictures if you have some to share.

Tim


I will see what I can do. As I look at the sheath, it looks alot like one that would have been issued with a K-BAR and not like the op's

#14 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 21,567 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 12 May 2011 - 06:13 AM

As the ancestor of the WWII fighting knives, these marbles are quite interesting and I was surprised to see that the basic look of the PAL fighting knife, for one, dated back at least 20 years before the war. The Marbles knife I found has a left-pointing serif on the letter "A" as shown in the photo below and several sources that dates it to the period 1919-1930.

marbles_serif.jpg

Then, according to some sources, the symmetrical aluminum pommel then dates it back to circa WWII (shown here with a later asymmetrical pommel):

marbles_pommel.jpg

And here's the perhaps 1919 Marble Ideal knife with a WWII PAL fighting knife:

marbles_pal.jpg

Of course, the fighting knife's heritage in the Marble hunting knives, does call into question statements such as this one I found in an online "military reference" -


US PAL RH 36 fighting Knife -
A fighting knife, also commonly called a combat knife, is a knife designed for military use, specifically for close combat.


I'd have to say the RH 36 was not at all "designed for military use," but was clearly a hunting knife style adapted for military use.

In looking online, I found there seem to be a lot more pre-WWII Marbles with the stag pommel than the aluminum pommel and more with the stag grip than the stacked leather grip. I suspect they made more with the stag. Also, I'd bet the ones with stag would have been treated with a little more care by their owners. The ones with no stag would have been more likely to get hard use as tools, and when the US entered WWII and civilian hunting knives were pressed into service, the Marbles handles and/or pommels would not have been good candidates for military service.

Speaking of adapting Marbles hunting knives - check this out:

sears2a.jpg

marbles_sears_pom.jpg

That's the Marbles pommel nut on the right.

#15 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 21,567 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 12 May 2011 - 06:21 AM

The Germans did that adaptation of Marbles and guess who sold it in the USA:

sears2.jpg

These seem to be pre-WWII, but I'm not sure on that.

sears1a.jpg

This forum - myself included - has often paid homage to the great Ka-Bars and other WWII fighting knives, but in searching the forum I realized that Marbles seems to have not gotten the kind of attention it deserves in creating what has become an iconic piece of military gear.

Now, I realize that the internet is full of non-factual facts, so I'd love to hear from experts and those with all the great knife books.

#16 elbertson

elbertson
  • Members
    • Member ID: 11,898
  • 695 posts

Posted 12 May 2011 - 06:30 AM

From what I've seen, the majority of fixed blade knives adopted for military use in WW2 were pre-existing hunting knife patterns, or minor derivations of them. Of course, bayonets and other slender blades with double edges or extended, sharpenable false edges would be exceptions, as they are obviously designed for more specific purposes.
The Marbles Ideal has always been one of my favorite patterns, commercial or military.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


In Memory of Co-Founder GREG MILLS ROBINSON, a.k.a. "Marine-KaBar"
(February 17, 1949 - March 5, 2011)